Time-Travel Fiction

  Storypilot’s Big List of Adventures in Time Travel



“An Anachronism; or, Missing One’s Coach”
by Anonymous
First publication: The Dublin University Magazine, Jun 1838


A man, waiting for a coach in Newcastle, finds himself taken through time and face to face with Saint Bede, whereupon a philosophical conversation about time and the future ensues.

 It must suffice then to say that, at the point where I come again into perfect possession of my consciousness, the venerable monk and I were conferring, in an easy manner, upon various points connected with his age, or with mine, and both of us having a clear understanding, and perfect recollection of the fact, that, at this same moment, he was actually living in the eighth century, and I as truly in the nineteenth; nor did this trifing difference of a thousand years or more—this break, as geologists would call it—this fault in the strata of time—perplex either of us a whit; any more than two friends are molested by the circumstance of their happening to encounter each other just as they arrive from opposite hemispheres. 

 [Aug 2013]

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
First publication: 1843



I don’t see how I can leave A Christmas Carol off the list, but I’m going to use it only as an opportunity to illustrate the things that are not time travel:
  1. Viewing the past
  2. Viewing a possible future as in A Christmas Carol, even if that future comes true as in “Life-Line”
  3. Sending information into the future
  4. Predicting the future, even should your predictions come true without fail
  5. Time dilation via fast travel or gravity
  6. Moving from our world to that of Conan the Barbarian
  7. Dreaming of the past or future, as in A Christmas Carol
  8. Bringing Benjamin Franklin’s ghost to life
  9. Bizarre physiologically aging, forwards or backwards, while experiencing time in a normal fashion
  10. Experiencing time passage at a faster rate or slower rate than normal
  11. Stopping time
  12. If at any point there is a whole bodice, and at some subsequent (or previous) point there is a bodice that is less than whole, then the story is not time travel.
Having laid down these laws, I am happy to make exceptions for my list when I feel like it, as you can see by this very story.

 If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die. 

 [Dec 1970]
An 1867 issue of Godey's
“A Tale of the Ragged Mountains”
by Edgar Allan Poe
First publication: Godey’s Lady’s Book, Apr 1844


A sick man tells of a walk he took in November of 1845 only to find himself in a pitched battle in 1780 Calcutta, but Dr. Templeton, who listens to the story, already knows the happenings of the story.

 Busied in this, I walked on for several hours, during which the mist deepened around me to so great an extent that at length I was reduced to an absolute groping of the way. And now an indescribable uneasiness possessed me— 

 [Dec 2011]

The Age of Science: A Newspaper of the 20th Century
by Frances Power Cobbe (as by Merlin Nostradamus)
First publication: 1877

Published as a 50-page book, the story tells of the invention of the Prospective Telegraph and provides excerpts from a newspaper that it retrieves from a 1977 future dominated by scientific and medical super-nannies.

 By this truly wonderful invention (exquisitely simple in its machinery, yet of surpassing power) the obstacle of Time is as effectually conquered as that of Space has been for the last generation by the Electric Telegraph; and future years—even, it is anticipated, future centuries—will be made to respond to our call as promptly and completely as do now the uttermost parts of the earth wherewith the magic wire has placed us in communication. 

 [Jan 2013]
The story was translated to English by Jiři Král and published in the 1897 anthology, Clever Tales.
“Newtonův mozek”
aka “Newton’s Brain”
by Jakub Arbes
First publication: 1877


The narrator’s life-long friend, Frederic Wünscher, has but one passion: escamotage, or the art of sleight-of-hand taken to its highest form. Among the tricks of the enthusiastic friend are bringing Napoleon I back from the dead and, seemingly, rising from the dead himself after being killed in the Battle of Königgrätz. Up to that point (about a quarter of the story), the writing has the wry tone of 19th century romanticism combined with thoughtful philosophizing on death, but certainly no time travel—not even Napolean’s appearance. I enjoyed the rest of the story and musing on how its presentation of ideas—viewing of past miltary campaigns, reviving Newton’s brain—in a frame of scientific romanticism provided the seeds of science fiction for the coming 75 years.

As you may know, I claim that viewing the past is not time travel (and indeed, the escamoteur’s method proves this very point), but nevertheless I shall latch onto that aspect of the story to place “Newton’s Brain” in my list, even though I wish that Arbes would return now to rewrite the ending to his story. [Many thanks to Chad Arment’s anthology, About Time, for bringing the story to me.]

 I had long been thinking which brain would be the most suitable, and finally I decided to try the brain of a man whom the whole civilized world classes among its most acute thinkers. I knew that the brain of that man was preserved in the British Museum; by stratagem I succeeded in securing this invaluable trasure; and when, after the battle of Königgrätz, the longed-for opportunity came, and my own skull was cut off by a sabre, I replaced my brain with that of Newton.
...
If before the invention of glass and the telescope anybody should have appeared before a learned body of men like the present, and claimed that by means of certain instruments it would sometime become possible to look out over distances of many miles, even to study heavenly bodies, his story surely would have been listened to with distrust even by the most profound thinker of the time. The same would have happened if before the invention of the steam-engine or the telegraph any one should have claimed that a journey of several months might be made in a few hours, or that one might in a moment’s time hear from a person hundreds of miles away.
 

 [Feb 2015]
The story was reprinted in this 1973 Mitchell collection.
“An Uncommon Sort of Spectre”
by Edward Page Mitchell
First publication: The New York Sun, 3 Mar 1879

On the 1352 evening of the birth of quadruplets sons to the baroness of a Rhine castle, the baron himself entertains a traveler with memories of the coming 80 years.

 For you allow that, while ghosts out of the future are unheard of, ghosts from the past are not infrequently encountered. 

 [Feb 2015]

“The Clock That Went Backward”
by Edward Page Mitchell
First publication: The New York Sun, 18 Sep 1881


A young man and his cousin inherit a clock that takes them back to the siege of Leyden at the start of October 1574, where they affect that time as much as it has affected them. This is travel in a machine (or at least an artifact), but they have no control over the destination.

 The hands were whirling around the dial from right to left with inconceivable rapidity. In this whirl we ourselves seemed to be borne along. Eternities seemed to contract into minutes while lifetimes were thrown off at every tick. 

 [May 2011]

The Diothas, or A Far Look Ahead
by John Macnie (as by Ismar Thiusen)
First publication: 1883


A jilted Ismar Thiusen visits his friend Utis Estai who, through mesmerism, takes the two of them to a 96th century puritanical utopian society where he is viewed by the locals as a mentally ill man who believes he is from the 19th century.

 According to the view of things above adverted to, the different stages in the history of our race are not successive only, but are also co-existent and co-extensive with each other. Just as in a block of marble, there is contained, not one only, but every possible statue, though, of the whole number, only one at a time can be made evident to our senses; so, in a given region of space, any number of worlds can co-exist, each iwth its own population conscious of only that world, or set of phenomena, to which their ego is attuned. 

 [Aug 2013]

El Anacronópete
by Enrique Gaspar
First publication: 1887





Enrique Gaspar was a contemporary of H.G. Wells, though there’s no indication that Wells knew of his fellow European’s Spanish novel, El Anacronópete, with the first depiction of traveling through time with a climb-in-able machine. A professional translation of the novel into English by Yolanda Molina-Gavilan and Andrea L. Bell was published in 2012, but I’ve also been working on my own translation.

 “One step at a time,” argued a sensible voice. “If the Anacronópete aims to undo history, it seems to me that we must be congratulated as it allows us to amend our failures.”
   “Quite right,” called a married man jammed into the front of the bus, thinking of his tiresome wife. “As soon as the ticket office opens to the public, I’m booking passage to the eve of my wedding.”
 

 [Dec 2011]
The story and its importance were noted in the first issue of Tomorrow.
“The Chronic Argonauts”
by H.G. Wells
First publication: The Science School Journal, 1888



Wells abandoned this early version of the story after three installments. He may not have liked it, but it’s a fun historical read—and the first mention that I’ve seen of time as the fourth dimension.

 Those who were there say that they saw Dr. Nebogipfel, standing in the toneless electric glare, on a peculiar erection of brass and ebony and ivory; and that he seemed to be smiling at them, half pityingly and half scornfully, as it is said martyrs are wont to smile. 

 [Dec 2010]

Looking Backward from 2000 to 1887
by Edward Bellamy
First publication: 1888


As with The Diothas from earlier in the same decade, our hero tells the story of a man (Julian West) who undergoes hypnotically induced time travel, this time to the year 2000 and a socialist utopian society.

 It would have been reason enough, had there been no other, for abolishing money, that its possession was no indication of rightful title to it. In the hands of the man who had stolen it or murdered for it, it was as good as in those which had earned it by industry. People nowadays interchange gifts and favors out of friendship, but buying and selling is considered absolutely inconsistent with the mutual benevolence and disinterestedness which should prevail between citizens and the sense of community of interest which supports our social system. According to our ideas, buying and selling is essentially anti-social in all its tendencies. It is an education in self-seeking at the expense of others, and no society whose citizens are trained in such a school can possibly rise above a very low grade of civilization. 

 [Aug 2013]

A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
by Mark Twain
First publication: 1889



A clonk on the head transports Hank Morgan from the 19th century back to the time of Camelot.

I first read the original in 7th grade: for me, a vast improvement on Huck Finn. I do see some of Heinlein’s roots in the Connecticut Yankee’s political, economic and social machinations.

 You know about transmigration of souls; do you know about transportation of epochs—and bodies? 

 [Dec 1968]
I’ve yet to find an image of the book, but here’s a Christchurch church where Watson was a minister (lostchristchurch.org.nz).
The Decline and Fall of the British Empire,
or The Witch’s Cavern

aka The Witch's Cavern. A Realistic and Thrilling Picture of London Society
by Henry Crocker Marriott Watson (as by H.C.M.W.)
First publication: 1890

William Furley, an Australian in 2992, describes the fallen state of the British Empire and then travels to England where he meets a version of Alice’s White Rabbit and falls down a hole to 1890 London where he tries to warn people about the coming collapse.
 [Jan 2015]
from the first edition cover
Tourmalin’s Time Cheques
by F. Anstey
First publication: 1891


Peter Tourmalin, a bachelor engaged to the sophisticated Sophia, is traveling halfway around the world by ship when after a double-curry breakfast, Mr. Perkins offers to let him store up his idle time and return it to him in the future, with compound interest!

 Just think how grateful you might be hereafter, if you could get back a single one of these half-hours which you find so tedious now. 

 [Jan 2012]

The Time Machine
by H.G. Wells
First publication: New Review, Jan-May 1895



In which the Traveller first introduces us to his machine.

 I drew a breath, set my teeth, gripped the starting lever with both hands, and went off with a thud. 

 [Jul 1970]

The British Barbarians—A Hill-Top Novel
by Grant Allen
First publication: 1895



Bertram Ingledow, anthropologist from the future, comes to 19th century England to study the ways and rituals of the Englishman and at least one Englishwoman, the desirable Freda Monteith.

 As once the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and straightaway coveted them, even so Bertram Ingledew looked on Freda Monteith and saw at the first glance she was a woman to be desired, a soul high throned, very calm and beautiful. 

 [Jul 2013]

The Barbarous Britishers—A Tip-Top Novel
by H.D. Traill
First publication: 1896


Some might claim that Grant Allen’s 1895 novel The British Barbarians was higher on the social lecturing scale than Robert Heinlein with a nubile young woman; most likely, Henry Duff Traill, biographer and worthy forebear of Monty Python, would claim so if his funny send-off of Allen’s book is any indication.

 It was a case of the angels tumbling to the daughters of men. He saw at the first sight that she was a woman to be desired, a soul high-throned, very calm and dignified, yet scrumptious withal. Like the angels, he tumbled to her, and, falling from so great a height, was instantly mashed. 

 [Jul 2013]
Georges Montbard's illustration of Hyne’s story in Windsor
“The Oldest Worship in the World: A Restoration”
by Cutcliffe Hyne
First publication: The Windsor Magazine, Nov 1897

A man on Minorea takes an unknown powder in his drink and finds himself traveling back through various wars, sieges and pirate attacks, eventually landing in a time of a prehistoric clan whose king sacrafices men to his heavenly beings.

Windsor was a far-reaching British magazine with short fiction and serials from all genres, interviews, science and other articles (such as Walter George Bell’s article about asteroids in the Nov 1897 issue), wonderful illustrations, and even photographs.

 A thought seized me that by virtue of the powder I had grown backward through all the lifetimes of men, and was alone on the island with nothing but the brutes and the birds. 

 [Aug 2013]

The Queen of the World,
or Under the Tyranny

by Standish O’Grady (as by Luke Netterville)
First publication: 1900

Young Irishman Gerard Pierce de Lacy is sent to the year 2179 A.D. by a mysterious figure named the Bohemian, where he falls in love, fights with the underground using fantastic weapons against the Chinese overlords, defeats the overlords, and puts his love on the thrown of the world.

 Know then that it is within my power to transfer you from the age in which we live, of which all the interest has for you been exhausted, to any other age that you may select, past or future. 

 [Aug 2013]

“When Time Turns”
by Ethel Watts Mumford
First publication: The Black Cat, Jan 1901

In this earliest story that I’ve seen of a man living his life backward in time, the narrator, Robertson, talks with Mr. Gage who has been reliving his life in reverse, moment by moment, ever since the death of his wife.

 Yes, I spent some little time in the islands. In fact, I am just on the point of going there now, and am very sorry I shall not see them again. 

 [Aug 2013]

“A Relic of the Pliocene”
aka "Angry Mammoth"
by Jack London
First publication: Collier’s Weekly, 12 Jan 1901

Neither our narrator Thomas Stevens nor the mighty hunter Nimrod realized that the modern-day mammoth of this story arrived in the frozen north via time travel, but why else would F&SF have reprinted the story some 42 years after London’s passing?

 I pardon your ignorance concerning many matters of this Northland, for you are a young man and have travelled little; but, at the same time, I am inclined to agree with you on one thing. The mammoth no longer exists. How do I know? I killed the last one with my own right arm. 

 [Dec 2011]
The story was reprinted in this 1904 Kipling collection.
“Wireless”
by Rudyard Kipling
First publication: Scribner's Magazine, Aug 1902


Were it not Kipling, I wouldn’t include this story in the list, since its time-travel content is questionable: Are those Marconi experiments of young Mr. Cashell really bringing John Keats’s thoughts from a century in the past to the drug-tranced Mr. Shaynor?

 “He told me that the last time they experimented they put the pole on the roof of one of the big hotels here, and the batteries electrified all the water-supply, and”—he giggled—“the ladies got shocks when they took their baths.” 

 [Aug 2013]

The Year 2000 Novels
by W.W. Cook
First book: Argosy, Jul to Oct 1903
Pursued by Detective Klinch, Everson Lumley takes up Dr. Alonzo Kelpie’s offer to whisk him off to the year 2000 where Lumley first observes various scientific marvels and then realizes that Klinch is still chasing him through time and into more adventures. That’s all in the first book (A Round Trip to the Year 2000; or a Flight Through Time, serialized in Argosy, Jul-Oct 1903). In the second book (Castaways of the Year 2000, in Argosy, Oct 1912 to Feb 1913), Lumley has returned to his own time and is held responsible for Kelpie’s disappearance at which point he returns to the future and adventures ensue.

 Although your enemy is within a dozen feet of you, Lumley, he will soon be a whole century behind, and you will be safe. 

 [Jul 2013]

The Panchronicon
by Harold Steele MacKaye
First publication: April 1904


In 1898, Copernicus Droop has a flying time machine drop into his lap from the year 2582, whereupon he hatches a plan to take Rebecca Wise and her sister, Phœbe, back to 1876 where he can invent all kinds of modern things and Rebecca might convince her younger self to marry that fine young Joe Chandler—but instead they go rather further back to Elizabethan times where capricious capers (but no time paradoxes) ensue.

 It does sound outlandish, when you think how big the world is. But what if ye go to the North Pole? Ain’t all the twenty-four meridians jammed up close together around that part of the globe? Ain’t it clear that if a feller’ll jest take a grip on the North Pole and go whirlin’ around it, he’ll be cutting meridians as fast as a hay-chopper? Won’t he see the sun getting left behind and whirlin’ the other way from what it does in nature? If the sun goes the other way round, ain’t it sure to unwind all the time that it’s been a-rollin’ up? 

 [Jan 2013]

Marooned in 1492, or Under Fortune’s Flag
by W.W. Cook
First publication: Argosy, Aug-Dec 1905
Two adventurers, Trenwyck and Blinkers, answer a strange ad and eventually find themselves stranded in 1492 without enough of the time-travel corn for the entire party to return, so they send Columbus into the future to procure more of the precious kernels.
 [Aug 2013]

The Five Children Books
by E. Nesbit
First time travel: 1904 in The Phoenix and the Carpet


Edith Nesbit’s Five Children and It about five English children and their wish-granting Psammead never engaged me as a child, nor did her sequels: The Phoenix and the Carpet (1904) with a touch of time travel at the end to the time of the Phoenix’s orgin, and The Story of the Amulet where a magic amulet takes them to times that span from ancient Egypt to the future. But even so, Nesbit is a grand pioneer of time-travel tales for children (the other being Kipling). By the way, Nesbit and Wells were fellow members of the Fabian Society, a group of British socialists.

 Don’t you understand? The thing existed in the Past. If you were in the Past, too, you could find it. It’s very difficult to make you understand things. Time and space are only forms of thought. 

 [Dec 1964]

Puck’s Stories
by Rudyard Kipling
First time travel: Strand Magazine, Feb 1906


Puck is an elf who magicks people from the past to tell their stories to two children in England. The stories were gathered in two collections, Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) and Rewards and Fairies (1910). Some of the stories were told by Puck himself rather than by historical figures. Puck told me that the first time-travelling storyteller was Sir Richard Dalyngridge in the second Puck story in Strand Magazine, Feb 1906. Abraham Lincoln was on the cover of that issue, but he was not a time traveler (at least not then and there).

 Unluckily the Hills are empty now, and all the People of the Hills are gone. I’m the only one left. I’m Puck, the oldest Old Thing in England, very much at your service—if you care to have anything to do with me. If you don’t, of course you’ve only to say so, and I’ll go. 

 [Aug 2011]
This still photograph from the Broadway play is part of the New York Public
The Road to Yesterday
by Beulah Marie Dix and Evelyn Greenleaf Sutherland
First performance: 31 Dec 1906 on Broadway at Herald Square Theatre

To me, the play had the feel of madcap antics in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest—but with time travel! In thye play, a midsummer’s wish takes two travelers, Elspeth and Jack, from 1903 to their earlier selves in 1603, returning rather friendlier than they left.

 Elspeth: Oh, dear Aunt Harriet! It isn’t sudden—really not! We’ve been engaged three hundred years! 

 [Jan 2015]

The Arden Books
by E. Nesbit
First book: 1908



Janet found the first of the two books, The House of Arden (1908), for me at Christmas 2014. In the story, Edred Arden, a nine-year-old poor orphan, unexpectedly discovers that he’s actually the next Lord Arden, but still pennyless unless he and his sister can use a magic spell to travel through time and discover where the family treasure lies hidden—much like the time-traveling mechanism in Nesbit’s earlier The Story of the Amulet. The second book, Harding’s Luck (1909), retells part of the story from the viewpoint of a minor character, Dickie.

 Hear, Oh badge of Arden’s house,
The spell my little age allows;
Arden speaks it without fear,
Badge of Arden’s house, draw near,
Make me brave and kind and wise,
And show me where the treasure lies.
 

 [Dec 2014]
1962 Ace paperback edition
The House on the Borderland
by William Hope Hodgson
First publication: 1908


Supernatural-story pioneer William Hope Hodgson was an inspiration for Lovecraft and later genertions of writers. This novel of an Irish house that lay at the intersection of monstrous other dimensions seems to include time travel when the narrator witnesses and returns from the future of our solar system right up to the Earth falling into the Sun and the subsequent arrival of a second, green sun.

 Years appeared to pass, slowly. The earth had almost reached the center of the sun’s disk. The light from the Green Sun—as now it must be called—shone through the interstices, that gapped the mouldered walls of the old house, giving them the appearance of being wrapped in green flames. The Swine-creatures still crawled about the walls. 

 [Jan 2013]

The Last Generation: A Story of the Future
by J.E. Flecker
First publication: 1908

The Wind of Time takes our narrator on a depressing tour of the future where everyone becomes suicidal, childbirth is outlawed, and mankind eventually becomes extinct.

 I am not in the compass. I am a little unknown Wind, and I cross not Space but Time. If you will come with me I will take you not over countries but over centuries, not directly, but waywardly, and you may travel where you will. 

 [Aug 2013]

“My Time Annihilator”
by George Allan England
First publication: All-Story, Jun 1909
The narrator tells of a machine he built that will fly faster than the rotation of the earth and thus, by flying against the earth’s rotation, will travel backward in time.

England also wrote an earlier story, “The Time Reflector” (Monthly Story Magazine, Sep 1905), in which past times were viewed without actual time travel.

 The next of a series, interspersed of course with many “normal” stories, so to speak, was “My Time Annihilator,” something along the lines of H.G. Wells’ “Time-Machine,”—which, by the way, I had not at that time read. Wells is, of course, one of the most successful modern “science-fakers.” The skill wherewith he makes the impossible seem possible may well serve as a model for any aspirants in this line of endeavor. 
—George Allan England, “The Fantastic in Fiction: The Why and How of Making the Impossible Seem Possible” in The Story World and Photodramatist, Jul 1923

 [Nov 2013]
I haven’t found the Feb 1910 cover, but here’s a later issue.
“Phantas”
by Oliver Onions
First publication: Nash’s Magazine, Feb 1910

Abel Keeling and Bligh are the only two mates remaining on board the sailing ship Mary of the Tower as she slips beneath the waves and possibly slips forward to the time of steam-powered ships.

 Listen. Wee’re His Majesty’s destroyer Seapink, out of Devonport last Octovr, and nothing particular the matter with us. Now who are you? 

 [Dec 2013]

“Accessory Before the Fact”
by Algernon Blackwood
First publication: Ten Minute Stories, 1914

An English man on a walking holiday experiences a short time in another man’s future and struggles with the ethics of whether and how to deliver a warning to that other man.

 He had been an eavesdropper, and had come upon private information of a secret kind that he had no right to make use of, even that good might come—even to save life. 

 [Jan 2015]

Out of the Miocene
by John Charles Beecham
First publication: The Popular Magazine, 15 Sep (cover date 23 Aug) to 1 Oct 1914

When Bruce Dayton wanders off the trails in the high plains of the American Southwest, he stumbles upon an old-timer who sends Bruce’s mind back to Miocene times and into the body of an apeman who had an earlier usage of the same soul as Bruce.

 We are atoms in two oceans, time and space. Walk from here to the forest yonder, and your corporal self passes through a portion of space. Each moment you live you pass through a portion of the ocean of time. But the progression is only one way—for the corporal body. With the spirit it is different. Time has no boundaries for it. Out of the infinite, into the infinite, it comes and it goes. It is one with the Eternal. Therein Moses was right. 

 [Jul 2013]
In the story—and in real life—William Rothestein drew this pastel portrait of Enoch Soames.
“Enoch Soames:
A Memory of the Eighteen-Nineties”

by Max Beerbohm
First publication: The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, May 1916



Beerbohm (then an undergraduate at Oxford) feels something near to reverence toward the Catholic diabolist Enoch Soames, seeing as how the man from Preston has published one book of stories and has another book of poems forthcoming, but over time, Enoch himself becomes more and more morose and unsatisfied that he shall never see his own work appreciated in future years.

 A hundred years hence! Think of it! If I could come back to life THEN—just for a few hours—and go to the reading-room and READ! Or, better still, if I could be projected now, at this moment, into that future, into that reading-room, just for this one afternoon! I'd sell myself body and soul to the Devil for that! 

 [Apr 2014]

The Sense of the Past
by Henry James
First publication: 26 Oct 1917



When the last of the English Pendrels dies and leaves a London estate house to American Ralph Pendrel, the young Pendrel travels to England and finds himself inhabiting the body of an even earlier Pendrel. Unfortunately, when Henry James himself died, that’s as far as he’d gotten in writing the book, although the posthumous publication included James’s notes on the conclusion—plenty enough to inspire a litany of followers from countless versions of Berkeley Square to H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Out of Time”.

 He clung to his gravity, which somehow steadied him—so odd it was that the sense of her understanding wouldn’t be abated, which even a particular lapse, he could see... 
—final words written by James in the unfinished novel

 [Jan 2015]

Draft of Eternity
aka Draught of Eternity
by Victor Rousseau
First publication: All-Story Weekly 1-22 Jun 1918
After taking cannibus, Dr. Clifford Pal awakens thousands of years in the future when America has been conquered by the Yuki, whereupon he falls in love with a princess, starts a revolution, and drinks more cannibus to return to the twentieth century.
 [Jan 2014]

The Ghost of Slumber Mountain
by Willis O’Brien (O’Brien, director)
First release: 17 Nov 1918


Unk tells a story to his two nephews about the time when he and Joe Soxie visited the stone-covered grave and haunted cabn of Mad Dick where they (and they dog) were able to view the prehistoric past through a queer looking instrument and accidentally allow T. Rex onto Slumber Mountain. Of course, it may have all been a dream, which would normally disqualify the story from our list, but not when it’s 1918 stop-acton dinosaur animation!

 Far, far away, at the foot of a cliff, a Thunder Lizard—which must have been at least one hundred feet long—appeared out of the mists of forty million years. 

 [Jul 2013]

A Romance of Two Centuries: A Tale of the Year 2025
by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie
First publication: 1919

After being given sleeping sickness by the Germans in The Great War, our hero is taken back to America by a kindly nurse and put into a deeper sleep, only to awoken in the year 2025 where he is renamed Oleander Parentive Neurodundeeian, falls in love, and experiences the generally amazing future. But that’s not where the time travel comes into play (that’s merely falling into a long sleep). The backward time travel occurs when he wants to relate all this back to his wife and companions in the early 20th century, and the mechanism for achieving this...well, only Guthrie’s original words in the following quote can do it justice.

 Jules Verne, in his Tour Around the World in Eighty Days, had made the plot hinge on the fact that by circling the entire globe Mr. Fogg had gained one day. I also called to mind how, when European newspaper correspondents telegraphed to America, the message reached there five hours before it was sent. A childishly simple calculation showed that if a telegraph message was made to circle the whole globe, it would arrive twenty-four hours, or one calendar day, before it was sent. If then it were possible to telegraph twice around the globe, it would arrive two days before it was sent, and so on in proportion. If a message circled the globe 365 times, it would arrive one full year before it was despatched. 3650 times would anticipate 10 years, and 36,500 times would gain 100 years; and as to reach my wife of long ago I needed to go back 110 years, the problem would be solved if I could send a message around the globe 40,150 times without stopping. Of course, there would be a rectification to be made for the 27 leap years, so that the needed circlings would be 40,177. 

 [Jan 2013]
This illustration is from Argosy; the story was later reprinted in the June 1926 issue of Amazing Stories.
“The Runaway Skyscraper”
by Murray Leinster
First publication: Argosy, 22 Feb 1919



A New York skyscraper is so heavy that it settles into the fourth dimension, taking engineer Arthur Chamberlain and his lovely, but sterotypical, secretary, Miss Woodward, (not to mention the rest of the building’s occupants) back to pre-Columbus Manhattan.

 Well, then, have you ever read anything by Wells? The ‘Time Machine,’ for instance? 

 [Aug 2013]

If
by Lord Dunsany
First performance: 1921


John Beal, a London businessman, is given a magic crystal that allows him to go back in time and change one act; he is happy with his current life, so he decides to merely go back to catch a train that he was annoyed about missing ten years ago—but the resulting changes are more than he ever expected.

This is the earliest story that I’ve seen where the hero goes back into his earlier body and relives something differently. Some of the later stories of this kind have no actual time travel, but merely give knowledge of an alternate timeline (e.g., Asimov’s “What If?”); others live out the two timelines in parallel (e.g., the 1998 movie Sliding Doors, also set in motion by a missed/caught train); and some, like If, are couched in terms of time travel (e.g., the 1986 movie Peggy Sue Got Married).

 He that taketh this crystal, so, in his hand, at night, and wishes, saying ‘At a certain hour let it be’; the hour comes and he will go back eight, ten, even twelve years if he will, into the past, and do a thing again, or act otherwise than he did. The day passes; the ten years are accomplished once again; he is here once more; but he is what he might have become had he done that one thing otherwise. 

 [Jan 2012]

“The Time Professor”
by Ray Cummings
First publication: Argosy All-Story Weekly, 1 Jan 1921

It’s not clear whether the man Tubby and his professor friend are time traveling or not, but in the end, I figured they are because in the matter of a few minutes they travel from 9pm in New York to 9pm in Chicago to 9pm in Denver and on and on.

 Time is what keeps everything from happening at once. 

 [Feb 2015]

A Connecticut Yankee
in King Arthur’s Court

adapted by Bernard McConville (Emmett J. Flynn, director)
First release: 14 Mar 1921


I may never see this first movie adaptation since only three of the eight reels are known to still exist. The hero in this comedy version is a 1921 man who has just read Twain’s book and then travels by dream to the time of Camelot without the political carnage that was in the original story.

“The Devil of the Western Sea”
by Philip M. Fisher
First publication: Argosy All-Story, 5 Aug 1922

I was always drawn to the idea behind The Final Countdown (1980) where a modern warship is thrown back to World War II, but the execution of that idea was weak in the made-for-tv movie. Here is a story, predating the movie by 58 years, in which a destroyer, Shoshone, shows up amongst a fleet of Spainish galleons near Panama in the year 1564. The story is well-written, but the captain’s behavior seems unrealistic to me.

