Time-Travel Fiction

  Storypilot’s Big List of Adventures in Time Travel


“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. [Dec 1999]

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


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. [Jul 2010]

 Most excellent! 


Quantum Leap
created by Donald Bellisario
First aired: 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. [Mar 1989]

 Oh boy! 


“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. [May 1989]

 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 Collector’s 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. 




Field of Dreams
by Phil Aldin Robinson
First release: 23 Apr 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. [Dec 1992]

 If you build it, they will come. 


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. [May 1990]

 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. 


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. [Mar 2012]
 TitleEvent 
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 didn’t 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”


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

Cheryl Ladd plays Louise Baltimore opposite Kris Kristopherson’s Bill Smith. [Aug 2011]

 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. 


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. [Jul 2013]

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


Ring Raiders
by Phil Harnage
First aired: 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. [Aug 2013]

 Lieutenant, I’ve got three strange bogeys about a mile north-northwest. They’re like nothing I’ve ever seen before. They don’t even have props. 


Back to the Future II
by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale (Zemeckis, director)
First release: 3 Jul 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. [Jul 1989]

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


11 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)