The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 1900 to 1929



   The Queen of the World,
or Under the Tyranny

by Standish O’Grady (as by Luke Netterville)
First publication: 1900

Young Irishman Gerard Pierce de Lacy is sent to the year 2179 A.D. by a mysterious figure named the Bohemian, where he falls in love, fights with the underground using fantastic weapons against the Chinese overlords, defeats the overlords, and puts his love on the thrown of the world.

 Know then that it is within my power to transfer you from the age in which we live, of which all the interest has for you been exhausted, to any other age that you may select, past or future. 




   “When Time Turns”
by Ethel Watts Mumford
First publication: The Black Cat, Jan 1901

In this earliest story that I’ve seen of a man living his life backward in time, the narrator, Robertson, talks with Mr. Gage who has been reliving his life in reverse, moment by moment, ever since the death of his wife.

 Yes, I spent some little time in the islands. In fact, I am just on the point of going there now, and am very sorry I shall not see them again. 




   “A Relic of the Pliocene”
aka "Angry Mammoth"
by Jack London
First publication: Colliers, 12 Jan 1901
Reprinted in: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May 1959

Neither our narrator Thomas Stevens nor the mighty hunter Nimrod realized that the modern-day mammoth of this story arrived in the frozen north via time travel, but why else would F&SF have reprinted the story some 42 years after London’s passing?

 I pardon your ignorance concerning many matters of this Northland, for you are a young man and have travelled little; but, at the same time, I am inclined to agree with you on one thing. The mammoth no longer exists. How do I know? I killed the last one with my own right arm. 


Jack London, Master Traveller

For the most part, my grandpa was enamored of Jack London’s tales of northern dogs; but Grandpa also awarded London a Master Traveller Citation for bringing time travel to the Yukon in this story.



Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
“The New Accelerator” by H.G. Wells, The Strand Magazine, Dec 1901 [personal time rate differences ]

The story was reprinted in this 1904 Kipling collection.

   “Wireless”
by Rudyard Kipling
First publication: Scribners Magazine, Aug 1902

Were it not Kipling, I wouldn’t include this story in the list, since its time-travel content is questionable: Are those Marconi experiments of young Mr. Cashell really bringing John Keats’s thoughts from a century in the past to the drug-tranced Mr. Shaynor?

 “He told me that the last time they experimented they put the pole on the roof of one of the big hotels here, and the batteries electrified all the water-supply, and”—he giggled—“the ladies got shocks when they took their baths.” 




  
 of the Year 2000 Books

A Round Trip to the Year 2000;
or a Flight through Time

by W.W. Cook
First publication: Argosy, Jul–Oct 1903

Pursued by Detective Klinch, Everson Lumley takes up Dr. Alonzo Kelpie’s offer to whisk him off to the year 2000 (in his time-coupé) where Lumley first observes various scientific marvels and then realizes that Klinch is still chasing him through time and into more adventures. All that, and there’s also a 1913 sequel!

William Wallace Cook’s larger claim to fame might be his 1928 aid to writers of all ilk: Plotto: The Master Book of All (1,462) Plots.

 Although your enemy is within a dozen feet of you, Lumley, he will soon be a whole century behind, and you will be safe. 




   The Panchronicon
by Harold Steele MacKaye
First publication: April 1904

In 1898, Copernicus Droop has a flying time machine drop into his lap from the year 2582, whereupon he hatches a plan to take Rebecca Wise and her sister, Phœbe, back to 1876 where he can invent all kinds of modern things and Rebecca might convince her younger self to marry that fine young Joe Chandler—but instead they go rather further back to Elizabethan times where capricious capers (but no time paradoxes) ensue.

 It does sound outlandish, when you think how big the world is. But what if ye go to the North Pole? Aint all the twenty-four meridians jammed up close together around that part of the globe? Aint it clear that if a fellerll jest take a grip on the North Pole and go whirlin’ around it, hell be cutting meridians as fast as a hay-chopper? Wont he see the sun getting left behind and whirlin’ the other way from what it does in nature? If the sun goes the other way round, aint it sure to unwind all the time that its been a-rollin’ up? 


Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
Around a Distant Star by Jean Delaire (aka Muirson Blake) [viewing the past ]

The Old Mountain Hermit by James F. Raymond [long sleep ]



   The Amulet
aka The Story of the Amulet
by E. Nesbit
First publication: The Strand Magazine, Apr 1905–Mar 1906

Edith Nesbit’s Five Children and It about five English children and their wish-granting Psammead never engaged me as a child, nor did her sequels: The Phoenix and the Carpet (1904), and finally The Amulet, which was the only one with time travel. In that third story, the eponymous magic amulet takes them to times that span from ancient Egypt to the future. It was only the amulet that had the power of time travel, and even if I never bonded much with Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane, and the baby, I do admire Nesbit for bringing time travel to children’s stories.

The story was initially serialized as The Amulet in twelve monthly issues of The Strand before the book was published in 1906 as The Story of the Amulet. Decades later, the children show up in a cameo in the fourth book of Edward Eager’s Tales of Magic series.

 Dont you understand? The thing existed in the Past. If you were in the Past, too, you could find it. Its very difficult to make you understand things. Time and space are only forms of thought. 




