The Big List of Time Travel Adventures


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 Jeffersons 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 wont 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 isnt anywhere. Its 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.
Doyle P. Gates
Science Fiction Editor
Deep Space Magazine

[Jan 2012]

The story also appeared as the first story in this 1956 collection.
“The Chronoclasm”
by John Wyndham
First publication: Star Science Fiction Stories, Feb 1953
An elderly gentleman implores Gerald Lattery to allow Tavia to return, but the only problem is that Gerald has never (yet) heard of Tavia. Oh, and the gentleman insists on addressing Lattery as Sir Gerald.

 It is concerning Tavia, Sir Gerald—er, Mr. Lattery. I think perhaps you dont understand the degree to which the whole situation is fraught with unpredictable consequences. It is not just my own responsibility, you understand, though that troubles me greatly—it is the results that cannot be forseen. She really must come back before very great harm is done. She must, Mr. Lattery. 

[Nov 2015]

The story also appeared in this 1997 collection.
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]

“A Scent of Sarsaparilla”
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: Star Science Fiction Stories, Feb 1953

Mr. William Finch is certain that the nostalgic feeling of cleaning out an attic is more than mere nostalgic, but his wife Cora is is more down-to-Earth.

 Consider an attic. Its very atmosphere is Time. It deals in other years, the cocoons and chrysalises of another age. All the bureau drawers are little coffins where a thousand yesterdays lie in state. Oh, the attics a dark, friendly place, full of Time, and if you stand in the very center of it, straight and tall, squinting your eyes, and thinking and thinking, and smelling the Past, and putting out your hands to feel of Long ago, why, it . . . 

[Jul 2015]

“The Old Die Rich”
by H.L. Gold
First publication: Galaxy, 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’s 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]

“The Time Capsule”
by Otto Binder (as by Eando Binder)
First publication: Science Fiction Plus, Mar 1953

I was surprised when I ran across the first issue of Science Fiction Plus (Mar 1953) and saw Hugo Gernsback, Editor, staring back at me from the top-right corner of the cover. Somehow I assumed that Wonder Stories was his last foray into what he called scientifiction, or even that he’d died when that magazine became Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1936. But, no, here he was again, albeit for only seven issues (Mar-Dec 1953) and with Sam Moskowitz behind the scenes.

That first issue had this Otto Binder story in which a farmer takes two archeologits, Stoddard and Jackson, to a time capsule that’s so unusual it couldn’t possibly have been buried by any known civilization. They take it to the Archeological Institute where their boss instructs them to clean up the outside apparently believing that they’ll stop once it’s clean.

 That thing has been buried for untold centuries perhaps. Millions of days. What would one more day matter? All right, go ahead, you two eager-beavers. But youre getting the dirty work, scraping off that mold. 

[Jul 2015]

“A Traveler in Time”
aka “Century Jumper”
by Agust Derleth
First publication: Orbit, Mar 1953

Derleth’s newspaper reporter Tex Harrigan had at least one time-travel encounter: a man named Vanderkamp who saw an atomic war thirty years in the future and then considered escaping back to 1650 New Amsterdam. But 1650 has a shrewish woman who reminds him a bit too much of his own shrewish sister, so that’s obviously not an ideal destination. The machine also has a curious effect on aging that Tex never did figure out (and neither did this reader).

 It looked like a top. The first thing I thought of was Brick Bradford, and before I could catch myself, Id asked, “Is that pure Brick Bradford?”
He didnt turn a hair. “Not by a long shot,” he answered. “H. G. Wells was there first. I owe it to Wells.”

[Oct 2015]

The Danville, VA, Bee,
26 Mar 1953, announcing the evening’s programs, including
“The Old Die Rich”

Tales of Tomorrow
hosted by Omentor (aka Raymond E. Johnson)
First time travel: 26 Mar 1953

The radio program spun off from the tv show of the day, but instead of having a deal for stories with the entire SFLA, it exclusively aired stories from Galaxy, including at least one time travel story, H.L. Gold’s “The Olde Die Rich” on 26 Mar 1953.

