The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 1940 to 1949

“Bombardment in Reverse”
by Norman L. Knight
First publication: Astounding, Feb 1940

Jamie Todd Rubin wrote about this story as part of his Vacation in the Golden Age, and I got a pdf copy on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. The story tells of two alien nations at war—a somewhat amateurish was by Martian or Terrestrial standards, but one in which time-traveling weapons target where the enemy was in the past.

 The Nyandrians are attacking Strofander with shells which traverse not only space, but time as well. 

[Nov 2012]

This mimeographed Futurian publication was probably printed on the same mimeograph machine as the first mimeo of
“The Final Men.”

“The Final Men”
by H.G. Wells
First separate publication: Mar 1940 by Futurian Robert W. Lowndes

The first complete, published version of The Time Machine appeared as a five-part serial in the January through May 1895 issues of New Review, edited by William Ernest Henley. In the introduction to the 1924 edition, Wells wrote about the back-and-forth between himself and Henley, saying that “There was a slight struggle between the writer and W.E. Henley who wanted, he said, to put a little ‘writing’ into the tale.”

One piece of that writing was a short episode after the traveller leaves the Eloi and the Morlocks, just before visiting the red sun and the end of the world. This episode was deleted from both the American (Holt text) and the British (Heinemann text) published book editions of the novel, but it did appear as a 7-page mimeographed and stapled publication from American fan and Futurian Robert W. Lowndes in 1940, and it appeared in a number of other places, sometimes called “The Grey Man” and once called “The Missing Pages.”

 No doubt, too, the rain and snow had long since washed out the Morlock tunnels. A nipping breeze stung my hands and face. So far as I could see there were neither hills, nor trees, nor rivers: only an uneven stretch of cheerless plateau. 

[Jan 2013]

Silver Streak Comics
by Jack Cole, et. al.
First time travel: Dickie Dean in Silver Streak 3, Mar 1940

Jack Cole, the Playboy cartoonist, must have been a little boy when he wrote the adventures of Boy Inventor Dickie Dean. Dickie’s inventions included a machine to capture conversations from the past (Silver Streak Comics 3), a time camera (probably in issue 10). You could argue that neither of these is real time travel, but never mind.

I’ll bet there was more time travel in various of the comics published by Lev Gleason, but I haven’t yet tracked them down.

 Without getting technical, this is a “time camera”! It is possible to reconstruct and photogaph scenes of the past with this machine! 

[Jun 2012]

by Jack Williamson
First publication: Astounding, May 1940

Years ago, engineer Bill Webster abandoned Earth for the employ of the piratical Astrarch; now the Astrarch is aiming the final blow at a defeated Earth, and Bill wonders whether the gunsites that he invented can site—and change!—events in the past.

 He didnt like to be called the Renegade. 

[Jun 2011]

list of correct respondents to the story contest

“The Time-Wise Guy”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Amazing, May 1940

The kindly Professor Tyrrell invites his most worthy student, football player George Worthey, to his house after class to debate over the feasibility of time travel, all the time knowing that he can prove that time travel is possible (modulo certain forbidden treks) by sending George far into the future and instructing him to return a short time later.

The story ends with a challenge to the reader with a total of $50 in cash prizes for the best answers! The answer to the challenge was given in the June issue. Somehow in the answer, George Worthey’s name changed to Sherwin, but I think that was just an editorial mistake. I didn’t much care for Farley’s “correct” answer, although I did spot Isaac Asimov’s name listed among the 112 correct respondents in the July issue. The contest winner was Albert F. Lopez from East Boston, Mass.

 This contest is one any of our readers can win. It’s extremely simple. You don’t need to know anything about writing. You don’t have to write a story. You aren’t expected to know a great deal of science. All you must do is read the entertaining story “The Time-Wise Guy,” on page 6, and then, in your own words, in a short letter, tell the editors what you think happened to the hero of the story. In other words, how does the story end?