   Anthropology Applied to the
American White Man and Negro

by Robert Gilbert Wells
First publication: 14 Apr 1905

I met the amiable and widely read John Clute in New Hampshire in the summer of 2014. He introduced me to this work, which he describes in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction as a satire of race relations in post-Reconstruction America. For the most part, the story takes place as a conversation between a black man, Sam Brown, and his white brother, Boss Jones. As such, it’s a subtle satire, using the “science of Anthropology” to warn us of the laziness of the Negro, the greed of the white man, and the evils of incompatible matings, among other things.

Clute classifies the work as having numerous fantastic elements including when Sam and the author Bob Wells leave their bodies to invisibly view other happenings, at least one small bit of time travel, and the one item that’s of most interest: a potion that changes Mr. Jones into a Negro for the span of a train journey.

Whatever time travel does exist, such as a possible visit by Mr. Jones to 16th century Greece, is subtle compared to the other aspects of the satire.

 The doors and windows were opened, Sam and Mr. Jones walked out of the room, then to the depot purchased tickets and started for Chicago, but when the two men arrived at the depot, to Mr. Jones surprise, the ticket agent told him to get out of that waiting room or he would take a club to his head, and that pretty quick. 


   Marooned in 1492, or Under Fortune’s Flag
by W.W. Cook
First publication: Argosy, Aug–Dec 1905

Two adventurers, Trenwyck and Blinkers, answer a strange ad and eventually find themselves stranded in 1492 without enough of the time-travel corn for the entire party to return, so they send Columbus into the future to procure more of the precious kernels.

 Wanted—A party of courageous men, experts in the various trades, to accompany a philanthropic gentleman on a mission of enlightenment to the Middle Ages. Single men only. References exchanged. An opportunity offers to construct anew the history of several benighted nations. If interested, call or write. Percival Tapscott, No. 198 Forty-Third Street. 


Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
“The Time Reflector” by George Allan England, Monthly Story Magazine, Sep 1905 [viewing the past ]



   Puck of Pook’s Hill
by Rudyard Kipling
First time travel: The Strand Magazine (U.K.), Feb 1906 (“Young Men at the Manor”)

Puck is an elf who magicks people from the past to tell their stories to two children in England.

These first ten Puck stories were published in British version of The Strand Magazine from January through October of this year. In the states, the first four stories appeared simultaneously in The Ladies’ Home Journal. All ten stories along with sixteen poems were published together in the 1906 collection, Puck of Pooks Hill. A second series appeared in 1909–1910.
  1. “Weland’s Sword” The Strand, Jan 1906
  2. “Young Men at the Manor” The Strand, Feb 1906
  3. “The Knights of the Joyous Venture” The Strand, Mar 1906
  4. “Old Men at Pevensey” The Strand, Apr 1906
  5. “A Centurion of the Thirtieth” The Strand, May 1906
  6. “On the Great Wall” The Strand, Jun 1906
  7. “The Winged Hats” The Strand, Jul 1906
  8. “Hal o’ the Draft” The Strand, Aug 1906
  9. “Dimchurch Flit” The Strand, Sep 1906
  10. “The Treasure and the Law” The Strand, Oct 1906
Some of these stories were told by Puck himself rather than by historical figures. Puck told me that the first time-traveling storyteller was Sir Richard Dalyngridge in the second Puck story in the February Strand.

 ‘But you said that all the fair—People of the Hills had left England.’
‘So they have; but I told you that you should come and go and look and know, didn’t I? The knight isn’t a fairy. He’s Sir Richard Dalyngridge, a very old friend of mine. He came over with William the Conqueror, and he wants to see you particularly.’
 

—“Young Men at the Manor”


Rudyard Kipling, Master Traveller

Admitedly, Rudyard Kipling is not known as a time traveling pioneer, yet early on, my Grandpa awarded him a Master Traveller Citation, most likely more for the chronotypical adventures of Captains Courageous and Mowgli than for Puck or for his earlier “Wireless” story.



This still photograph from the Broadway play is part of the New York Public

   The Road to Yesterday
by Beulah Marie Dix and Evelyn Greenleaf Sutherland
First performance: 31 Dec 1906 on Broadway at Herald Square Theatre

To me, the play had the feel of madcap antics in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest—but with time travel! In the play, a midsummer’s wish takes two travelers, Elspeth and Jack, from 1903 to their earlier selves in 1603, returning rather friendlier than they left.

 Elspeth: Oh, dear Aunt Harriet! It isnt sudden—really not! Weve been engaged three hundred years! 


1962 Ace paperback edition

   The House on the Borderland
by William Hope Hodgson
First publication: 1908

Supernatural-story pioneer William Hope Hodgson was an inspiration for Lovecraft and later genertions of writers. This novel of an Irish house that lay at the intersection of monstrous other dimensions seems to include time travel when the narrator witnesses and returns from the future of our solar system right up to the Earth falling into the Sun and the subsequent arrival of a second, green sun.

 Years appeared to pass, slowly. The earth had almost reached the center of the suns disk. The light from the Green Sun—as now it must be called—shone through the interstices, that gapped the mouldered walls of the old house, giving them the appearance of being wrapped in green flames. The Swine-creatures still crawled about the walls. 




   The Last Generation: A Story of the Future
by J.E. Flecker
First publication: 1908

The Wind of Time takes our narrator on a depressing tour of the future where everyone becomes suicidal, childbirth is outlawed, and mankind eventually becomes extinct.