 Twelve of them I counted, twelve ships in a fleet. Men of war? Surely not—not men of war. Men of war in this day do not carry sail. And yet—merchantmen? Merchantmen do not go to sea in peace times in groups of twelve. 

 [Aug 2013]

“In the Tube”
by E.F. Benson
First publication: Hutchinson’s Magazine, Dec 1922

Anthony Carling, a philosphical sort of man, tells his visitor of a vision he had seen of a future event in a tube-train station; but, asks Carling, did the act of him seeing the event mean that it had already happened, even though it was still in the future?

Perhaps not time travel, but still it’s a nice early example of a spooky story about the nature of time.

 I believed then and believe now that the thing had happened. The cause of it, whatever that was, had begun to work, and the effect, in this material sphere, was inevitable. That is what I alluded to when, at the beginning of my story, I asked you to consider how difficult it was to say when an action took place. 

 [Apr 2014]

The Clockwork Man
by E.V. Odle
First publication: 1923

A peculiar man with mechanical mannerisms appears at a cricket match spouting nonsense and later causing headaches throughout the village until Dr. Allingham finally talks to him and discovers that the origin of the man with clockwork devices implanted in his head is some 8000 years in the future.

 “Perhaps I ought to explain,” he continued. “You see, I’m a clockwork man.” 

 [Aug 2013]

The Collapse of Homo Sapiens
by P. Anderson Graham
First publication: 1923
The narrator longs to see history develop over centuries, so when a Being offers to take him into the future, he agrees and is taken to a dystopian world of 2120 A.D. when mankind is on the verge of extinction.

 Autumn had passed into winter before I mustered courage to get into communication with the Being to whom I had previously had recourse. 

 [Aug 2013]

Not in Our Stars
by Conrad Arthur Skinner (as by Michael Maurice)
First publication: 1923

After some scientific mumbo-jumbo, Felix Menzies wakes up in a jail cell on the day before his execution for murdering the man he wrongly thought was his wife’s lover, and then he starts waking up on each previous morning, whereupon he begins to think he can cheat Destiny by not murdering the guy.

 If he did meet Savile, he was prepared to shake hands with him in the old way, and to realize what a neurotic fool he had been: also that Destiny had made an idiot of itself with the careless blundering born of the knowledge that nobody would ever know, nobody, that is, except himself; and, of course, Destiny safely relied on the assumption that nobody would believe him. 

 [Aug 2013]

Torpeda Czasu (Time Torpedo)
by Antoni Słonimski
First publication: circa 1924
Torpeda Czasu is important enough to list even though I’ve read only summaries and I’m uncertain about the date. The notes accompanying this particular cover (at http://encyklopediafantastyki.pl) indicate a 1923 publication date, but elsewhere the date of 1924 is common, and Wikipedia has 1926. Never mind!

The short novel’s heroes—Professor Pankton and his beautiful daughter Haydnee, historian Tolna, and journalist Hersey—set out from the year 2123 to change the Napoleonic Wars, starting with the French Revolution and aiming to fix matters so that mankind can advance intellectually without the hindrence of war. But the outcome, I am told, is even more miserable than the original bloody history.

Should I ever track down a copy, I shall need help from my Polish colleagues in computer science to translate the story to English.

 Nie zapominajcie, że to Francuzi, najwaleczniejszy naród europejski, że to są ludzie, których brawura i dzielność oślepia.

[Do not forget that the French, bravest among all the European nationalities, are a people blinded by their very own braggadocio and past prowess.] 


The Man Who Mastered Time
by Ray Cummings
First publication: Argosy, 12 Jul to 9 Aug 1924


At a meeting of the Scientific Club, a chemist and his son, Loto, describe how they were able to view a captive woman in the future, so now Loto is going to use his time machine to rescue her.

 “Time,” said George, “why I can give you a definition of time. It’s what keeps everything from happening at once.” 
—from the opening line of the book, although Cummings wrote a similar line in Chapter 5 of his earlier work, The Girl in the Golden Atom (in the same setting of the Scientific Club), which had no time travel, but only different rates of time passage.

 [Aug 2013]

The Amphibians Books
by S. Fowler Wright
First book: 1925

In the first part of the story—The Amphibians: A Romance of 500,000 Years, the narrator follows two earlier time travelers into the far future because they never returned, and he encounters one monstrous being after another, including, of course, the Amphibian himself, all as a setting to write about morality. The work was reprinted in 1930 as the first part of The World Below along with a second part (later called The Dwellers.

 It’s true enough, what they’ve told you, as far as we can tell it. As to theories of time and space, I know no more than you do. I used to think they were obvious. I’ve heard the Professor talk two nights a week for three years, and I’ve realised that it isn’t all quite as simple as it seemed, though I don’t get much further. But the next room’s a fact. We lay things down on the central slab, and the room goes dark, and we go back in two minutes, and it gets light again, and they’re still there. And the Professor says he’s projected them 500,000 years ahead in the interval, and they don’t look any the worse for the journey. 

 [Aug 2013]



Felix the Cat
created by Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer
First time travel: 23 Aug 1925


Perhaps the first time travel in cartoons is Felix in “Trifles with Time,” where the silent, surreal cat negotiates with Father Time for a trip to a better age. After appropriate payment, Father Time obliges and Felix goes back to a stone age with dinosaurs.

 A cat can’t live nowadays—turn me back to a better age, just for a day. 

 [Dec 2010]

The Road to Yesterday
adapted by Jeanie MacPherson and Beulah Marie Dix (Cecille B. DeMille, director)
First release: 15 Nov 1925



Although Dix was one of the writers of this silent movie, I didn't see much resemblance between the movie and Dix’s earlier play of the same name. In the movie, bickering newlyweds Kenneth and Malena Paulton are thrown back to previous lives in Elizabethan England where they are a knight and a gypsy.

 I know I love you, Ken! But today—during the marriage service—something seemed to reach out of the Past that made me—afraid! 

 [Jan 2015]
from the 1946 production by the Progressive Players Amateur Drama Company (Gateshead, England)
Berkeley Square
by John L. Balderston and Jack C. Squire
First performed: 6 Oct 1926


Based on Henry James’s The Sense of the Past, Balderston’s play follows modern-day American Peter Standish who exchanges place with his American Revolution ancestor. Leslie Howard starred in the 1929 Broadway run. Some sources list Jack C. Squire as a coauthor.

 [The same room, at the same time, on the same day, in 1928. Most of the furniture remains, but the tone of time has settled upon it, and there are some changes.] 
—from the stage directions

 [Jan 2015]

“The Assault on Milagro Castle”
by J.M. Hiatt
First publication: Weird Tales, Nov 1926
The narrator, visiting Count Ramon Nuñez in Spain hears a story of a group of attacking Moors who simply disappeared 700 years ago, a story he doesn't believe until the same group reappears and continues the attack.
 [Aug 2013]

The Strange Inventor
by Mark Powell Hyde
First publication: 1927
Young Johnny Devlin falls in with Mr. Merlin who first sends him on adventures with various inventions, then sends him to Arthurian England (where Mr. Merlin is Merlin), and finally sends him to the future (where Mr. Merlin rules the world).
 [Nov 2013]

“The Lost Continent”
by Cecil B. White
First publication: Amazing Stories, Jul 1927
Mad scientist Joseph Lamont builds a time machine to prove his brother’s theories about Atlantis, and then he takes a passenger ship back 12,000 years.
 [Apr 2013]

The Time-Raider
by Edmond Hamilton
First publication: Weird Tales, Oct 1927 - Jan 1928
Our narrator, Wheeler, and a great scientist, Landin, listen to Cannell’s story of being abducted and rapidly taken forward three years in time by a shapeless form, and when Cannell is again taken, they build a time machine to follow him.

 Held in its shapeless form were men, who hung helpless in its grasp. 

 [Aug 2013]

“The Astounding Discoveries of Doctor Mentiroso”
by A. Hyatt Verrill
First publication: Amazing Stories, Nov 1927
Professor Feromeno Mentiroso of the Universidad Santo Tomas argues with his friend about the time-traveling effects of rapidly traveling through many time zones.

 Don Feromeno nodded and smiled. “Then let us assume that your purely imaginary aircraft is capable of traveling at the rate of 24,000 miles per hour or that, in an hour's time, you can circumnavigate the earth. In that case, starting from Lima at noon on Monday, and rushing eastward, you would arrive in Barcelona at 6.30 P. M. on Monday, though your watch would show it to be 12.15 P. M. You would reach Calcutta at 1 A. M. Tuesday, although still only 12.20 on Monday by your watch. At Hawaii you would find time had leaped back to 7.30 A. M. Monday, despite the fact that your watch showed 12.45 of the same day, and at 1 P.  on Monday by your watch you would be back in Lima where the clocks would prove to that it was 2 P. M. despite the fact that you had been absent only one hour. 

 [Jul 2013]

The Dancing Cavalier
by Don Lockwood, Cosmo Brown and Kathy Seldon (Roscoe Dexter, director)
First release: Soon after the Oct 1927 release of The Jazz Singer
Of course, this shouldn't be in my list, because Cosmo himself says that it’s all just a dream, but when my friend Jim pointed out that The Dancing Cavalier (née The Dueling Cavalier) was a dream-based time-travel movie, I couldn’t resist putting it on my list.

 How’s this? We throw a modern section into the picture. The hero’s a young hoofer in a Broadway show, right? Now he sings and he dances, right? But one night backstage, he’s reading A Tale of Two Cities, in between numbers, see? And a sandbag falls and hits him on the head, and he dreams he’s back during the French Revolution, right? Well, this way we get in the modern dancing numbers—♫Charleston, Charlston♫—but in the dream part, we can still use the costume stuff! 

 [Mar 2014]

“The Isle of Lost Souls”
by Joel Martin Nichols, Jr.
First publication: Weird Tales Dec 1928 - Feb 1929
In search of a lost Russian treasure, Dr. Trask sends himself and his compatriots back and forth between the 1920s and the present day, 2014 A.D.
 [Nov 2013]
Most of my early listings without quotations are based on reviews in Bleiler’s Science Fiction: The Early Years.
The Time-Journey of Dr. Barton: An Engineering and Sociological Forecast
by John Lawrence Hodgson
First publication: 1929
Dr. Barton travels to the year 3927 where the world’s population has grown to an unimaginable eight billion, but fear not! The utopian society has elimated waste from poor economic systems of the past, and all inhabitants now work (by choice) for but one month per year.
 [Jan 2015]

“The Hounds of Tindalos”
by Frank Belknap Long
First publication: Weird Tales, Mar 1929


Chalmers, a man of mysticism but also of science, sends his mind back to the origin of the Earth and beyond where beings he calls the Hounds detect him and pursue him back to the present.

 “Then you do not entirely despise science.”
   “Of course not,” he affirmed. “I merely distrust the scientific positivism of the past fifty years, the positivism of Haeckel and Darwin and of Mr. Bertrand Russell. I believe that biology has failed pitifully to explain the mystery of man’s origin and destiny.
 

 [Aug 2013]

Cuddles: A Flapper in King Arthur’s Court
by Charles Forbell
First publication: Kay Features, 4 Mar 1929



After a car crash, Cuddles, our favorite flapper, finds herself in Camelot where she is unflappable.

 P-p-peace! Ye half d-d-d-dressed dragon! Ye wot not w-w-what ye good Kynge Arthur will think of such an t-t-t-tantalizing reflection of c-c-cr-creation! 

 [Jan 2012]

“The Shadow Girl”
by Ray Cummings
First publication: Argosy All-Story Weekly, 22 Jun - 13 Jul 1929
In the year 7012 A.D., scientist Poul and his beautiful (shadowy) granddaughter Lea construct a tall tower that can travel throughout time in the area that is presently Central Park in New York City, but an evil mimic creates his own tower from which he conducts time raids (most often involving Lea), and counter-raids ensue.

Lea is but one of the prolific Cummings’s many girls! You can also have the Girl in the Golden Atom, the Sea Girl, the Snow Girl, the Gadget Girl, the Thought Girl, the Girl from Infinite Smallness, and the Onslaught of the Druid Girls.

 No vision this! Reality! Empty space, two moments ago. Then a phantom, a moment ago. But a real tower, now! Solid. As real, as existent—now—as these rocks, these trees! 

 [Jan 2013]
The first of the three stories was reprinted in the Sep 1968 Amazing.
The Paradox Stories
by Charles Cloukey
First story: Amazing Stories Quarterly, Summer 1929
In the first story, Hawkinson receives a manuscript written in the hand of his friend Cannes and detailing how to build a time machine, which he does in order to send Cannes into the future to learn how to build a time machine and, thus, send the manuscript back to Hawkinson. More paradoxes (not to mention Martian plans to blow up the Earth) abound in the two sequels.

 Paradox (Summer 1929)Amazing Stories Quarterly 
Paradox+ (Jul 1930)Amazing Stories
Anachronism (Dec 1930)Amazing Stories

 Cannes told of his life in that far future year, of his mystification at the circumstances surrounding the origin of that manuscript, which was used before it was made and could not hae been made if it hadn’t been previously used. He told us of the grandfather argument, and also of the time when he was actually and physically in two different places at one and the same time. 
—Paradox+

 [Feb 2013]

“Rays and Men”
by Miles J. Breuer
First publication: Amazing Stories Quarterly Summer 1929
Our narrator, Dr. Atwood, goes into a long sleep (because of an experimental anaestetic) and wakes in 2180 where everyone is peaceful living under an autocratic government that forbids strong emotion and says no to the doctor marrying the nurse he falls in love with, at which point he is disintigrated and reawakens in his own time.
 [Nov 2013]



Stories of Addison, Time Traveler
by Henrik Dahl Juve
First story: Air Wonder Stories, Aug 1929

After wandering around the fourth and fifth dimensions for some time, 20th century scientist Theodore A. Addison rematerializes himself in a 28th century filled with many amazing inventions and a war between the west and the Occidentals. In his review of the story, Robert Jennings notes that “Every few paragraphs in the story everything stops as the protagonist inquires about the science behind some future marvel.” In all, three stories were set in this world, although only the first two (“The Silent Destroyer” and “The Sky Maniac”) featured Addison; the third (“The Vanishing Fleet”), according to Everett F. Bleiler, was an adventure set against the same background.

Apparently, Juve and his wife lived just down the road from me (in Moscow, ID) while I was bein’ educated in Pullman, but I didn’t know of him then.

 As they watched, paralyzed, the building and air barge fell apart and hurtled toward the earth. The entire train had been split from end to end. The attacker now swung back and the then darted away. 
—The Sky Maniac

 [Nov 2013]

“The Time Deflector”
by Edward L. Rementer
First publication: Amazing Stories, Dec 1929
When Professor Melville’s theories on time travel are generally ridiculed, he reacts by sending his daughter’s suitor to the year 6925, where he finds a culture that has taken all the worst features of the 1920s to extremes.

 The reader will have come to the conclusion the world of 6925 was inhabited by fools, or madmen. 

 [Apr 2013]

Last and First Men
by Olaf Stapledon
First publication: 1930


Time travel plays only a tiny role in this classic story of the history of men over the coming two billion years—in that the story itself is transmitted through time into the brain of a 20th century writer.

 This book has two authors, one contemporary with its readers, the other an inhabitant of an age which they would call the distant future. The brain that conceives and writes these sentences lives in the time of Einstein. Yet I, the true inspirer of this book, I who have begotten it upon that brain, I who influence that primitive being's conception, inhabit an age which, for Einstein, lies in the very remote future. 

 [Aug 1983]
Edward Buzzell,
the singing star of the film

The Royal Four-Flusher
by Arthur Hurley (Murray Roth, director)
First release: 1930

Sadly, I haven’t found a copy of this early talkie with possible time travel. I say “possible” because the hero is transported to a kings and queens and fair maidens, but it could be a fantasyland as much as a time in the past. According to imdb, the soundtrack included “Here We Are”, although that song was also sung earlier by Annette Hanshaw for a 1929 animated film, Sita Sings the Blues.

 ♫ I hate to think what might have been if we had never met.
Why should I suppose that this could be? ♫
 
—from Here We Are by Gus Kahn (lyrics) and Harry Warren (song)

 [Jan 2015]

“Into the 28th Century”
by Lilith Lorraine
First publication: Wonder Stories Quarterly, Spring 1930
A man is pulled into the future year of 2730 where Iris, a beautiful young woman, takes him on a tour of their eutopia.
 [Jan 2014]

“Creatures of the Light”
by Sophie Wenzel Ellis
First publication: Astounding Stories of Super-Science, Feb 1930

I think this was the first time-travel story that Astounding ever ran, although the time travel is incidental to the story in which handsome Northwood pursues an artificially created superman who can jump just a few moments into the future.

 Before Northwood’s horrified sight, he vanished; vanished as though he had turned suddenly to air and floated away. 

 [Jan 2013]





Astounding’s The Readers’ Corner
edited by Harry Bates
First letters column: Astounding Stories of Super Science, Mar 1930

Before modern-day blogs and online fora, before Astounding Science Fiction’s Brass Tacks letters’ column, there was The Readers’ Corner of Astounding Stories of Super Science, where at the leisurely pace of once a month, readers vehemently mixed it up about all topics—including time travel.

 Dear Editor: Thus far the chief objection to time traveling has been this: if a person was sent back into the past or projected into the future, it would be possible for said person to interfere most disastrously with his own birth...—Arthur Berkowitz, 768 Beck Street, Bronx, N.Y. (Mar 1932)

Dear Editor: I write this letter to comment, not on the stories, which satisfy me, but on a few letters in the “Corner” of the March issue; especially Mr. Berkowitz’ letter. ... Since he brought up the question of the time-traveler interfering disasterously with his own birth, I will discuss it. ... Back he goes into time and meets his grandfather, before his father’s birth. For some reason John kills his grandfather...—Robert Feeney, 5334 Euclid, Kansas City, Mo. (Jun 1932)

Dear Editor: I read and enjoyed Mr. Feeney’s interesting letter in the June issue, but wish to ask: Why pick on grandfather? ... This incessant murdering of harmless ancestors must stop....—Donald Allgeier, Mountain Grove, Mo. (Jan 1933)
 

 [May 2012]

“An Adventure in Time”
by Francis Flagg
First publication: Science Wonder Stories, Apr 1930
When a small time machine appears in Professor Bayers’s lab, he builds a larger copy and travels to the future, which is ruled by Amazon women.
 [Feb 2013]

“Monsters of Moyen”
by Arthur J. Burks
First publication: Astounding Stories of Super-Science, Apr 1930

When the U.S. is attacked with monsters and combination submarine/aeroplanes by the Asian demagog Moyen, it's up to Professor Mariel to find a way to save the country, possibly even through the manipulation of time!

 In this, I have even been compelled to manipulate in the matter of time! I must not only defeat and annihilate the minions of Moyen, but must work from a mathematical absurdity, so that at the moment of impact that moment itself must become part of the past, sufficiently remote to remove the monsters at such distance from the earth that not even the might genius of Moyen can return them! 

 [Jan 2013]

“The Atom-Smasher”
by Victor Rousseau
First publication: Astounding Stories of Super-Science, May 1930

We've got the evil Professor Tode who modifies an atom-smasher into a time machine that travels to the paleolithic age and Atlantis, a fatherly older professor, his beautiful young daughter (menaced by evil Tode), casually written racist pronouncements (by Rousseau), and our hero scientist, dashing Jim Dent. But my favorite sentence was the brief description of quantum mechanics, which I didn’t expect in a 1930 science fiction tale.

 The Planck-Bohr quantum theory that the energy of a body cannot vary continuously, but only by a certain finite amount, or exact multiples of this amount, had been the key that unlocked the door. 

 [Nov 2012]

“The Time Ray of Jandra”
by Raymond A. Palmer
First publication: Wonder Stories, Jun 1930
Sylvester Gale, shipwrecked on the west coast of Africa, discovers a long lost civilization and finds himself back there, but unable to interact; when the civilization’s scientists manage to set off a lava explosion, Gale is thrown forward, but overshoots his original time of 1944 by 13 years.

This is the first published story of fan, writer and long-time editor Raymond A. Palmer.
 [Nov 2013]

“The Time Valve”
by Miles J. Breuer
First publication: Wonder Stories, Jul 1930
In an earlier story (“The Fitzgerald Contraction”), survivors of the sinking of Mu (or Mo, as they called it) travel into space at relativistic speeds only to return to Earth some 200,000 years later. That, of course, is mere time dilation rather than time travel; but in this sequel, the Moans along with present-day beauty Vayill continue even farther into the Earth’s future where trouble ensues until Vayill’s aged father comes to the rescue with a real time machine in an airplane.
 [Nov 2013]

The 20,000 A.D. Stories
by Nat Schachner and Arthur Leo Zagat
First story: Wonder Stories, Sep 1930
Tom Jenkins heads into the “Vanishing Woods” to prove that there’s nothing dangerous about them, but he doesn’ return until six months later, and he refuses to talk about where he’s been and what he’ seen—but fortunately for us, the titles of the two Wonder Story stories (“In 20,000 A.D.” in Sep 1930 and “Back to 20,000 A.D.” in Mar 1931) gives us a big clue, although it doesn’t tell us that the world he visits is divided into cold-hearted Masters and their four-armed, giant human Robots.

The use of the word “robot” had not yet evolved from Čapek’s meaning of a humanoid laborer to the modern usage as a purely mechanical being.

 True, he says, the Masters are far advanced, an’ able to do lots o’ thingsas a result. They’ve learnt everything there was to be learnt, they can live on the earth, in the air, in the water, or underground; they can travel to the other stars; they know how the world come about an’when it’s ending, they think great thoughts an’things I couldn’t even understand, but, he says, what about the Robots? 

 [Jul 2013]

“The Man Who Saw the Future”
aka The Man Who Saw Everything
by Edmond Hamilton
First publication: Amazing Stories, Oct 1930
Henri Lothiere, an apothecary’s assistant in 1444 Paris, must face charges of sorcery at an inquisition into his supposed disappearance and subsequent return from 1944 Paris.

 Then the car rolled swiftly forward, bumping on the ground, and then ceased to bump. I looked down, then shuddered. The ground was already far beneath! I too, was flying in the air! 

 [Dec 2012]

“The Pineal Stimulator”
by Inga Stephens Pratt and Fletcher Pratt (as by I.M. Stephens and Fletcher Pratt)
First publication: Amazing Stories, Nov 1930
Maddish scientist Jimmy Casmey first gets his college buddy to experience ancestral memories of a Civil War soldier and then a paleolithic man, at which point Casmey realizes that his device can also allow experiences of future descendants.
 [Nov 2013]

“The Time Annihilator”
by Edgar A. Manley and Walter Thode
First publication: Wonder Stories, Nov 1930
When genius Larry Stenson disappears into the future, his two friends follow him to the year 2418 where the world is ruled by cruel, giant superhumans—a fate for Earth that the trio discovers cannot be changed, even with a time machine.

 We have purposely allowed our time travellers to become known to the people of the eras that they visit, for in this way the great drama of the story becomes apparent. 

 [Apr 2014]

“The Uncharted Isle”
by Clark Ashton Smith
First publication: Weird Tales, Nov 1930

A man, adrift in the Pacific, washes up on an island where none of the men (or the giant ape) see or interact with him, which leads him to conclude that part of him is in the bygone past.

 Is there a part of the Pacific that extends beyond time and space—an oceanic limbo into which, by some unknowable cataclysm, that island passed in a bygone period, even as Lemuria sank beneath the wave? And if so, by what abrogation of dimensional laws was I enabled to reach the island and depart from it? 

 [Aug 2013]
The story also appeared in this 1935 collection.
“The Man Who Lived Backwards”
by Algernon Blackwood
First publication: World Radio (broadcast guide), 12 Dec 1930
Professor Zeitt posits that all of time always exists and he should be able to break the usual serial traversal of time in order to influence his earlier self to not get into a bad marriage.
 [Feb 2015]

Via the Time Accelerator”
by Francis J. Brueckel, Jr. (as by Frank J. Bridge)
First publication: Wonder Stories, Jan 1931
Mathematician and physicist Anton Brookhurst takes a trip 1,000,000 years into the future in a machine that was inspired by H.G. Wells and explained (in this story) by a series of official-looking equations, but, unlike in The Time Machine, Brookhurst’s machine resides in an airplane, and Brookhurst himself examines various paradoxes, such as: Would he have been brave enough to embark on the journey had he not first seen himself safely return?

 
T  =  t
 √ℓ - v²/c²  
 

 [Jan 2013]

“A Flight into Time”
by Robert H. Wilson
First publication: Wonder Stories, Feb 1931
Ted Storrs is inexplicably transported from 1933 to 2189 (I almost thought, Hooray! Not a round number of years!—but it turns out to be 28 years into the future) where he is amazed by the air traffic congestion, beamed atomic power, casual nudity, interplanetary travel, and more.
 [Apr 2013]

“The Meteor Girl”
by Jack Williamson
First publication: Astounding Stories, Mar 1931

When a meteor lands on the beachfront airfield of our narrator and his partner Charlie King, Charlie realizes that it provides a portal through space-time through which they view the death-at-sea of Charlie’s ex-fiancée.

 A terrestrial astronomer may reckon that the outburst on Nova Persei occurred a century before the great fire of London, but an astronomer on the Nova may reckon with equal accuracy that the great fire occurred a century before the outburst on the Nova. 

 [Dec 2012]

“The Empire of Glass”
by Frank Miloche
First publication: Wonder Stories Quarterly, Spring 1931
A present-day man puts on a helmet that lets him view the future where a scientist named Nebor outlines his plans to save mankind from giant insects by transporting all men to either the distant past or the far future.
 [Apr 2013]

“An Adventure in Futurity”
by Clark Ashton Smith
First publication: Wonder Stories, Apr 1931
Conrad Elkins, an scientist from 15,000 A.D. who hopes to find a solution to the problem of too many male babies in his time, strikes up a friendship with Hugh in present-day New York City, eventually inviting Hugh to return with him to a future of infinite leisure where Venusian slaves with Martian overseers outnumber humans five-to-one.

 And do you ever think that present-day New York will some time be as fragmentary and fabulous as Troy or Zimbabwe? That archaeologists may delve in its ruins, beneath the sevenfold increment of later cities, and find a few rusting mechanisms of disputed use, and potteries of doubtful date, and inscriptions which no one can decipher? 

 [Jul 2013]

The Exile of Time
by Ray Cummings
First publication: Astounding Stories, Apr-Jul 1931

George Rankin and his best friend Larry rescue an hysterical Mistress Mary Atwood from a locked New York City basement only to find that she believes she’s come from more than 150 years in the past, chased by a crazy man named Tugh and his mad robot, Migul.

 Let’s try and reduce it to rationality. The cage was—is, I should ay, since of course it still exists—that cage is a Time-traveling vehicle. It is traveling back and forth through Time, operated by a Robot. 

 [Dec 2012]

A Connecticut Yankee
adapted by William M. Conselman (David Butler, director)
First release: 6 Apr 1931


At the beginning, this version of the story borrows a bit from Frankenstein (a mad scientist) and H.G. Wells (who invents a time machine), but in the end, poor Hank Morgan (actually, Hank “Martin” in this case, portrayed by Will Rogers) still ends up at the round table predicting an eclipse.

 Think! Think of hearing Lincoln’s own voice delivering the Gettysburg address! 

 [Jan 2015]

“Worlds to Barter”
by John Wyndham (as by John B. Harris)
First publication: Wonder Stories, May 1931

In Wyndham’s first published story, Jon Lestrange (the distant descendant of the world’s foremost inventor) comes back to the moment of his ancestor’s greatest invention with a story of how his own time was invaded by the people of the 5022nd century, demanding to change temporal places with the people of Lestrange’s time.

 It is a difficult situation, but I hope I shall convince you. Very few men can have had the chance of convincing their great-great-great grandfathers of anything. I am now an anachronism. You see, I was born in the year A.D. 2108,—or should it be, I shall be born in 2108?—and I am—or will be—a refugee from the twenty-second century. I assure you that you will be married shortly, but I can’t remember when—I think I told you I was bad at dates. 

 [Jan 2013]
Louise Fazenda (top)
and friend

Blondes Prefer Bonds
by Lewis R. Foster (Foster, director)
First release: 15 May 1931

I decided to include this movie in the list in the hopes that someone will point me to a copy of the talkie that stars Louise Fazenda and Arthur Hoyt as a married couple who in the hopes of rekindling their vows are thrown back to the time of their courtship.
 [Jan 2015]

“The Man from 2071”
by Sewell Peaslee Wright
First publication: Astounding Stories, Jun 1931

Special Patrol Service officer John Hanson (hero of ten Wright stories) stumbles upon a mad inventor who has traveled many centuries to Hanson’s beachfront Denver in order to obtain knowledge that will let him become the absolute, unquestioned, supreme master back in the 21st century.

 I could not help wondering, as we settle swiftly over the city, whether our historians and geologists and other scientists were really right in saying that Denver had at one period been far from the Pacific. 

