The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 Written by William Tenn
 from antiquity to 2016

   “Child’s Play”
by William Tenn
First publication: Astounding, 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]

   “Errand Boy”
by William Tenn
First publication: Astounding, 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]

   “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]
   “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 minuscule 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.

 The traitorous Shayson and his illegal federation extended this hypothesis to include much more detailed and minor acts such as shifting a molecule of hydrogen that in our past really was never shifted. 

[Jul 2011]
   “The Discovery of Morniel Mathaway”
by William Tenn
First publication: Galaxy, 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]
   “It Ends with a Flicker”
by William Tenn
First publication: Galaxy, 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]
   “Sanctuary”
by William Tenn
First publication: Galaxy, 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]
   “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? Its a thousand times worse than any of these ancient repressions like the Inquisition, military control, or university trusteeship. You cant do this—it will be done first a century later; you cant 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]
   “The Girl with Some Kind of Past.
And George.”

by William Tenn
First publication: Asimov’s Science Fiction, Oct 1993

A pretty, young time traveler from the future visits the most fascinating person she can think of in the past—that would be playboy George Rice, coincidentally her great-great-grandfather—but she won’t tell George what makes him so fascinating.

 That left the incest angle, and I asked him about that. He says that making it with your great-great-granddaughter from the twenty-first century is not much different from making it with your clothes-designer neighbor from across the hall. 

[Apr 2012]
 

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 William Tenn
from antiquity to 2016

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


 1956
“Time in Advance” by William Tenn [despite title, no time travel]


10 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)