 I am not in the compass. I am a little unknown Wind, and I cross not Space but Time. If you will come with me I will take you not over countries but over centuries, not directly, but waywardly, and you may travel where you will. 




  
 of the Fabian Time Fantasies

The House of Arden
by E. Nesbit
First publication: The Strand, Jan–Nov 1908

Janet found The House of Arden for me at Christmas in 2014. In the story, Edred Arden, a nine-year-old poor orphan, unexpectedly discovers that he’s actually the next Lord Arden, but still pennyless unless he and his sister can use a trunk of magic clothes to have adventures in past times and discover where the family treasure lies hidden—much like the time-traveling mechanism in Nesbit’s earlier The Story of Amulet. Also like Amulet, this story was initially serialized in The Strand before the book publication. A companion book, Hardings Luck, appeared the following year.

In the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, John Clute connects the two books to the Fabian Society (named after the British socialists Fabian Society, which also included included H.G. Wells) because “Nesbit’s consistent Fabian socialism is central to the version of British history’ presented in the books.

 Hear, Oh badge of Arden’s house,
The spell my little age allows;
Arden speaks it without fear,
Badge of Arden’s house, draw near,
Make me brave and kind and wise,
And show me where the treasure lies.
 




  Fabian Time Fantasies #2
Harding’s Luck
by E. Nesbit
First publication: The Strand, Jan–Nov 1909

Lame and orphaned Dickie Harding has just fallen in with thieves when he’s first taken in by a kind woman (with a pony) and then wakes up in the time of James the First, where he does have some minor encounters with Edred and his sister from The House of Arden. But those encounters aren’t the real story. The real story is that in the past he’s definitely livin’ the life as some sort of royalty, not even lame! How’s he to decide which era to live in?

 He was very happy. There seemed somehow to be more room in this new life than in the old one, and more time. No one was in a hurry, and there was not another house within a quarter of a mile. All green fields. Also he was a person of consequence. The servants called him “Master Richard,” and he felt, as he heard them, that being called Master Richard meant not only that the servants respected him as their master’s son, but that he was somebody from whom great things were expected. That he had duties of kindness and protection to the servants; that he was expected to grow up brave and noble and generous and unselfish, to care for those who called him master. He felt now very fully, what he had felt vaguely and dimly at Talbot Court, that he was not the sort of person who ought to do anything mean and dishonorable, such as being a burglar, and climbing in at pantry windows; that when he grew up he would be expected to look after his servants and laborers, and all the men and women whom he would have under him—that their happiness and well-being would be his charge. And the thought swelled his heart, and it seemed that he was born to a great destiny. He—little lame Dickie Harding of Deptford—he would hold these peoples lives in his hand. Well, he knew what poor people wanted; he had been poor—or he had dreamed that he was poor—it was all the same. Dreams and real life were so very much alike. 


   “My Time Annihilator”
by George Allan England
First publication: All-Story, Jun 1909

The narrator tells of a machine he built that will fly faster than the rotation of the earth and thus, by flying against the earth’s rotation, will travel backward in time.

 The next of a series, interspersed of course with many “normal” stories, so to speak, was “My Time Annihilator,” something along the lines of H.G. Wells “Time-Machine,”—which, by the way, I had not at that time read. Wells is, of course, one of the most successful modern “science-fakers.” The skill wherewith he makes the impossible seem possible may well serve as a model for any aspirants in this line of endeavor. 

—George Allan England, “The Fantastic in Fiction: The Why and How of Making the Impossible Seem Possible” in The Story World and Photodramatist, Jul 1923




   Rewards and Fairies
by Rudyard Kipling
First time travel: The Delineator, Oct 1906 (“A Doctor of Medicine”)

Rewards and Fairies is the second Kipling collection of stories about the the elf Puck and the people he magicked from the past to tell tales of history to the young twins, Dan and Una. The book appeared in 1910, but the stories themselves began in the September 1909 issue of The Delineator and the time travelin’ commenced with the arrival of the 17th-century astrologer/herbalist/plague-curer Nicholas Culpeper. The online scans of The Delineator are almost as much fun to read for the Ivory Soap ads as they are for Kipling.
  1. “Cold Iron”, The Delineator, Sep 1909
  2. “Gloriana”, The Delineator, Dec 1909
  3. “The Wrong Thing”, The Delineator, Nov 1909
  4. “Marklake Witches”, Rewards and Fairies, Oct 1910
  5. “The Knife and the Naked Chalk”, Harpers, Dec 1909
  6. “Brother Square-Toes”, The Delineator, Jul 1910
  7. “‘A Priest in Spite of Himself’”, The Delineator, Aug 1910
  8. “The Conversation of St. Wilfrid”, The Delineator, Jan 1910
  9. “A Doctor of Medicine”, The Delineator, Oct 1909
  10. “Simple Simon”, The Delineator, Jun 1910
  11. “The Tree of Justice”, The Delineator, Feb 1910

     ‘Ah – well! There have been worse men that Nick Culpeper to take lessons from. Now, where can we sit thats not indoors?’
    ‘In the hay-mow, next to old Middenboro,’ Dan suggested. ‘He doesnt mind.’
     

    —“A Doctor of Medicine”


Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
“Entrance and Exit” by Algernon Blackwood, The Westminster Gazette, 13 Feb 1909 [people-trapping dimensions ]



   The Steps to Nowhere
by Grace Duffie Boylan
First publication: 1910

Patty and Traddy Lee, the children of a captain in the Army Corps of Engineers who is suddenly sent to work on the Panama Canal, are unintentionally left on their own for a few weeks during which they run into a clock that runs backwards and takes them to 17th century New York, Captain Kidd, various parts unknown in Central America, and a kind of Neverland called the Land of the Vanished People,

 “Where you doin?” he asked, quite as though he had been accustomed to meeting old clocks on the stairs.
Im bound for yes-ter-day,” the clock replied. “Want to go to yes-ter-day?”
 


