The Big List of Time Travel Adventures


“The Instability”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: The London Observer, 1 Jan 1989

Professor Firebrenner explains to Atkins how they can go forward in time to study a red dwarf and then return back to Earth.

 Of course, but how far can the Sun and Earth move in the few hours it will take us to observe the star? 

[Dec 1999]

“Real Time”
by Lawrence Watt-Evans
First publication: Asimovs’s Science Fiction, Jan 1989
An unnamed time-travel guard is trapped in the 20th century and must keep ever vigilant against those who might tamper with the time line because you never know whether the time guard will be able to handle it all.

 They might send someone else, but they might not. The tampering might have already changed things too much. 

[Nov 2015]

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon (Stephen Herek, director)
First release: 17 Feb 1989

The Two Great Ones, Bill S. Preston, Esq., and Ted “Theodore” Logan, are the subjects of time-traveler Rufus’s mission, but instead they end up using his machine to write a history report to save their band Wyld Stallyns.

 Most excellent! 

[Jul 2010]

Quantum Leap
created by Donald Bellisario
First episode: 26 Mar 1989

Physicist and all-around good guy Sam Beckett rushes his time machine into production—funding is about to be cut!—and as a consequence, he shifts from one life to another, always with a moral mission and his holographic cohort Al.

 Oh boy! 

[Mar 1989]

“The Price of Oranges”
by Nancy Kress
First publication: Asimov’s Science Fiction, Apr 1989

Harry’s closet takes him back to 1937 where his social security income buys cheaper oranges, treats for his friend Manny, and possibly a companionable man for his jaded granddaughter Jackie.

 Harry bought a pair of socks, thick gray wool, for 89 cents. When the man took his dollar, Harry held his breath: each first time made a little pip in his stomach. But on one ever looked at the dates of old bills. He bought two oranges for five cents each, and then, thinking of Manny, bought a third. At a candystore he bought G-8 and His Battle Aces for fifteen cents. At The Collectors Cozy in the other time they would gladly give him thirty dollars for it. Finally, he bought a cherry Coke for a nickel and headed towards the park. 

[May 1989]

“Great Work of Time”
by John Crowley
First publication: Novelty: Four Stories, May 1989

When a secret society called the Otherhood acquires Caspar Last’s time machine in 1983, they set out to change history so that the British Empire never declines (although it may be infused with various Lovecraftian species such as the Draconics), an endeavor for which in 1956 they recruit Denys Winterset, one of the Colonial Service’s many assistant district commissioners of police.

 Of course the possible worlds we make dont compare to the real one we inhabit—not nearly so well furnished, or tricked out with details. And yet still somehow better. More satisfying. Perhaps the novelist is only a special case of a universal desire to reshape, to ‘take this sorry scheme of things entire,’ smash it into bits, and ‘remold it nearer to the hearts desire’—as old Kyayyám says. The egoist is continually doing it with his own life. To dream of doing it with history is no more useful a game, I suppose, but as a game, it shows more sport. 

[Feb 2015]

Field of Dreams
by Phil Aldin Robinson
First release: 5 May 1989

Corn farmer Ray Kinsella is called to build a ballpark in his cornfield (with part of his calling resulting from a trip to 1972); once the field is built, various ballplayers from the past come.

 If you build it, they will come. 

[Dec 1992]

“A Sleep and a Forgetting”
by Robert Silverberg
First publication: Playboy, Jul 1989

Mike is pulled out of his quiet tenured life as a professor in the Department of Sinological Studies at the University of Washington because his lifelong friend Joe Hedley seems to be receiving transmissions in Mongolian. When Mike arrives, he not only understands the transmission, but can talk back as well.

Time travel and alternate histories often overlap, usually when some incident of time travel to the past creates the alternate timeline. This story is an intriguing alternative where a supposedly alternate past history is discovered through the two-way transmission through time, but the origin of the alternate timeline remains a mystery.