Your answer should be based on the facts of time travel and its rules, as stated in the story by Professor Tyrrell. Your editors suspect that the correct answer would also shed light on the fate of the Professor’s friend in Holland—rather FROM Holland. But of course, there is a little of George Worthey in all of us, and you may not believe this. Editors don’t know it all, either—

Except that Ralph Milne Farley has kindly supplied us with the answer, and we know it and believe it. We’ll give it to you in the next issue, what’s more, and they you’ll believe it too.

[Aug 2015]

Twice in Time
by Manley Wade Wellman
First publication: Startling Stories, May 1940
Inventor Leo Thrasher, perhaps the last modern-day Renaissance man, builds a machine to throw him back to Renaissance Italy, where he plans to leave his mark as a painter. Once there, he’s taken under the wing of Guaracco who views him as a potential rival, but still sees a use for the time traveler. When Leo’s memory of future wonders begins to fade, Guaracco pulls 20th-century memories from Leo’s subconscious via hypnotic interviews, somehow even managing to pull out (among other more mundane things) a working pair of wings for Leo to fly over 15th-century Florence.

 But suppose this me is taken completely out of Twentieth Century existence—dematerialized, recreated in another epoch. That makes twice in time, doesnt it? 

[Jun 2015]

“The Mosaic”
by J.B. Ryan
First publication: Astounding, Jul 1940
Emir Ismail (a soldier and scientist in a Muslim-led 20th century) travels back to the crucial Battle of Tours in 732 A.D.

This is the first story that I read via electronic interlibrary loan with the help of the University of Colorado librarians.

 History is built event by incident—and each is a brick in its structure. If one small piece should slip— 
—John W. Campbell’s introductory blurb for the story

[Aug 2011]

“Murder in the Time World”
by Malcolm Jameson
First publication: Amazing, Aug 1940

Karl Tarig plans to murder his kindly cousin, Dr. Claude Morrison, who took Karl in when nobody else would. Then he'll toss cousin Claude’s body into the time machine that Claude built. Lastly, he’ll sell all of Claude’s valuables and run away with the winsome Ellen Warren. The perfect crime!

 To hell with the law! For he had thought out the perfect crime. There could be no dangerous consequences. You cant hang a man for murder with a body—a corpus delicti. For the first time in the history of crime, a murderer had at his disposal the sure means of ridding himself of his corpse. 

[Aug 2015]

“Who’s Cribbing”
by Todd Thromberry
First publication: Macabre Adventures, Aug 1940

 Dear Mr. Gates,
. . . Please write and tell me what you think of my theory.
Jack Lewis

The story also appeared in this 1970 anthology.
“The Day Time Stopped”
by Bradner Buckner
First publication: Amazing, Oct 1940

After pulling the trigger to commit suicide, Dave Miller finds that time has stopped for nearly the whole world. Only Dave, a dog, and Dr. Erickson remain animate—which would be a time stoppage story instead of time travel story except for that possible small jump at the end when the trio figure out how to break the spell.

 The only way for us to try to get the machine working and topple ourselves one way or the other. If we fall back, we will all live. If we fall into the present—we may die. 

[Sep 2015]

“Rescue into the Past”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Amazing, Oct 1940

Physicist Barney Baker, now a lawyer, uses his time machine to go back to the sacking of Fort Randolph in 1776 where he hopes to find evidence for an important legal case. He does find that along with attacking Redcoats and Indians and a beautiful young woman who instantly captures his heart, but alas, he can save nothing and no one—or can he?

 Go back there again to 1776, and this time do things right. Go back to just before Carolines death, and this time rescue her. Why not! 

[Feb 2015]

“Sunspot Purge”
by Clifford D. Simak
First publication: Astounding, Nov 1940

“Read the News Before It Happens!” That’s the slogan that reporter Mike Hamilton proposes when the Globe buys a time machine. But when Mike goes onto the future beat, it’s more than just the stock market and the Minnesota-Wisconsin football game that he runs into—it’s the world of 2450 with only scattered population.