I haven’t found the Feb 1910 cover, but here’s a later issue.

   “Phantas”
by Oliver Onions
First publication: Nash’s Magazine, Feb 1910

Abel Keeling and Bligh are the only two mates remaining on board the sailing ship Mary of the Tower as she slips beneath the waves and possibly slips forward to the time of steam-powered ships.

 Listen. Were His Majestys destroyer Seapink, out of Devonport last Octovr, and nothing particular the matter with us. Now who are you? 


Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
Through the Little Green Door by Mary Dickerson Donahey [no definite time travel ]



   “The Cigarette Case”
by Oliver Onions
First publication: Widdershins, 1911

Initially, I thought this story of the narrator and his pal Carroll in Provence was just a ghost story. After all, they wander off and meet a young woman and her aunt, whom the travelers later find out have been dead for years. Ghosts, right? After all, Oliver Onions is known for his ghost stories. Unless the travelers were actually in the ladies’ house of long ago, and proof of their visits surfaces.

 He paused, looking at my cigarette case, which he had taken into his hand again. He smiled at some recollection or other, and it was a minute or so before he continued. 


the 1970 sfbc edition

   The Barsoom Series
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
First book: All-Story, Feb–Jul 1912 (as by Norman Bean)

When I first joined the Science Fiction Book Club in 1970, the Barsoom books were the first series I bought. I’d already read them at an earlier age, but how could I pass up the Frazetta covers? Now I admit there’s not much time travelin’ on Barsoom, so I won’t list all the books separately, but I swear on Grandpa Main’s tractor that this is no chronotypical story (see the Master Traveller citation below).

 Yes, Dejah Thoris, I too am a prisoner; my name is John Carter, and I claim Virginia, one of the United States of America, Earth, as my home; but why I am permitted to wear arms I do not know, nor was I aware that my regalia was that of a chieftain. 


Edgar Rice Burroughs, Master Traveller

In addition to introducing me to H.G. Wells, my Grandpa Main also gave me my first taste of John Carter of Mars. While he was working on the tractor in his barn, we discussed just how the Prince of Helium got to Dejah Thoris’s Mars, so different from today’s Mars. There seemed only one explanation, and as a result, we awarded Edgar Rice Burroughs with a Master Traveller Citation for the first interplanetary time travel.





  The Year 2000 #2
Castaways of the Year 2000
by W.W. Cook
First publication: Argosy, Oct 1912–Feb 1913

In this sequel to 1903’s A Round Trip to the Year 2000; or a Flight Through Time, Lumley has returned to his own time and is held responsible for Kelpie’s disappearance at which point he returns to the future and adventures ensue.

I wish that today’s story magazines sported such alluring artwork. Not only that, but in October of 1912, for just 30¢ you could have bought this issue of The Argosy as well as the first-ever story of Tarzan of the Apes in Argosy’s sister magazine, The All-Story. And today, instead, we get endless reality tv, including Castaway 2000.

Put me out of my misery if I ever start sounding curmudgeonly.

 Dr. Alonzo Kelpie, author of “Time and Space and Their Limitations,” was a hunchback. Although a small man physically, intellectually he was a giant. To have him emerge thus unexpectedly through the dissolving mists of their environment was a seven-day wonder to Lumley, Kinch, McWilliams, Mortimer, and Ripley. 


Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
The Adventures of Ceresota by Northwestern Consolidated [legendary figures ]



   “Accessory Before the Fact”
by Algernon Blackwood
First publication: Ten Minute Stories, 1914

An English man on a walking holiday experiences a short time in another man’s future and struggles with the ethics of whether and how to deliver a warning to that other man.

 He had been an eavesdropper, and had come upon private information of a secret kind that he had no right to make use of, even that good might come—even to save life. 




   Out of the Miocene
by John Charles Beecham
First publication: The Popular Magazine, 15 Sep (cover date 23 Aug) to 1 Oct 1914

When Bruce Dayton wanders off the trails in the high plains of the American Southwest, he stumbles upon an old-timer who sends Bruce’s mind back to Miocene times and into the body of an apeman who had an earlier usage of the same soul as Bruce.

 We are atoms in two oceans, time and space. Walk from here to the forest yonder, and your corporal self passes through a portion of space. Each moment you live you pass through a portion of the ocean of time. But the progression is only one way—for the corporal body. With the spirit it is different. Time has no boundaries for it. Out of the infinite, into the infinite, it comes and it goes. It is one with the Eternal. Therein Moses was right. 


In the story—and in real life—William Rothestein drew this pastel portrait of Enoch Soames.

   “Enoch Soames:
A Memory of the Eighteen-Nineties”

by Max Beerbohm
First publication: The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, May 1916

Beerbohm (then an undergraduate at Oxford) feels something near to reverence toward the Catholic diabolist Enoch Soames, seeing as how the man from Preston has published one book of stories and has another book of poems forthcoming, but over time, Enoch himself becomes more and more morose and unsatisfied that he shall never see his own work appreciated in future years.

 A hundred years hence! Think of it! If I could come back to life THEN—just for a few hours—and go to the reading-room and READ! Or, better still, if I could be projected now, at this moment, into that future, into that reading-room, just for this one afternoon! I'd sell myself body and soul to the Devil for that! 




