The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 1938

   For Us, the Living
by Robert A. Heinlein
First written: 1938 (posthumously published in 2003)

I’m sad that I’ve now read all the extant Heinlein fiction, this posthumous (and first) novel being the last piece for me. It certainly held 3.5 stars worth of enjoyment for a Heinlein fan, but much of that was in seeing the nascent ideas of the writer that I would devour in my childhood. In the story, a military pilot from 1939 dies, and his consciousness is thrown forward to 2086 where social and economic aspects of society are hugely altered, though technological advances are more conservative (but, dammit, I want my flying car).

 “Let me get out of these furs.” She walked away while fumbling with a zipper at her throat. The furs were all one garment which slipped off her shoulders and fell to the floor. Perry felt a shock like an icy shower and then a warm tingle. 

[Jun 2011]

   Hal Hardy and the Lost Land of Giants
First publication: Whitman Big Little Book 1413, 1938

Not surprisingly, Hal finds himself in the land of dinosaurs.

 The beast Hal saw looked like a rhinoceros, save for the horns. 




   The Once and Future King
by T.H. White
First book: 1938

Merlyn, who experiences time backward, is the traveler in this series, which was introduced to me by Denbigh Starkey, my undergraduate advisor at WSU and later a member of my Ph.D. committee.

The first four of these short books in the series were collected into a single volume, The Once and Future King, in 1958. A final part, The Book of Merlyn, written in 1941 was published posthumously in 1971.
  1. The Sword in the Stone (1938) Arthur is crowned
  2. The Queen of Air and Darkness (1939) aka The Witch in the Wood
  3. The Ill-Made Knight (1940) Sir Lancelot
  4. The Candle in the Wind (1958) end of Camelot
  5. The Book of Merlyn (1977) final battle with Mordred

 EVERYTHING NOT FORBIDDEN IS COMPULSORY. 

—a sign at the ant colony
     (and also physicist Murray Gell-Mann’s description of particle physics)

[Apr 1978]



   “Shuffled Symphonies”
by Basil Reynolds
First time travel: 1 Jan 1938 in Mickey Mouse Weekly 100

Shuffled Symphonies were short, illustrated fantasy stories in the British Mickey Mouse Weekly. Some of the episodes included time travel via Doctor Einmug’s time machine. The four that I know about include a trip to Stonehenge (1 Jan 1938), to visit Sir Walter Raleigh and Elizabeth I (12 Mar 1938), a visit to Shakespeare (6 Aug 1938), and a trip to a robotic future (26 Nov, 1938).

 A few more shivers and quivers, and the heap of gleaming metal sprang into life and bowled after the terrified Twin! 

Mickey Mouse Weekly 147, 26 Nov, 1938

[Jul 2012]

   “Lords of 9016”
by John Russell Fearn
First publication: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Apr 1938

Dick and his scientist friend Ladbrook take a helicopter into the giant hole that has opened in the ground near two cities where all people and animals have disappeared, only to find giant ants from the future.

 Not ants of your time, however, but the rulers of the year ninety-sixteen, seven thousand of so years ahead of you—time enough for the busy creatures of your present day to have evolved into the significant might you see we have. 

[Dec 2013]

   The Legion of Time
by Jack Williamson
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, May-Jul 1938

After two beautiful women of two different possible futures appear to physicist Denny Lanning, he finds himself swept up by a time-traveling ship, the Chronion, along with a band of fighting men who swear their allegiance to The Legion of Time and its mission to ensure that the eviler of the two beautiful women never comes to pass.

 But Max Planck with the quantum theory, de Broglie and Schroedinger with the wave mechanics, Heisenberg with matrix mechanics, enourmously complicated the structure of the universe—and with it the problem of Time.
With the substitution of waves of probability for concrete particles, the world lines of objects are no longer the fixed and simple paths they once were. Geodesics have an infinite proliferation of possible branches, at the whim of sub-atomic indeterminism.
Still, of course, in large masses the statistical results of the new physics are not much different from those given by the classical laws. But there is a fundamental difference. The apparent reality of the universe is the same—but it rests upon a quicksand of possible change.
 

[Nov 2013]

   “The Invisible Bomber”
by Ralph Milne Farley (as by Lt. John Pease)
First publication: Amazing, Jun 1938

Here’s a new rule about what constitutes a time-travel story: If the author claims that there’s time travel in the story, then it’s a time-travel story. That’s the case for this story, which doesn’t feel like time travel to me, but in the afterward of The Omnibus of Time Farley says that the airplane bomber in this story becomes soundless and invisible via a “laminated” model of space-time in which a series of different worlds are stacked one on top of another, each just a short time in front of its predecessor. According to Farley, “time-traveling will carry the traveler, not into the future, but rather into an entirely different space-time continuum than our own.” The plane becomes invisible by traveling just a short distance toward the next world without reaching anywhere near it.