 This is your host, Omentor, saying, “Hello.” Id like to take a little trip to another century, just name your choice: You can go back through the years as far as youd like or forward to the future and visit civilizations as yet unknown. Fantastic? Not if you use the proper vehicle, which in this case is a time machine. Whats that? Where do you find a time machine? Well, I found one in a remarkable story from Galaxy magazine. 

[Jul 2015]

“Yesterday’s Paper”
by Lyle G. Boyd and William C. Boyd (as by Boyd Ellanby)
First publication: Other Worlds Science Fiction, Jun 1953
Pete Harrison worries that the planned first trip to the moon might not go well, so to ease his mind, he sneaks into the Temporal Research lab for an unauthorized trip to the middle of next month to discern the trip’s outcome. But when he arrives, the only way to safely find out the outcome is to track down yesterday’s newspaper, which proves exceedingly hard.

 After much careful calculation, Peter decided to set the machine to project him to that important Friday at around eleven oclock in the morning. 

[Sep 2015]

“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]

“Minimum Sentence”
by Theodore R. Cogswell
First publication: Galaxy, Aug 1953
Flip Danielson and his partner-in-crime Potsy are facing a minimum of four years hard time for their deeds, so they hijack a spaceship to Alpha Centauri, thinking (as the rest of humanity) that the ship is faster-than-light, but as the buglike Quang Dal keeps telling them, it is a sub-light ship that’s has only a few time conveniences that won’t help the humans shorten the journey at all.

 “Are explaining many times before,” said Quang Dal patiently. “Is no such thing as faster-than-light drive. As your good man Einstein show you long time ago, is theoretical impossibility.” 

[Aug 2015]

“Never Go Back”
by Charles V. de Vet
First publication: Amazing, Aug/Sep 1953

As his first experiment in time travel, Arthur Meissner visits his own childhood in 1933 with the hope of saving a friend who drowned in the local swimming hole. He seems to aver the friend’s disaster, but he himself no longer exists in 1933, and moreover, he no longer seems to exist even when he returns to his adult time.

By the way, this is another example of a time traveler who arrives naked. I wonder who first penned that now clichéd mode of arrival. Also, the story expresses an early version of the Chronology Protection Principle.

 You see, you yourself are the object in this particular instance, and by going back into time you—the same object—would be occupying two separate units of space at the same time, which is axiomatically impossible. Therefore, nature made its adjustment; the same as it would if an irresible force hit a so-called immovable object. It eliminates one of them. 

[Sep 2015]

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 Obolers Plays.

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

[Apr 2012]

Radio Times, 5 Dec 1954
Journey into Space
created by Charles Chilton
First time travel: 30 Nov 1953

According to the Operation Luna liner notes, this serial drama program was the last BBC radio broadcast to outdraw the television audience on the same night. The first of the three original series (“Journey to the Moon”) centered on a crew of four, rocketing to the moon in 1965. The first time travel occurs in the 11th episode where they find themselves displaced on Earth by thousands of years. Eventually, they return to their own time.

Almost all of the recordings of that first series were destroyed, but most were rerecorded for a rerun series (renamed “Operation Luna”). Those rerecordings are available on CD along with the non-time-travel second series (“The Red Planet”) and third series (“The World in Peril”).

 And during that period, time for me went backwards. I returned to my childhood. 

[Jun 2015]

“Hall of Mirrors”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Galaxy, 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 didnt 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 cant even guess what it is. So might your grandfather, at your age, have looked at a television. 

[Jul 2011]

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.

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

“Paycheck” by Philip K. Dick [visions of possible futures]

The Time Masters by Wilson Tucker [long life]

The Twonky by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore [no definite time travel]

“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. At the end of the Twilight Zone version, the ghosts appear to be in a loop, doomed to repeated visits to the same crash site, but that also requires no travel 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]

25 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 (