   The Sense of the Past
by Henry James
First publication: 26 Oct 1917

When the last of the English Pendrels dies and leaves a London estate house to American Ralph Pendrel, the young Pendrel travels to England and finds himself inhabiting the body of an even earlier Pendrel. Unfortunately, when Henry James himself died, that’s as far as he’d gotten in writing the book, although the posthumous publication included James’s notes on the conclusion—plenty enough to inspire a litany of followers from countless versions of Berkeley Square to H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Out of Time.”

 He clung to his gravity, which somehow steadied him—so odd it was that the sense of her understanding wouldnt be abated, which even a particular lapse, he could see . . . 

—final words written by James in the unfinished novel


   Draft of Eternity
aka Draught of Eternity
by Victor Rousseau
First publication: All-Story Weekly 1-22 Jun 1918

After taking cannibus, Dr. Clifford Pal awakens thousands of years in the future when America has been conquered by the Yuki, whereupon he falls in love with a princess, starts a revolution, and drinks more cannibus to return to the twentieth century.



   The Ghost of Slumber Mountain
by Willis O’Brien (O’Brien, director)
First release: 17 Nov 1918

Unk tells a story to his two nephews about the time when he and Joe Soxie visited the stone-covered grave and haunted cabn of Mad Dick where they (and they dog) were able to view the prehistoric past through a queer looking instrument and accidentally allow T. Rex onto Slumber Mountain. Of course, it may have all been a dream, which would normally disqualify the story from our list, but not when it’s 1918 stop-acton dinosaur animation!

 Far, far away, at the foot of a cliff, a Thunder Lizard—which must have been at least one hundred feet long—appeared out of the mists of forty million years. 


Willis O’Brien, Master Traveller

Without The Ghosts of Slumber Mountain, would Marty McFly ever have been born? Probably, but Willis O’Brien still deserves a Master Traveller Citation for the first time travel film.





   A Romance of Two Centuries:
A Tale of the Year 2025

by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie
First publication: 1919

After being given sleeping sickness by the Germans in The Great War, our hero is taken back to America by a kindly nurse and put into a deeper sleep, only to awoken in the year 2025 where he is renamed Oleander Parentive Neurodundeeian, falls in love, and experiences the generally amazing future. But that’s not where the time travel comes into play (that’s merely falling into a long sleep). The backward time travel occurs when he wants to relate all this back to his wife and companions in the early 20th century. As for the mechanism for achieving this, only Guthrie’s original words in the following quote can do it justice:

 Jules Verne, in his Tour Around the World in Eighty Days, had made the plot hinge on the fact that by circling the entire globe Mr. Fogg had gained one day. I also called to mind how, when European newspaper correspondents telegraphed to America, the message reached there five hours before it was sent. A childishly simple calculation showed that if a telegraph message was made to circle the whole globe, it would arrive twenty-four hours, or one calendar day, before it was sent. If then it were possible to telegraph twice around the globe, it would arrive two days before it was sent, and so on in proportion. If a message circled the globe 365 times, it would arrive one full year before it was despatched. 3650 times would anticipate 10 years, and 36,500 times would gain 100 years; and as to reach my wife of long ago I needed to go back 110 years, the problem would be solved if I could send a message around the globe 40,150 times without stopping. Of course, there would be a rectification to be made for the 27 leap years, so that the needed circlings would be 40,177. 


This illustration is from Argosy; the story was later reprinted in the June 1926 issue of Amazing Stories.

   “The Runaway Skyscraper”
by Murray Leinster
First publication: Argosy, 22 Feb 1919

A New York skyscraper is so heavy that it settles into the fourth dimension, taking engineer Arthur Chamberlain and his lovely, but sterotypical, secretary, Miss Woodward, (not to mention the rest of the building’s occupants) back to pre-Columbus Manhattan.

 Well, then, have you ever read anything by Wells? The ‘Time Machine,’ for instance? 


Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
“The Man Who Met Himself” by Donovan Bayley, The Thrill Book, Mar 1919 [despite title, no time travel ]

Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
“The Ape-Woman” by John Charles Beecham, Argosy All-Story Weekly, 30 Oct 1920 [despite title, no time travel ]



   If
by Lord Dunsany
First performance: 1921

John Beal, a London businessman, is given a magic crystal that allows him to go back in time and change one act; he is happy with his current life, so he decides to merely go back to catch a train that he was annoyed about missing ten years ago—but the resulting changes are more than he ever expected.

This is the earliest story that I’ve seen where the hero goes back into his earlier body and relives something differently. Some of the later stories of this kind have no actual time travel, but merely give knowledge of an alternate timeline (e.g., Asimov’s “What If?”); others live out the two timelines in parallel (e.g., the 1998 movie Sliding Doors, also set in motion by a missed/caught train); and some, like If, are couched in terms of time travel (e.g., the 1986 movie Peggy Sue Got Married).

 He that taketh this crystal, so, in his hand, at night, and wishes, saying ‘At a certain hour let it be’; the hour comes and he will go back eight, ten, even twelve years if he will, into the past, and do a thing again, or act otherwise than he did. The day passes; the ten years are accomplished once again; he is here once more; but he is what he might have become had he done that one thing otherwise. 