 [Dec 2012]

“The Man Who Changed the Future”
by R.F. Starzl
First publication: Wonder Stories, Jun 1931
When Park Helm laments about the state of gangster-overrun Lakopolis, his friend, Professor Nicholson, sends him into the future to observe whether things will get better, but somehow Helm manages to do a lot more than just observe, eventually becoming the future boss man, gaining a lovely wife, and generally righting wrongs.
 [Jan 2014]

“The Time Flight”
by Miles J. Breuer
First publication: Amazing Stories, Jun 1931
Widower Ezra Hubble hatches a scheme to deprive his stepson of an inheritance by taking the money with him to the future.
 [May 2015]

“The Raid of the Mercury”
by A.H. Johnson
First publication: Amazing Stories, Jul 1931
A seer projects our narrator into the world of 22,000 A.D where a pirate airship fuels a revolution against the wealthy.
 [Mar 2013]

“Rebellion—5000 A.D.!”
by Garth Bentley
First publication: Wonder Stories, Jul 1931
During an experiment with a new radio technology, Professor Crewe’s assistant (and our narrator) is flung to a post-apocalyptic 5000 A.D. where an authoritarian, largely urban civilization has arisen and a group of rebels are expecting a man from the past to lead them.
 [Nov 2013]

“The Port of Missing Planes”
by Capt. S.P. Meek
First publication: Astounding Stories, Aug 1931

Capt. Meek’s hero, Dr. Bird (an agent of the Bureau of Standards), had at least one minor run-in with time travel in this story of underground molemen (who excavate their tunnels by time travel) who have been duped by the evil Saranoff into serving as a base for Saranoff’s attacks on the southwestern United States (as well as an attack on Dr. Bird’s brain, which is in peril of being sent back in time).

 “I wish I could remember how that time machine was built and operated,” said Dr. Bird reflectively, as he sat in his private laboratory in the Bureau of Standards some time later, “but Jumor did his work well. I can’t even remember what the thing looked like.” 

 [Jan 2013]

“The Time Hoaxers”
by Paul Bolton
First publication: Amazing Stories, Aug 1931
Four men and a woman travel from 2030 to 1930, hoping to advance civilization, but everyone believes that the resulting newpaper stories of their arrival are all fakes.

 They said we could hope to be received only as impostors and fakirs. 

 [Feb 2015]

“The Time-Traveler”
aka The Time Traveler
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Weird Tales, Aug 1931
Mathematics professor John D. Smith rues the day he saved his college room-mate from drowning only to have the ungrateful cad thwart his every career move for the next decade. Oh, if only Smith could redo that fateful day!

 If I could go back into the past, there is one event which I should most certainly change: my rescue of Paul Arkwright! 

 [Feb 2015]

“After 1,000,000 Years”
by J.M. Walsh
First publication: Wonder Stories, Oct 1931
Beautiful time traveler Leela Zenken, searching for atomic power to save her people of the future, is aiming for 1985, but hits 1935 instead where hiker John Harling tries to help her.
 [Nov 2013]

The Stone from the Green Star
by Jack Williamson
First publication: Amazing Stories, Oct-Nov 1931

Jack Williamson’s college buddy Dick Smith is transported a couple million years into the future where he meets a blind scientist, falls in love with the scientist’s beautiful daughter, fights the evil lord of the Dark Star, seeks the fountain of youth, wantders through the galaxy, and eventually transmits a manuscript of his adventures back in time to Williamson.

 “That is a space-port where the ships come in from the stars,” the girl said. (Of course, all conversations recorded in Smith’s notes have been translated into our English—if they were not, no one would be able to read them.)
   “Ships from the stars!” Dick ejaculated.
 

 [Jan 2013]

“Emperors of Space”
by Jerome Gross and Richard Penny
First publication: Wonder Stories, Nov 1931
Being chased by the Chinese, Luke Raliegh (scientist extraordinaire) and his pal Harry build a giant gyroscope that spins so fast it takes them into the future where they cure the yellow rot and save the world.
 [Feb 2013]

“Out Around Rigel”
by Robert H. Wilson
First publication: Astounding Stories, Dec 1931

My first exposure to the notion of time dilation was in the summer of 1968 when I read Heinlein’s Time for the Stars from the Bellevue library. The concept of one person traveling near the speed of light and aging much slower than those left behind has a lot of story potential, even if it’s only experiencing time at different rates rather than real time travel. In general, time dilation stories won’t appear in my time travel story page, but this 1931 story is the earliest one that I’ve seen to make use of the idea, all in a nicely pulpy way.

The first issue of Astounding edited by F. Orlin Tremaine (Oct 1933) also had a time dilation story, “A Race Through Time.”

 “And when I come back, Kelvar, we’ll be married?”
    In answer, she kissed me. Then Garth was standing at the doorway of the Comet.
 

 [Dec 2012]
In 1946, the serial was released as a novel.
The Time Stream
by John Taine (aka Eric Temple Bell)
First publication: Wonder Stories, Dec 1931 - Mar 1932

In this dated sf classic, four like-minded men from 1906 are swept into the time stream via a mental exercise, taken to the land of Eos in a far-off time (possibly in the past, possibly in the future) where they encounter Cheryl (who may or may not be the Cheryl that they know in their own time) and consider how personal freedom may or may not be abrogated.

 No man or woman of Eos has the authority to direct, check, or in any way influence the free decision and impulses of another without that other’s full and intelligent consent. We demand the right to follow the natural inclinations of our characters. We demand the right to marry. 

 [Nov 2013]

“The World of the Red Sun”
by Clifford D. Simak
First publication: Wonder Stories, Dec 1931
Harl Swanson and Bill Kressman leave Denver in their flying time machine, aiming to travel five millennia, but they end up some five million years later in a desolate world ruled by the evil and cruel brain Golan-Kirt.

I read this in Asimov’s anthology Before the Golden Age, which was the first SFBC book to arrive in my mailbox after going to college in Pullman in the fall of ’74.

 The twentieth century. It had a remote sound, an unreal significance. In this age, with the sun a brick red ball and the city of Denver a mass of ruins, the twentieth century was a forgotten second in the great march of time, it was as remote as the age when man emerged from the beast. 

 [Sep 1974]
Jack Williamson
“The Moon Era”
by Jack Williamson
First publication: Wonder Stories, Feb 1932
Stephen’s rich inventor uncle sends him on a trip to the moon in an antigravity capsule without realizing that a side-effect also sends the capsule back to when the moon was young, green, and populated by the evil Eternal Ones and the last of the Mothers.

 Time was a fourth dimension, he had said. An extension as real as the three of what we call space, and not completely distinguishable from them. A direction in which motion would carry one into the past, or into the future. 

 [Jan 2012]

“When the Earth Tilted”
by J.M. Walsh
First publication: Wonder Stories, May 1932
After a passing comet throws the earth’s axis out of kilter, the survivors, searching for a habitable spot to live on the planet’s surface, stumble upon a colony from the lost continent of Mu, whereupon war breaks out (after all, there’s limited land available now) and the Muians have a time-travel trick up their sleeves.
 [Apr 2013]

Dangerous Corner
by J.B. Priestley
First performed: 17 May 1932 at London’s Lyric Theatre

I need you to tell me whether the conclusion of this play involves time travel or not, although regardless of that, it’s worth reading Priestley’s first play which follows the dire consequences of a chance remark at the start of Act I. The play was also filmed as a 1934 screenplay and later as a Yorkshire Television Production.

 For the last few seconds the light has been fading, now it is completely dark. There is a revolver shot, a woman’s scream, a moment’s silence, then the sound of a woman sobbing, exactly as at the beginning of Act I. 

 [Sep 2013]

“Omega”
by Ameila Reynolds Long
First publication: Amazing Stories, Jul 1932


Via hypnosis, a professor sends a convicted murderer throughout the circle of time until he eventually visits the very omega of the universe.

 I, Doctor Michael Claybridge, living in the year 1926, have listened to a description of the end of the world from the lips of the man who witnessed it; the last man of the human race. That this is possible, or that I am not insane, I cannot ask you to believe: I can only offer you the facts. 

 [Aug 2013]

“The Time Conqueror”
aka "The Tyrant of Time"
by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach
First publication: Wonder Stories Jul 1932
Evil scientist Koszarek kills Ovington and uses his brain to view the future, which is dominated by the Brain who ruthlessly kills each of his servants that Koszarak inhabits.

 Beyond the fourth there is a fifth dimension....Eternity, I think you would call it. It is the line, the direction perpendicular to time. 

 [Jan 2014]

“"Flight into Super-Time"”
aka The Letter from Mohaun Los
by Clark Ashton Smith
First publication: Wonder Stories, Aug 1932
Eccentric millionaire Domitian Malgraff and his Chinese servant Li Wong head off in a time machine, first to adventure into the future, but if that fails to hold there interest—says Malgraff in a letter to his ex-fiancée—there is always the past.

 You have always considered me a hopeless dreamer; and I am the last person who would endeavor or even wish to dispute your summary. It might be added that I am one of those dreamers who have not been able to content themselves with dreams. Such persons, as a rule, are unfortunate and unhappy, since few of them are capable of realizing, or even approximating, their visionary conceptions. 

 [Jul 2013]

“Beyond the Veil of Time”
by B.H. Barney
First publication: Amazing Stories Quarterly, Fall-Winter 1932
Mathematician Richard Nelson, Andean Indian Huayan, and engineer Dan Bradford who try to capture images from a pre-Incan city in the Andes, but instead are blown back in time and have a series of high adventures.

The story—Barney’s only publication—was a plagiaristic hodgepodge of elements from the work of A. Merritt, although Everett Bleiler’s review notes that there were imaginative and ingenious original elements.

 A. MERRITT, WHO IS WELL KNOWN TO MANY OF THE READERS OF AMAZING STORIES, HAS CALLED OUR ATTENTION TO MANY SIMILARITIES IN DESCRIPTIONS, CHARACTERIZATIONS AND SITUATIONS IN THE STORY "BEYOND THE VEIL OF TIME" BY B.H. BARNEY, PUBLISHED IN THE FALL-WINTER ISSUE OF AMAZING STORIES QUARTERLY, AND DESCRIPTIONS, CHARACTERIZATIONS AND SITUATIONS IN HIS TWO BOOKS "THE MOON POOL" AND "THE FACE IN THE ABYSS". MR. MERRITT OBJECTS PARTICULARLY TO THE UTILIZATION OF THE CONCEPTION AND THE NAME OF "THE DREAM-MAKERS", WHICH FORMED AN ESSENTIAL PART OF HIS "FACE IN THE ABYSS". 
—an announcement in the June 1933 Amazing Stories

 [May 2015]

“Chicago, 2042 A.D.”
by Paul Bolton
First publication: Wonder Stories, Oct 1932
The U.S. in the 1950s is ruled by the Jerry Ratoni of the Chicago mob, which Wakefield plans to infiltrate, but things go wrong when Ratoni, Wakefield and Ratoni’s secretary are transported to 2042, where the mob still rules.
 [Nov 2013]

“The Man Who Lived Twice”
by William Kober
First publication: Amazing Stories, Nov 1932
In a dire time of war, a man from the Bureau of Standards in look of new weapons visits Professor Dane who claims he can travel to the future, which our man from the Bureau does, but he finds an alien invasion instead of great new weapons.
 [Apr 2013]

“The Time Express”
by Nat Schachner
First publication: Wonder Stories, Dec 1932
Under strict rules against smuggling technology, time-travel tourism is permitted to the residents of 2124 A.D., but, of course, when a tour guide tries to take modern technology to the nontechnical time of 4600 A.D., our man Denton Kels must bring the dastard to justice.
 [Nov 2013]

“Ancients of Easter Island”
by F. Stanley Renshaw
First publication: Amazing Stories, Apr 1933
Archeologist Harvey Manly and crew visit Easter Island where they participate in a sacred ritual with the indiginous people, and the ritual seems to take Harvey back to a time when he, as leader of the ancient Lemurians, lived the legend that gave birth to the ritual.
 [Apr 2013]

“The Man from Tomorrow”
by Stanton A. Coblentz
First publication: Amazing Stories Quarterly, Spring/Summer 1933
An apparent madman, James Richard Cloud, pops in on Professor Ellery Howard of Gotham University, and the professor is about to dismiss Cloud’s claims of building a machine that can see all of time and retrieve objects from time, when the professor’s assistant arrives and recognizes a certain sensibility in the madman’s mathematical notes, all of which leads to a personal viewing of the machine, which hiccups and kidnaps a man from the 23rd century who insists on being shown around nighttime New York City.

 You know some of the modern theories about the fourth dimension. How Einstein and others suppose that the fourth dimension of sapce is time. Well, I don’t want to calim any one else’s laurels, but that was my view even before the name of Einstein was heard of. I’ve been working at it for thirty-five years. It’s my belief too that the fourth side of space is time, and that, in a sense, all time exists simultaneously and eternally—although on some other plan than ours—just as all space exists simultaneously and eternally. 

 [Feb 2013]

The Radio Man Series
by Ralph Milne Farley
First time travel: in The Golden City, serialized in Argosy, 13 May
Farley’s tales of Radio Man John Pease on Venus (and elsewhere) rivaled Edgar Rice Burroughs’ tales in the pages of Argosy. I haven’t yet read all of Farley’s series, but I did read two pieces in Farley’s 1950 collection, The Omnibus of Time. The first (‘The Missing Chapter of the Radio War”) set up a framework for Pease in which he communes through time with both his ancestors and his descendants; the second (an excerpt from The Golden City) has John Pease’s uncle’s friend telling the story of his own disappearance into long-lost Pacific island of Mu, only to reappear unaged some decades later. These two pieces were relatively light time-traveling fare, but perhaps they set the stage for Farley’s later instigation and investigation of many of the now-well-worn time paradoxes.

 Furthermore, this young man can’t possibly be Adams Mayhew! Why Mayhew would be nearly eighty, if he were alive today, and this man is still in his twenties. 

 [Feb 2015]

“The Intelligence Gigantic”
by John Russell Fearn
First publication: Amazing Stories, Jun-Jul 1933
There’s just a smidgen of time travel in this story—possibly so that every known science fiction trope is covered. The jump through time occurs when an artificially created human who uses all of his brain (instead of the tiny amount that we use) jumps forward in time to start his world domination.
 [Nov 2013]

Berkeley Square
by John L. Balderston, Henry James and Sonya Levien (Frank Lloyd, director)
First release: 15 Sep 1933


Leslie Howard reprises his dual role of Peter Standish(es) from the 1929 Broadway version of the Balderston’s Berkeley Square, which in turn was based on Henry James’s unfinished novel.

 How many of us have wished that we might escape from the dull reality of the present into the glamor and romance of yesterday?

But if we could journey back into the mystery of the past, should we find contentment—or unhappiness?
 

 [Jan 2015]

“Theft of the Washington Monument”
by Robert Arthur, Jr.
First publication: Amazing Stories, Oct 1933
In order to exact revenge for the ridicule that his theories on time have endured, Professor Green decide to transport the Washington Monument to the future for a few days, and in the process, they see the eventual fate of our planet.
 [Nov 2013]

The Oliver Kent Stories
by Joseph W. Skidmore
First story: Amazing Stories, Nov 1933
I’m not sure how often the super-scientist Oliver Kent showed up in Skidmore stories, but at least twice Kent administered drugs that allowed the heroes to be thrown back in time, living in other bodies (“The Beetle in the Amber,” wherein Donald and Joane Cromwell are sent back to prehuman bodies in the time that an amazing beetle came from, and “The First Flight” in which aviator Donald Calvert flies a pterodactyl).

 From the looks of the Brontosaurus...we are inthe Pleistocene period. 

 [Apr 2013]

The Tyme Stories
by A. Fedor and Henry Hasse
First story: Wonder Stories, Nov 1933

In a series of two Wonder Stories tales, Tyme (our man from the future) visits science fiction editor B. Lue Pencil who first has Tyme committed to an insane asylum (“The End of Tyme” in Nov 1933 ) and then decides to not commit suicide because Tyme shows him future sales figures and tables of contents for his magazine (“The Return of Tyme” in Aug 1934).
 [Nov 2013]

“Ancestral Voices”
by Nat Schachner
First publication: Astounding Stories, Dec 1933

Time traveler Emmet Pennypacker kills one ancient Hun and without realizing who will disappear from the racist world of 1935.

This is the first issue of Astounding that lists F. Orlin Tremaine as editor, although he began that job two months earlier, and I think this is the first time-travel story that he published.

 The year of grace 1935! A dull year, a comfortable year! Nothing much happened. The depression was over; people worked steadily at their jobs and forgot that they had every starved; Roosevelt was still President of the United States; Hitler was firmly ensconced in Germany; France talked of security; Japan continued to defend itself against China by swallowing a few more provinces; Russia was about to commence on the third Five Year Plan, to be completed in two years; and, oh, yes—Cuba was still in revolution. 

 [Dec 2012]

“Island of Science”
by B.S. Keirstead
First publication: Amazing Stories, Dec 1933
An Englishman is shipwrecked on an island of brilliant Italian scientists who, among other things, take him back to ninth century England and the time of King Alfred.
 [Nov 2013]
The story also appeared in the third volume of Williamson’s collected stories (Sep 2000)
“Terror Out of Time”
by Jack Williamson
First publication: Astounding Stories, Dec 1933
Until I started reading these 1930s pulps, I didn’t realize how ubiquitous were the scientist with a beautiful daughter and her adventurous fiancé. This story has Dr. Audrin, his machine to project the brain of a present-day man forty million years into the future and possibly bring another mind back, his beautiful daughter Eve, and her manly fiancé, Terry Webb, who agrees to be the test subject for the machine.

 I must have a subject. And there is a certain—risk. Not great, now, I’m sure. My apparatus is improved. But, in my first trial, my subject was—injured. I’ve been wondering, Mr. Webb, if you— 

 [Dec 2012]

“To-Day’s Yesterday”
by Russell Blaiklock (as by Rice Ray)
First publication: Wonder Stories, Jan 1934
Cavanaugh, a movie’s sound engineer, realizes that the complex wiring on the movie set has transported a microphone to another time, and Cavanaugh’s assistant, Wilson, then transports himself to that time, too.
 [Nov 2013]

“The Time Jumpers”
by Philip Francis Nowlan
First publication: Amazing Stories, Feb 1934
Ted Manley and girlfriend Cynthia hop back to 993A.D. (attacked by Vikings) and then to 1753 (where they are sightseers at the French and Indian Wars and say hi to George Washington).
 [Nov 2015]

“The Retreat from Utopia”
by Wallace West
First publication: Astounding Stories, Mar 1934
A newspaper reporter from 2175 describes his strict, puritan world where nobody is happy because nothing ever happens, and even the criminals off in Borneo refuse to rejoin that society, so the story’s 1934 narrator visits the future to set things right.
 [Nov 2013]
This NY Times headline from Jun 11, 1934, describes an American Rocket Society test flight; Schachner was one of the founding members of the society.
“The Time Impostor”
by Nat Schachner
First publication: Astounding Stories, Mar 1934
Newspaper reporter Derek leaps into a time machine that has come back from the 9th millennium to rescue the condemned murderer Mike Spinnot because he’s worshiped as a hero in that future time.
 [Nov 2013]

“The Time Traveller”
by A.M.Low (anonymously)
First publication: Scoops, 3 Mar 1934
When newspaper reporter Brant Emerson saves the life of the reclusive Professor Lestrange, the scientist offers to let Brant use a time machine—an offer which Brant accepts (hoping to get a scoop), and Brant soon finds himself in 2034 London where newspapers have been totally replaced by tv and radio (quite a good prognosis, even if Low didn’t think of the role the internet would play).
 [Nov 2013]

“The Mentanicals”
by Francis Flagg
First publication: Amazing Stories, Apr 1934

On a whim, the handsome Captain Bronson, adventurer and yacht captain for the multimillionaire Olson Smith, steps into the time machine of the quirky Professor Stringer and presses the Wellsian lever forward, whereupon he finds himself in a future world populated by stupid beastly men and smooth, cylindrical robots.

 Professor Stringer threw open the laboratory door and turned on the lights. We saw it then, an odd machine, shiny and rounded, occupying the center of the workshop floor. I had been drinking, you will recollect, and my powers of observation were not at their best. It was the same with the others. When I questioned them later, they could give no adequate description of it. “So this,” said Olson Smith rather flatly, “is a time machine.” The doctor walked about—a little unsteadily I noticed—and viewed it from all angles. “The passenger,” said the Professor, “sits here. Notice this lever on the graduated face of the dial; it controls the machine. Turn it this way from Zero and one travels into the past; throw it ahead and one travels into the future. The return of the lever to Zero will return the machine to the point of departure in time. The electronic flow....” he went into obscure details. “Will it work?” demanded the Doctor. 

 [Jul 2013]

“The Long Night”
by Charles Willard Diffin
First publication: Astounding Stories, May 1934
Garry Coyne devises a way to move into the future via suspended animation, which (as we all know) is not time travel, but once he arrives in the future to fight throwback homoids and take shelter with the small band of normal men, he does have a moment where he slides back to the present for a brief communication with his trusted friend and a realization about the nature of time.

 Past, present, future—all one. And we, moving along the dimension called time, intersect them. I can’t grasp it. But I can’t deny it. If only there were proof— 

 [Jan 2013]

“Invaders from Time”
by John Russell Fearn
First publication: Scoops, 12 May 1934
In retrieving objects from the future, Tom Lawton and Bill Richard manage to grab four brothers from 2534, and the brothers promptly take over London, announcing that they intend to make a utopia, but first they must kill half the population.

Scoops was a weekly British publication that lasted about half of 1934. This particular Fearn story was reprinted in the 1997 Fantasy Annual #1.

 It’s a paradox. 

 [Nov 2013]

“Sidewise in Time”
by Murray Leinster
First publication: Astounding Stories, Jun 1934

It seems prudent to provide some examples of what time travel is not, such as this classic story of James Minott, a mathematics instructor at a jerkwater college who figures out that multiple parallel universes (each at a different stage of cultural and scientific development) will soon start intersecting each other; so, naturally, Minott abducts seven bright undergraduates to traipse through the universes with him until they find one where their advanced knowledge will make them all kings and queens.

 We’re not in the past or the future. We’ve traveled sidewise, in a sort of oscillation from one time-path to another. We happen to be in a—well—in a part of time where Fredericksburg has never been built, just as a little while since we were where the Chinese occupy the American continent. I think we’d better have lunch. 

 [Jan 2013]

“Voice of Atlantis”
by Laurence Manning
First publication: Wonder Stories, July 1934
Volking, a scientist, accidentally sends himself back to Atlantis where he reveals the eventual diluvian fate of the island and converses with an old man about the ills of our society and the closed nature of theirs.
 [Nov 2013]

“Time Haven”
by Howard Wandrei (as by Howard W. Graham, Ph.D.)
First publication: Astounding Stories, Sep 1934
Vincent Merryfield, the “alien” of his family for the sin of being a scientist, builds a time machine that takes him to the year 2443 where the rest of his family has died out and he is the sole owner of everything within sight of his seven-mile-high tower in Manhattan—but how did everyone know he was coming? Sadly, it may be that he never really traveled through time, but I had to put artist and writer Howard Wandrei into my list nonetheless. A later story, “The Missing Ocean” (May 1939), follows much the same time-travelless plot.

 Of course! It has always been known that you would ‘appear’ sooner or later. 

 [May 2015]

“Inflexure”
by H.L. Gold (as by Clyde Crane Campbell)
First publication: Astounding Stories, Oct 1934
Some rogue object passing through the solar system manages to merge together all people from all times of Earth.

 I’m over the Caroline Islands, longitude 158° 23´ west, latitude 8° 30´ north. There’re millions of people drowning all around me. What shall I do? 

 [Jan 2013]

“Twilight”
by John W. Campbell, Jr. (as by Don Stuart)
First publication: Astounding Stories, Nov 1934



In 1932, James Waters Bendell picks up a magnificently sculpted hitchhiker named Ares Sen Kenlin (the Sen means he’s a scientist, but Waters is just a name) who says that he’s trying to get back to his home time (3059) from seven million years in the future—a time when mankind has atrophied because of their reliance on machines.

 They stand about, little misshapen men with huge heads. But their heads contain only brains. They had machines that could think—but somebody turned them off a long time ago, and no one knew how to start them again. That was the trouble with them. They had wonderful brains. Far better than yours or mine. But it must have been millions of years ago when they were turned off, too, and they just hadn’t thought since then. Kindly little people. 

 [Jan 2013]

“The Time Tragedy”
by Raymond A. Palmer
First publication: Wonder Stories, Dec 1934
A judge who sentenced a man named William Gregory to death thirty years ago explains his theory on what has happened to his own son, an inventor also named William Gregory.

 Into the future she had gone, William said, and I had no reason to doubt him. The cat took the matter in a calm way and seemed in no wise injured by its uncanny transit. 

 [Sep 2013]

“The Prenatal Plagiarism”
by Mort Weisinger
First publication: Wonder Stories, Jan 1935
After the publication of Daniel Cartwright’s wildly successful novel, charges of exact plagiarism from a 50-year-old novel arise, even though he insists that he was the only author.
 [Jan 2015;]

Pre-Superman Comic Books
First time travel: New Fun Comics 1, Feb 1935

Comic books didn’t really take off until the introduction of the Man of Steel in Action Comics 1 (Jun 1938). Before that, many comics were compilations of strips similar to the Sunday funnies, and some of these had time travel. The earliest series that I found was the story of Bobby and Binks, two kids who at first time traveled through a Magic Crystal of History and later just viewed past adventures through the crystal. The first appeared in DC’s first comic book publication, the first issue of New Fun Comics in February 1935. As I find other such series, I’ll add them to my time-travel comic book page. So far, the pre-1939 titles I've found are:

 New Fun Comics #1 (Feb 1935)Bobby and Binks 
Big Book of Fun Comics Annual (Nov 1935)Bobby and Binks reprints
New Comics #1 (Dec 1935)Fritz the time traveler
More Fun #7 (Jan 1936)Bobby and Binks

 Binks: Why—why—I can understand what they’re saying!
Bobby: So can I! It’s that magic crystal that did it! 

 [Jul 2012]
The first story also appeared in this July 1973 reprint magazine.
The Time Control Stories
by Philip Jacques Bartel
First story: Amazing Stories, Feb 1935
Two Russians (Khalin and Mikhailloff) and an American engineer (Earl Lyons) find a way to step outside of time, view the future, then step back into time at the very point that they left, thereby preventing bad things such as Mikhailloff’s murder (in “When Time Stood Still,” Amazing, Feb 1935) and an insult that’s intended to start a war (“The Time Control,” Amazing, Dec 1936).
 [Nov 2013]

“Valley of the Rukh”
by Harl Vincent
First publication: Amazing Stories, Feb 1935
Pilot Stanley Kent and his client, spoiled authoress Ruth Owens, find themselves in a piece of Venus that’s been transported from the past, whereupon they have exciting adventures.
 [Nov 2013]

“The Prophetic Voice”
by Laurence Manning
First publication: Wonder Stories, Apr 1935
A voice, purporting to be from the future, warns mankind that they must all go into suspended animation or face extinction; mankind obeys, but when they wake up, the people at the other end of the future phone don’t know anything about the earlier message.
 [Nov 2013]
Brick Bradford #5,
Jul 1948

Brick Bradford
by William Ritt and Clarence Gray
First time travel: 20 Apr 1935



Ritt and Gray introduced The Time Top as a short-lived separate topper strip on April 20/21, 1935, and it first appeared in Brick’s Sunday strip on Oct 17, 1937; thereafter, it frequently took the comic strip adventurer into the future (and occasionally the past).

Brick’s strips were reprinted as early as 1934 with two hardcover issues of Saalfield Comics (#1059 and #1309). He was reprinted in King Comics starting with the first April 1936 issue, and he headlined one 1938 hardcover Big Little Book (#1468, combining text with line illustrations). Some Ace Comics had reprints (1947-49), and he appeared in four issues of his own comic book: #5 (Jul 1948) to #8 (Jul 1949) that were possibly strip reprints. In the 60s, new Brick backup features appeared in some issues of The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician (at least #5, #6 and #10) and Flash Gordon (at least #14, #16, #17). They probably all used the top, but I don’t know for sure. All that was just in the U.S.: He was vastly more popular in Australia and New Zealand.

 Into the past...into the future...read on for another exciting adventure in time with Brick Bradford  
Brick Bradford and the Time Top #25, Australia

 [Dec 2010]

“Alas, All Thinking”
by Harry Bates
First publication: Astounding Stories, Jun 1935

Charles Wayland is tasked with discovering why his cold-hearted college buddy and all-around genius (I.Q. 248) physicist Harlan T. Frick has abandoned everything technical for mundane pursuits such as golfing, clothes, travel, fishing, night clubs, and so on—and the explanation may have to do with either Humpty Dumpty or Frick’s trip to the future with an average (but meditative) young woman named Pearl who is most curious about love.

 I showed her New York. She’d say, “But why do the people hurry so? Is it really necessary for all those automobiles to keep going and coming? Do the people like to live in layers? If the United States is as big as you say it is, why do you build such high buildings? What is your reason for having so few people rich, so many people poor?” It was like that. And endless. 

