The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 Written by Ralph Milne Farley
 from antiquity to 2016

   “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]
   The Radio Man Series
by Ralph Milne Farley
First time travel: 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, which was serialized in Argosy) 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 cant 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 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]
   “The Invisible Bomber”
by Ralph Milne Farley (as by Lt. John Pease)
First publication: Amazing, 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]


list of correct respondents to the story contest
   “The Time-Wise Guy”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Amazing, May 1940

The kindly Professor Tyrrell invites his most worthy student, football player George Worthey, to his house after class to debate over the feasibility of time travel, all the time knowing that he can prove that time travel is possible (modulo certain forbidden treks) by sending George far into the future and instructing him to return a short time later.

The story ends with a challenge to the reader with a total of $50 in cash prizes for the best answers! The answer to the challenge was given in the June issue. Somehow in the answer, George Worthey’s name changed to Sherwin, but I think that was just an editorial mistake. I didn’t much care for Farley’s “correct” answer, although I did spot Isaac Asimov’s name listed among the 112 correct respondents in the July issue. The contest winner was Albert F. Lopez from East Boston, Mass.

 This contest is one any of our readers can win. It’s extremely simple. You don’t need to know anything about writing. You don’t have to write a story. You aren’t expected to know a great deal of science. All you must do is read the entertaining story “The Time-Wise Guy,” on page 6, and then, in your own words, in a short letter, tell the editors what you think happened to the hero of the story. In other words, how does the story end?

Your answer should be based on the facts of time travel and its rules, as stated in the story by Professor Tyrrell. Your editors suspect that the correct answer would also shed light on the fate of the Professor’s friend in Holland—rather FROM Holland. But of course, there is a little of George Worthey in all of us, and you may not believe this. Editors don’t know it all, either—

Except that Ralph Milne Farley has kindly supplied us with the answer, and we know it and believe it. We’ll give it to you in the next issue, what’s more, and they you’ll believe it too.
 

[Aug 2015]

   “Rescue into the Past”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Amazing, 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 Carolines death, and this time rescue her. Why not! 

[Feb 2015]
   “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]
   “The Immortality of Alan Whidden”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Amazing, 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 Whiddens 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]
   “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]
 

Additional Adventures (without Time Travel)

I often see potential time-travel stories that, alas, have no time travel. I track them, so that I don’t process these same chronotypical stories over and over in a time loop of my very own.
Written by Ralph Milne Farley
from antiquity to 2016

 These arent the droids youre looking for . . . move along. 


 1937
“A Month a Minute” by Ralph Milne Farley [time dilation]



 1938
“Time for Sale” by Ralph Milne Farley [differing time rates]



 1939
The Hidden Universe by Ralph Milne Farley [differing time rates]


15 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)