   “The Time Professor”
by Ray Cummings
First publication: Argosy, 1 Jan 1921

It’s not clear whether the man Tubby and his professor friend are time traveling or not, but in the end, I figured they are because in the matter of a few minutes they travel from 9pm in New York to 9pm in Chicago to 9pm in Denver and on and on.

 Time is what keeps everything from happening at once. 




   A Connecticut Yankee
in King Arthur’s Court

adapted by Bernard McConville (Emmett J. Flynn, director)
First release: 14 Mar 1921

I may never see this first movie adaptation since only three of the eight reels are known to still exist. The hero in this comedy version is a 1921 man who has just read Twain’s book and then travels by dream to the time of Camelot without the political carnage that was in the original story.



   “The Devil of the Western Sea”
by Philip M. Fisher
First publication: Argosy, 5 Aug 1922

I was always drawn to the idea behind The Final Countdown (1980) where a modern warship is thrown back to World War II, but the execution of that idea was weak in the made-for-tv movie. Here is a story, predating the movie by 58 years, in which a destroyer, Shoshone, shows up amongst a fleet of Spainish galleons near Panama in the year 1564. The story is well-written, but the captain’s behavior seems unrealistic to me.

 Twelve of them I counted, twelve ships in a fleet. Men of war? Surely not—not men of war. Men of war in this day do not carry sail. And yet—merchantmen? Merchantmen do not go to sea in peace times in groups of twelve. 


Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
The Man from Beyond by Harry Houdini and Coolidge Streeter, 2 Apr 1922 [long sleep ]

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Collier’s, 27 May 1922 [backward aging ]



   The Clockwork Man
by E.V. Odle
First publication: 1923

A peculiar man with mechanical mannerisms appears at a cricket match spouting nonsense and later causing headaches throughout the village until Dr. Allingham finally talks to him and discovers that the origin of the man with clockwork devices implanted in his head is some 8000 years in the future.

 “Perhaps I ought to explain,” he continued. “You see, Im a clockwork man.” 


   The Collapse of Homo Sapiens
by P. Anderson Graham
First publication: 1923

The narrator longs to see history develop over centuries, so when a Being offers to take him into the future, he agrees and is taken to a dystopian world of 2120 A.D. when mankind is on the verge of extinction.

 Autumn had passed into winter before I mustered courage to get into communication with the Being to whom I had previously had recourse. 




   Not in Our Stars
by Conrad Arthur Skinner (as by Michael Maurice)
First publication: 1923

After some scientific mumbo-jumbo, Felix Menzies wakes up in a jail cell on the day before his execution for murdering the man he wrongly thought was his wife’s lover, and then he starts waking up on each previous morning, whereupon he begins to think he can cheat Destiny by not murdering the guy.

 If he did meet Savile, he was prepared to shake hands with him in the old way, and to realize what a neurotic fool he had been: also that Destiny had made an idiot of itself with the careless blundering born of the knowledge that nobody would ever know, nobody, that is, except himself; and, of course, Destiny safely relied on the assumption that nobody would believe him. 




   Torpeda czasu
English title: Time Torpedo (translated from Czech)
by Antoni Słonimski
First publication: circa 1924

Torpeda czasu is important enough to list even though I’ve read only summaries, I’ve never found a translation, and I’m uncertain about the date. The notes accompanying this particular cover indicate a 1923 publication date, but elsewhere the date of 1924 is common, and Wikipedia has 1926. Never mind!

The short novel’s heroes—Professor Pankton and his beautiful daughter Haydnee, historian Tolna, and journalist Hersey—set out from the year 2123 to change the Napoleonic Wars, starting with the French Revolution and aiming to fix matters so that mankind can advance intellectually without the hindrence of war. But the outcome, I am told, is even more miserable than the original bloody history.

Should I ever track down a copy, I shall need help from my Polish colleagues in computer science to translate the story to English.

 Nie zapominajcie, że to Francuzi, najwaleczniejszy naród europejski, że to są ludzie, których brawura i dzielność oślepia.

[Do not forget that the French, bravest among all the European nationalities, are a people blinded by their very own braggadocio and past prowess.] 




   The Man Who Mastered Time
by Ray Cummings
First publication: Argosy, 12 Jul to 9 Aug 1924

At a meeting of the Scientific Club, a chemist and his son, Loto, describe how they were able to view a captive woman in the future, so now Loto is going to use his time machine to rescue her.

 “Time,” said George, “why I can give you a definition of time. Its what keeps everything from happening at once.” 

—from the opening line of the book, although Cummings wrote a similar line in Chapter 5 of his earlier work, The Girl in the Golden Atom (in the same setting of the Scientific Club), which had no time travel, but only different rates of time passage.


Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
“The Pikestaffe Case” by Algernon Blackwood, Tongues of Fire and Other Sketches, 1924 [people-trapping dimensions ]



  
 of the World Below Books

The Amphibians: A Romance of 500,000 Years
by S. Fowler Wright
First publication: 1925

After two time travelers head to the far future and never return, the story’s narrator pursues them and encounters one monstrous being after another, including, of course, the Amphibian himself, all as a setting to write about morality.

The work was reprinted in 1930 as the first part of The World Below along with a second part (later called The Dwellers.

 Its true enough, what theyve told you, as far as we can tell it. As to theories of time and space, I know no more than you do. I used to think they were obvious. Ive heard the Professor talk two nights a week for three years, and Ive realised that it isnt all quite as simple as it seemed, though I dont get much further. But the next rooms a fact. We lay things down on the central slab, and the room goes dark, and we go back in two minutes, and it gets light again, and theyre still there. And the Professor says hes projected them 500,000 years ahead in the interval, and they dont look any the worse for the journey. 