 [Jan 2013]

“A Thief in Time”
by Vernon H. Jones (as by Raymond A. Young)
First publication: Wonder Stories, Jul 1935
A scientist sends gangster Tony Carponi to steal some radium, and only years later does Carponi realized that the caper involved time travel.
 [Apr 2013]

“The Branches of Time”
by David R. Daniels
First publication: Wonder Stories, Aug 1935
James Bell invents a time machine, sees the end of mankind in the near future, travels further to see man’s successor, returns to mankind’s end to save the species, and visits the Mesozoic, anticipating Bradbury’s Butterfly Effect.
 [Nov 2013]

“The Kingdom of Thought”
by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach
First publication: Amazing Stories, Aug 1935
Donald Stile is transported to the future by a Time Sphere where he finds two groups of giant brains (the good white brains and the evil black brains) battling—but what of the grey brain?
 [Nov 2013]

“The Man Who Met Himself”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Top-Notch, Aug 1935
Among physicists, the most favored resolution to time-travel paradoxes is a world of one fixed landscape of time and its events. Time travel may be possible, but if so, the Karma will conspire to have only those events that have been written into the landscape to occur. Heinlein’s “All You Zombies...” may be the pinnacle of such stories, but Farley’s is the earliest case that I’ve read to present a clear deterministic time loop along these lines. In the story, Boston stock broker Dick Withrick is on a 1935 tiger hunt in Cambodia when he runs into a strangely familiar (and slightly older) man who warns him, “As you value your freedom, do not touch the machine—” And yet, he does touch the machine, taking him back to 1925 so he (in the company of his Buddhist Abbot host) can relive the decade of financial turmoil.

 “It cannot be,” the Abbot asserted suavely. “The years from 1925 to 1935 happen only once in the whole course of eternity. You are not now living through a repetition of those ten years. Rather it is those same ten years. The events which you remember as having happened back in Boston, and the events which are happening here today, are happening simultaneously. Your ten years in Boston from 1925 to 1935, are one and the same ten years. It is only an illusion of your mind that they seem to be successive, rather than concurrent. And this illusion is not so different from the illusion of all mankind with respect to the flow of timel for Brahm, the Creator, sees all time and all space as once complete instantaneous event.” 

 [Feb 2015]
This story was reprinted in the Winter 1951 issue of Fantastic Story Quarterly
“The Reign of the Reptiles”
by Alan Connell
First publication: Wonder Stories, Aug 1935
Sanders is kidnapped and sent to a laboratory in the far past from which he escapes to find a civilization of intelligent, winged reptiles—possibly the first story of intelligent dinosaurs in our past.
 [May 2015]

“Night”
by John W. Campbell, Jr. (as by Don A. Stuart)
First publication: Astounding Stories, Oct 1935


Bob Carter takes a plane up to 45,000 feet to test an anti-gravity device, but instead it hurls him into the same future as the story “Twilight”—but whereas the earlier story had mankind who were dying out in 7,000,000 A.D. because of the ubiquity of machines, Carter finds himself billions of years beyond that, with both man and (most) machines long gone.

 Ah, yes, you have a mathematical means of expression, but no understanding of that time, so it is useless. But the last of humanity was allowed to end before the Sun changed from the original G-O stage—a very, very long time ago. 

 [Jan 2013]

“The Fall of Mercury”
by Leslie F. Stone
First publication: Amazing Stories, Dec 1935
Mort Forrest and his fellow explorer Bruce are headed for supposedly uninhabited Mercury when they are captured by Mercurians intent on taking over the solar system, but fortunately, a friendly Saturnian named Chen-Chak (with a ray gun that can momentarily transfer bad guys into the future) rescues them, tells them of the history of species from all the planets, and saves the solar system.
 [Nov 2013]
The story also appeared in Phil Stong’s 1941 anthology, The Other Worlds.
“The Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator”
by Murray Leinster
First publication: Astounding Stories, Dec 1935
Pete Davidson has inherited all the properties of an uncle who had been an authority on the fourth dimension, including the Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator that can pull copies of matches, coins, dollar bills, fiancées and kangaroos out of the past.

 It’s produced another burnt match. Dragged it forward out of the past, sir. There was a burnt match at that spot, until the glass plate moved a few seconds ago. Like the girl and the banana peel, sir. The machine went back to the place where the match had been, and then it went back in time to where the match was, and then it brought it forward. 

 [Jul 2013]

“Human Machines”
by J. Harvey Haggard
First publication: Astounding Stories, Dec 1935
When the megalomanic and utopia-builder Lan Darth is opposed by Therm Sutner, Darth throws Sutner into a horrid future world that is populated by strange creatures that arose out of Darth’s eugenic and policies that banned sexual reproduction.
 [Feb 2013]

“Time Found Again”
by Mildred Cram
First publication: Cosmopolitan, Dec 1935

Bart Henderson hates his life in 1935, longing for a daughter without painted fingernails and curled coxcombs, a son without bloodshot eyes at the breakfast table, a wife less jaded. Then his army buddy visits and suggests that nothing is ever lost in time, and it might be possible for the human mind to tear off the veils and return to a time such as the 18th century that Bart longs for.

It was fun to see both the advertisements and the innovation of Cosmopolitan to publish a time-travel story by the prolific Mildred Cram in 1935. The style reminds me of later Jack Finney stories of the 50s.

 He ran a few steps forward in the dark, stumbling. The syncopated, thudding hoofbeats broke rhythm, paused ... And Bart Henderson found himself, in broad daylight, standing beside a fine carriage driven by a coachman in livery, drawn by two black horses with silver-trimmed harness. 

 [Jan 2012]

“In the World’s Dusk”
by Edmond Hamilton
First publication: Weird Tales, Mar 1936

Galos Gann, the greatest scientist whom Earth had ever seen and last man on Earth, vows than mankind will not perish.

 There are no living men and women in the world today. But what of the trillions of men and women who have existed on Earth in the past? Those trillions are separated from me by the abyss of time. Yet... 

 [May 2015]

“The Shadow Out of Time”
by H.P. Lovecraft
First publication: Astounding Stories, Jun 1936




During an economics lecture, Professor Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee’s body and mind are taken over by a being who can travel to any time and place of his choice, and during the next five years the being studies us, all of which Peaslee pieces together after his return.

Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi says that Lovecraft saw the movie Berkeley Square four times in 1933, and “its portrayal of a man of the 20th century who somehow merges his personality with that of is 18th-century ancestor” served as Lovecraft’s inspiration for this story.

 The projected mind, in the body of the organism of the future, would then pose as a member of the race whose outward form it wore, learning as quickly as possible all that could be learned of the chosen age and its massed information and techniques. 

 [Jul 2013]

“The Land Where Time Stood Still”
by Arthur Leo Zagat
First publication: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Aug 1936
Modern-day Englishman Ronald Stratton and Arthurian damsel Elaise find themselves in a land with people from all ages and predators from the year 6000A.D.
 [Nov 2013]

“The Time Entity”
by Otto Binder (as by Eando Binder)
First publication: Astounding Stories, Oct 1936
John Dakin consider paradoxes as he communicates by radio with his future descendant.
 [Nov 2013]

Popeye the Sailor Cartoons
created by Elzie Crisler Segar
First possible time travel: 27 Nov 1936 (Sindbad)

Several early Popeye cartoons had plots that might only be explained by time travel, such as meeting Sindbad (played by Bluto) in a sixteen minute 1936 cartoon. However, for me, the real time travelin’ began in the 1960s television cartoon when the Professor had a time machine. Here’s a list of episodes which I know of that might be explained by time travel. Send me others that you spot!

 Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad (1936)to ancient Persia? 
Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba (1937)time of 1001 Nights
Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (1939)evil vizier to present
Popeye and the Pirates (1947)pirate ship to present
Wotta Knight (1947)jousting tournament
Pre-Hysterical Manb (1948)caveman times
Popeye Meets Hercules (1948)to ancient Greece
Robin Hood-Winked (1948)to Sherwood Forest
Pilgrim Popeye (1951)Popeye as a pilgrim
Big Bad Sindbad (1952)mostly reuse from 1936
The Golden-Type Fleece (1960)to ancient Greece
Popeye and the Dragon (1960)to middle ages
Invisible Popeye (1960)future Martians
Out of This World (1960)to the future
The Glad Gladiator (1960)Roman gladiators
Popeyed Columbus (1960)1492
Astro-Nut (1960)just time dilation
Popeye’s Tea Party (1960)Boston Tea Party
Time Marches Backwards (1960)caveman days
Quick Change Ollie (1960)middle ages via magic hen
Camel Aires (1960)to ancient Egypt
The Black Knight (1960)Arthurian times
Have Time, Will Travel (1961)prehistoric

 Huck-huck-huck-huck. There ain’t no such thing as pirates, Olive. They’re only a fragamentation of the imagamentation. 
—Popeye and the Pirates

 [Jan 2015]

“Trapped in Eternity”
by Ray Cummings
First publication: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec 1936
Alan Blair and his beautiful fiancée Dora are brought to the future by the lecherous Groat who cures her blindness and then proposes to start a new race with Dora.
 [Dec 2013]

“Tryst in Time”
by C.L. Moore
First publication: Astounding Stories, Dec 1936
Bold and bored soldier-of-fortune Eric Rosner meets a scientist who sends him skipping through time, always meeting the same beguiling girl with the smoke-blue eyes.

 I can transport you into the past, and you can create events there which never took place in the past we know—but the events are not new. They were ordained from the beginning, if you took that particular path. You are simply embarking upon a different path into a different future, a fixed and preordained future, yet one which will be strange to you because it lies outside your own layer of experience. So you have infinite freedom in all your actions, yet everything you can possibly do is already fixed in time. 

 [May 2011]



The Sands of Time Stories
by P. Schuyler Miller
First story: Astounding Stories, Apr 1937
Terry Donovan realizes that it’s possible to travel through time in 60,000,000-year increments, so naturally he travels back to the time of dinosaurs and visiting aliens.

The first story, “The Sands of Time,” was under Tremaine’s Astounding editorship (Apr 1937) but the sequel, “Coils of Time,” appeared under Campbell’s (May 1939).

 Incidentally, I have forgotten the most important thing of all. Remember that Donovan’s dominating idea was to prove to me, and to the world, that he had been in the Cretaceous and hobnobbed with its flora and fauna. He was a physicist by inclination, and had the physicist’s flair for ingenious proofs. Before leaving, he loaded a lead cube with three quartz quills of pure radium chloride... 

 [Oct 2010]

“Forgetfulness”
by John W. Campbell, Jr. (as by Don A. Stuart)
First publication: Astounding Stories, Jun 1937

Millions of years after mankind raised various species and sent them to the stars, one of the species returns and believes that humans have fallen into a primitive existence. And the time travel? Partway through the story, there’s a power source that goes to the end of time and cycles back to the beginning of time. The story also appeared in Healey and McComas’s seminal anthology, Adventures in Time and Space, and it was made into a one-act play in 1943 by Wayne Gordon.

 In the first revolution it made, the first day it was built, it circled to the ultimate end of time and the universe, and back to the day it was built. 

 [Dec 2012]
The story later appeared in this 1953 anthology.
“Reverse Phylogeny”
by Amelia Reynolds Long
First publication: Astounding Stories, Jun 1937

Eric Dale once again tells of an escapade of his friend, Professor Aloysius O’Flannigan—this time it’s about his quest to prove or disprove the existance of Atlantis via hypnosis and the recovery of ancestral memories. You’ll need to wait until the end for the tiny bit of time travel to be cast out.

 There are times, I reflected, when nothing else in the English language is so expressive as the single word, “Nuts.” But I said nothing, hoping that he would work off his enthusiasm by writing a letter to the magazine. I should have known better. 

 [Dec 2012]

“Seeker of To-Morrow”
by Eric Frank Russell and Leslie J. Johnson
First publication: Astounding Stories, Jul 1937
Explorer Urnas Karin and his crew of twenty return to Venus from abandoned Earth along with the body of a man who appears to have traveled from the ancient past—and then they revive him, whereupon he tells of his invention of time travel (to the future only) and subsequent journey from 1998 to the present day.

 I had set up my laboratory in the wilds of the Peak District in Derbyshire, in England, where work could be carried on with the minimum of interference. From this laboratory I had dispatched into the unknown, presumably the future, a multitude of objects, including several live creatures such as rats, mice, pigeons and domestic fowl. In no case could I bring back anything I had made to vanish. Once gone, the subject was gone forever. There was no way of discovering exactly where it had gone. There was nothing but to take a risk and go myself. 

 [Dec 2012]

“A Month a Minute”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec 1937

For me, this story has all the same female-character flaws as Farley’s other stories, but without much in redeeming time-travel ideas and with uncharacteristic arithmetic mistakes. In addition I’m not entirely sure whether there was time travel at all. I think what happened to the not-entirely-dumb football player (Benson Crocker) and the brilliant professor’s beautiful granddaughter (Iralene Porter) is that their spaceship interchanged the time dimension with one of the space dimensions, resulting in their movement through space (with respect to some preferred reference frame) slowing to a crawl. With that done, they zip away from Earth for about a month, but with no control over their speed or direction until a desperation move finally saves them, maybe with some time travel involved, though it could have been mere time dilation.

 Furthermore, my ship will be traveling at about 2750 times the speed of light, and so will traverse ten light-years in just a bit less than a day. 

 [Feb 2015]

For Us, the Living
by Robert A. Heinlein
First written: 1938 (posthumously published in 2003)

I’m sad that I’ve now read all the extant Heinlein fiction, this posthumous (and first) novel being the last piece for me. It certainly held 3.5 stars worth of enjoyment for a Heinlein fan, but much of that was in seeing the nascent ideas of the writer that I would devour in my childhood. In the story, a military pilot from 1939 dies, and his consciousness is thrown forward to 2086 where social and economic aspects of society are hugely altered, though technological advances are more conservative (but, dammit, I want my flying car).

 “Let me get out of these furs.” She walked away while fumbling with a zipper at her throat. The furs were all one garment which slipped off her shoulders and fell to the floor. Perry felt a shock like an icy shower and then a warm tingle. 

 [Jun 2011]

Hal Hardy and the Lost Land of Giants
First publication: Whitman Big Little Book #1413, 1938
Not surprisingly, Hal finds himself in the land of dinosaurs.

 The beast Hal saw looked like a rhinoceros, save for the horns. 




The Once and Future King
by T.H. White
First book: 1938

Merlyn, who experiences time backward, is the traveler in this series, which was introduced to me by Denbigh Starkey, my undergraduate advisor at WSU and later a member of my Ph.D. committee.

The first four of these short books in the series were collected into a single volume, The Once and Future King, in 1958. A final part, The Book of Merlyn, written in 1941 was published posthumously in 1971.

 The Sword in the Stone (1938)Arthur is crowned 
The Queen of Air and Darkness (1939)aka The Witch in the Wood
The Ill-Made Knight (1940)Sir Lancelot
The Candle in the Wind (1958)end of Camelot
The Book of Merlyn (1977)final battle with Mordred

 EVERYTHING NOT FORBIDDEN IS COMPULSORY. 
—a sign at the ant colony
     (and also physicist Murray Gell-Mann’s description of particle physics)

 [Apr 1978]



“Shuffled Symphonies”
by Basil Reynolds
First time travel: 1 Jan 1938 in Mickey Mouse Weekly 100


Shuffled Symphonies were short, illustrated fantasy stories in the British Mickey Mouse Weekly. Some of the episodes included time travel via Doctor Einmug’s time machine. The four that I know about include a trip to Stonehenge (1 Jan 1938), to visit Sir Walter Raleigh and Elizabeth I (12 Mar 1938), a visit to Shakespeare (6 Aug 1938), and a trip to a robotic future (26 Nov, 1938).

 A few more shivers and quivers, and the heap of gleaming metal sprang into life and bowled after the terrified Twin! 
Mickey Mouse Weekly 147, 26 Nov, 1938

 [Jul 2012]

“Lords of 9016”
by John Russell Fearn
First publication: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Apr 1938

Dick and his scientist friend Ladbrook take a helicopter into the giant hole that has opened in the ground near two cities where all people and animals have disappeared, only to find giant ants from the future.

 Not ants of your time, however, but the rulers of the year ninety-sixteen, seven thousand of so years ahead of you—time enough for the busy creatures of your present day to have evolved into the significant might you see we have. 

 [Dec 2013]

The Legion of Time
by Jack Williamson
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, May-Jul 1938

After two beautiful women of two different possible futures appear to physicist Denny Lanning, he finds himself swept up by a time-traveling ship, the Chronion, along with a band of fighting men who swear their allegiance to The Legion of Time and its mission to ensure that the eviler of the two beautiful women never comes to pass.

 But Max Planck with the quantum theory, de Broglie and Schroedinger with the wave mechanics, Heisenberg with matrix mechanics, enourmously complicated the structure of the universe—and with it the problem of Time.

With the substitution of waves of probability for concrete particles, the world lines of objects are no longer the fixed and simple paths they once were. Geodesics have an infinite proliferation of possible branches, at the whim of sub-atomic indeterminism.

Still, of course, in large masses the statistical results of the new physics are not much different from those given by the classical laws. But there is a fundamental difference. The apparent reality of the universe is the same—but it rests upon a quicksand of possible change.
 

 [Nov 2013]

“The Invisible Bomber”
by Ralph Milne Farley (as by Lt. John Pease)
First publication: Amazing Stories, Jun 1938
Here’s a new rule about what constitutes a time-travel story: If the author claims that there’s time travel in the story, then it’s a time-travel story. That’s the case for this story, which doesn’t feel like time travel to me, but in the afterward of The Omnibus of Time Farley says that the airplane bomber in this story becomes soundless and invisible via a “laminated” model of space-time in which a series of different worlds are stacked one on top of another, each just a short time in front of its predecessor. According to Farley, “time-traveling will carry the traveler, not into the future, but rather into an entirely different space-time continuum than our own.” The plane becomes invisible by traveling just a short distance toward the next world without reaching anywhere near it.

My thought on this is that the notion of time as a dimension does not have anything to do with the stacking dimension. In fact, I don’t think they can be the same dimension because that would imply that there is nothing to distinguish a point in our space-time continuum from a point with the same space-time coordinates in some other continuum.

P.S. I also didn’t care for the president’s solution to the story’s problem.

 We human beings live in a three dimensional space, or which time has sometimes been called the fourth dimension. But did it ever occur to you, Mr. President, that we do not extend in time. We never experience any other time than the present. Our so-called space-time existence is thus seen to be a mere three-dimensional layer, or lamina, infinitely thin in the time direction. There could exist another three-dimensional space just a second or two away from ours, and we would never know it. 

 [Feb 2015]

Language for Time Travelers
by L. Sprague de Camp
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1938

This essay convinced me to add at least a few nonfiction works to my list. After all, why not? De Camp interleaves a few fictional vignettes with thoughts on how language might change over the next few centuries. For me, it shows how well the time-travel paradigm had been established by 1939.

As a bonus, this essay appeared in the very issue of Astounding that has the final installment of The Legion of Time and which caused all the trouble in my story “Saving Astounding.”

 Wah lenksh? Inksh lenksh, coss. Wah you speak? Said, sah-y, daw geh-ih. Daw, neitha. You fresh? Jumm? 

 [Jul 2001]





Fiction House Comics
Published by Thurman T. Scott
First time travel: Jumbo Comics 1, Sep 1938


Fiction House was a major publisher of pulp magazines and comics through the 1950s. Their comics came out of a pulp tradition with stories of jungle heros (Sheena, Queen of the Jungle), air aces (Wings Comics), westerns (Cowgirl Romances), science fiction (Planet Comics), and, of course, Jumbo Comics (Action! Adventure! Mystery!).

The first time travel that I tracked down here was an adventurer named Stuart Taylor who teamed with Dr. Hayward and his beautiful daughter Lora (later Laura) in many issues of Jumbo Comics. For me, it was exciting for two reasons: (1) So far, it’s the earliest time travel in a comic book that I know of; (2) At least the first few stories were drawn by Jack King Kirby (as by Curt Davis). Time travel probably occurred in #1-4 (“The Experiment of Kromo’), as well as in 5-14, 17-78, 84-139, plus a reprint in 140. (Numbers 15-16 had no time travel; I think 79-83 are shorter, with no Stuart Taylor, and Stu disappeared after 140.)

Their science fiction comic, Planet Comics, had at least one bout of time travel when a chronoscope brought dinosaurs and such to The Lost World of heros Hunt and Lyssa (#41, March 1946); it also short, 2-page stories, at least one of which was time travel (“Lost World of Time” in #7, July 1940).

 My name is Stuart Taylor...Do you mind if I ask what seems a silly question! What year is this? 
—from Jumbo Comics #13

 [Jun 2012]

The Shadow
created by Walter B. Gibson
First time travel: 1 Jan 1939

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of time travelers? I found one time-travel episode of The Shadow: the Jan 1, 1939 NBC radio broadcast of “The Man Who Murdered Time”:

 My machine bends the staight track of time, curves it, curves it, so that the time track forms a perfect circle! 

 [Jun 2011]



DC Comics (Anthologies)
First time travel: Adventure Comics 37, Apr 1939

Like all the other publishers, DC also published anthologies of weird stories (as opposed to continuing characters) in the 50s, but even before that, they had anthologies of adventure stories. The earliest time travel that I’ve found so far is a five-part story of “A Playboy in King Arthur’s Court” starting in in Adventure Comics 37. As for the 50s weird stories, the first one I found there was a tale in Strange Adventures 4. As I find others, I’ll list them in my time-travel comic books page.

 History runs wild when Columbus, Napolean, and Cleopatra journey through time from the past to the present! 
—from the cover of Strange Adventures 60

 [Jun 2012]



Alley Oop
created by V.T. Hamlin
First time travel: 5 Apr 1939

The caveman’s first exposure to time travel was in the 5 April, 1939 daily strip, shortly before Dr. Wonmug brought the insignts of the boisterous Alley Oop to the 20th century and elsewhere in time.

The image to the left is from Alley Oop #12 from Standard’s 1947-49 run of nine comics (#10-#18) that reprinted strips. The first one (#10) had pre-time-travel strips, but all of the rest probably included some time travel. The time machine picture to the right is from Dragon Lady Press strip reprints in the 1980s.

I’ve also found one Alley Oop take-off called Irving Oops in an the EC comic Panic 8, May 1955—which makes me wonder whether that other Irving of the comics, Irving Forbush, ever time traveled.

 By golly, kid, I’d swear that thing wasn’t there a while ago! I’m gonna see what-- 
—Alley Oop watching a camera from the future dissolve away, 5 Apr 1939

 [Dec 2010]

“Life-Line”
by Robert A. Heinlein
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Aug 1939


Dr. Pinero develops a tool that can follow a man’s lifeline to its end, returning an echo from the future that tells the man’s exact time of death.

This story doesn’t meet my usual criteria for time travel, but it’s close enough, and it’s Heinlein’s first published story.

 Old Bidwell, not so, of Amalgamated Life Insurance? And he wanted his trained seals to expose me as a fraud, yes? For if I can tell a man the day of his own death, no one will buy is pretty policies. 

 [Jul 1972]

Arch Oboler’s Plays
by Arch Oboler
First time travel: 9 Sep 1939


Arch Oboler was a prolific radio playright from the mid-1930s, starting with NBC’s Lights Out radio show. One of the stories in the 1939 Arch Oboler’s Plays series was “And Adam Begot,” which told the story of two men and a woman thrown back into prehistoric times. The story appear in print in a 1944 anthology, was reprised for the 1951 Lights Out tv show, and formed the basis for a 1953 Steve Ditko story in the Black Magic comic book.

 The young dramalist expects to face his biggest casting problem in filling the roles of the two Neanderthal men which he has written into “And Adam Begot.” He wants a voice, he explains, which will instantly suggest a cave-man to the radio listener. With that in mind, he conducted a survey of what people expect in a Neanderthal voice. “A cross-section of the answers,” Oboler says, “suggests a bass voiced prizefighter, talking double talk with his mouth full of hot potatoes.” 
—The Lima News, 9 Sep 1939

 [[May 2015]]

Lest Darkness Fall
by L. Sprague de Camp
First published as complete novel: Unknown, Dec 1939



During a thunderstorm, archaeologist Martin Padway is thrown back to Rome of 535 A.D., whereupon he sets out to stop the coming Dark Ages.

 Padway feared a mob of religious enthusiasts more than anything on earth, no doubt because their mental processes were so utterly alien to his own. 

 [May 2012]

Top-Notch Comics
by Otto Binder and Jack Binder
First publication: Dec 1939



The first two issues of Top-Notch Comics had a feature called “Scott Rand in the Worlds of Time” written by science fiction staple Otto Binder and drawn by his older brother, Jack (rather than Earl). Rand first drove his time car back to Rome in 200 A.D. where he picked up Thor. In the second episode, they went to New York in 2000 A.D. Jack Binder continued the episodes of Rand and Thor in #3, heading to Mars of the future, but I don’t yet know whether there were any other stories.

This title morphed into Top-Notch Laugh Comics, and was then acquired by Archie Comics. I don’t know whether there were any further adventures in time by Rand or others during the Top-Notch run.

 The time car is working perfectly! We can go anywhere...the past or the future! 
—Dr. Meade in Top-Notch Comics 1

 [Jun 2012]

“Bombardment in Reverse”
by Norman L. Knight
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Feb 1940

Jamie Todd Rubin wrote about this story as part of his Vacation in the Golden Age, and I got a pdf copy on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. The story tells of two alien nations at war—a somewhat amateurish was by Martian or Terrestrial standards, but one in which time-traveling weapons target where the enemy was in the past.

 The Nyandrians are attacking Strofander with shells which traverse not only space, but time as well. 

 [Nov 2012]
This mimeographed Futurian publication was probably printed on the same mimeograph machine as the first mimeo of
“The Final Men.”

“The Final Men”
by H.G. Wells
First separate publication: Mar 1940 by Futurian Robert W. Lowndes


The first complete, published version of The Time Machine appeared as a five-part serial in the January through May 1895 issues of New Review, edited by William Ernest Henley. In the introduction to the 1924 edition, Wells wrote about the back-and-forth between himself and Henley, saying that “There was a slight struggle between the writer and W.E. Henley who wanted, he said, to put a little ‘writing’ into the tale.”

One piece of that writing was a short episode after the traveller leaves the Eloi and the Morlocks, just before visiting the red sun and the end of the world. This episode was deleted from both the American (Holt text) and the British (Heinemann text) published book editions of the novel, but it did appear as a 7-page mimeographed and stapled publication from American fan and Futurian Robert W. Lowndes in 1940, and it appeared in a number of other places, sometimes called “The Grey Man” and once called “The Missing Pages.”

 No doubt, too, the rain and snow had long since washed out the Morlock tunnels. A nipping breeze stung my hands and face. So far as I could see there were neither hills, nor trees, nor rivers: only an uneven stretch of cheerless plateau. 

 [Jan 2013]

Silver Streak Comics
by Jack Cole, et. al.
First time travel: Dickie Dean in Silver Streak 3, Mar 1940

Jack Cole, the Playboy cartoonist, must have been a little boy when he wrote the adventures of Boy Inventor Dickie Dean. Dickie’s inventions included a machine to capture conversations from the past (Silver Streak Comics 3), a time camera (probably in issue 10). You could argue that neither of these is real time travel, but never mind.

I’ll bet there was more time travel in Silver Streak; for example, #1 has a story called “As Time Stops” starring Mister Midnight. But the originals are nearly impossible to track down, so I may never know whether they have time travel for sure.

 Without getting technical, this is a “time camera”! It is possible to reconstruct and photogaph scenes of the past with this machine! 

 [Jun 2012]

“Hindsight”
by Jack Williamson
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, May 1950

Years ago, engineer Bill Webster abandoned Earth for the employ of the piratical Astrarch; now the Astrarch is aiming the final blow at a defeated Earth, and Bill wonders whether the gunsites that he invented can site—and change!—events in the past.

 He didn’t like to be called the Renegade. 

 [Jun 2011]

“The Mosaic”
by J.B. Ryan
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1940
Emir Ismail (a soldier and scientist in a Muslim-led 20th century) travels back to the crucial Battle of Tours in 732 A.D.

This is the first story that I read via electronic interlibrary loan with the help of the University of Colorado librarians.

 History is built event by incident—and each is a brick in its structure. If one small piece should slip— 
—John W. Campbell’s introductory blurb for the story

 [Aug 2011]

“Who’s Cribbing”
by Todd Thromberry
First publication: Macabre Adventures, Aug 1940

 Dear Mr. Gates,
   ...Please write and tell me what you think of my theory.
Respectfully,
Jack Lewis
 


“Rescue into the Past”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Amazing Stories, Oct 1940

Physicist Barney Baker, now a lawyer, uses his time machine to go back to the sacking of Fort Randolph in 1776 where he hopes to find evidence for an important legal case. He does find that along with attacking Redcoats and Indians and a beautiful young woman who instantly captures his heart, but alas, he can save nothing and no one—or can he?

 Go back there again to 1776, and this time do things right. Go back to just before Caroline’s death, and this time rescue her. Why not! 

 [Feb 2015]

“Sunspot Purge”
by Clifford Simak
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Nov 1940

“Read the News Before It Happens!” That’s the slogan that reporter Mike Hamilton proposes when the Globe buys a time machine. But when Mike goes onto the future beat, it’s more than just the stock market and the Minnesota-Wisconsin football game that he runs into—it’s the world of 2450 with only scattered population.

 Think of the opportunities a time machine offers a newspaper. The other papers can tell them what has happened and what is happening, but, by Godrey, they’ll have to read the Globe to know what is going to happen. 

 [Aug 2011]

“Trouble in Time”
by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth (as by S.D. Gottesman)
First publication: Astonishing Stories, Dec 1940
I enjoyed this early effort from the two young Futurians, especially the beginning where chemical engineer Mabel Evans of Colchester, Vermont, goes to visit the newly arrived mad scientist who offers her ethyl alcohol and a trip to the future.

 That was approximately what Stephen had said, so I supposed that he was. “Right as rarebits,” I said. 

