Time-Travel Fiction

  Storypilot’s Big List of Adventures in Time Travel



Bring the Jubilee
by Ward Moore
First publication: 1953

The novella version of this story appeared first, but I don’t know which was written first. Both are well worth reading, but my preference is for the novella which tells the same story in a more direct fashion.

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

[Dec 2013]

Operation Freedom
First publication: Six issues circa 1953
A group called the Institute of Fiscal and Political Education published a series of at least six giveaway comic books to extol the virtues of America and democracy. Some were printed with blue and red ink with nice halftones, and others were black and white. I don’t know many details, but Lone Star Comics says that Joshua Strong goes back in time to explain issues such as the right to free speech and press (in issue #5).

 We must never forget our rights are based on our FAITH IN GOD. We claim them in Jefferson’s words, Not under the charters of kinds or legislatures, but under the King of Kings. 
—from the first issue

[Jun 2012]
Button Gwinnett plays the title role in this story.
“Button, Button”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Startling Stories, Jan 1953
Harry Smith has an eccentric scientist uncle who needs to make some money from his astonishing invention that can bring one gram of material from the past.

 Do you remember the time a few weeks back when all of upper Manhattan and the Bronx were without electricity for twelve hours because of the damndest overload cut-off in the main power board? I won’t say we did that, because I am in no mood to be sued for damages. But I will say this: The electricity went off when my uncle Otton turned the third knob. 

[Jul 1976]

“Time Bum”
by C.M. Kornbluth
First publication: Fantastic, Jan/Feb 1953

After a con man reads a lurid science fiction magazine, a man who’s quite apparently out-of-time shows up to rent a furnished bungalow from Walter Lacblan.

 Esperanto isn’t anywhere. It’s an artificial language. I played around with it a little once. It was supposed to end war and all sorts of things. Some people called it the language of the future. 

[May 2015]

“Who’s Cribbing”
by Jack Lewis
First publication: Startling Stories, Jan 1953

Jack Lewis finds that all his story submissions are being returned to him with accusations of plagiarizing the great, late Todd Thromberry, but Lewis has another explanation.

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

[Jan 2012]

“Dominoes”
by C.M. Kornbluth
First publication: Star Science Fiction Stories, Feb 1953
Stock broker W.J. Born jumps two years into the future to find out when the big crash is coming.

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

[Apr 2012]

“Death Ship”
by Richard Matheson
First publication: Fantastic Story Magazine, Mar 1953

This story is in The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century, so it’s gotta have time travel, right? For me, though, it was a Flying Dutchman story with the heroes’ ghosts visiting their own crash site in normal time fashion, and at the end of the Twilight Zone version, the ghosts appear to be in a time loop, doomed to repeated visits to the same crash site without necessarily traveling through time.

 Nothing from Ross. Nothing from any of them then but stares and shuddering breaths.
    Because the twisted bodies on the floor were theirs, all three of them.
    And all three...dead.
 

[Jul 2011]

“The Old Die Rich”
by H.L. Gold
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Mar 1953

Dang those drop-dead beautiful, naked redheads with a gun and a time machine! How did actor Mark Weldon start out investigating the starvation deaths of rich, old vagrants and end up at the wrong end of a derringer being forced into a time machine invented by Miss Robert’s mad scientist father?

 She had the gun in her hand. I went into the mesh cage, not knowing what to expect and yet too afraid of her to refuse. I didn’t want to wind up dead of starvation, no matter how much money she gave me—but I didn”t want to get shot, either. 

[Jan 2012]

“The Other Inauguration”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Mar 1953
Usually, when I start a story, I already know whether it has time travel in the plot, but occassionally I’m surprised when the temporal antics arise, as in this story of Peter Lanroyd’ attempt to change the outcome of a presidental election that’s stolen by an ideologue. (No, no—not the year 2000. This is a fictional tale.)

I first read this story during my ice-climbing trip to Ouray with Tim.

 To any man even remotely interested in politics, let alone one as involved as I am, every 1st Tue of every 4th Nov must seem like one of the crucial if-points of history. 

[Jan 2013]

“Infinite Intruder”
by Alan E. Nourse
First publication: Space Science Fiction, Jul 1953

Since the 4-day atomic war of 2078, Roger Strang has been working on the Barrier Project to build an electronic barrier against missles, but now someone is trying to kill his 12-year-old son with attacks that seemingly succeed but don’t, while any records of his own background have been erased, as if he had never even lived, at least not in the 21st century. As a bonus, the story also has a grandfather paradox.

 The theory said that a man returning through time could alter the social and technological trends of the people and times to which he returned, in order to change history that was already past. 

[May 2012]

ACE Comics
published by Aaron A. Wyn and Rose Wyn
First time travel: Baffling Mysteries 18, Nov 1953


Ace Comics published a couple dozen anthology comic titles between 1940 and 1956. The only time travel that I’ve spotted so far was in Baffling Mysteries 18.

 I am Chronos, the spirit of time! Do not destroy the sacred sun dial! Come closer and I shall initiate you into the mysteries of time which you pursue so hotly. 

[Jun 2012]

Black Magic
edited by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon
First time travel: Black Magic #27, Nov 1953



Simon and Kirby put together the Black Magic horror comic for Prize Comics in the fifties, and there was at least one time-travel story, “A Hole in His Head” by none other than an early Steve Ditko. That story was based on a 1951 tv episode of Lights Out (“And Adam Begot”) written by Arch Oboler and taken from the 1939 radio show Arch Oboler’s Plays.

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

[Apr 2012]

“Hall of Mirrors”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Galaxy Science Fiction, Dec 1953
You have invented a time machine of sorts that can, at any time, replace yourself with an exact duplicate of your body—and mind—from any time in the past.

 They didn’t use that style of furniture in Los Angeles—or anywhere else that you know of—in 1954. That thing over there in the corner—you can’t even guess what it is. So might your grandfather, at your age, have looked at a television. 

[Jul 2011]


13 items are in the time-travel list for this year.
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)