   Felix the Cat
created by Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer
First time travel: 23 Aug 1925

Perhaps the first time travel in cartoons is Felix in “Trifles with Time,” where the silent, surreal cat negotiates with Father Time for a trip to a better age. After appropriate payment, Father Time obliges and Felix goes back to a stone age with dinosaurs.

 A cat cant live nowadays—turn me back to a better age, just for a day. 




   The Road to Yesterday
adapted by Jeanie MacPherson and Beulah Marie Dix (Cecille B. DeMille, director)
First release: 15 Nov 1925

Although Dix was one of the writers of this silent movie, I didn't see much resemblance between the movie and Dix’s earlier play of the same name. In the movie, bickering newlyweds Kenneth and Malena Paulton are thrown back to previous lives in Elizabethan England where they are a knight and a gypsy.

 I know I love you, Ken! But today—during the marriage service—something seemed to reach out of the Past that made me—afraid! 


Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
The Dream by H.G. Wells [just a dream ]

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald [just a wish ]

from the 1946 production by the Progressive Players Amateur Drama Company (Gateshead, England)

   Berkeley Square
by John L. Balderston and Jack C. Squire
First performance: 6 Oct 1926

Based on Henry James’s The Sense of the Past, Balderston’s play follows modern-day American Peter Standish who exchanges place with his American Revolution ancestor. Leslie Howard starred in the 1929 Broadway run. Some sources list Jack C. Squire as a coauthor.

 [The same room, at the same time, on the same day, in 1928. Most of the furniture remains, but the tone of time has settled upon it, and there are some changes.] 

—from the stage directions


   “The Assault on Milagro Castle”
by J.M. Hiatt
First publication: Weird Tales, Nov 1926

The narrator, visiting Count Ramon Nuñez in Spain hears a story of a group of attacking Moors who simply disappeared 700 years ago, a story he doesn't believe until the same group reappears and continues the attack.

   The Strange Inventor
by Mark Powell Hyde
First publication: 1927

Young Johnny Devlin falls in with Mr. Merlin who first sends him on adventures with various inventions, then sends him to Arthurian England (where Mr. Merlin is Merlin), and finally sends him to the future (where Mr. Merlin rules the world).

   “The Lost Continent”
by Cecil B. White
First publication: Amazing, Jul 1927

Mad scientist Joseph Lamont builds a time machine to prove his brother’s theories about Atlantis, and then he takes a passenger ship back 12,000 years.

   The Time-Raider
by Edmond Hamilton
First publication: Weird Tales, Oct 1927 - Jan 1928

Our narrator, Wheeler, and a great scientist, Landin, listen to Cannell’s story of being abducted and rapidly taken forward three years in time by a shapeless form, and when Cannell is again taken, they build a time machine to follow him.

 Held in its shapeless form were men, who hung helpless in its grasp. 


   “The Astounding Discoveries of Doctor Mentiroso”
by A. Hyatt Verrill
First publication: Amazing, Nov 1927

Professor Feromeno Mentiroso of the Universidad Santo Tomas argues with his friend about the time-traveling effects of rapidly traveling through many time zones.

 Don Feromeno nodded and smiled. “Then let us assume that your purely imaginary aircraft is capable of traveling at the rate of 24,000 miles per hour or that, in an hour's time, you can circumnavigate the earth. In that case, starting from Lima at noon on Monday, and rushing eastward, you would arrive in Barcelona at 6.30 P. M. on Monday, though your watch would show it to be 12.15 P. M. You would reach Calcutta at 1 A. M. Tuesday, although still only 12.20 on Monday by your watch. At Hawaii you would find time had leaped back to 7.30 A. M. Monday, despite the fact that your watch showed 12.45 of the same day, and at 1 P.  on Monday by your watch you would be back in Lima where the clocks would prove to that it was 2 P. M. despite the fact that you had been absent only one hour. 


   The Dancing Cavalier
by Don Lockwood, Cosmo Brown and Kathy Seldon (Roscoe Dexter, director)
First release: Soon after the Oct 1927 release of The Jazz Singer

Of course, this shouldn't be in my list, because Cosmo himself says that it’s all just a dream, but when my friend Jim pointed out that The Dancing Cavalier (née The Dueling Cavalier) was a dream-based time-travel movie, I couldn’t resist putting it on my list.

 Hows this? We throw a modern section into the picture. The heros a young hoofer in a Broadway show, right? Now he sings and he dances, right? But one night backstage, hes reading A Tale of Two Cities, in between numbers, see? And a sandbag falls and hits him on the head, and he dreams hes back during the French Revolution, right? Well, this way we get in the modern dancing numbers—♫Charleston, Charlston♫—but in the dream part, we can still use the costume stuff! 


   “The Isle of Lost Souls”
by Joel Martin Nichols, Jr.
First publication: Weird Tales Dec 1928 - Feb 1929

In search of a lost Russian treasure, Dr. Trask sends himself and his compatriots back and forth between the 1920s and the present day, 2014 A.D.



  The World Below #2
The Dwellers
by S. Fowler Wright
First publication: 1929

After the monster-fest of The Amphibians, the narrator is captured by the rulers of the far-flung future: superintelligent beings who dwell underground.

This second part of the story was combined with The Amphibians in 1929 and published as a single volume called The World Below. In 1954, it was published on it’s own as The Dwellers.