 [Dec 2013]

“The Mechanical Mice”
by Eric Frank Russell
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jan 1941 (as by Maurice G. Hugi)
Slightly mad scientist Burman invents a time machine that lets him see the future, from whence he brings back other inventions including a swarm of reproducing mechanical beasties.

 I pinched the idea. What makes it madder is that I wasn’t quite sure of what I was stealing, and, crazier still, I don’t know from whence I stole it. 

 [Apr 2012]

“The Best-Laid Scheme”
by L. Sprague de Camp
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Feb 1941

I like the verb that de Camp coined for forward time travel—vanwinkling—but when the hero, De Witt, chases Hedges back in time, they start changing things and everyone (including them) remembers both the old time and the new. It’s beyond me to grok that form of time travel, but I give credit for creativity.

 The problem of backward-jumping has not hitherto been solved. It involves an obvious paradox. If I go back and slay my own grandfather, what becomes of me? 

 [Mar 2012]

“Doubled and Redoubled”
by Malcolm Jameson
First publication: Unknown, Feb 1941

Jimmy Childers was certain of two things: that last night he’d set the alarm to silent (even though it went off this morning) and that yesterday, June 14th, was the perfect day, the likes of which could certainly never be repeated again.

This is the earliest sf story that I’ve seen with a time loop, although there was the earlier 1939 episode of The Shadow.

 Jimmy had the queer feeling, which comes over one at times, he was reliving something that had already happened. 

 [Nov 2013]

“Poker Face”
by Theodore Sturgeon
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Mar 1941
The accountant, Mr. Face, joins the poker game and, among other things, has the remarkable ability to rig any deal without even touching the cards—what else would you expect for a man who’s traveled some 30,000 years from the future?

 “Now spill it. Just where did you come from?”
   “Geographically,” said Face, “not very far from here. Chronologically, a hell of a long way.”
 

 [Jul 2001]

“Not the First”
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Apr 1941
As Earth’s first starship passes the light-speed barrier, strange things happen to its acceleration—and to the passage of time.

 Still, it was odd that the lighting system should have gone on the blink on this first ‘night’ of this first trip of the first spaceship powered by the new, stupendous atomic drive. 

 [Dec 2010]

“Time Wants a Skeleton”
by Ross Rocklynne
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jun 1941
After seeing a skeleton with a well-known ring on its finger, a spaceship is thrown back in time and the crew believes that one of them is fated to become that skeleton. This is an early story that addresses the question of whether something known about the future must become true.

 He could feel the supple firmness of her body even through the folds of her undistended pressure suit. 

 [Dec 2011]

“Yesterday Was Monday”
by Theodore Sturgeon
First publication: Unknown Fantasy Fiction, Jun 1941

Harry Wright goes to bed on Monday night, skips over Tuesday, and wakes up in a Wednesday that’s not quite been built yet.

 The weather makers put .006 of one percent too little moisture in the air on this set. There’s three-sevenths of an ounce too little gasoline in the storage tanks under here. 

 [Jul 2001]



Fawcett Comics
First time travel: Wow Comics 2, Summer 1941


Time travel made it to the Marvel family in 1942, or at least the the earliest instance that I’ve spotted was a Captain Marvel story of that year (“The Amazing Trip into Time” in Whiz Comics #26 from 23 Jan 1942). Between then and the lawful demise of Fawcett’s Marvels, the whole family (the Captain, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., the Lieutenant Marvels) and the evil Dr. Sivana had a myriad of time-travel episodes by various means from Father Time to the doctor’s time pill to the captain’s time chair.

Fawcett also had other comics, some with time travel, such as Atom Blake who met himself in time in Wow Comics 2 and Nyoka, the Jungle Girl who traveled to prehistoric times in issue 10. As I find more of those, I’ll list them on my time-travel comics page.

 OMIGOSH! Now I remember everything! I went to the past in order to prevent Captain Marvel from ever existing! But when I got to the past, all I did was re-live the same events as before! Curses! 
—Dr. Sirvana from Captain Marvel Adventures #80

 [circa 1970]

“I Killed Hitler”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Weird Tales, Jul 1941
This story does get bonus points for being the earliest kill-hitler time-travel story that I know of (and for predicting Pearl Harbor), but I didn’t fully follow the ending (after the killing) of this story where a distant cousin to the great dictator goes back to 1899 to gain the trust of the boy he knows will grow up to cruelly rule Europe.

 “You think so?” The Swami shook his head. “Ah, no. For it is written that there must be a Dictator—not only a Dictator, but this particular Dictator”to rule over docile Europe, and plunge the world in war.” 

 [Feb 2015]

Methuselah's Children
by Robert A. Heinlein
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul/Aug/Sep 1941


The time travelin’ didn’t commence until 1973 in Time Enough for Love, but trust me and read this one anyhow to get Lazarus’s back story.

 “‘Life is short—’”
“‘—but the years are long.’”
“‘Not,’” Mary responded, “‘while the evil days come not.’”
 

 [Jul 1969]
The story also appeared in this 2000 collection.
“The Probable Man”
by Alfred Bester
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1941
Years before The Demolished Man, there was Bester’s probable man. I looked forward to reading it as the first story of my retirement, and I enjoyed the time-travel model that Bester set up: David Conn travels backward from 2941 to World War II, but then returns to a vastly changed future. For me, though, I found the naïve attitude toward war unappealing.

 She’d be Hilda Pietjen, daughter of the prime minister, just another chip in the Nazi poker game. And he’d be dead in a bunker, a thousand years before he’d been born. 

 [Jan 2012]

“Sidetrack in Time”
by William P. McGivern
First publication: Amazing Stories, Jul 1941
Philip Kingley has a plan to get rid of his time-traveling professor some 5000 years in the future. Unfortunately, the ending to Philip’s also got rid of any chance more than half a star in my rating.

 He scrambled out of the machine, the delirious feeling of success and power coursing through his veins like strong drink. His eyes traveled about the laboratory, slowly, gloatingly. All of it his. The equipment, the formulas, and most of all—the time machine. 

 [Apr 2014]



The Weapon Shop Stories
by A.E. van Vogt
First story: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1941



Time travel plays only a small role in Van Vogt’s three stories and a serial. The stories follow the immortal founder of The Weapon Shops, an organization that puts science to work to ensure that the common man is never dominated by government or corporations. Along the way, a 20th century man becomes a time-travel pawn, a young man seven millennia in the future takes advantage of a much shorter time-travel escapade, and you’ll spot at least one other time-travel moment.

All the stories were fixed up into two books, The Weapon Shops of Isher and The Weapon Makers, and the SFBC gathered both those into The Empire of Isher.

 The Seesaw (Jul 1941)Astounding 
The Weapon Shops (Dec 1942)Astounding
The Weapon Makers (Feb-Apr 1943)Astounding
The Weapon Shops of Isher (Feb 1949)Thrilling Wonder Stories

 What did happen to McAllister from the instant that he found the door of the gunshop unlocked? 

 [Jul 1969]

“Backlash”
by Jack Williamson
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Aug 1941

Although it doesn’t involve Hitler by name, this story may be the start of the Use-a-Time-Machine-to-Kill-Hitler subgenre.

 With the new tri-polar units I can deflect the projection field back through time. That’s where I’m going to attack Levin—in his vulnerable past. 

 [Dec 2011]
The story also appears in the 1953 collection Assignment in Eternity, including this copy which I bought at Heathrow while waiting for my mother to arrive for my wedding.
“Elsewhere”
aka "Elsewhen"
by Robert A. Heinlein (as by Caleb Saunders)
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Sep 1941


Professor Arthur Frost has a small but willing class of students who explore elsewhere and elsewhen.

 Most people think of time as a track that they run on from birth to death as inexorably as a train follows its rails—they feel instinctively that time follows a straight line, the past lying behind, the future lying in front. Now I have reason to believe—to know—that time is analogous to a surface rather than a line, and a rolling hilly surface at that. Think of this track we follow over the surface of time as a winding road cut through hills. Every little way the road branches and the branches follow side canyons. At these branches the crucial decisions of your life take place. You can turn right or left into entirely different futures. Occasionally there is a switchback where one can scramble up or down a bank and skip over a few thousand or million years—if you don’t have your eyes so fixed on the road that you miss the short cut. 

 [Feb 1980]
Asimov’s “Nightfall” also appeared in this issue.
“Short-Circuited Probability”
by Norman L. Knight
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Sep 1941
Our hero, Mark Livingston, finds a dead human body that is older than the human race—but still quite clearly his own body along with a highly evolved traveling companion.

 This is a story of something that did—or didn’t—happen. Question is, can it be properly said that it did or did not? 
—Campbell’s introduction to the story

 [Dec 2010]

“By His Bootstraps”
by Robert A. Heinlein (as by Anson MacDonald)
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Oct 1941



Bob Wilson, Ph.D. student, throws himself 30,000 years into the future, where he tries to figure out what began this whole adventure.

Evan Zweifel gave me a copy of this magazine as a present!

 Wait a minute now—he was under no compulsion. He was sure of that. Everything he did and said was the result of his own free will. Even if he didn’t remember the script, there were some things that he knew “Joe” hadn’t said. “Mary had a little lamb,” for example. He would recite a nursery rhyme and get off this damned repetitive treadmill. He opened his mouth— 

 [Dec 1974]

“Snulbug”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Unknown Worlds, Dec 1941

In need of $10,000 to open a medical clinic, Bill Hitchens calls forth Snulbug, a one-inch high demon who likes the warmth in Bill’s pipe, and orders the demon to retrieve tomorrow’s newspaper and bring it back to today.

 Then as soon as I release you from that pentacle, you’re to bring me tomorrow’s newspaper. 

 [Jan 2013]







DC Superhero Comics
First time travel: Adventure Comics 71, Feb 1942

As a kid, I never read DC (Why would I? Excelsior!), but I’ve read some DC time-travel comics since then (don’t tell Stan). The earliest DC time travel that I’ve found was in 1942, but as for the big boys, the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder got the jump on the Man of Steel by a few months: Batman’s first travel was back to ancient Rome in Batman #24 via hypnosis by Professor Carter Nichols. Here’s a table of notable DC first time-travel experiences that I’ve found through 1969 (after that, everything became time-travel chaos):

 Starman (Feb 1942)Adventure Comics 71 
Justice Society of America    (Apr/May 1942)All Star Comics 10
Green Arrow, et. al. (Jun 1942)Leading Comics 3
Green Lantern (Spring 1943)Green Lantern 7
The Shining Knight (Jul 1943)Adventure Comics 86
Batman and Robin (Fall 1943)World’s Finest 11
Wonder Woman (Nov 1946)Wonder Woman 20
Superman (Jan-Feb 1947)Superman 44
Johnny Quick (Nov 1948)Adventure Comics 134
Superboy (May/Jun 1949)Superboy 2
Lois Lane (Jan 1951)Action Comics 152
Blackhawk Commandos (Dec 1951)Blackhawk 47
Rex the Wonder Dog (Oct 1954)Rex 17
Jimmy Olsen (Sep 1955)Jimmy Olsen 7
The Flash (Oct 1956)Showcase 4
Legion of Super-Heroes (Apr 1958)Adventure Comics 247
Aquaman (Aug 1958)Adventure Comics 251
Challengers (Nov 1958)Chal. of the Unknown 4
Rip Hunter (May 1959)DC Showcase 20
Supergirl (Aug 1959)Action Comics 255
Adam Strange (Dec 1960)Mystery in Space 62
The Atomic Knights (Jun 1961)Strange Adventures 129
Elongated Man (Nov 1961)The Flash 124
JLA (Mar 1962)Justice League of America 10
The Atom (Nov 1962)The Atom 3
J’onn J’onzz (Dec 1962)Detective Comics 305
The Spectre (Apr 1966)Showcase 61
Eclipso (Jul 1966)House of Secrets 79
Prince Ra-Man (Jul 1966)House of Secrets 79
Sea Devils (Dec 1966)Sea Devils 32
 [circa 1990]

“The Immortality of Alan Whidden”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Amazing Stories, Feb 1942
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction characterizes Farley as “a rough-hewn, traditional sense-of-wonder writer,” who “as a consequence became relatively inactive with the greater sophistication of the genre after WWII.” But by the time of this story, Farley’s rough-hewn edges of his 1920s Radio Man stories had been smoothed out, and I find his writing to be engaging. I’ll grant that he never stepped away from the view of women as mere objects of beauty, and his characters have too much purity or evil with no examination of the morality of murdering a greedy man. Also, I have seen only stereotyped presentations of other cultures, but his time-travel plots are still fun and worthy of study. In this story, an immortal man serendipitously invents time travel which takes him from 1949 back to the time of his dastardly grandfather and a consistent resolution of the grandfather paradox.

 Framed in the front doorway stood a gloriously radiant girl of under twenty. Her flaunting reddish-brown hair was the first feature that caught Whidden’s admiring gaze. Then her eyes, yellow-green and feral, set wide and at just the least little slant, beneath definitely slanted furry brows of the same tawny color as the hair. Lips, full and inviting. Complexion, pink and cream. And a gingham clad figure, virginally volupuous. A sunbonnet hung down her back from strings tied in a little bow beneath her piquant chin. 

 [Feb 2015]

“Recruiting Station”
aka Masters of Time (1942); Earth’s Last Fortress (1960)
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Mar 1942

When the Glorious begin shanghaiing military recruits throughout time, Miss Norma Matheson and her once-and-future boyfriend Jack Garson are caught up in 18 versions of our solar system and a Glorious-vs-Planetarians war.

 We are masters of time. We live at the farthest frontier of time itself, and all the ages belong to us. No words could begin to describe the vastness of our empire or the futility of opposing us. 

 [Mar 2012]

“Some Curious Effects of Time Travel”
by L. Sprague de Camp
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Apr 1942
The very first Probability Zero story in Astounding took us on a romp back in time by the members of the Drinkwhiskey Institute to obtain saleable specimens of Pleistocene fauna, we learn that time travel has an effect on aging (coincidentally, the same effect described by Gaspar in Chapter 9 of El Anacronópete).

 A curious feature of time travel back from the present is that one gets younger and younger, becoming successively a youth, a child, an embryo and finally nothing at all. 

 [Nov 2012]

“Time Pussy”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Apr 1942 (as by George E. Dale)

Mr. Mac tells of the troubles of trying to preserve the body of a four-dimensional cat.

 ‘Four-dimensional, Mr. Mac? But the fourth dimension is time.’ I had learned that the year before, in the third grade. 

 [Jul 1972]
This issue also contains Asimov’s first Foundation story.
“Forever Is Not So Long”
by F. Anton Reeds
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, May 1942
The professor’s handsome assistant, Stephen Darville, is in love with the professor’s beautiful daughter and wants to spend every waking moment with her, but duty calls—duty to build a time machine, of course, in which the youthful assistant can go ten years into the future to return with the more polished time machines that will be produced by the professor’s very own technicians over the next ten years.

 The technicians would “save” themselves ten years of labor and the new sweeping highway in the future and the past would be open to mankind within the life of its discoverer. 

 [Dec 2012]

“The Ghost of Me”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Unknown Worlds, Jun 1942

After Dr. John Adams is murdered, his ghost accidentally begins haunting some time before the murder occurred.

 I’ve simply come back into time at the wrong point. 

 [Jan 2013]
The story also appears in Groff Conklin’s 1952 anthology, The Omnibus of Science Fiction.
“Heritage”
by Robert Abernathy
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jun 1942
Nick Doody, inventor of the time machine and sole explorer through time, ventures some nine millennia beyond what he reckons was the fall of mankind.

 Are you not a Man, and do not Men know everything? But I am only a... 

 [Apr 2012]
The story also appeared in this 1975 collection.
“My Name Is Legion”
by Lester del Rey
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jun 1942
At the end of World War II, as the Allies occupation army closes in on Hitler, a man offers him a way to bring back thousands of copies of himself from the future.

 Years ago in one of those American magazines, there was a story of a man who saw himself. He came through a woods somewhere and stumbled on a machine, got in, and it took him three days back in time. Then, he lived forward again, saw himself get in the machine and go back. 

 [Apr 2007]

“Time Dredge”
by Robert Arthur, Jr.
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jun 1942

I haven’t yet read this story which appeared only in Astounding, but Jamie Todd Rubin writes that the story is of two men who seek a German professor who plans to pull things out of ancient South America to help the Germany win World War II.

 The German professor had a nice idea for making archeology a branch of Blitzkrieg technique—with the aid of a little tinkering with Time. 
—John W. Campbell’s introduction to the story

 [Dec 2013]
The story also appeared in this 2003 collection.
“Secret Unattainable”
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1942
After his brother is killed by the Nazis, Herr Professor Johann Kenrube invents a machine that promises a little of everything to Hitler—unlimited energy and natural resources, instant transportation behind enemy lines, even a smidgden of time travel—but only after the Germans have over-committed themselves, does the truth about the machine emerge.

 Kenrube was at Gribe Schloss before two P.M., March 21st. This completely nullifies the six P.M. story. Place these scoundrels under arrest, and bring them before me at eight o’clock tonight. 
—comment on a memo from Himmler

 [May 2012]

“About Quarrels, about the Past”
by John Pierce
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1942
In addition to A.E. van Vogt’s “Secret Unattainable,” the July 1942 Astounding also had three short, short time travel stories as part of the magazine’s Probability Zero series. In this story, our narrator tells of the quirky Quarrels who took his time machine into the past—or we should say some past— to woo the winsome Nephertiti.

 Well, didn’t you realize that this uncertainty holds for the past, too? I hadn’t until Quarrels pointed it out. All we have is a lot of incomplete data. Is it just because we’re stupid? Not at all. We can’t find a unique wave function. 

 [May 2012]
Some other flag covers from July 1942
“The Strange Case of the Missing Hero”
by Frank Holby
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1942
Many magazines across the U.S. featured a flag on the cover in this patriotic month. In this second Probability Zero story of the issue, Elliot Gallant, hero to the people and beacon light of courage, was the first man to travel through time; Sebastian Lelong, editor of the Encyclopedia Galactica, aims to find out why he never returned.

This is the earliest story that I’ve spotted anywhere with the time traveler coming to know his own mother.

 Elliot Gallant went back into time thirty years. He liked the peaceful days of yesteryear. He married, had a son. 

 [May 2012]
Interior artwork for the Probability Zero series
“That Mysterious Bomb Raid”
by Bob Tucker
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1942
Sitting around Hinkle’s, the narrator tells the story of how he, Hinkle and the local university scientist took a bomb back in time in an attempt to nip World War II in the bud.

 Well, sir, that little machine traveled so fast that before we could stop it we found ourselves in the last century. Somewhere in the 1890s. We were going to drop our oil drip there but I happened to remember that my grandfather was spending his honeymoon in Tokyo sometime during that decade— 

 [May 2012]

“Time Marches On”
by Ted Carnell
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Aug 1942
Also appearing in the first ever Probability Zero column (along with de Camp’s story, listed above, and a story by Malcolm Jameson) is Carnell’s tale of a group of science fiction authors who explore the consequences of a simple time machine that can be built from radio parts, but can take the traveler only into the future.

 Yes, they were practically all here, thought Doc Smith, as his gaze moved from one to another of the circle. Williamson, Miller, Hubbard, Bond, McClary, Rocklynne, Heinlein and MacDonald, and many others who had once written about the mysteries of time travel—so many hundreds of years ago now. 

 [Sep 2012]

“Barrier”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Sep 1942
John Brent travels 500 years into the future only to find that he can’t return because the authoritarian state has erected barriers to change that include regularization of all verbs and temporal barriers that prevent backward time travel.

 That is only to be expected when you jump five hundred years, but it is nonetheless perplexing to have your first query of" “What city is this?” answered by the sentence: “Stappers will get you. Or be you Slanduch?” 

 [Nov 2012]
The story also appeared in Healy and McComas’s famous 1946 anthology, Adventures in Time and Space.
“The Twonky”
by by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (as by Lewis Padgett)
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Sep 1942

A dazed man (apparently dazed from running into a temporal snag) appears in a radio factory, whereupon (before returning to his own time) he makes a radio that’s actually a twonky which gets shipped to a Mr. Kerry Westerfield, who is initially quite confounded and amazed at all it can do.

 The—robot— was trying to be helpful. Only Kerry would have preferred to remain drunk. 

 [Sep 2012]

The Anachron Stories
by Malcolm Jameson
First story: Astounding Science Fiction, Oct 1942
Golden-age favorite Malcolm Jameson wrote three stories of Anachron, Inc., a company that recruits ex-commandos for their “foreign” department—a euphemism for intertemporal commerce.

 Anachron, Inc. (Oct 1942)Astounding 
Barrius, Imp. (Jan 1943)Astounding
When Is When? (Aug 1943)Astounding

 We can use a limited number of agents for our “foreign” department, but they must be wiry, active, of unusually sound constitution, and familiar with the use of all types of weapons. They MUST be resourceful, of quick decision, tact and of proven courage, as they may be called upon to work in difficult and dangerous situations without guidance or supervision. Previous experience in purchasing or sales work desirable but not necessary. EX-COMMANDO MEN usually do well with us. 

 [Nov 2012]

“The Case of the Baby Dinosaur”
by Walter Kubilius (as by J.S. Klimaris)
First publication: Future Fantasy and Science Fiction, Oct 1942
Futurian Walter Kubilius wrote this story about Wilbur and Stevenson, two members of the Society for the Investigation of Unusual Phenomena, who must track down a time-machinist jokester who, among other things, drops a baby dinosaur in Times Square, plops Cleopatra into a modern beauty contest, and brings Shakespeare to a modern-day theater.

 A time-machinist with a sense of humor! 

 [Apr 2014]

The Thunderbolt
drawn by Rafael Astarita
First publication: Doc Savage Comics #10, Nov 1942

According to the Michigan State University Comic Art Collection index, Doc Savage #10 included a 7-page origin of a superhero called The Thunderbolt (aka Dr. Adams). The story involved a scientific princess and time travel, but the hero was never heard from again. (Maybe he/she is lost in time.)

 With the aid of the mystic powers of Princess Ione, mistress of scientific wonders... 
—from the splash page

A translation appeard in the all-Boucher issue of Urania (10 Feb 1991). Strangely enough, “snulbug” translates as “snulbug” in Italian; however “Elsewhen” is “Viaggio nel tempo.”
“Elsewhen”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jan 1943

Private detective Fergus O’Breen investigates Harrison Patrigde, inventor and ne’er-do-well, who accidentally invents a short-range time machine, causing him to envision how the world (and the lovely Faith Preston) will admire him if only he can get enough money to build a bigger version (perhaps via a murder with the time machine providing an alibi).

 Time can pass quickly when you are absorbed in your work, but not so quickly as all that. Mr. Partridge looked at his pocket watch. It said nine thirty-one. Suddely, in the space of seconds, the best chronometer available had gained forty-two minutes. 

 [Nov 2012]

“The Search”
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jan 1943

When salesman Ralph Carson Drake tries to recover his missing memory of the past two weeks, he discovers that he had interactions with a woman named Selanie Johns who sold remarkable futuristic devices for one dollar, her father, and an old gray-eyed, man who is feared by Selanie and her father.

Van Vogt combined this with two other stories and a little fix-up material for his 1970 publication of Quest for the Future.

 “Just grab his right shoulder with that glove, from behind,” SpockPrice was saying. “Press below the collarbone with the points of your fingers, press hard.” 

 [Apr 2012]
The story also appeared in this 1952 collection.
“Time Locker”
by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (as by Lewis Padgett)
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jan 1943
Once again, drunken genius Gallegher invents something without knowing that he has done so’this time, a box that swallows things up until they reappear at now + x.

 He was, Vanning reflected, an odd duck. Galloway was essentially amoral, thoroughly out of place in this too-complicated world. He seemed to watch, with a certain wry amusement, from a vantage point of his own, rather disinterested for the most part. And he made things— 

 [Dec 2010]

“The Angelic Angleworm”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Unknown Worlds, Feb 1943
If Charlie Wills and you have patience, then Charlie will figure out what’s causing those strange occurrences (such as an angleworm turning into an angel) and you will figure out that angels can time travel.

 We can drop you anywhere in the continuum. 

 [Aug 2011]

“Mimsy Were the Borogroves”
by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (as by Lewis Padgett)
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Feb 1943



A scientist in the far future sends back two boxes of educational toys to test his time machine. One is discovered by Charles Dodgson’s niece in the 19th century, and the other by two children in 1942.

This story was in the first book that I got from the SF Book Club in the summer of 1970, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume 1 (edited by Robert Silverberg). I read and reread those stories until the book fell apart.

 Neither Paradine nor Jane guessed how much of an effect the contents of the time machine were having on the kids. 

 [Jul 1970]

“Sanctuary”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jun 1943
Mr. Holding, an American poet in Vichy France before the U.S. came into the war, visits an American scientist who is trying to stay neutral as he builds his time machine.

 I am, sir, a citizen of the world of science. 

 [Jan 2013]

“Paradox Lost”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Oct 1943
During a philosophy lecture, the left hand of bored college student Shorty McCabe disappears, at which point Shorty figures he may as well follow whereever the hand went, which turns out to be into a time machine invented by the only kind of person who could invent such a thing—a crazy man.

 But a time machine is impossible. It is a paradox. Your professors will explain that a time machine cannot be, because it would mean that two things could occupy the same space at the same time. And a man could go back and kill himself when he was younger, and—oh, all sorts of stuff like that. It’s completely impossible. Only a crazy man could— 

 [Dec 2012]

Dick Devins, King of Futuria
First appearance: Mystery Comics 1, 1944

Dick Devins was a 20th century time traveler who protected the 30th century from all that was evil. He appeared in the four 1944 issues of Mystery Comics (#1-4) and in at least four 1947 issues of Wonder Comics (#11-14).

 Twenty-four hours in the 30th century, eh? Sounds interesting—if your time machine works! I’ll take your offer, professor! 
—from the splash page in Mystery Comics 1

 [Jun 2012]

“As Never Was”
by P. Schuyler Miller
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jan 1944

One of the first inexplicable finds by archealogists traveling to the future is the blue knife made of no known material brought back by Walter Toynbee who promptly dies, leaving it to his grandson to explain the origin of the knife.

 I knew grandfather. He would go as far as his machine could take him. I had duplicated that. He would look around him for a promising site, get out his tools, and pitch in. Well, I could do that, too. 

 [Mar 2012]
The story also appeared in August Derleth’s 1948 anthology, Strange Ports of Call.
“Far Centaurus”
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jan 1944

Four men set out for Alpha Centauri on a 500-year journey where each will awaken only a handful of times. That’s not time travel, of course, but be patient.

Van Vogt combined this with two other stories and some fix-up material (especially for “Far Centaurus”) for his 1970 publication of Quest for the Future.

 We’re here! It’s over, the long night, the incredible journey. We’ll all be waking, seeing each other, as well as the civilization out there. Seeing, too, the great Centauri suns. 

 [Apr 2012]

Archie Comics
created by John L. Goldwater, Vic Bloom and Bob Montana
First time travel: Archie 7, Mar 1944


I’d like to know more about time travel by Riverdale’s upstanding citizens. The earliest I found was in “Time Trouble” from Archie 7 (Mar 1944), which did get the jump on Batman by five months. Later episodes were in Pep 131 (Feb 1959) and at least a handful of 1960s stories.
 [Dec 2010]

“And Adam Begot”
by Arch Oboler
First publication: Out of This World, May 1944

I haven’t yet read this story, which came from Oboler’s 1939 radio play of the same name. It was later turned into a tv episode of Lights Out and was the basis of a Steve Ditko story in the Black Magic comic book (1953).
 [May 2015]

Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies Cartoons
voices by Mel Blanc
First time travel: 28 Oct 1944



I hope I’ll find more time travel in the Warner Brothers cartoons, but for starters, there’s “The Old Grey Hare” where Elmer Fudd is taken far into the future—past 1990!— where he chases bugs with the Buck Rogers Lightning Quick Rabbit Killer, and Daffy Duck with Speedy Gonzalez in “See Ya Later, Gladiator” (1968).

 When you hear the sound of the gong, it will be exactly twoooooo thowwwwwsand Ayyyyy Deee! 

 [Jul 2013]

“The Pink Caterpillar”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Adventure, Feb 1945

After Norm Harker tells of a magic man who can bring you back a single item from the future (for the right price), Anthony Boucher’s detective Fergus O’Breen tops the story with the tale of how he figured out why a dead American living in Mexico liked to call himself a doctor.

 At least that’s the firm belief everywhere on the island: a tualala can go forward in time and bring you back any single item you specify, for a price. We used to spend the night watches speculating on what would be the one best thing to order. 

 [Dec 2012]

Classic Comics’
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

adapted by Jack Hearne
First publication: Classic Comics #24, Sep 1945


Jack Hearne’s illustrations provided an abbreviated but accurate adaptation of Hank Morgan’s medieval travails.

 Ah! I’ve got it! On June 21st, 528, there was a total eclipse of the sun, but in 1879 there was none...now to wait...that will prove everything! 

 [Jun 2011]

“Mr. Lupescu”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Weird Tales, Sep 1945

Time travel makes a cameo appearance in this story in which young Bobby tells his Uncle Alan about his godfather, Mr. Lupescu, who has a great big red nose, red gloves, red eyes, and little red wings that twitch.

 But one of Mr. Lupescu’s friends, now, was captain of a ship, only it went in time, and Mr. Lupescu took trips with him and came back and told you all about what was happening this very minute five hundred years ago. 

 [Jan 2013]

“What You Need”
by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (as by Lewis Padgett)
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Oct 1945
Reporter Tim Carmichael visits Peter Talley, a shopkeeper on Park Avenue who provides for a select clientele things that they will need in the future.

