Time-Travel Fiction

  Storypilot’s Big List of Adventures in Time Travel


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. [Jun 1965]

 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”


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 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! [Nov 2012]

 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. 


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. [Feb 2013]

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


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. [Nov 1970]

 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... 


“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’ in need of treatment. [Apr 2012]

 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. 


“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. [Apr 2012]

 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! 


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”). [Jan 2012]
 TitleAired 
“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”





#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). [Circa 1963]

 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? 


“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. [Nov 1973]

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


“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. [Jan 2012]

 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. 


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.) [Jan 2012]
 TitleAired 
“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


“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. [Dec 2013]

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


“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. [Jan 2014]

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


“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[Dec 2008]

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


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. [Apr 2014]

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


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. [May 2012]

 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. 


“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. [Mar 2005]

 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. 


“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. [Jul 1976]

 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. 


“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. [Jan 2013]

 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. 


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. [Jun 2012]

 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! 


“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. [Apr 2012]

 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. 


“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[Mar 2005]

 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.” 


“...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. [Apr 2012]

 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. 


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. [circa 1962]

 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


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. [Apr 2012]
 TitleAired 
“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


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. [Jun 2012]

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


“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. [May 2011]

 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. 


“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. [Jul 2013]

 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. 


“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. [Mar 2005]

 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. 


“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. [Apr 2012]

 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. 






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. [Jul 1968]

 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


“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. [Jul 2013]

 Was Great Grandma as Good as She Made Out? See the Things Your Family History Never Told You 


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. [Dec 2011]

 And now, my little papoose, I shall take you off in my time machine. 


“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. [Apr 2012]

 How did it happen? Can you remember nothing at all? 


“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. [Jan 2012]

 “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.”
 


“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. [May 2003]

 Not a little thing like that! Not a butterfly! 


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. [May 2011]

 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. 


“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 Gettysberg battle of the war. [Dec 2013]

 I could say that time is an illusion and that all events occur simultaneously. 


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. [Dec 2013]

 I could say that time is a convention and that all events occur simultaneously. 


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). [Jun 2012]

 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

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. [Jul 1976]

 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. 


“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. [Jan 2012]

 Dear Mr. Lewis,
   We think you should consult a psychiatrist.
Sincerely,
Doyle P. Gates
Science Fiction Editor
Deep Space Magazine
 


“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. [Apr 2012]

 A two-year forecast on the market was worth a billion! 


“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. [Jul 2011]

 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.
 


“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? [Jan 2012]

 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. 


“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 if 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.) [Jan 2013]

 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. 


“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. [May 2012]

 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. 


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. [Jun 2012]

 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. 


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[Apr 2012]

 Somehow we have stepped out of our own time into another. 
—from “A Hole in His Head”


“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. [Jul 2011]

 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. 


“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. [Jul 2011]

 “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.”
 


“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). [Jan 2012]

 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? 


The Haertel Scholium Stories
by James Blish
First publication: 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 communiqu&eqcute; that Lje overheard. Still, I’ll list everything in The Haertel Scholium and reread them some day! [circa 1974]
 TitlePublication 
Pantropy and Seedling Stars stories   1942...
Cities in Flight stories1952...
“Common Time”Shadow of Tomorrow, 1953
“Beep”Galaxy, Feb 1954
“Nor Iron Bars”Infinity, Nov 1957
A Case of Conscience stories1958...
“A Dusk of Idols”Amazing, Mar 1961
Midsummer Century1972

 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. 


“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. [Jul 1976]

 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. 


“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! [Jan 2012]

 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. 


“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. [Jan 2012]

 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. 


“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. [Dec 2012]

 There isn’t going to be anything. It’s all black after tomorrow. 


“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. [Dec 2012]

 Space-time—is cute? 


“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. [Jan 2012]

 We sent the Dip on ahead, at fifty year leaps. Nothing. Nothing each time. Cities, roads, buildings, but no human life. Everyone dead. 


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. [Jun 2012]

 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! 


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. [Apr 1968]

 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. 


“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. [Jul 2013]

 I, a member of the dominant race, was once what you called... 


“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. [Dec 2013]

 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. 


“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. [Jan 2012]

 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. 


“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. [Feb 2012]

 Quite simply, it is the murder of Albert Einstein. 


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.” [Sep 2011]

 Nothing to get excited about. Any housewife could use one. 
—the interesting neighbor talking about his sonic broom




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. [circa 1966]

 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!
 