 Think of the opportunities a time machine offers a newspaper. The other papers can tell them what has happened and what is happening, but, by Godrey, theyll have to read the Globe to know what is going to happen. 

[Aug 2011]

“The Blonde, the Time Machine and Johnny Bell”
by Kenneth L. Harrison
First publication: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec 1940
Johnny Bell, a reporter for the Clarion, expected to get a story out of Pop Keller’s Curiosity Shop. What he didn’t expect to find were a blonde who looks like Betty Grable who cons him into buying a used time machine.

This was a $25 contest winner story, but Harrison, 23 at the time and living in Portland, Oregon, never published another story.

 But the strangest thing he had ever seen was the queer-looking mechanical apparatus in the center of the window. Johnny Bells gray eyes narrowed in perplexity as he read the advertising card atop it:



[Aug 2015]

“Trouble in Time”
by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth (as by S.D. Gottesman)
First publication: Astonishing Stories, Dec 1940
I enjoyed this early effort from the two young Futurians, especially the beginning where chemical engineer Mabel Evans of Colchester, Vermont, goes to visit the newly arrived mad scientist who offers her ethyl alcohol and a trip to the future.

 That was approximately what Stephen had said, so I supposed that he was. “Right as rarebits,” I said. 

[Dec 2013]

“The Mechanical Mice”
by Eric Frank Russell
First publication: Astounding, Jan 1941 (as by Maurice G. Hugi)
Slightly mad scientist Burman invents a time machine that lets him see the future, from whence he brings back other inventions including a swarm of reproducing mechanical beasties.

 I pinched the idea. What makes it madder is that I wasnt quite sure of what I was stealing, and, crazier still, I dont know from whence I stole it. 

[Apr 2012]

“The Best-Laid Scheme”
by L. Sprague de Camp
First publication: Astounding, Feb 1941

I like the verb that de Camp coined for forward time travel—vanwinkling—but when the hero, De Witt, chases Hedges back in time, they start changing things and everyone (including them) remembers both the old time and the new. It’s beyond me to grok that form of time travel, but I give credit for creativity.

 The problem of backward-jumping has not hitherto been solved. It involves an obvious paradox. If I go back and slay my own grandfather, what becomes of me? 

[Mar 2012]

“Doubled and Redoubled”
by Malcolm Jameson
First publication: Unknown, Feb 1941

Jimmy Childers was certain of two things: that last night he’d set the alarm to silent (even though it went off this morning) and that yesterday, June 14th, was the perfect day, the likes of which could certainly never be repeated again.

This is the earliest sf story that I’ve seen with a time loop, although there was the earlier 1939 episode of The Shadow.

 Jimmy had the queer feeling, which comes over one at times, he was reliving something that had already happened. 

[Nov 2013]

“Poker Face”
by Theodore Sturgeon
First publication: Astounding, Mar 1941
The accountant, Mr. Face, joins the poker game and, among other things, has the remarkable ability to rig any deal without even touching the cards—what else would you expect for a man who’s traveled some 30,000 years from the future?

 “Now spill it. Just where did you come from?”
   “Geographically,” said Face, “not very far from here. Chronologically, a hell of a long way.”

[Jul 2001]

“Not the First”
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding, Apr 1941
As Earth’s first starship passes the light-speed barrier, strange things happen to its acceleration—and to the passage of time.

 Still, it was odd that the lighting system should have gone on the blink on this first ‘night’ of this first trip of the first spaceship powered by the new, stupendous atomic drive. 

[Dec 2010]

“Time Wants a Skeleton”
by Ross Rocklynne
First publication: Astounding, Jun 1941
After seeing a skeleton with a well-known ring on its finger, a spaceship is thrown back in time and the crew believes that one of them is fated to become that skeleton. This is an early story that addresses the question of whether something known about the future must become true.

 He could feel the supple firmness of her body even through the folds of her undistended pressure suit. 