I never include prescience stories in my list, but like Heinlein’s “Life-Line,” this one is an exception.

   

 [Apr 2012]

“The Chronokinesis of Jonathan Hull”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jun 1946

Private Eye Fergus O’Breen is back for his third and final encounter with time travel, this time with a time traveler who shows up dead in his room one day and is alive and walking in a stilted manner the next. In the process of explaining himself, the traveler also displays knowledge of Boucher’ traveler in “Barrier” and also of Breen’s other time travel encounters.

 And now, I realize, Mr. O’Breen, why I was inclined to trust you the moment I saw yoiur card. It was through a fortunately preserved letter of your sister’s, which found its way into our archives, that we knew of the early fiasco of Harrison Partridge and your part therein. We knew, too, of the researches of Dr. Derringer, and how he gave up in despair after his time traveler failed to return, having encountered who knows what unimaginable future barrier. 

 [Dec 2012]

“Film Library”
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1946

Each time a film goes through Peter Caxton’s projector at Tichenor Collegiate, it gets replaced with a different film from the future.

Van Vogt combined this with two other stories and a little fix-up material for his 1970 publication of Quest for the Future.

 Not that he would necessarily have suspected anyway that he had come into possession of films that had been made more than fifty years in the future. 

 [Apr 2012]

Prize Comics’ Frankenstein
by Dirk Briefer
First time travel: Jul 1946



I’m always on the lookout for early depictions outside of sf with a climb-in-able time machine where you set the dials and go. Briefer’s humorous Frankenstein had just a such a machine in a 9-page story in issue #3 (Jul 1946). Frankenstein runs into Professor Goniph, and they travel in his machine to 2046 and 1646, although there is a twist at the end.

 It works!! It works!!! I am a genius!! We are in 2046!!! 

 [Jan 2012]
The story also appeared in this 1982 collection.
“Blind Time”
by George O. Smith
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Sep 1946
Oak Tool Works has developed a handy time treatment whereby a portion of any tool can be sent into the future for a limited time, but it's movements during that time must exactly mirror the movements of the rest of the tool during the current time. Peter Wright is the insurance adjuster who must examine an accident that the treatment is going to cause at 8pm.

 There is that element of wonder, too, you know. Every man in the place knows that someone is going to get clipped with that crane. 

 [Mar 2012]

“Vintage Season”
by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Sep 1946

More and more strange people are appearing each day in and around Oliver Wilson’s home; the explanation from the euphoric redhead leads him to believe they are time travelers gathering for an important event.

 Looking backward later, Oliver thought that in that moment, for the first time clearly, he began to suspect the truth. But he had no time to ponder it, for after the brief instant of enmity the three people from—elsewhere—began to speak all at once, as if in a belated attempt to cover something they did not want noticed. 

 [Jun 2011]

Timely Comics
founded by Martin Goodman
First time travel: All Winners Comics 21, Winter ’46-47


Timely was the predecessor to Atlas which became Marvel Comics in the ’60s. Some of their superheroes survived that transition (Captain America, the Sub-Mariner, and an android Human Torch, among others). I’ve only begun to dig up their time travel, finding one issue of All Winners Comics where Captain America and the All Winners Squad do battle with a man from 1,000,000 A.D. Also, in 1948, the Timely superhuman, comical boxer, Powerhouse Pepper, visited the pilgrims via time machine (#4, Sep 1948).

 Project yourselves far into the fture...to the year one million A.D. The Earth is almost unfit for human life! 
—Captain America in All Winners Comics 21

 [Jun 2012]

“The Man Who Never Grew Young”
by Fritz Leiber, Jr.
First publication: in Night’s Black Agents, 1947

Without knowing why, our narrator describes his life as a man who stays the same for millennia, even as others, one-by-one, are disintered, slowly grow younger and younger.

The story is soft-spoken but moving, and for me, it was a good complement to T.H. White’s backward-time-traveler, Merlyn.

 It is the same in all we do. Our houses grow new and we dismantle them and stow the materials inconspicuously away, in mine and quarry, forest and field. Our clothes grow new and we put them off. And we grow new and forget and blindly seek a mother. 

 [Apr 2012]

“Child’s Play”
by William Tenn
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Mar 1947

Sam Weber, an underemployed lawyer, receives a Bild-a-Man kit as a Christmas gift from 400 years in the future—and it’s a timely gift, too, seeing as how he could use a replacement girlfriend.

 Bild-a-Man Set #3. This set is intended solely for the use of children, between the ages of eleven and thirteen. The equipment, much more advanced that Bild-a-Man Sets 1 and 2, will enable the child of this age-group to build and assemble complete adult humans in perfect working order. 

 [May 2015]

“Time and Time Again”
by H. Beam Piper
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Apr 1947


At 43 years old, Allan Hartley is caught in a flash-bomb at the Battle of Buffalo, only to wake up in his own 13-year-old body on the day before Hiroshima.

Piper’s first short story impacted me because I fantasize about the same thing (perhaps we all do). What would you do? Who would you tell? What would you try to change? What would you fear changing?

 Here; if you can remember the next thirty years, suppose you tell me when the War’s going to end. This one, I mean. 

 [Jan 2012]

“Tomorrow and Tomorrow”
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: Fantastic Adventures, May 1947
When a typewriter appears on the floor of his boarding room and begins typing messages from the future, down-on-his-luck Steve Temple thinks that it must be his old jokester friend Harry—but he’s wrong about that, and the fate of the world 500 years down the line now depends on what Steve does about the upcoming election.

“Tomorrow and Tomorrow” doesn’t have the notority of that other Bradbury story about time travel and an elected official, but even though this one’s riddled with ridiculous ideas on time, it does accurately predict text messaging!

 Sorry. Not Harry. Name is Ellen Abbot. Female. 26 years old. Year 2442. Five feet ten inches tall. Blonde hair, blue eyes—semantician and dimentional research expert. Sorry. Not Harry. 

 [Apr 2012]

Repeat Performance
by Walter Bullock and William O’Farrell
First release: 22 May 1947

After Sheila Page kills her husband in a fit of passion on New Year’s Eve, she wishes nothing other than to have the entire year back—if destiny will only let her.

 How many times have you said, “I wish I could live this year over again?” This is the story of a woman who did relive one year of her life... 

 [Jan 2015]

“Errand Boy”
by William Tenn
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jun 1947
When invention mogul Malcolm Blyn spots an unusual can of paint that a young boy brings to his factory, he begins to wonder whether it came from the future and what else the future may hold.

 I hand him an empty can and say I want it filled with green paint—it should have orange polka dots. 

 [Apr 2012]

“The Figure”
by Edward Grendon
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1947
The narrator, along with his pals Dettner and Lasker, are frantically working on a machine that can bring something back from the future before they all called away by the army to work on some cockroach problem.

I enjoy stories with some personal connection to myself (and generally award an extra half star). In this case, the connection is Alfred Tarski, the Polish logician who was the advisor of the advisor of my own academic advisor, David B. Benson.

 Lasker is a mathematician. He specializes in symbolic logic and is the only man I know who can really understand Tarski. 

 [May 2015]

“Meddler’s Moon”
by George O. Smith
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Sep 1947
Joseph Hedgerly travels back in time some 60 years to ensure that his grandfather marries the right woman.

 Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan. If our lives are written in the Book of Acts, then no effort is worth the candle. For there will be those who will eternally strive to be good and yet shall fail. There will be others who care not nor strive not and yet will thrive. Why? Only because it is so written. And by whom? By the omnipotent God. Who, my friends, has then written into our lives both the good and the evil that we do ourselves! He moves us as pawns, directs us to strive against odds, yet knows that we must fail, because he planned it that way. 

 [Mar 2012]



DC Funny Comics
First time travel: All Funny Comics 20, Nov 1947

It seems that everyone in the DC stable wanted to get in on the road to time travel including the earliest that I’ve found so far in the Nov 1947 issue of All Funny Comics. Later, there were Bob Hope (in Bob Hope 43) and Jerry Lewis (in Jerry Lewis 43 and 54). In Bob’s story, he gets sent into the future by Carolyn Spooner. It also had a cover with Bob as a caveman. As I find others, I’ll list them in my time-travel comic books page.

 This can’t be the stone age!—I’m just putty in the hands of a girl like you! 
—from the cover of Bob Hope 43

 [Jun 2012]

Brick Bradford Movie Serial
by George Plympton, Arthur Hoerl and Lewis Clay
First release: 18 Dec 1947



In fifteen episodes, Brick travels to the moon to protect a rocket interceptor while his pals take the time top to the 18th century to find a critical hidden formula.

 Maybe tomorrow you’ll be visiting your great, great grandmother. 

 [Dec 2010]

“Me, Myself and I”
by William Tenn
First publication: Planet Stories, Winter 1947

As an experiment, a scientist sends unemployed strongman Cartney back 110 million years to make a small change. He makes this first change, which changes things in the present, and then he must go back again and again, whereupon he meets himself and him.

I keep finding earlier and earlier stories with the idea of destroying mankind by squishing a bug, and I am wondering whether this is the earliest linchpin bug (although that doesn’t actually happen here).

 Maybe tomorrow you’ll be visiting your great, great grandmother. 

 [Jan 2012]

“The Monster”
aka "The Brighton Monster"
by Gerald Kersh
First publication: Saturday Evening Post, 21 Feb 1948
In April of 1947, a man makes a connection between a tattooed Japanese man and a monster that washed up in Brighton two centuries earlier.

 I should never have taken the trouble to pocket his Account of a Strange Monster Captured Near Brighthelmstone in the County of Sussex on August 6th in the Year of Our Lord 1745. 

 [Jan 2014]



The Thiotimoline Stories
by Isaac Asimov
First story: Astounding Science Fiction, Mar 1948

I don’t know if this is time travel or not, but it certainly violates causality when the time for thiotimoline to dissolve in water is minus 1.12 seconds.

 The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline (Mar 1948)Astounding 
The Micropsychiatric Properties of Thiotimoline (Dec 1953)Astounding
Thiotimoline and the Space Age (Oct 1960)Analog
Thiotimoline to the Stars (Nov 1973)Analog
Antithiotimoline (Dec 1977)Analog

 Mr. Asimov, tell us something about the thermodynamic properties of the compound thiotimoline. 
—Professor Ralph S. Halford to Asimov at the conclusion of his Ph.D. oral exam on May 20, 1948.

 [Apr 2012]

“The Tides of Time”
by A. Bertram Chandler
First publication: Fantastic Adventures, Jun 1948
Upon his 21st birthday, the twentieth in the line of descendents of Aubrey St. John Sheraton is to be taken into confidence about the secret of his family’s centuries-long financial success.

 I’d wait five hundred years for you, my darling. 

 [Feb 2015]

“Time Trap”
by Charles Harness
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Aug 1948
The story presents a fixed series of events, which includes a man disappearing at one point in the future and (from his point of view) reappearing at the start of the story to then interact with himself, his own wife, and the evil alien.

It’s nice that there’s no talk of the universe exploding when he meets himself, but even so, the story suffers from a murkiness that is often part of time-travel stories that are otherwise enjoyable. The murkiness stems from two points: (1) That somehow the events are repeating over and over again—but from whose viewpoint? (2) The events are deterministic and must be acted out exactly the same each time. I enjoy clever stories that espouse the viewpoint of the second item (“By His Bootstraps”). But this does not play well with the first item, and (as with many stories), Harness did not address that conflict nor the consequent issue of free will. Still, I enjoyed the story and wish I’d met Harness when I traveled to Penn State University in the spring of 1982.

 But searching down time, Troy-Poole now found only the old combination of Troy and Poole he knew so well. Hundreds, thousands, millions of them, each preceding the other. As far back as he could sense, there was always a Poole hovering over a Troy. Now he would become the next Poole, enmesh the next Troy in the web of time, and go his own way to bloody death. 

 [Jul 2011]

“The Brooklyn Project”
by William Tenn
First publication: Planet Stories, Fall 1948

So far, this is the earliest story I’ve read with the thought that a miniscule change in the past can cause major changes to our time. The setting is a press conference where the Secretary of Security presents the time-travel device to twelve reporters.

 ...shifting a molecule of hydrogen that in our past really was never shifted. 

 [Jul 2011]

Hallmark Playhouse
hosted by James Hilton
First time travel: 3 Mar 1949 in Berkeley Square


Before tv’s Hallmark Hall of Fame, CBS aired the half-hour Hallmark Playhouse on its radio networks. I spotted only one time-travel episode, the well-worn Berkeley Square, which aired on 3 Mar 1949.

 An ancestor of mine built this house in 1730. See that picture there, above the fireplace? His father. Look at it. 

 [Feb 2015]


Young William Shatner

Studio One
created by Fletcher Markle
First time travel episode: 20 Mar 1949 (“Berkeley Square”)



Almost every week for a period of nearly eleven years (7 Nov 1948 to 29 Sep 1958), Studio One presented a black-and-white drama to CBS’s television audience. We can claim some of the tv plays as our own in the sf genre, and at least two included time travel (a “Berkeley Square” remake on 20 March 1949, and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” on 19 May 1952). One other sf connection comes from Studio One clips of William Shatner (in “The Defender”, 1957) which were used to portray a young Denny Crane in an episode of Boston Legal (“Son of the Defender”, 2007).

 You’ve heard of the transmigration of soul; have you ever heard of the transposition of a man’s body in time and place? 
—A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

 [Jan 2015]

ACG Anthoology Comics
founded by Benjamin W. Sangor
First time travel: Adventures into the Unknown 4, Apr 1949

ACG had a handful of weird story comic books including Adventures into the Unknown, Forbidden Worlds and Forbidden Worlds. I picked up a few of these at garage sales as a kid, but never really got into them. The earliest time travel that I’ve found so far was a story called “Back to Yesterday” in Adventures into the Unknown 4. Some of the issues are now available on google books.

 It’s supposed to work by producing a displacement in the hyper-temporal field by means of a powerful mesotronic stasis of the continuum—and anyone near the machine’s field will immediately be projected into the future! 
——Hugh Martinson in “Adventure into the Future”

 [Jun 1965]

A Connecticut Yankee
in King Arthur’s Court

adapted by Edmund Beloin (Tay Garnett, director)
First release: 22 Apr 1949



You know the story of Hank Morgan well enough by now, but do you know Edmund Beloin’s (one of Bob Hope’s writers) musical version with bumpkin Bing Crosby? This is my favorite of all the filmed versions.

 ♫Lord help the sister, who comes between me and my sister,
and Lord help the mister, who comes between me and my maaaan!♫
 
—oops, wrong Crosby movie!

 [Jan 2015]

Mighty Mouse Comics
First time travel: Mighty Mouse 11, Jun 1949

Surely Mighty Mouse time traveled in his comics many times, but the one that I ran across in the Michgan State University library records is a 2-page text piece called “The Time Machine”in #11. I haven’t read it, so I can’t say whether it’s fiction or perhaps something on H.G. Wells’s story.

The mouse did save the day himself via time travel in 1961 (Mighty Mouse 152). As I find other instances, I’ll add them to my time-travel comics page.

What Mad Universe
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Oct 1949

Suppose that a novel has no time travel, but when the hero, Keith Winton, is blown into a parallel universe (replete with alien invaders, a bigger-than-life hero, and scantily clad spacefaring women), the only way he can make a living is writing a time-travel story. Do I include the novel in my list? Normally, no—but this is Fredric Brown!

 It was a time-travel story about a man who went back to prehistoric times—told from the point of view of the cave man who encountered the time traveler. 

 [Nov 2012]

The Man Who Lived Backward
by Malcolm Ross
First publication: 1950

Mark Selby, born in June of 1940, achieves a unique perspective on life and war and death due to the fact that he lives each day from morning to night, aging in the usual way, but the next morning he wakes up on the previous day until he eventually dies just after (or is it before?) Lincoln’s assassination.

 Tomorrow, my tomorrow, is the day of the President’s death. 

 [Feb 2013]

Pebble in the Sky
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: 1950

Joseph Schwartz takes one step from 1949 to the year 847 of the Galactic Era, where he meets archaeologist Bel Arvardan, Earth scientist Dr. Shekt, the doctor’s beautiful daughter Pola, and a plot to destroy all non-Earth life in the galaxy.

 He lifted his foot to step over a Raggedy Ann doll smiling through its neglect as it lay there in the middle of the walk, a foundling not yet missed. He had not quite put his foot down again... 

 [Nov 1970]

“Stranded in Time”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: The Omnibus of Time, 1950
Only Farley himself knows his intent with this story, but to me it seems as if he were trying to make amends for his sexist tales of bygone pulp days by writing a story of football player cum physics student Milton Collett and his beautiful—but not airheaded—gal, Carolyn Van Horn, who together take a one-way trip to a future in which roles of men and women have been reversed. For me, Farley didn’t quite pull it off.

 His interne stared at him with awed respect. A man—able to read! 

 [Feb 2015]
The story also appeared in the second volume of Fantasy Book toward the end of 1950.
“The Man Who Lived Backward”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: The Omnibus of Time, 1950
Although this story shared a title with Malcolm Ross’s 1950 book of the same name, Farley’s story has but a small scope and a technical bent, explaining the natural mechanism that has taken the psychiatric patient known as Sixtythree and turned him into someone who (among other backward things) calls his beloved Margaret “Gnillrahd Tellagrahm!”

 For example, I well remember the night when he woke up the entire Asylym by yelling “Fire!”, just before the boiler explosion which nearly caused a holocaust. 

 [Feb 2015]
Farley wrote time travel stories in his spare time while under his birth name, Roger Sherman Hoar, he was a patent lawyer—and I have no other picture to illustrate another Farley story except this diagram from a time machine patent.
The Revenge of the Great White Lodge
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: first two chapters in The Omnibus of Time, 1950
Farley published the first 5500 words of this unfinished novel in his 1950 collection, The Omnibus of Time, but he never finished the partly autobiographical book about a New Hampshire lawyer, Lincoln Houghton, who follows an apparent time traveler to a cult compound before being transported to an alternate reality.

 As to the advice which I promised you. Watch your cousin warren, so far as Katherine is concerned!—Now you have a real reason to dislike your cousin. 

 [Mar 2015]
The story also appeared in this 1978 anthology.
“The Man Who Could Turn Back the Clock”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: The Omnibus of Time, 1950
After a night in an isolated barn with a seductive woman, a man tries to explain his absence to his wife. It could be that Farley invented the choose-your-own-ending-story with this short parable.

 Then the man saw that he had made a tactical mistake; so he turned back the clock a few minutes and tried the conversation over again. 

 [Mar 2015]

“Spectator Sport”
by John D. MacDonald
First publication: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Feb 1950
Dr. Rufus Maddon is the first man to travel 400 years into the future, but those he meets think he’s in need of treatment.

 Every man can have Temp and if you save your money you can have Permanent, which they say, is as close to heaven as man can get. 

 [Apr 2012]

“The Wheel of Time”
by Robert Arthur, Jr.
First publication: Super Science Stories, Mar 1950
Decades before that other Robert wrote of his Wheel of Time, Robert Arthur gave us this story of his recurring mad scientist Jeremiah Jupiter and his long-suffering assistant Lucius. This time, Jupiter plans to create a time machine from oranges, The Encyclopedia Britannica, bass drums, tiny motorcycles, and three trained chimps.

 I am going to set up an interference in the time rhythm at this particular spot. Then the chimpanzies will enter it with my time capsules—since I know you won’t— and they will deposit the capules here a million years ago! 

 [Apr 2012]

2000 Plus
created by Sherman H. Dreyer and Robert Weenolsen
First time travel: 27 Apr 1950


After World War II, the American public became fascinated with science, scientists and the future, one result of which were the national science fiction anthology radio shows starting with 2000 Plus. There was no limit to the scientific wonders that we would have by the year 2000! The series had at least two time-travel episodes in its two-year run or original scripts (and possibly a third, “Time Out of Hand”).

 The Man Who Conquered Time (12 Apr 1950)to 10,000 AD 
The Temple of the Pharaohs (12 Jul 1951)to ancient Egypt

 The sky, the sky is wrong, Sebastian! The constellations are all twisted up. Halley’s comet is back where it must have been a few thousand years ago! Sebastion, I’ve got it! That sky! That sky is the sky of about 5000 years ago! 
—from “The Temple of the Pharaohs”

 [Jan 2012]




#11 of 50 hand-colored Frazetta prints of Weird Science-Fantasy 29

EC Comics (Anthologies)
First time travel: May 1950


The prototypical comic book weird story anthologies were EC’s titles that began in April 1950 with Crypt of Terror. I don’t know whether that title and EC’s other horror comics had any time travel (because I was forbidden from reading those!), but Harry Harrison, Wally Wood and their fellow artists managed some in the titles that were more geared to sf.

I’m aiming for a complete list of EC’s time-travel vignettes, but the list as of now is only partial. The first one I found was in Weird Fantasy #13 (May/Jun 1950), which was actually its first issue. That was part of a ruse to take over a second-class postage permit from A Moon, a Girl...Romance (which ended with #12). They stuck with that numbering through the fifth issue (#17) when the postmaster general took note, and the next one was #6. I did kinda wonder how many of those romance readers were surprised when Weird Fantasy #13 showed up in their mailboxes.

There was a sister title, Weird Science, which began in May/Jun 1952 with #12 (taking over the postage permit after the 11th issue of Saddle Romance). It had many time travel stories, starting with “Machine from Nowhere” in #14 (the 3rd issue).

Weird Science and Weird Fantasy were not selling that well, so EC combined them into a single title—Weird Science-Fantasy—with #23 in March 1954. Alas, there was but one time-travel story, “The Pioneer” in #24 (Jun 1954), about which EC’s site says A man attempts to be the first to successfully time travel, but there are some casualties on the way....
By the way, the whole run of EC comics would be 4 stars, but it gets an extra ½ star because of Al Williamson’s adaptation of “The Sound of Thunder” in Weird Science-Fantasy #24 and the beautiful Frank Frazetta cover on the final issue (#29) of Weird Science-Fantasy. The third image to the left is is that Frazetta did of that cover in 1972, with a bonus vamp in the bottom right corner. The cover had a gladiator fighting cave men, but it was not a time-travel story.

In 1955, the Comics Code Authority banned the word “Weird,” so the title became Incredible Science Fiction with #30 (Jul/Aug 1955). The four-issue run had only one time-travel tale (“Time to Leave” by Roy G. Krenkel in #31).

 I just stepped off the path, that’s all. Got a little mud on my shoes! What do you want me to do, get down and pray? 

 [Circa 1963]

“Night Meeting”
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: in The Martian Chronicles, May 1950

On his own in the Martian night, Tómas Gomez meets an ancient Martian whom he can talk with but not touch.

 How can you prove who is from the Past, who from the Future? 

 [Nov 1973]

“The Fox and the Forest”
aka "To the Future"
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: Collier’s, 13 May 1950

Roger Kristen and his wife decide to take a time-travel vacation and then run so they’ll never have to return to the war torn world of 2155 AD.

 The inhabitants of the future resent you two hiding on a tropical isle, as it were, while they drop off the cliff into hell. Death loves death, not life. Dying people love to know that others die with them. It is a comfort to learn you are not alone in the kiln, in the grave. I am the guardian of their collective resentment against you two. 

 [Jan 2012]

Dimension X
created by Fred Wiehe and Edward King
First time travel: 27 May 1950



In the month that Collier’s ran its first time-travel story, Dimension X broadcast the same story with an original adaptation. I found just one later story of time-travel in their 46-episode run. (They also did an abbreviated Pebble in the Sky, but without Joseph Schwartz’s time travel.)

 To the Future (27 May 1950)from war in 2155 to peaceful 1950s 
Time and Time Again (12 Jul 1951)dying soldier to his childhood)

 We have Time Machines for sale—simple little machines of paper and ink, tubes and wires that, coupled with your own mind can soar down the years of
Eternity.
 
—from a Dimension X advertisement

 [Jan 2012]

“Time in Thy Flight”
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: Fantastic Universe, Jun/Jul 1950
Mr. Fields takes Janet, Robert and William back to 1928 to study their strange ways.

 And those older people seated with the children. Mothers, fathers, they called them. Oh, that was strange. 

 [Dec 2013]

“The Little Black Bag”
by C.M. Kornbluth
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1950


In a 25th century where the vast majority of people have stunted intelligence (or at least talk with poor grammar), a physicist accidentally sends a medical bag back through time to Dr. Bayard Full, a down-on-his-luck, generally drunk, always callously self-absorbed, dog-kicking shyster. Despite falling in with a guttersnipe of a girl, Annie Aquella, he tries to make good use of the gift.

 Switch is right. It was about time travel. What we call travel through time. So I took the tube numbers he gave me and I put them into the circuit-builder; I set it for ‘series’ and there it is-my time-traveling machine. It travels things through time real good. 

 [May 2015]

“Vengeance, Unlimited”
aka "Vengeance Fleet"
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Super Science Stories, Jul 1950
After Venus is destroyed by an invading fleet, Earth and Mars end their dispute in order to put together a fleet that can travel back in time to extract vengeance on the invaders. I like Brown’s work a lot, but not this story which had gaping holes, not the least of which was a problem with the units of c raised to the c power (sorry, that is one of my pet peeves.

 In ten years, traveling forward in space and backward in time, the fleet would have traversed just that distance—186,334186,334 miles. 

 [Jan 2014]

“Time’s Arrow”
by Arthur C. Clarke
First publication: Science-Fantasy, Summer 1950

Barton and Davis, assistants to Professor Fowler, are on an archaeological dig when a physicist sets up camp next door and speculates abound about viewing into the past...or is it only viewing?

 The discovery of negative entropy introduces quite new and revolutionary conceptions into our picture of the physical world. 

 [Dec 2008]

Operation Peril’s Time Travelers
created by Richard Hughes
First publication: Operation Peril 1, Oct/Nov 1950


Before it became a war comic, the first twelve issues of ACG’s Operation Peril included a regular series about Dr. Tom Redfield and his rich fiancé, Peggy, who buy some of Nostradamus’s papers and discover that he’d designed a time machine.

I haven’t found difinitive information on the creators of this series. Several sites name ACG editor Richard E. Hughes as the writer; some places speculate that it was drawn by Ken Bald, but Pappy’s Golden Age Blog indicates that a reader names Lin Streeter as the actual artist, and Pappy agrees.

 Why, what an odd-looking blueprint! Tempus Machina--why, Tom! That’s Latin for Time Machine! 

 [Apr 2014]

Time and Again
by Clifford D. Simak
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Oct/Nov/Dec 1950
After twenty years, Ash Sutton reurns in a cracked-up ship without food, air or water—only to report that the mysterious planet that nobody can visit is no threat to Earth. But a man from the future insists that Sutton must be killed to stop a war in time; while Sutton himself, who has developed metaphysical, religious leanings, finds a copy of This Is Destiny, the very book that he is planning to write.

 It would reach back to win its battles. It would strike at points in time and space which would not even know that thre was a war. It could, logically, go back to the silver mines of Athens, to the horse and chariot of Thutmosis III, to the sailing of Columbus. 

 [May 2012]

“The Third Level”
by Jack Finney
First publication: Collier’s, 7 Oct 1950


A New York man stumbles upon a third underground level at Grand Central Station which is a portal to the past.

This is the first of Finney’s many fine time-travel stories.

 I turned toward the ticket windows knowing that here—on the third level at Grand Central—I could buy tickets that would take Louisa and me anywhere in the United States we wanted to go. In the year 1894. 

 [Mar 2005]

“Day of the Hunters”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Future Science Fiction, Nov 1950

A midwestern professor tells a half-drunken story of time travel and the real cause of the dinosaur extinction.

 Because I built a time machine for myself a couple of years ago and went back to the Mesozoic Era and found out what happened to the dinosaurs. 

 [Jul 1976]

“Transfer Point”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Nov 1950

Vyrko, the Last Man on Earth, is confined to a shelter with the beautiful but unalluring scientist’s daughter Lavra, until he starts reading a stash of old pulp magazines with stories that exactly describe himself and Lavra.

 Good old endless-cycle gimmick. Lot of fun to kick around but Bob Heinlein did it once and for all in ‘By His Bootstraps.’ Damnedest tour de force I ever read; there just aren’t any switcheroos left after that. 

 [Jan 2013]

Ziff-Davis Comics (Anthologies)
founded by William B. Ziff, Sr. and Beranrd G. Davis
First time travel: Amazing Adventures 1, Nov 1950


Ziff-Davis published dozens of comic book titles in the first half of the 1950s including some anthologies of weird stories. The first issue of their Amazing Adventures included a time-travel tale called “Treaspasser in Time” in which the hero and the professor go through a strange fourth dimension full of inverted coneheads.

 We’re obviously stranded in the fourth dimension... We’ve both escaped that monster by plunging into the color-stream...which must be the stream of time! 

 [Jun 2012]

“A Stone and a Spear”
by Raymond F. Jones
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Dec 1950
In a post-Hiroshima world, Dr. Dell resigns from a weapons lab to farm, and when Dr. Curtis Johnson visits to pursuade him to come back, he finds that Dell’s reasons are linked to time travel.

 Here within this brain of mine has been conceived a thing which will probably destroy a billion human lives in the coming years. D. triconus toxin in a suitable aerosol requires only a countable number of molecules in the lungs of a man to kill him. My brain and mine alone is responsible for that vicious, murderous discovery. 

 [Apr 2012]

“Such Interesting Neighbors”
by Jack Finney
First publication: Collier’s, 6 Jan 1951


Al Lewis and his wife Nell have new neighbors, an inventor who talks of time travel from the future and his wife Ann.