“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. [Jun 2012]

 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. 






The Time Patrol Stories
by Poul Anderson
First publication: 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[Feb 2012]
 TitlePublication 
“Time Patrol”F&SF, May 1955
“Delenda Est”F&SF, Dec 1955
“Brave to Be a King”F&SF, Aug 1959
&lduqo;The Only Game in Town”F&SF, Jan 1960
“Gibraltar Falls”F&SF, Oct 1975
“Ivory, and Apes, and Peacocks”Time Patrolman, Oct 1983
“The Sorrow of Din the Goth”Time Patrolman, Oct 1983
“Star of the Sea”The Time Patrol, Oct 1991
The Year of the Ransom1988 novel [1533 to the far future]
“The Stranger That Is Within Thy Gates”The Shield of Time, Sep 1990
“Women and Horses and Power and War”  The Shield of Time, Sep 1990
“Before the Gods That Made the Gods”The Shield of Time, Sep 1990
“Beringia”The Shield of Time, Sep 1990
“Riddle Me This”The Shield of Time, Sep 1990
“Amazement of the World”The Shield of Time, Sep 1990
“Death and the Knight”Tales of the Knights Templar, Jun 1995

 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. 


“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. [Jan 2012]

 —remember the swibble slogan: Why be half loyal? 


“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. [Apr 2012]

 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. 


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. [circa 1960]

 Gee, maybe people in the past won’t be scared of me. 


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. [Jan 2012]
 TitleAired 
“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... 


“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.” [Jan 2013]

 Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways. 


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... [Apr 2013]

 I’m a doctor, not a space cadet. 


“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. [Jul 2013]

 Now, he thought, what? This was scarcely dinosaur country. 


“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. [Jul 1976]

 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. 




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: [Jul 2011]
 TitleNotes 
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”


“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. [Mar 2005]

 You can’t drive into 1923 in a Jordan Playboy, along a four-lane superhighway; there are no superhighways in 1923. 


“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. [Apr 2014]

 You are the struback. 


“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. [Jul 2011]

 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. 


“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. [Apr 2012]

 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. 


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. [Dec 2013]

 In one hundred years, at ten per cent compounded annually, your gold would be worth better than 700,000 zecchini. 


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. [Aug 1968]

 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. 


“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. [Jul 1976]

 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. 


“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. [Apr 2012]

 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!
 

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. [circa 1968]

 What a book title! Time—The Fourth Dimension! Going time travelling, Lester? 
—from “The Last Laugh”


“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&rsquol;t so sure about the application of the theory to reality. [Jul 1976]

 An elevator doesn’t involve paradoxes. You can’t move from the fifth floor to the fourth and kill your grandfather as a child. 


“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. [Apr 2014]

 The day passed. President Lincoln was to attend the Ford Theatre that night, to see a production of a play called “Our American Cousin.” 


“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. [Jul 1976]

 It introduced law to the fourth dimension. 


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. [Jan 2012]

 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”


“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. [Jun 2011]

 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. 


“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. [Apr 2012]

 “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? 


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. [Mar 2011]

 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. 


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. [Mar 2014]
 TitlePublication 
The Time Traders1958
Galactic Derelict1959
The Defiant AgentsFeb 1962
Key Out of TimeMar 1963
Firehand (with P.M. Griffin)Jun 1964
Echoes in Time (with Sherwood Smith)Nov 1999
Atlantis Endgame (with Sherwood Smith)Nov 2002

 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— 


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. [Mar 2011]

 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. 


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! [Jul 2012]

 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! 



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. [Mar 2012]
 TitleEvent 
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”


“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. [May 2012]

 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. 


“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. [Apr 2014]

 Oh... The Cruxifiction. You want to witness it, of course— 






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. [Apr 2012]
 TitleNotes 
Try and Change the Past (Mar 1958) ASF
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) FSF
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”


“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. [Dec 2013]

 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. 


“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)! [Aug 2011]

 What would have happened if you’d rushed to the door and kicked yourself in the seat of the pants? 


“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. [Mar 1976]

 He was a very ugly little boy and Edith Fellowes loved him dearly. 


“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. [Apr 2012]

 “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!”
 


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. [Dec 2010]

 I have information that the Japanese are gonna bomb Pearl Harbor tomorrow morning at approximately 8am Honolulu time. 


110 items are in the time-travel list for these years.
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)