My thought on this is that the notion of time as a dimension does not have anything to do with the stacking dimension. In fact, I don’t think they can be the same dimension because that would imply that there is nothing to distinguish a point in our space-time continuum from a point with the same space-time coordinates in some other continuum.

P.S. I also didn’t care for the president’s solution to the story’s problem.

 We human beings live in a three dimensional space, or which time has sometimes been called the fourth dimension. But did it ever occur to you, Mr. President, that we do not extend in time. We never experience any other time than the present. Our so-called space-time existence is thus seen to be a mere three-dimensional layer, or lamina, infinitely thin in the time direction. There could exist another three-dimensional space just a second or two away from ours, and we would never know it. 

[Feb 2015]

Part I of Asimov’s autobiography   “Cosmic Corkscrew”
by Isaac Asimov
Unpublished

“Cosmic Corkscrew” was the first story that Asimov ever wrote for submission to the pulp magazines of the day. In the first part of his autobiography, he describes starting the story, setting it aside, and returning to it some thirteen months later. It wast the story that he took with him on his first visit to John Campbell, inquiring about why the July 1938 Astounding was late arriving. Alas, the story was rejected and then lost, but it did have time travel!

 In it, I viewed time as a helix (this is, as something like a bedspring). Someone could cut across from one turn directly to the next, thus moving into the future by some exact interval, but being incapable of traveling one day less into the future. (I didnt know the term at the time, but what I had done was to “quantize” time travel.) 

In Memory Yet Green, Part I of Asimov’s autobiography

[Jul 1972]

   Language for Time Travelers
by L. Sprague de Camp
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jul 1938

This essay convinced me to add at least a few nonfiction works to my list. After all, why not? De Camp interleaves a few fictional vignettes with thoughts on how language might change over the next few centuries. For me, it shows how well the time-travel paradigm had been established by 1939.

As a bonus, this essay appeared in the very issue of Astounding that has the final installment of The Legion of Time and which caused all the trouble in my story “Saving Astounding.”

 Wah lenksh? Inksh lenksh, coss. Wah you speak? Said, sah-y, daw geh-ih. Daw, neitha. You fresh? Jumm? 


L. Sprague de Camp, Master Traveller

Even before de Camp produced the award winning Lest Darkness Fall, my Grandpa Main had identified him as a Master Traveller based on “Language for Time Travelers,” which was the first of many de Camp essays. Appropriately enough, de Camp’s enjoyable autobiography is titled Time and Chance.


[Jul 2001]





   Fiction House Comics
Published by Thurman T. Scott
First time travel: Jumbo Comics 1, Sep 1938

Fiction House was a major publisher of pulp magazines and comics through the 1950s. Their comics came out of a pulp tradition with stories of jungle heros (Sheena, Queen of the Jungle), air aces (Wings Comics), westerns (Cowgirl Romances), science fiction (Planet Comics), and, of course, Jumbo Comics (Action! Adventure! Mystery!).

The first time travel that I tracked down here was an adventurer named Stuart Taylor who teamed with Dr. Hayward and his beautiful daughter Lora (later Laura) in many issues of Jumbo Comics. For me, it was exciting for two reasons: (1) It’s some of the earliest time travel in a comic book that I know of; (2) At least the first few stories were drawn by Jack King Kirby (as by Curt Davis). Time travel probably occurred in 1-4 (“The Experiment of Kromo’), as well as in 5-14, 17-78, 84-139, plus a reprint in 140. (Numbers 15-16 had no time travel; I think 79-83 are shorter, with no Stuart Taylor, and Stu disappeared after 140.)

Their science fiction comic, Planet Comics, had at least one bout of time travel when a chronoscope brought dinosaurs and such to The Lost World of heros Hunt and Lyssa (Planet Comics 41, March 1946); it also short, 2-page stories, at least one of which was time travel (“Lost World of Time” in Planet Comics 7, July 1940).

 My name is Stuart Taylor. Do you mind if I ask what seems a silly question! What year is this? 

—from Jumbo Comics 13

[Jun 2012]

   If—You Were Stranded in Time
by Jack Binder
First publication: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec 1938

Comic book artist Jack Binder wasn’t as well known among science fiction readers as his two brothers Otto and Earl, but Jack did series of what-if comics for “Thrilling Wonder Stories, including this

 Suppose some fourth-dimensional phenomenon catapulted you back to the days of Caesar, with the possibility of a return to your own twentieth century entirely removed. Equipped with an elementary understanding of various sciences, how would you capitalize on your knowledge of future events and discoveries? Could you, with a head-start of two thousand years, earn a living? 

[Jul 2015]
 

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.
1938

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


 1938
“The Dangerous Dimension” by L. Ron Hubbard [just teleportation]

“Island of the Individualists” by Nat Schachner [long sleep]

“Through the Time-Radio” by Stanton A. Coblentz [viewing the past]

“Time for Sale” by Ralph Milne Farley [differing time rates]


15 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)