The story was the basis for the second episode of Science Fiction Theater and also Spielberg’s Amazing Stories.

 But Ann walked straight into that door and fell. I couldn’t figure out how she came to do it; it was as though she expected the door to open by itself or something. That’s what Ted said, too, going over to help her up. “Be careful, honey,” he said, and laughed a little, making a joke of it. “You’ll have to learn, you know, that doors won’t open themselves.” 

 [Mar 2005]

“...and It Comes Out Here”
by Lester del Rey
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Feb 1951
Old Jerome Boell, inventor of the household atomic power unit, visits his young self to make sure that the household atomic power unit gets invented, so to speak.

 But it’s a longish story, and you might as well let me in. You will, you know, so why quibble about it? At least, you always have—or do—or will. I don’t know, verbs get all mixed up. We don’t have the right attitude toward tenses for a situation like this. 

 [Apr 2012]

Atlas Comics (Anthologies)
First time travel: Astonishing 6, Apr 1951


Before they started slinging superheroes, Stan Lee and the bullpen were working at Marvel’s predecessor, Atlas Comics, putting out comics that mimicked EC’s anthologies. The first one I found was in Astonishing 6 (Apr 1951). As I find others, I’ll list them on my time-travel comics page.

 Of course! that’s it! I forgot to connect the plug to the electric outlet! 
—Harry in Mystery Tales 10, Apr 1953, explaining why his time machine did’s work the first time

 [circa 1962]

Lights Out
created by Fred Coe
First time travel: 2 Jul 1951



I wonder whether Lights Out was the earliest sf anthology tv show and the earliest time travel on tv? The first four episodes were live broadcasts on New York’s WNBT-TV (NBC) starting on 3 Jun 1946. It was renewed by NBC for three seasons of national broadcast starting 26 Jul 1949, and I spotted at least two time-travel episodes. Some episodes have found their way to Youtube, although I watched “And Adam Beget” on Disk 5 of the Netflix offering. I haven’t yet listened to any of the earlier radio broadcasts.

The episode “And Adam Beget” came from a 1939 radio episode of Arch Oboler’s Plays, and it formed the basis for a 1953 Steve Ditko story, “A Hole in His Head,” in the Black Magic comic book.

 And Adam Begot (2 Jul 1951)time warp to prehistoric past 
Of Time and Third Avenue (30 Dec 1951)from Bester’s story

 You don’t understand. Look at the short, hairy, twisted body—the neck bent, the head thrust forward, those enormous brows, the short flat nose... 
—from And Adam Begot

 [Apr 2012]

Youthful Magazines
founded by Bill Friedman and Sophie Friedman
First time travel: Captain Science 5, Aug 1951


From 1949 through 1954, the Friedman’s Youthful Magazines published ten distinct comic book titles. The first time travel I spotted was in Captain Science 5, where the brainy captain takes yourthful teen Rip and redheaded bombshell Luana to Pluto at 40 times the speed of light to fight villians from the future. As I find other Youthful time travel, I’ll add it to my time-travel comics page.

 Yes. Let’s see. Infinity over pi minus the two quadrants cubed... 
—from Captain Science 5

 [Jun 2012]

“Quit Zoomin’ Those Hands Through the Air”
by Jack Finney
First publication: Collier’s, 4 Aug 1951

Grandpa is over 100 now, so surely his promise to General Grant no longer binds him to keep quiet about a time-travel expedition and a biplane.

 Air power in the Civil War? Well, It’s been a pretty well-kept secret all these years, but we had it. The Major and me invented it ourselves. 

 [May 2011]

“The Biography Project”
by H.L. Gold (as by Dudley Dell)
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Sep 1951
Many sf stories are called upon to provide one-way viewing of the past with no two-way interference, but few (not this one) will answer.

 There were 1,000 teams of biographers, military analysts, historians, etc., to begin recording history as it actually happened—with special attention, according to Maxwell’s grant, to past leaders of industry, politics, science, and the arts, in the order named. 

 [Jul 2013]

“I’m Scared”
by Jack Finney
First publication: Collier’s, 15 Sep 1951

A retired man investigates scores of cases of the past impinging itself on the present and speculates about the cause and the eventual effect.

 Then, undressing in my bedroom, I remembered that Major Bowes was dead. Years had passed, half a decade, since that dry chuckle and familiar, “All right, all right,” had been heard in the nation’s living rooms. 

 [Mar 2005]

“Of Time and Third Avenue”
by Alfred Bester
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Oct 1951

Apparently, time travel has rules. For example, you cannot go back and simply take something from the past—it must be given to you. Thus, our man from the future must talk young Oliver Wilson Knight and his girlfriend into giving up the 1990 almanac that they bought in 1950.

 If there was such a thing as a 1990 almanac, and if it was in that package, wild horses couldn’t get it away from me. 

 [Apr 2012]





Walt Disney Comic Books
First time travel: Mickey Mouse daily strips, 22 Oct 1951
The first mention of time travel that I’ve found for Disney characters in the comics was the story of Uncle Wombat’s Tock Tock Time Machine which ran in Mickey’s daily strip from 22 Oct 1951 through 19 Jan 1952. As for comic books, the first one that I ever read in the comic books was when Mickey and Goofy traveled back to Blackbeard in August, 1968. I’ve since found travel in the comic books as early as 1964 (Gyro Gearloose travels in Uncle Scrooge 50) and 1962 (Chip ’n’ Dale 30). I’ll keep looking and add any new finds to my time-travel comic book page.

 A fantastic time machine enables Mickey and Goofy to live in different periods of history. Right now they are aboard Mickey’s unarmed merchant vessel off the Carolinas in the early 1700’s—and off to starboard is a treacherous pirate ship... 
Mickey Mouse 114

 [Jul 1968]

I’ll Never Forget You
aka The House in the Square, aka Man of Two Worlds
adapted by Ranald MacDougall
First release: 7 Dec 1951


John Balderston’s play Berkeley Square is updated to the 1950s where Peter Standish, now an atomic scientist, is once again transported back to the 18th century (unfortunately, not via a nuclear accident) to romance beautiful Kate Petigrew.

 Roger, I believe the 18th century still exists. It’s all around us, if only we could find it. Put it this way: Polaris, the North Star, is very bright, yet its light takes nearly fifty years to reach us. For all we know, Polaris may have ceased to exist somewhere around 1900. Yet we still see it, its past is our present. As far as Polaris is concerned, Teddy Roosevelt is just going down San Juan hill. 

 [Mar 2015]

“Pawley’s Peepholes”
by John Wyndham
First publication: Science-Fantasy, Winter 1951-52
Jerry, his girl Sally, and everyone else in the quiet town of Westwich are forced to put up with gawking but immaterial tourists from the future who glide by on sight-seeing platforms.

 Was Great Grandma as Good as She Made Out? See the Things Your Family History Never Told You 

 [Jul 2013]

Mighty Mouse Cartoons
created by Izzy Klein and Paul Terry
First time travel: 28 Dec 1951


Mighty Mouse saved the day many a time, so doubtlessly he has saved the day in many other times, too, but so far I’ve seen only one such episode (“Prehistoric Perils”, 1952) in which our mouse goes in our villian’s machine back to the dinosaurs to save Pearl Pureheart.

 And now, my little papoose, I shall take you off in my time machine. 

 [Dec 2011]

“The Choice”
by W. Hilton-Young (published anonymously)
First publication: Punch, 19 Mar 1952

In this short-short story (about 200 words), our hero, Williams, goes to the future and returns with the memory of only one small thing.

 How did it happen? Can you remember nothing at all? 

 [Apr 2012]

“The Business, as Usual”
by Mack Reynolds
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jun 1952

A time traveler from the 20th century has only 15 minutes to negotiate a trade for an artifact to prove that he’s been to the 30th century.

 “Look, don’t you get it? I’m a time traveler. They picked me to send to the future. I’m important.”
   “Ummm. But you must realize that we have time travelers turning up continuously these days.”
 

 [Jan 2012]

“Sound of Thunder”
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: Colliers, 28 Jun 1952



Eckels, a wealthy hunter, is one of three hunters on a prehistoric hunt for T. Rex conducted by Time Safari, Inc.

This was not the first speculation on small changes in the past causing big changes now (for example, Tenn’s “Me, Myself, and I”), but I wonder whether this was the first time that sensitive dependence on initial conditions was expressed in terms of a single butterfly.

 Not a little thing like that! Not a butterfly! 

 [May 2003]

“Star, Bright”
by Mark Clifton
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Jul 1952


Pete Holmes knows that Star, his three-year-old girl, is bright, and he worries that being so intelligent will make life difficult for her (as it has for himself); and then when an equally bright boy moves in next door and Pete observes them playing together and dropping an impossibly ancient Egyptian coin, he’s not sure whether that makes the situation better or worse.

 And those were the children who were too little to cross the street! 

 [Feb 2015]

“Hobson’s Choice”
by Alfred Bester
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Aug 1952
By night, Addyer dreams of traveling to different times; by day, he is a statistician investigating an anomalous increase in the country’s population centered right in the part of the country that took the heaviest radiation damage in the war.

 Either he imagined himself moved backward in time with a double armful of Encyclopedia Britannica, best-sellers, hit plays and gambling records; or else he imagined himself transported forward in time a thousand years to the Golden Age of perfection. 

 [Jan 2015]

Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies Comic Books
First time travel: Bugs Bunny 50, Aug 1952

No doubt that the bunny and his friends have often traveled through time in the pages of four colors with many titles published by Dell/Gold Key/Whitman. The first such possible escapade that I’ve seen was a story called “Fiddling with the Future” in Bugs Bunny 50 in which some gypsy friends of Bugs can read the future.

 We saw you reading the future with it over at the carnival! 


“There Is a Tide”
by Jack Finney
First publication: Collier’s, 2 Aug 1952

A sleepless man, struggling with a business decision, sees an earlier occupant of his apartment who is struggling with a decision of his own.

 I saw the ghost in my own living room, alone, between three and four in the morning, and I was there, wide awake, for a perfectly sound reason: I was worrying. 

 [May 2011]

“The Entrepreneur”
by Thomas Wilson
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Sep 1952
Ivan Smithov, an upstanding U.S. Communist from the year 2125, is charged with making arrangements for a team of three entrepreneurs to visit the U.S. in 1953 to make preparations for a time tourist enterprise—but Ivan runs into problems procuring local currency for the expedition from the Soviet embassy of the time until his companions’ behavior draws enough attention that the ambassador begins to believe him. But what other consequences might their goings-on have?

 Mrat-See turned quickly, wincing at the protest of his aching muscles. The creature standing before him might have issued from a nightmare. Its heavy, barrellike body was slung like a hammock on four bowed legs. The enormous head, with undershot jaw, protruding fangs, and pendulous lips, was turned toward him unswervingly, and the continuing growl was a deep rumble of menace from the massive chest. Mrat-See’s heart leaped with fear. He had seen such creatures before in the Yorkgrad zoo. Dogs they were called. 

 [May 2015]

“Bring the Jubilee”
by Ward Moore
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Nov 1952
In a world where the South won the “War for Southron Independence,” Hodge Backmaker, a northern country bumpkin with academic leanings, makes his way to New York City where he becomes disillusioned, ponders the notions of time and free will, and eventually goes to a communal think-tank where time travel offers him the chance to visit the key Gettysburg battle of the war.

 I could say that time is an illusion and that all events occur simultaneously. 

 [Dec 2013]

Bring the Jubilee
by Ward Moore
First publication: 1953

The novella version of this story appeared first, but I don’t know which was written first. Both are well worth reading, but my preference is for the novella which tells the same story in a more direct fashion.

 I could say that time is a convention and that all events occur simultaneously. 

 [Dec 2013]

Operation Freedom
First publication: Six issues circa 1953
A group called the Institute of Fiscal and Political Education published a series of at least six giveaway comic books to extol the virtues of America and democracy. Some were printed with blue and red ink with nice halftones, and others were black and white. I don’t know many details, but Lone Star Comics says that Joshua Strong goes back in time to explain issues such as the right to free speech and press (in issue #5).

 We must never forget our rights are based on our FAITH IN GOD. We claim them in Jefferson’s words, Not under the charters of kinds or legislatures, but under the King of Kings. 
—from the first issue

 [Jun 2012]
Button Gwinnett plays the title role in this story.
“Button, Button”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Startling Stories, Jan 1953
Harry Smith has an eccentric scientist uncle who needs to make some money from his astonishing invention that can bring one gram of material from the past.

 Do you remember the time a few weeks back when all of upper Manhattan and the Bronx were without electricity for twelve hours because of the damndest overload cut-off in the main power board? I won’t say we did that, because I am in no mood to be sued for damages. But I will say this: The electricity went off when my uncle Otton turned the third knob. 

 [Jul 1976]

“Time Bum”
by C.M. Kornbluth
First publication: Fantastic, Jan/Feb 1953

After a con man reads a lurid science fiction magazine, a man who’s quite apparently out-of-time shows up to rent a furnished bungalow from Walter Lacblan.

 Esperanto isn’t anywhere. It’s an artificial language. I played around with it a little once. It was supposed to end war and all sorts of things. Some people called it the language of the future. 

 [May 2015]

“Who’s Cribbing”
by Jack Lewis
First publication: Startling Stories, Jan 1953

Jack Lewis finds that all his story submissions are being returned to him with accusations of plagiarizing the great, late Todd Thromberry, but Lewis has another explanation.

 Dear Mr. Lewis,
   We think you should consult a psychiatrist.
Sincerely,
Doyle P. Gates
Science Fiction Editor
Deep Space Magazine
 

 [Jan 2012]

“Dominoes”
by C.M. Kornbluth
First publication: Star Science Fiction Stories, Feb 1953
Stock broker W.J. Born jumps two years into the future to find out when the big crash is coming.

 A two-year forecast on the market was worth a billion! 

 [Apr 2012]

“Death Ship”
by Richard Matheson
First publication: Fantastic Story Magazine, Mar 1953

This story is in The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century, so it’s gotta have time travel, right? For me, though, it was a Flying Dutchman story with the heroes’ ghosts visiting their own crash site in normal time fashion, and at the end of the Twilight Zone version, the ghosts appear to be in a time loop, doomed to repeated visits to the same crash site without necessarily traveling through time.

 Nothing from Ross. Nothing from any of them then but stares and shuddering breaths.
    Because the twisted bodies on the floor were theirs, all three of them.
    And all three...dead.
 

 [Jul 2011]

“The Old Die Rich”
by H.L. Gold
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Mar 1953

Dang those drop-dead beautiful, naked redheads with a gun and a time machine! How did actor Mark Weldon start out investigating the starvation deaths of rich, old vagrants and end up at the wrong end of a derringer being forced into a time machine invented by Miss Robert’s mad scientist father?

 She had the gun in her hand. I went into the mesh cage, not knowing what to expect and yet too afraid of her to refuse. I didn’t want to wind up dead of starvation, no matter how much money she gave me—but I didn”t want to get shot, either. 

 [Jan 2012]

“The Other Inauguration”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Mar 1953
Usually, when I start a story, I already know whether it has time travel in the plot, but occassionally I’m surprised when the temporal antics arise, as in this story of Peter Lanroyd’ attempt to change the outcome of a presidental election that’s stolen by an ideologue. (No, no—not the year 2000. This is a fictional tale.)

I first read this story during my ice-climbing trip to Ouray with Tim.

 To any man even remotely interested in politics, let alone one as involved as I am, every 1st Tue of every 4th Nov must seem like one of the crucial if-points of history. 

 [Jan 2013]

“Infinite Intruder”
by Alan E. Nourse
First publication: Space Science Fiction, Jul 1953

Since the 4-day atomic war of 2078, Roger Strang has been working on the Barrier Project to build an electronic barrier against missles, but now someone is trying to kill his 12-year-old son with attacks that seemingly succeed but don’t, while any records of his own background have been erased, as if he had never even lived, at least not in the 21st century. As a bonus, the story also has a grandfather paradox.

 The theory said that a man returning through time could alter the social and technological trends of the people and times to which he returned, in order to change history that was already past. 

 [May 2012]

ACE Comics
published by Aaron A. Wyn and Rose Wyn
First time travel: Baffling Mysteries 18, Nov 1953


Ace Comics published a couple dozen anthology comic titles between 1940 and 1956. The only time travel that I’ve spotted so far was in Baffling Mysteries 18.

 I am Chronos, the spirit of time! Do not destroy the sacred sun dial! Come closer and I shall initiate you into the mysteries of time which you pursue so hotly. 

 [Jun 2012]

Black Magic
edited by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon
First time travel: Black Magic #27, Nov 1953



Simon and Kirby put together the Black Magic horror comic for Prize Comics in the fifties, and there was at least one time-travel story, “A Hole in His Head” by none other than an early Steve Ditko. That story was based on a 1951 tv episode of Lights Out (“And Adam Begot”) written by Arch Oboler and taken from the 1939 radio show Arch Oboler’s Plays.

 Somehow we have stepped out of our own time into another. 
—from “A Hole in His Head”

 [Apr 2012]

“Hall of Mirrors”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Dec 1953
You have invented a time machine of sorts that can, at any time, replace yourself with an exact duplicate of your body—and mind—from any time in the past.

 They didn’t use that style of furniture in Los Angeles—or anywhere else that you know of—in 1954. That thing over there in the corner—you can’t even guess what it is. So might your grandfather, at your age, have looked at a television. 

 [Jul 2011]

“Anachron”
by Damon Knight
First publication: If, Jan 1954

Brother Number One invents a machine that can extract things and place things in elsewhen, but only if the acts don’t interfere with free will; Brother Number Two tries to steal the machine.

 “By God and all the saints,” he said. “Time travel.”
    Harold snorted impatiently. “My dear Peter, ‘time’ is a meaningless word taken by itself, just as ‘space’ is.”
    “But barring that, time travel.”
    “If you like, yes.”
 

 [Jul 2011]

“Experiment”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Feb 1954

Professor Johnson’s colleagues wonder what would happen if he refuses to send an object back to the past after it has already appeared there.

I haven’t found anything earlier that brings up this question, but although the resolution was clever, it didn’t satisfy me, and (though I could be wrong) I think Brown misses the fact that at one point there should be two copies of the object in existence at the same time. In any case, this was the first part of a pair of short-short stories in the Feb ’54 Galaxy, which together were called Two-Timer (the second of which had no time travel).

 What if, now that it has already appeared five minutes before you place it there, you should change your mind about doing so and not place it there at three o’clock? Wouldn’t there be a paradox of some sort involved? 

 [Jan 2012]

The Haertel Scholium Stories
by James Blish
First story: Galaxy Science Fiction, Feb 1954

Blish’s story “Beep” appeared in 1954 with a casual mention of time-travel when a message is overheard from a future spaceship that’s following a worldline backwards through time. The main story follows video reporter Dana Lje who stumbles upon the newly invented Dirac radio which allows instantaneous communication and, as only she realizes, also carries a record of every transmission ever made, both past and future.

At Larry Shaw’s request, Blish expanded “Beep” into the short novel The Quincunx of Time, and both these stories share a background wherein the work of Dolph Haertel (the next Einstein) provides an ftl-drive (the Haertel Overdrive, later called the Imaginary Drive), an antigravity device (the spindizzy), and an instantaneous communicator (the Dirac Radio). I read many of these in the early ’70s, but can’t find my notes and don’t remember any other time travel beyond that one communiqué that Lje overheard. Still, I’ll list everything in The Haertel Scholium and reread them some day!

 Pantropy and Seedling Stars stories (1942-1956)Various publications 
Cities in Flight stories (1952-1962)Various publications
Common Time (Jul 1953)in Shadow of Tomorrow
Beep (Feb 1954)Galaxy
Nor Iron Bars (Nov 1957)Infinity
A Case of Conscience (Sep 1953) & novel (1958)If
A Dusk of Idols (Mar 1961)Amazing
Midsummer Century (Apr 1972) & novel (May 1972)F&SF

 It is instead one of the seven or eight great philosophical questions that remain unanswered, the problem of whether man has or has not free will. 

 [circa 1974]

“The Immortal Bard”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Universe Science Fiction, May 1954


Dr. Phineas Welch tells an English professor a disturbing story about a matter of temperal transference and a student in the professor’s Shakespeare class.

 I did. I needed someone with a universal mind; someone who knew people well enough to be able to live with them centuries way from his own time. Shakespeare was the man. I’ve got his signature. As a memento, you know. 

 [Jul 1976]

“Where the World is Quiet”
by Henry Kuttner (as by C.H. Liddell)
First publication: Fantastic Universe, May 1954

This story appears in an issue of Fantastic Stories with a remarkable lineup including Frank Belknap Long, Philip José Farmer, Jack Williamson, Philip K. Dick, Richard Matheson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Robert Bloch. As for Kuttner’s contribution, a crippled priest enlists the aid of an adventurous anthropologist, Señor White, to track the fate of seven young girls who disappeared into the Cordilleras of eastern Peru in the direction of the great peak, Hauscan. Do anthropologists know anything about time-slips? (Yes, just a slight time-travel connection.)

 So, even now I do not know all that lay behind the terror in that Peruvian valley. This much I learned: the Other, like Lhar and her robot, had been cast adrift by a time-slip, and thus marooned here. There was no way for it to return to its normal Time-sector. It had created the fog-wall to protect itself from the direct rays of the sun, which threatened its existence. 

 [May 2015]

“Something for Nothing”
by Robert Sheckley
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Jun 1954

A wishing machine (aka Class-A Utilizer, Series AA-1256432) appears in Joe Collins’ bedroom along with a warning that this machine should be used only by Class-A ratings!

 In rapid succession, he asked for five million dollars, three functioning oil wells, a motion-picture studio, perfect health, twenty-five more dancing girls, immortality, a sports car and a herd of pedigreed cattle. 

 [Jan 2012]

“Breakfast at Twilight”
by Philip K. Dick
First publication: Amazing Stories, Jul 1954


Tim McLean’s ordinary family awakens on an ordinary day to find themselves in a war zone seven years in the future.

 We fought in Korea. We fought in China. In Germany and Yugoslavia and Iran. It spread, farther and farther. Finally the bombs were falling here. It came like the plague. The war grew. It didn’t begin. 

 [Jan 2012]

“This Is the Way the World Ends”
by H.W. Johnson
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Aug 1954
Living in a world threatened by nuclear extinction, seven-year-old Tommy receives the current and future thoughts of animals and people.

 There isn’t going to be anything. It’s all black after tomorrow. 

 [Dec 2012]

“The Easy Way”
by Oscar A. Boch
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Sep 1954
Hal Thomas’s wife thinks that he doesn’t pay enough attention to his children, one of whom is building an antigravity/time machine upstairs and the other of whom doesn’t need the machine to move through space and time.

 Space-time—is cute? 

 [Dec 2012]

“Meddler”
by Philip K. Dick
First publication: Future Science Fiction, Oct 1954


A government project sends a Time Dip into the future just to observe whether their actions have turned out well, but subsequent observations show that the act the observing has somehow eliminated mankind, so Hasten (the world’s most competent histo-researcher) must now go forward to find out what caused the lethal factor.

 We sent the Dip on ahead, at fifty year leaps. Nothing. Nothing each time. Cities, roads, buildings, but no human life. Everyone dead. 

 [Jan 2012]

Cave Girl
by Bob Powell
First time travel: Cave Girl 14, Dec 1954

Cave Girl had four issues of jungle adventures (#11 to #14), and the last one had a strange machine that made dead people come to life by sending them into their own past, but keeping them in the present moment. In the end, the machine sends itself into the far past and disappears from the present.

The comic was published by Magazine Enterprises, which published from 1944 to 1958. So far, this Cave Girl is the only time travel I’ve spotted, though I do have one of their Teena issues in my dad’s stash of comics.

 Men in strange garb appear. It seems that they unfasten the machine and take it away. Actually they are setting up the machine, but since time is running backwards—so do they! 

 [Jun 2012]

The End of Eternity
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: 1955

Andrew Harlan, Technician in the everwhen of Eternity, falls in love and starts a chain of events that can mean the end of everything.

 He had boarded the kettle in the 575th Century, the base of operations assigned to him two years earlier. At the time the 575th had been the farthest upwhen he had ever traveled. Now he was moving upwhen to the 2456th Century. 

 [Apr 1968]

“The Past Master”
by Robert Bloch
First publication: Bluebook, Jan 1955

In a United States on the verge of atomic war with the Communists, a handsome, naked man—call him John Smith”walks out of the ocean with a bag full of money and, according to eyewitnesses, a mind to buy the Mona Lisa and a long list of other masterpieces.

 Then he began writing titles. I’m afraid I gasped. “Really,” I said. “You can’t actually expect to buy the ‘Mona Lisa’!” 

 [Feb 2015]

“Blood”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Feb 1955

A cute joke story about the last two vampires on Earth who flee into the future to escape persecution and simply search for a filling meal.

 I, a member of the dominant race, was once what you called... 

 [Jul 2013]

“The Dragon”
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Mar 1955

On a dark night on a moor, 900 years after the nativity, two knights face down a steaming behemoth.

 It was a fog inside of a mist inside of a darkness, and this place was no man’s place and there was no year or hour at all, but only these men in a faceless emptiness of sudden frost, storm, and white thunder which moved behind the great falling pane of green glass that was the lightning. 

 [Dec 2013]

“Project Mastodon”
by Clifford D. Simak
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Mar 1955

Wes Adams, Johnny Cooper and Chuck Hudson (chums since boyhood) build a time machine and proceed to do exactly what you or I would do: Go back 150,000 years, found the new Republic of Mastodonia somewhere in pre-Wisconsin, and seek diplomatic recognition from the United States of America.

 If you guys ever travel in time, you’ll run up against more than you bargain for. I don’t mean the climate or the terrain or the fauna, but the economics and the politics. 

 [Jan 2012]

“Target One”
by Frederik Pohl
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Apr 1955
Thirty-five years after the death of Albert Einstean, atomic bombs have left 2 billion corpses; the bombs came from Einstein’s formulae; so what is it we need?

I had the good fortune to meet Fred Pohl in July of 2003 at Jim Gunn's workshop in Manhattan, Kansas. On a warm day outside the student union building, he kindly sat and talked to me about the background for a story I was writing about him and Asimov.

 Quite simply, it is the murder of Albert Einstein. 

 [Feb 2012]

Science Fiction Theater
aka Beyond the Limits (reruns)
created by Ivan Tors
First time travel: 15 Apr 1955


I’ve seen only the second episode, “Time Is Just a Place” (in color!), in which a happy 1950s couple (one of whom is Mr. B from Hazel—did she ever time travel?) get new neighbors who have escaped from the future. The episode was based on a 1951 Jack Finney story, “Such Interesting Neighbors.”

 Nothing to get excited about. Any housewife could use one. 
—the interesting neighbor talking about his sonic broom

 [Sep 2011]



Adventures of Superman
created by Whitney Ellsworth and Robert J. Maxwell
First time travel: 23 Apr 1955


In the first episode of Season 3, “Through the Time Barrier” (23 Mar 1955), Professor Twiddle’s time machine takes the staff of the Daily Planet back to prehistoric times. I don’t know whether there was any other time travel.

 Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Look—up in the sky! It’s a bird! t’s a plane! It’s Superman!

Yes, it’s Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who—disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannored reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper—fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!
 

 [circa 1966]

“Sam, This Is You”
by Murray Leinster
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, May 1955

While up on a pole, lineman Sam Yoder gets a call from his future self who proceeds to tell him exactly what to do, even if is suspiciously criminal and it makes his girl, Rosie, furious.

 You’ve heard of time-traveling. Well, this is time-talking. You’re talking to yourself—that’s me—and I’m talking to myself—that’s you—and it looks like we’ve got a mighty good chance to get rich. 

 [Jun 2012]





The Time Patrol Stories
by Poul Anderson
First story: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May 1955

Former military engineer Manse Everard is recruited by the Time Patrol to prevent time travelers from making major changes to history (history bounces back from the small stuff).

For me, the logic of these stories pushes in a good direction, but still leaves one gaping hole that’s evinced by the fate of Manse’s compatriot Keith Denison in “Brave to Be a King”—namely, what happened to the younger Denison? Perhaps my problem is simply that I don’t grok ℵ-valued logic.

The stories have been collected in various volumes, the most complete of which is the 2006 Time Patrol that contains all but The Shield of Time.

 Time Patrol (May 1955)F&SF 
Delenda Est (Dec 1955)F&SF
Brave to Be a King (Aug 1959)F&SF
The Only Game in Town (Jan 1960)F&SF
Gibraltar Falls (Oct 1975)F&SF
Ivory, and Apes, and Peacocks (Oct 1983)in Time Patrolman
The Sorrow of Din the Goth (Oct 1983)in Time Patrolman
Star of the Sea (Oct 1991)in The Time Patrol
The Year of the Ransom (Apr 1988)about 25,000 words
The Stranger That Is Within Thy Gates (Sep 1990)in The Shield of Time
Women and Horses and Power and War (Sep 1990)in The Shield of Time
Before the Gods That Made the Gods (Sep 1990)in The Shield of Time
Beringia (Sep 1990)in The Shield of Time
Riddle Me This (Sep 1990)in The Shield of Time
Amazement of the World (Sep 1990)in The Shield of Time
Death and the Knight (Jun 1995)in Tales of the Knights Templar

 If you went back to, I would guess, 1946, and worked to prevent your parents’ marriage in 1947, you would still have existed in that year; you would not go out of existence just because you had influenced events. The same would apply even if you had only been in 1946 one microsecond before shooting the man who would otherwise have become your father. 

