The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 1920 to 1929


No Time Travel.
Move along.
“The Ape-Woman” by John Charles Beecham, Argosy All-Story Weekly, 30 Oct 1920 [despite title, no time travel ]



   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. 




   “The Time Professor”
by Ray Cummings
First publication: Argosy, 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. 




   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, 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. 



No Time Travel.
Move along.
The Man from Beyond by Harry Houdini and Coolidge Streeter, 2 Apr 1922 [long sleep ]

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Collier’s, 27 May 1922 [backward aging ]



   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, Im a clockwork man.” 


   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. 




   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. 




   Torpeda czasu
English title: Time Torpedo (translated from Czech)
by Antoni Słonimski
First publication: circa 1924

Torpeda czasu is important enough to list even though I’ve read only summaries, I’ve never found a translation, and I’m uncertain about the date. The notes accompanying this particular cover 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. Its 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.



No Time Travel.
Move along.
“The Pikestaffe Case” by Algernon Blackwood, Tongues of Fire and Other Sketches, 1924 [people-trapping dimensions ]



  
 The World Below #1
The Amphibians: A Romance of 500,000 Years
by S. Fowler Wright
First publication: 1925

After two time travelers head to the far future and never return, the story’s narrator pursues them and 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.

 Its true enough, what theyve 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. Ive heard the Professor talk two nights a week for three years, and Ive realised that it isnt all quite as simple as it seemed, though I dont get much further. But the next rooms 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 theyre still there. And the Professor says hes projected them 500,000 years ahead in the interval, and they dont look any the worse for the journey. 






   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 cant live nowadays—turn me back to a better age, just for a day. 




   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! 



No Time Travel.
Move along.
The Dream by H.G. Wells [just a dream ]

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald [just a wish ]

from the 1946 production by the Progressive Players Amateur Drama Company (Gateshead, England)

   Berkeley Square
by John L. Balderston and Jack C. Squire
First performance: 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


   “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.

   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).

   “The Lost Continent”
by Cecil B. White
First publication: Amazing, 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.

   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. 


   “The Astounding Discoveries of Doctor Mentiroso”
by A. Hyatt Verrill
First publication: Amazing, 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. 


   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.

 Hows this? We throw a modern section into the picture. The heros a young hoofer in a Broadway show, right? Now he sings and he dances, right? But one night backstage, hes reading A Tale of Two Cities, in between numbers, see? And a sandbag falls and hits him on the head, and he dreams hes 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! 


   “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.



  The World Below #2
The Dwellers
by S. Fowler Wright
First publication: 1929

After the monster-fest of The Amphibians, the narrator is captured by the rulers of the far-flung future: superintelligent beings who dwell underground.

This second part of the story was combined with The Amphibians in 1929 and published as a single volume called The World Below. In 1954, it was published on it’s own as The Dwellers.

 I know from what you have shown me already, that you come of a race which has lived only on the earths surface, and any cave or tunnel by which you enter it implies the approach to a confined and narrow space, so that when you attempt to visualise the condition of a race which lives under the surface, your imagination is of a cave, and not of a country. 


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 Based on Prestne Possibilities

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.



   “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 mans origin and destiny.
 




   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! 


   “The Shadow Girl”
by Ray Cummings
First publication: Argosy, 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! 


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.
  1. Paradox (Summer 1929) Amazing Stories Quarterly
  2. Paradox+ (Jul 1930) Amazing Stories
  3. 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 hadnt 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+


   “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.





   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 bean’ edicated 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


   “The Time Deflector”
by Edward L. Rementer
First publication: Amazing, 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. 



No Time Travel.
Move along.
“The Seventh Generation” by Harl Vincent, Amazing Stories Quarterly, Winter 1929 [just a dream ]

 


36 items are in the time-travel list for these search settings.
Thanks for visiting my time-travel page, and thanks to the many sources that provided stories and more (see the Links and Credits in the menu at the top). —Michael (
main@colorado.edu)