 I know from what you have shown me already, that you come of a race which has lived only on the earths surface, and any cave or tunnel by which you enter it implies the approach to a confined and narrow space, so that when you attempt to visualise the condition of a race which lives under the surface, your imagination is of a cave, and not of a country. 


Most of my early listings without quotations are based on reviews in Bleiler’s Science Fiction: The Early Years.   The Time-Journey of Dr. Barton:
An Engineering and Sociological Forecast Based on Prestne Possibilities

by John Lawrence Hodgson
First publication: 1929

Dr. Barton travels to the year 3927 where the world’s population has grown to an unimaginable eight billion, but fear not! The utopian society has elimated waste from poor economic systems of the past, and all inhabitants now work (by choice) for but one month per year.



   “The Hounds of Tindalos”
by Frank Belknap Long
First publication: Weird Tales, Mar 1929

Chalmers, a man of mysticism but also of science, sends his mind back to the origin of the Earth and beyond where beings he calls the Hounds detect him and pursue him back to the present.

 “Then you do not entirely despise science.”
   “Of course not,” he affirmed. “I merely distrust the scientific positivism of the past fifty years, the positivism of Haeckel and Darwin and of Mr. Bertrand Russell. I believe that biology has failed pitifully to explain the mystery of mans origin and destiny.
 




   Cuddles: A Flapper in King Arthur’s Court
by Charles Forbell
First publication: Kay Features, 4 Mar 1929

After a car crash, Cuddles, our favorite flapper, finds herself in Camelot where she is unflappable.

 P-p-peace! Ye half d-d-d-dressed dragon! Ye wot not w-w-what ye good Kynge Arthur will think of such an t-t-t-tantalizing reflection of c-c-cr-creation! 


   “The Shadow Girl”
by Ray Cummings
First publication: Argosy, 22 Jun - 13 Jul 1929

In the year 7012 A.D., scientist Poul and his beautiful (shadowy) granddaughter Lea construct a tall tower that can travel throughout time in the area that is presently Central Park in New York City, but an evil mimic creates his own tower from which he conducts time raids (most often involving Lea), and counter-raids ensue.

Lea is but one of the prolific Cummings’s many girls! You can also have the Girl in the Golden Atom, the Sea Girl, the Snow Girl, the Gadget Girl, the Thought Girl, the Girl from Infinite Smallness, and the Onslaught of the Druid Girls.

 No vision this! Reality! Empty space, two moments ago. Then a phantom, a moment ago. But a real tower, now! Solid. As real, as existent—now—as these rocks, these trees! 


The first of the three stories was reprinted in the Sep 1968 Amazing.   The Paradox Stories
by Charles Cloukey
First story: Amazing Stories Quarterly, Summer 1929

In the first story, Hawkinson receives a manuscript written in the hand of his friend Cannes and detailing how to build a time machine, which he does in order to send Cannes into the future to learn how to build a time machine and, thus, send the manuscript back to Hawkinson. More paradoxes (not to mention Martian plans to blow up the Earth) abound in the two sequels.
  1. Paradox (Summer 1929) Amazing Stories Quarterly
  2. Paradox+ (Jul 1930) Amazing Stories
  3. Anachronism (Dec 1930) Amazing Stories

 Cannes told of his life in that far future year, of his mystification at the circumstances surrounding the origin of that manuscript, which was used before it was made and could not hae been made if it hadnt been previously used. He told us of the grandfather argument, and also of the time when he was actually and physically in two different places at one and the same time. 

—Paradox+


   “Rays and Men”
by Miles J. Breuer
First publication: Amazing Stories Quarterly Summer 1929

Our narrator, Dr. Atwood, goes into a long sleep (because of an experimental anaestetic) and wakes in 2180 where everyone is peaceful living under an autocratic government that forbids strong emotion and says no to the doctor marrying the nurse he falls in love with, at which point he is disintigrated and reawakens in his own time.





   Stories of Addison, Time Traveler
by Henrik Dahl Juve
First story: Air Wonder Stories, Aug 1929

After wandering around the fourth and fifth dimensions for some time, 20th century scientist Theodore A. Addison rematerializes himself in a 28th century filled with many amazing inventions and a war between the west and the Occidentals. In his review of the story, Robert Jennings notes that “Every few paragraphs in the story everything stops as the protagonist inquires about the science behind some future marvel.” In all, three stories were set in this world, although only the first two (“The Silent Destroyer” and “The Sky Maniac”) featured Addison; the third (“The Vanishing Fleet”), according to Everett F. Bleiler, was an adventure set against the same background.

Apparently, Juve and his wife lived just down the road from me (in Moscow, ID) while I was bean’ edicated in Pullman, but I didn’t know of him then.

 As they watched, paralyzed, the building and air barge fell apart and hurtled toward the earth. The entire train had been split from end to end. The attacker now swung back and the then darted away. 

—The Sky Maniac


   “The Time Deflector”
by Edward L. Rementer
First publication: Amazing, Dec 1929

When Professor Melville’s theories on time travel are generally ridiculed, he reacts by sending his daughter’s suitor to the year 6925, where he finds a culture that has taken all the worst features of the 1920s to extremes.

 The reader will have come to the conclusion the world of 6925 was inhabited by fools, or madmen. 


Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
“The Seventh Generation” by Harl Vincent, Amazing Stories Quarterly, Winter 1929 [just a dream ]

 


74 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 (
main@colorado.edu)