 [Feb 2012]

“Service Call”
by Philip K. Dick
First publication: Science Fiction Stories, Jul 1955


It the midst of McCarthyism, Dick wrote this story about an accidental travel through time to the 1950s by a swibble repairman, whereupon Mr. Courtland and his colleagues pry information out of the repairman about exactly what a swibble is and how it has stopped all war.

 —remember the swibble slogan: Why be half loyal? 

 [Jan 2012]

“The Discovery of Morniel Mathaway”
by William Tenn
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Oct 1955
An art critic from the 25th century visits struggling poet David Dantziger and his totally unappreciated painter friend Morniel Mathaway.

 So we indulged in the twentieth-century custon of shaking hands with him. First Morniel, then me—and both very gingerly. Mr. Glescu shook hands with a peculiar awkwardness that made me think of the way an Iowan farmer might eat with chopsticks for the first time. 

 [Apr 2012]

Casper, the Friendly Ghost
created by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo
First time travel: 21 Oct 1955


Every Casper cartoon had the same plot, including at least one (“Red, White and Boo”) from 1955 where Casper wonders whether people in the past will also be scared of him, so he uses a time machine to visit a caveman, Robert Fulton, Paul Revere, General Washington and a Revolutionary War battle.

 Gee, maybe people in the past won’t be scared of me. 

 [circa 1960]

X Minus One
by Ernest Kinoy, George Lefferts, et. al.
First time travel: 14 Dec 1955



When Dimension X was canceled in 1951, I wonder whether radio listeners felt like future trekkies. If so, they had to wait less than four years for a revival of sorts with the first 15 episodes of X Minus One being new versions of old DX shows. Those were followed by more than 100 new episodes, many of which were taken from contemporary Galaxy stories and some of which took us through time.

 To the Future (14 Dec 1955)from war in 2155 to peaceful 1950s 
Time and Time Again (11 Jan 1956)dying soldier to his childhood
A Gun for Dinosaur (7 Mar 1956)hunting in the late Mesozoic
Project Mastodon (5 Jun 1956)to the Republic of Mastodonia, 150,000 BC
The Old Die Rich (17 Jul 1956)slueth forced into time machine
Sam, This Is You (31 Oct 1956)phone call from future
Something for Nothing (10 Apr 1957)a wishing machine from future
Morniel Mathaway (17 Apr 1957)art critic from the 25th century
Target One (26 Dec 1956)back to kill Einstein to stop Armageddon

 These are stories of the future, adventures in which you’ll live in a million could-be years on a thousand maybe worlds. The National Broadcasting Company in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction magazine presents...X-x-x-x-x...Minus-minus-minus-minus-minus...One-one-one-one-one... 

 [Jan 2012]

“Consider Her Ways”
by John Wyndham
First publication: in Sometime, Never, 1956


An amnesiac woman, Jane Waterleigh, awakens in an all-female future world with four castes (mothers, doctors, servants and workers), and she can only assume she’s in a dream or hallucination where she finds herself in an enormous body whom the doctors and servants call “Mother Orchis.”

 Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways. 

 [Jan 2013]

The Winds of Time
by Chad Oliver
First publication: 1956
Here’ another example of what’s not time travel: Aliens crashland on Earth and then sleep 15,000 years in hopes that mankind (in the form of Dr. Wes Chase, for the purposes of this story) will have developed space travel. But I wanted to include the story in my list anyway, because I enjoyed parts of it and because of the quote from Chapter 16, years before a certain other doctor took it to mind that all of Star Fleet should know he was a doctor, not a...

 I’m a doctor, not a space cadet. 

 [Apr 2013]

“The Futile Flight of John Arthur Benn”
by Richard Wilson (as by Edward Halibut)
First publication: Infinity Science Fiction, Feb 1956
A man with a death wish wishes himself back in time.

 Now, he thought, what? This was scarcely dinosaur country. 

 [Jul 2013]

“The Message”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Feb 1956

Time traveler and historian George tries to travel back to World War II without making any changes to the world.

 George was deliriously happy. Two years of red tape and now he was finally back in the past. Now he could complete his paper on the social life of the foot soldier of World War II with some authentic details. 

 [Jul 1976]



The Reggie Rivers Stories
by L. Sprague de Camp
First story: Galaxy Science Fiction, Mar 1956

Dinosaur hunters Reggie Rivers (no relation to the Denver Bronco) and his partner, the Raja, organize time-travel expeditions in a world with a Hawking-style chronological protection principle. The last of these stories is by Chris Bunch:

 A Gun for Dinosaur (Mar 1956)Galaxy 
The Big Splash (Jun 1992)Asimov’s
The Synthetic Barbarian (Sep 1992)Asimov’s
Crocamander Quest (Oct 1992)The Ultimate Dinosaur
The Satanic Illusion (Nov 1992)Asimov’s
The Cayuse (Jan 1993)Expanse
The Mislaid Mastodon (May 1993)Analog
Rivers of Time (Nov 1993)Rivers of Time
Pliocene Romance (Nov 1993)Rivers of Time
The Honeymood Dragon (Nov 1993)   Rivers of Time
Gun, Not for Dinosaur (Nov 1993)Rivers of Time

 Oh, I’m no four-dimensional thinker; but, as I understand it, if people could go back to a more recent time, their actions would affect our own history, which would be a paradox or contradiction of facts. Can’t have that in a well-run universe, you know. 
—from “A Gun for Dinosaur”

 [Jul 2011]

“Second Chance”
by Jack Finney
First publication: Good Housekeeping, Apr 1956

A college student lovingly restores a 1923 Jordan Playboy roadster—a restoration that takes him back in time.

 You can’t drive into 1923 in a Jordan Playboy, along a four-lane superhighway; there are no superhighways in 1923. 

 [Mar 2005]

“The Failed Men”
by Brian Aldiss
First publication: Science Fantasy, May 1956

Surry Edmark, a 24th century volunteer on a humanitarian mission to save mankind from extinction some 360,000 centuries in the future, tells his story to a comforting young Chinese woman.

 You are the struback. 

 [Apr 2014]

“The Man Who Came Early”
by Poul Anderson
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jun 1956

An explosion throws Sergeant Gerald Robbins from the 1950s to about 990 AD Iceland where, dispite his advanced knowledge, he had trouble fitting in.

 Now, then. There is one point on which I must set you right. The end of the world is not coming in two years. This I know. 

 [Jul 2011]

“Absolutely Inflexible”
by Robert Silverberg
First publication: Fantastic Universe, Jul 1956

Whenever one-way jumpers from the past show up, it’s up to Mahler to shuffle them off to the moon where they won’t present any danger of infection to the rest of humanity, but now Mahler is faced with a two-way jumper.

 Even a cold, a common cold, would wipe out millions now. Resistance to disease has simply vanished over the past two centuries; it isn’t needed, with all diseases conquered. But you time-travelers show up loaded with potentialities for all the diseases the world used to have. And we can’t risk having you stay here with them. 

 [Apr 2012]

Classics Illustrated’s The Time Machine
adapted by Lou Cameron
First publication: Classics Illustrated 133, Jul 1956


This first comic book adaptation appeared in the month of my birth. Of course, as a self-respecting child of the ’50s and ’60s, I was never seen reading Classics Illustrated in public. Fortuntately, adults everywhere can now read the classic comic online.

 Then I drew a breath, set my teeth, gripped the starting lever with both hands and went off into time. 


“Compunded Interest”
by Mack Reynolds
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Aug 1956

“Mr. Smith” shows up in 1300 A.D. to invest ten gold coins at 10% annual interest with Sior Marin Goldini’s firm, after which he shows up every 100 years to provide guidance.

 In one hundred years, at ten per cent compounded annually, your gold would be worth better than 700,000 zecchini. 

 [Dec 2013]

The Door Into Summer
by Robert A. Heinlein
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Oct—Dec 1956

Inventor Dan Davis falls into bad company and wakes up 30 years later, but he gets an idea of how to put things right even at this late point.

 Denver in 1970 was a very quaint place with a fine old-fashioned flavor; I became very fond of it. It was nothing like the slick New Plan maze it had been (or would be) when I had arrived (or would arrive) there from Yuma; it still had less than two million people, there were still buses and other vehicular traffic in the streets—there were still streets; I had no trouble finding Colfax Avenue. 

 [Aug 1968]

“Hopper”
by Robert Silverberg
First publication: Infinity Science Fiction, Oct 1956
I haven’t yet read this short story that Silverberg expanded to a novel in 1967, though perhaps some day I will spot the Ace Double paperback that packaged it along with four other stories and the short novel, The Seed of Earth.

“Gimmicks Three”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Nov 1956

Isidore Wellby makes a timely pact with the devil’s demon.

 Ten years of anything you want, within reason, and then you’re a demon. You’re one of us, with a new name of demonic potency, and many privileges beside. You’ll hardly know you’re damned. 

 [Jul 1976]

“It Ends with a Flicker”
by William Tenn
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Dec 1956
Max AlbenMac Albin is genetically predisposed to survive time travel, so he is the natural choice to go back in time and shift the course of a missle that shifted the course of history.

 Now! Now to make a halfway decent world! Max Alben pulled the little red switch toward him.

flick!

Now! Now to make a halfway interesting world! Mac Albin pulled the little red switch toward him.
flick!
 
 [Apr 2012]

Charlton Comics (Anthologies)
First time travel: Strange Suspense Stories #32, May 1957

With the legal demise of Fawcett Comics in the ’50s, Charton Comics took over their non-superhero titles. I’m still tracking down their time-travel stories, but the earliest I’ve found so far is a Steve Ditko tale, “The Last Laugh” in Strange Suspense Stories #32 (May 1957). As I find more, I’ll list them on my time-travel comics page.

 What a book title! Time—The Fourth Dimension! Going time travelling, Lester? 
—from “The Last Laugh”

 [circa 1968]

“Blank!”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Infinity Science Fiction, Jun 1957


Dr. Edward Barron has a theory that time is arranged like a series of particles that can be traveled up or down; his colleague and hesitant collaborator August Pointdexter isn’t so sure about the application of the theory to reality.

 An elevator doesn’t involve paradoxes. You can’t move from the fifth floor to the fourth and kill your grandfather as a child. 

 [Jul 1976]

“The Assassin”
by Robert Silverberg
First publication: Imaginative Tales, Jul 1957
Walter Bigelow has spent 20 years of his life building the Time Distorter that will allow him to go back to save Abraham Lincoln.

 The day passed. President Lincoln was to attend the Ford Theatre that night, to see a production of a play called “Our American Cousin.” 

 [Apr 2014]

“A Loint of Paw”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Aug 1957

Master criminal Montie Stein has found a way around the statute of limitations.

 It introduced law to the fourth dimension. 

 [Jul 1976]

CBS Radio Workshop
produced by William N. Robson and William Froug
First time travel: 15 Sep 1957



Perhaps it was Finney’s success in the 50s that encouraged the experimental CBS Radio Workshop to air their only time-travel fantasy in their penultimate episode, “Time Found Again” from a 1935 Mildrem Cram story. Earlier in the series, they did other science fiction including a musical version of Heinlein’s “The Green Hills of Earth,” Pohl and Kornbluth’s The Space Merchants, Huxley’s Brave New World, two Bradbury character sketches, and more.

 Bart: Do you think it’s possible for a person to go back in time?
George: Well, you know there is a theory that nothing is lost, nothing is destroyed.
Bart: Then you do believe it’s possible?
George: Anything is possible, Bart, to a degree. Science has proved that. It’s conceivable, with concentration and imagination, that a person might, for a moment, escape from the present into the past. 
—from “Time Found Again”

 [Jan 2012]

“A Gun for Grandfather”
by F.M. Busby
First publication: Future Science Fiction, Fall 1957
The para doesn’t quite dox for me, but the story is still enjoyable as Busby’s first publication.

 I’m not kidding you at all,” Barney insisted. “I have produced a workable Time Machine, and I am going to use it to go back and kill my grandfather. 

 [Jun 2011]

“Sanctuary”
by William Tenn
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Dec 1957
Henry Hancock Groppus seeks sanctuary from The Ambassador from the Next Century after he is condemned to death for proposing and practicing genetic selective breeding to solve the problems of the Uterine Plague.

 “The point being,” said the Secretary of State, “that most social values are conditioned by the time, place and prevailing political climate. Is that what you mean by perspective? 

 [Apr 2012]

The Time Garden
by Edward Eager
First publication: 1958
A garden of thyme and a magic frog (aka the Natterjack) take four children to times past.

 What the Natterjack would have said, no one could tell, for no one had asked him. The Natterjack did not mind. He bided his time. He could wait. 

 [Mar 2011]

The Time Traders Series
by Andre Norton
First book: 1958

Young Ross Murdoch, on the streets and getting by with petty crime and quick feet, gets nabbed and sent to a secret project near the north pole.

 The Time Traders (1958)Ross joins the project 
Galactic Derelict (1959)prehistoric alien wreck
The Defiant Agents (Feb 1962)more Russians and aliens
Key Out of Time (Mar 1963)on the planet Hawaika
Firehand, with P.M. Griffin (Jun 1964)vs murderous aliens
Echoes in Time, with Sherwood Smith (Nov 1999)alien Rosetta stone
Atlantis Endgame, with Sherwood Smith (Nov 2002)back to Atlantis

 So they have not briefed you? Well, a run is a little jaunt back into history—not nice comfortable history such as you learned out of a book when you were a little kid. No, you are dropped back into some savage time before history— 

 [Mar 2014]

Tom’s Midnight Garden
by Philippa Pearce
First publication: 1958

When young Tom is sent to live in a flat with his aunt and uncle, all he longs for is a garden to play in; when he finds it during midnight wanderings, it takes him a few nights to realize that the garden and his playmate Hattie are from the previous century.

 Town gardens are small, as a rule, and the Longs’ garden was no exception to the rule; there was a vegetable plot and a grass plot and one flower-bed and a rough patch by the back fence. 

 [Mar 2011]

Wards Presents Magical Shoes
First publication: circa 1958
Of course, Montgomery Ward wants every kid to want their shoes, so what better way than to have a giveaway comic book advertisement in which young Billy and Milly realize that their Montgomery Ward shoes were special indeed!

 Milly: They’re like seven-league boots!
Billy: Even better! We’re covering a hundred miles at a step and we’re going back through history, too! These Ward shoes must have magical powers! 

 [Jul 2012]


Host John W. Campbell, Jr., by Frank Kelly Freas

Exploring Tomorrow
hosted by John W. Campbell, Jr.
First time travel: 29 Jan 1958


From Dec 1957 to Jun 1958, John W. Campbell himself hosted this radio series for the Mutual Broadcasting System. Many episodes were written by John Flemming, and although there was no official connection between the show and Campbell’s Astounding, many other scripts were by Campbell’s stable of writers including Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Gordon R. Dickson, Murry Leinster, Robert Silverberg and George O. Smith (“Time Traveler”). There were at least three time-travel episodes.

 Flashback (1/29/58)new father flashes forward to war 
Time Traveler, aka Meddler’s Moon (5/21/58)   50 years back to grandparents
The Adventure of the Beauty Queen (6/25/58)love from the future

 You’ve got a son to take care of you in your old age, Mr. Thompson. 
—from “Flashback”

 [Mar 2012]

“Aristotle and the Gun”
by L. Sprague de Camp
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Feb 1958


When Sherman Weaver’s time machine project is abruptly canceled, he takes matters into his own hands, visiting Aristotle with the plan to ensure that the philosopher takes the scientific method to heart so strongly that the dark ages will never come and science will progress to a point where it appreciates Sherman’s particular genius.

 Like his colleagues, Aristotle never appreciated the need for constant verification. Thus, though he was married twice, he said that men have more teeth than women. He never thought to ask either of his wives to open her mouth for a count. 

 [May 2012]

“Time Travel Inc.”
by Robert F. Young
First publication: Super-Science Fiction, Feb 1958
I found this in one of three old sf magazines that I traded for at Denver’s own West Side Books. (Thank you, Lois.) Both the title and the table-of-contents blurb (They wanted to witness the Cruxifiction) foreshadow Moorcock’s “Behold the Man”, although the story is not as vivid.

 Oh... The Cruxifiction. You want to witness it, of course— 

 [Apr 2014]





The Change War Stories
by Fritz Leiber
First story: Astounding Science Fiction, Mar 1958

Two groups, the Snakes and the Spiders, battle each other for the control of all time.

 Try and Change the Past (Mar 1958)Astounding 
The Big Time (Mar and Apr 1958) Galaxy
Damnation Morning (Aug 1959)Fantastic
The Oldest Soldier (May 1960)F&SF
No Great Magic (Dec 1963)Galaxy
Knight’s Move, aka Knight to Move (Dec 1965)Broadside
...
These might be Change War, but with no time travel:
A Deskful of Girls (Apr 1958) F&SF
The Number of the Beast (Dec 1958)Galaxy
The Haunted Future, aka Tranquility, or Else! (Nov 1959)    Fantastic
The Mind Spider (Nov 1959)Fantastic
When the Change-Winds Blow (Aug 1964) F&SF
Black Corridor (Dec 1967)Galaxy

 Change one event in the past and you get a brand new future? Erase the conquests of Alexander by nudging a Neolithic pebble? Extirpate America by pulling up a shoot of Sumerian grain? Brother, that isn’t the way it works at all! The space-time continuum’s built of stubborn stuff and change is anything but a chain-reaction. 
—“Try and Change the Past”

 [Apr 2012]

“Poor Little Warrior!”
by Brian Aldiss
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Apr 1958

You are reading an artsy story, told in the second-person, about a time traveler from AD 2181 who hunts a brontosaurus.

 Time for listening to the oracle is past; you’re beyond the stage for omens, you’re now headed in for the kill, yours or his; superstition has had its little day for today; from now on, only this windy nerve of yours, thius shakey conglomeration of muscle entangled untraceably beneath the sweat-shiny carapice of skin, this bloody little urge to slay the dragon, is going to answer all your orisons. 

 [Dec 2013]

“Two Dooms”
by C.M. Kornbluth
First publication: Venture Science Fiction, Jul 1958

Young Dr. Edward Royland, a physicist at Los Alamos in 1945, travels via a Hopi God Food to the early 22nd century to see what a world ruled by the Axis powers will be like—and quite possibly setting off a seemingly endless sequence of alternate WWII stories such as The Man in the High Castle, most of which, sadly, do not include time travel.

I liked Kornbluth’s description of the differential analyzer as well as the cadre of office girls solving differential equations by brute force of adding machines.

 Instead of a decent differential analyzer machine they had a human sea of office girls with Burroughs’ desk calculators; the girls screamed “Banzai!” and charged on differential equations and swamped them by sheer volume; they clicked them to death with their little adding machines. Royland thought hungrily of Conant’s huge, beautiful analog differentiator up at M.I.T.; it was probably tied up by whatever the mysterious “Radiation Laboratory” there was doing. Royland suspected that the “Radiation Laboratory” had as much to do with radiation as his own “Manhattan Engineer District” had to do with Manhattan engineering. And the world was supposed to be trembling on the edge these days of a New Dispensation of Computing that would obsolete even the M.I.T. machine—tubes, relays, and binary arithmetic at blinding speed instead of the suavely turning cams and the smoothly extruding rods and the elegant scribed curves of Conant’s masterpiece. He decided that he would like it even less than he liked the little office girls clacking away, pushing lank hair from their dewed brows with undistracted hands. 

 [May 2015]

“First Time Machine”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Honeymoon in Hell, Aug 1958
A short-short, 1950s version of the grandfather paradox with a resolution that’s not quite satisfying (branching universes, I think, but it’s unclear). The cover of the 1958 paperback is by Hieronymus Bosch (Grzegorz’s favorite painter) with an owl in the background (Grzegorz’s favorite bird)!

 What would have happened if you’d rushed to the door and kicked yourself in the seat of the pants? 

 [Aug 2011]

“The Ugly Little Boy”
aka "Lastborn"
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Galaxy Magazine, Sep 1958

Edith Fellowes is hired to look after young Timmie, a Neanderthal boy brought from the past, but never able to leave the time statis bubble where he lives.

 He was a very ugly little boy and Edith Fellowes loved him dearly. 

 [Mar 1976]

“The Men Who Murdered Mohammed”
by Alfred Bester
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Oct 1958

When Professor Henry Hassel discovers his wife in the arms of another man, he does what any mad scientist would do: build a time machine to go back and kill his wife’s grandfather. He has no trouble changing the past, but any effect on the present seems rather harder to achieve.

 “While I was backing up, I inadvertently trampled and killed a small Pleistocene insect.”
   “Aha!” said Hassel.
   “I was terrified by the indicent. I had visions of returning to my world to find it completely changed as a result of this single death. Imagine my surprise when I returned to my world to find that nothing had changed!”
 

 [Apr 2012]

The Time Element
by Rod Serling
First aired: 23 Nov 1958

Serling wrote this one-hour time-travel episode that aired on the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse; the traveler, Pete Jensen, couldn’t stop the attack on Pearl Harbor, but he could make his mark as the Twilight Zone precursor.

 I have information that the Japanese are gonna bomb Pearl Harbor tomorrow morning at approximately 8am Honolulu time. 

 [Dec 2010]

“A Statue for Father”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Satellite Science Fiction, Feb 1959

A wealthy man’s father was a time-travel researcher who died some years ago, but not before leaving a legacy for all mankind.

 They’ve put up statues to him, too. The oldest is on the hillside right here where the discovery was made. You can just see it out the window. Yes. Can you make out the inscription? Well, we’re standing at a bad angle. No matter. 

 [Dec 2009]

Hallmark Hall of Fame
First time travel: 5 Feb 1958


Over the years, I’ seen dozens of the Hallmark Hall of Fame specials. More recently, I went through the list of episodes back to 1951 when they started as a weekly anthology show on NBC. I spotted only one episode with time travel, the venerable Berkeley Square, broadcast in color on a special day in 1959, but I haven't yet tracked down a copy to watch.
 [Dec 1965]

“—All You Zombies—”
by Robert A. Heinlein
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Mar 1959



A 25-year-old man, originally born as an orphan girl named Jane, tells his story to a 55-year-old bartender who then recruits him for a time-travel adventure.

 When I opened you, I found a mess. I sent for the Chief of Surgery while I got the baby out, then we held a consultation with you on the table—and worked for hours to salvage what we could. You had two full sets of organs, both immature, but with the female set well enough developed for you to have a baby. They could never be any use to you again, so we took them out and rearranged things so that you can develop properly as a man. 

 [May 1970]
from the telerecording of Nineteen-Eighty-Four
BBC Sunday-Night Theater
aka BBC Sunday-Night Play (1960-1963)
by
First time travel: 31 May 1959



For nearly all of 14 years, the BBC staged and broadcast weekly live plays, at least one which included time travel: a production of the 1926 play, Berkeley Square. According to lostshows.com, no copy of Berkeley Square survived, but I did enjoy a telerecording of their 1954 staging of Nineteen-Eighty-Four (with no time travel!) that caused a stir in cold-war era Britain.

 Attention, comrades, attention! Here is a complementary production bulletin issued by the Ministry of Plenty giving further glorious news of the success of the seventh three-year plan! In clear demonstration of the rising standards of our new, happy life, the latest calculated increases are as follows... 
Nineteen-Eighty-Four

 [Feb 1977]





Hector Heathcote
created by Eli Bauer
First publication: 4 Jul 1959

Hector first appeared in a movie theater short feature (I miss those) called “The Minute and ½ Man” in 1959 where he goes back to the American Revolution and fouls things up until the end when he scares away the Redcoats (remniscent of the 1955 Casper cartoon). I haven’t seen that first cartoon in which Hector travels by time machine, but Hector later had tv escapades (his own show, starting 5 Oct 1963) visiting the likes of Daniel Boone and inventing the telephone in 1876, all without a time machine in the ones I saw. There was also a children’s book, a Dell comic book (Mar 1964) and a Colorforms play set (which provided the image to the top-left). The book had no time machine, but I don’t know about the other items.

 You’re wanted on the telephone—a young lady. 
—Wilbur the dog in “The First Telephone”

 [circa 1963]

“Obituary”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Aug 1959

The wife of Lancelot Stebbins (not his real name) tells of the difficulties of being married to a man who is obsessively driven to find fame as a physicist, even to the point of worrying about what his obituary will say—but perhaps time travel can put that worry to rest.

 At any rate, he turned full on me. His lean body shook and his dark eyebrows pulled down over his deep-set eyes as he shrieked at me in a falsetto, “But I’ll never read my obituary. I’ll be deprived even of that.” 

 [Apr 1979]

“The Love Letter”
by Jack Finney
First publication: The Saturday Evening Post, 1 Aug 1959


A young man looking for love in 1959 Brooklyn finds and answers a letter from a young woman in 1869 Brooklyn.

 The folded paper opened stiffly, the crease permanent with age, and even before I saw the date I knew this letter was old. The handwriting was obviously feminine, and beautifully clear—it’s called Spencerian, isn’t it?—the letters perfectly formed and very ornate, the capitals especially being a whirl of dainty curlicues. The ink was rust-black, the date at the top of the page was May 14, 1882, and reading it, I saw that it was a love letter. 

 [Mar 2005]

The Twilight Zone
created by Rod Serling
First time travel: 30 Oct 1959

Five seasons with at least 13 time-travel episodes. Three (marked with ¤) were written by Richard Matheson, one was by E. Jack Neuman (“Templeton”), one by Reginold Rose (“Horace Ford”), and the rest were by Serling (including “What You Need” based on a Lewis Padgett story with prescience only and no real time travel, and “Execution” from a story of George Clayton Johnson).

 Walking Distance (30 Oct 1959)Hero to time of youth 
Judgment Night (4 Dec 1959)Time Loop in World War II
What You Need (25 Dec 1959)Prescience (no time travel)
The Last Flight (5 Feb 1960) ¤42 years beyond WW II
Execution (1 Apr 1960)From 1880 West to 1960 NY
The Trouble with Templeton (9 Dec 1960)To 1927
Back There (13 Jan 1961)Lincoln in 1865
The Odyssey of Flight 33 (24 Feb 1961)To age of dinosaurs and more
A Hundred Yards over the Rim (7 Apr 1961)From 1847 to 1961
Once Upon a Time (15 Dec 1961) ¤From 1890s to present
Death Ship (7 Feb 1963) ¤Time Loop?
No Time Like the Past (7 Mar 1963)To 1881 Indiana
The Incredible World of Horace Ford (18 Apr 1963)   Hero to Time of Youth
The Bard (23 May 1963)Shakespeare to the present

 There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone. 

 [Jul 1966]

“Halloween for Mr. Faulkner”
by August Derleth
First publication: Fantastic Universe, Nov 1959
Mr. Guy Faulkner, an American lost in the London fog, finds himself back in the time of the Gunpowder Plot.

 I say, Wright, now Guy’s here, we can get on with it. 

 [Jul 2013]

Peabody’s Improbable History
created by Ted Key
First aired: 29 Nov 1959


The genius dog, Mr. Peabody, and his boy Sherman travel back in the Wayback Machine to see what truly happened at key points of history.

 Peabody here. 

 [circa 1965]

Dell’s The Time Machine
adapted by Alex Toth
First publication: Mar 1960

The second comic book adaption was drawn by the talented storyteller and artist Alex Toth who closely followed the movie script in Dell’s Four Color #1085. Online sources indicate that this was March of 1960, though that would be several months before the movie.

 The year is 1900. The place is London, England, at an imposing mansion overlooking the river Thames. Impatient dinner guests sit in the library, awaiting an overdue host... 

 [Aug 2005]

“I Love Galesburg in the Springtime”
by Jack Finney
First publication: McCall’s, Apr 1960


Reporter Oscar Mannheim has many opportunities in his long life, but never wants to leave the midwest Galesburg that he grew up in—and neither do its many other citizens and artifacts of the past.

 Tomake sure, I walked over to a newsboy and glanced at the stack of papers at his feet. It was The World; and The World had’t been published for years. The lead story said something about President Cleveland. I’ve found that front page since, in the Public Library files, and it was printed June 11, 1894. 

 [Mar 2005]

The Boy and the Pirates
by Bert I. Gordon, Lillie Hayward and Jerry Sackham (Gordon, director)
First release: 13 Apr 1960

Young Jimmy Warren asks a genie to send him from present-day Massachusetts to the time of Blackbeard where in order to avoid becoming a genie himself, Jimmy must trick the pirate into returning to Massachusetts.

 This is a funny lookin’ bottle—yeah, neat. But I bet if I took it home, Pop would say, “It’s just another piece of junk.” Nobody let’s me do anything I want to. I wish I was far away from here; I wish I was on a pirate ship. 

 [Jan 2015]

“Flirgleflip”
by William Tenn
First publication: Of All Possible Worlds, Jun 1960
It’s difficult living in the intermediate era—the first to have an official Temporal Embassy from the future—because the embassy is always bossing people around and canceling promising research, but Thomas Alva Banderling won’ be stopped from sending his Martian archaeologist flirglefliper friend Terton to the past so that Banderling himself can get credit for inventing the time machine.

 Exactly. The Temporal Embassy. How can science live and breathe with such a modifier? It’s a thousand times worse than any of these ancient repressions like the Inquisition, military control, or university trusteeship. You can’t do this—it will be done first a century later; you can’t do that—the sociological impact of such an invention upon your period will be too great for its present capacity; you should do this—nothing may come of it now, but somebody in an allied field a flock of years from now will be able to integrate your errors into a useful theory. 

 [Apr 2012]