 Weirder and weirder, I thought. A Christian Mongol? Living in Byzantium? Talking to me on the space telephone out of the twelfth century? 

[Jul 2015]

Mixed Doubles
by Daniel da Cruz
First publication: Aug 1989
Justin Pope, a music major (like Paul Eisebrey!), stumbles upon a time machine that he uses to kidnap Franz Schubert from his deathbed; Pope cures Franz and uses him as a source of compositions to create a magnificent career of his own (with the help of Angelica), until Franz turns the tables (with the help of Philipa).

Paul Eisenbrey introduced me to this author in college, but I found Mixed Doubles on my own some years later.

 From time to time double checking with the manual, he began to punch in the commands that, he had calculated from ceaseless experimentation, would project him three thousand years into the past, plus of minus fifteen years. It was a vast improvement on his first efforts, which had been accurate only to within two centuries. The reentry program was more precise by orders of magnitude: it would bring him back to the moment of departure, plus zero to seventeen hours. 

[May 1990]

Ray Bradbury Theater
created by Ray Bradbury
First time travel: 11 Aug 1989

Ray Bradbury Theater ran for two seasons on HBO starting 21 May 1985. It then shifted to the USA Network for four seasons which had three time-travel adaptations.

 A Sound of Thunder (11 Aug 1989)dinosaur hunt
Touch of Petulance (12 Oct 1990)newspaper from the future
The Toynbee Convector (26 Oct 1990)   100 years into the future

 Dinosaurs large and small fill my junkyard workroom.
This one given to me by a friend 30 years ago. These given as toys to my daughters, and when they didnt play with them I simply took them back. So with dinosaurs coming into my life, I often wondered what would happen if I could go back into theirs. Dinosaurs, time machines, put them together and you have a
tale one billion years old.
—Bradbury’s introduction to “A Sound of Thunder”

[Mar 2012]

by John Varley (Michael Anderson, director)
First release: 25 Aug 1989

Cheryl Ladd plays Louise Baltimore opposite Kris Kristopherson’s Bill Smith.

 For one thing, paradoxes can occur. Say you build a time machine, go backwards in time and murder your father when he was ten years old. That means you were never born. And if you were never born, how did you build the time machine? Paradox! It's the possibility of wiping out your own existence that makes most people rule out time-travel. Still, why not? If you were careful, you could do it. 

[Aug 2011]

The Smurfs
created by Peyo (aka Pierre Culliford)
First time travel: 9 Sep 1989

While trying to return a dinosaur to its proper time at the start of Season 9, a time whirlwind whips the annoying little mushroom blueters into time—a condition that’s carried on through the rest of the season.

 Well, Papa Smurf, there is one way to get this critter back home, but its awfully dangerous. 

[Jul 2013]

Ring Raiders
by Phil Harnage
First episode: 16 Sep 1989

Matchbox produced and aired five cartoon episodes in 1989 to promote their Ring Raider line of toys including the time-traveling planes of the evil Skull Squadron and the right-stuff Ring Raider pilots.

 Lieutenant, Ive got three strange bogeys about a mile north-northwest. Theyre like nothing Ive ever seen before. They dont even have props. 

[Aug 2013]

Back to the Future II
by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale (Zemeckis, director)
First release: 22 Nov 1989

Doc Brown takes Marty and Jennifer from 1985 to 2015 to save their children from a bad fate, but the consequences pile up when Biff also gets in on the time-travel action.

 The time-traveling is just too dangerous. Better that I devote myself to study the other great mystery of the universe—women! 

[Jul 1989]

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. 

“How I Spent My Summer Vacation” by Pat Murphy (Time Gate) [simulacrums]

“The Ressurrection Machine” by Robert Sheckley (Time Gate) [simulacrums]

“The Rose and the Scalpel” by Gregory Benford (Time Gate) [simulacrums]

“Statesmen” by Poul Anderson (Time Gate) [simulacrums]

18 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 (