[Dec 2011]

“Yesterday Was Monday”
by Theodore Sturgeon
First publication: Unknown, Jun 1941

Harry Wright goes to bed on Monday night, skips over Tuesday, and wakes up in a Wednesday that’s not quite been built yet.

 The weather makers put .006 of one percent too little moisture in the air on this set. Theres three-sevenths of an ounce too little gasoline in the storage tanks under here. 

[Jul 2001]

Fawcett Comics
First time travel: Wow Comics 2, Summer 1941

Time travel made it to the Marvel family in 1942, or at least the the earliest instance that I’ve spotted was a Captain Marvel story of that year (“The Amazing Trip into Time” in Whiz Comics 26 from 23 Jan 1942). Between then and the lawful demise of Fawcett’s Marvels, the whole family (the Captain, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., the Lieutenant Marvels) and the evil Dr. Sivana had a myriad of time-travel episodes by various means from Father Time to the doctor’s time pill to the captain’s time chair.

Fawcett also had other comics, some with time travel, such as Atom Blake who met himself in time in Wow Comics 2 and Nyoka, the Jungle Girl who traveled to prehistoric times in issue 10. As I find more of those, I’ll list them on my time-travel comics page.

 OMIGOSH! Now I remember everything! I went to the past in order to prevent Captain Marvel from ever existing! But when I got to the past, all I did was re-live the same events as before! Curses! 
—Dr. Sirvana from Captain Marvel Adventures 80

[circa 1970]

“I Killed Hitler”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Weird Tales, Jul 1941
This story does get bonus points for being the earliest kill-hitler time-travel story that I know of (and for predicting Pearl Harbor), but I didn’t fully follow the ending (after the killing) of this story where a distant cousin to the great dictator goes back to 1899 to gain the trust of the boy he knows will grow up to cruelly rule Europe.

 “You think so?” The Swami shook his head. “Ah, no. For it is written that there must be a Dictator—not only a Dictator, but this particular Dictator”to rule over docile Europe, and plunge the world in war.” 

[Feb 2015]

The story also appeared in this 2000 collection.
“The Probable Man”
by Alfred Bester
First publication: Astounding, Jul 1941
Years before The Demolished Man, there was Bester’s probable man. I looked forward to reading it as the first story of my retirement, and I enjoyed the time-travel model that Bester set up: David Conn travels backward from 2941 to World War II, but then returns to a vastly changed future. For me, though, I found the naïve attitude toward war unappealing.

 Shed be Hilda Pietjen, daughter of the prime minister, just another chip in the Nazi poker game. And hed be dead in a bunker, a thousand years before hed been born. 

[Jan 2012]

“Sidetrack in Time”
by William P. McGivern
First publication: Amazing, Jul 1941
Philip Kingley has a plan to get rid of his time-traveling professor some 5000 years in the future. Unfortunately, the ending to Philip’s professor also got rid of any chance more than half a star in my rating.

 He scrambled out of the machine, the delirious feeling of success and power coursing through his veins like strong drink. His eyes traveled about the laboratory, slowly, gloatingly. All of it his. The equipment, the formulas, and most of all—the time machine. 

[Apr 2014]

The Weapon Shop Stories
by A.E. van Vogt
First story: Astounding, Jul 1941

Time travel plays only a small role in Van Vogt’s three stories and a serial. The stories follow the immortal founder of The Weapon Shops, an organization that puts science to work to ensure that the common man is never dominated by government or corporations. Along the way, a 20th century man becomes a time-travel pawn, a young man seven millennia in the future takes advantage of a much shorter time-travel escapade, and you’ll spot at least one other time-travel moment.

All the stories were fixed up into two books, The Weapon Shops of Isher and The Weapon Makers, and the SFBC gathered both those into The Empire of Isher.

 The Seesaw (Jul 1941)Astounding
The Weapon Shops (Dec 1942)Astounding
The Weapon Makers (Feb-Apr 1943)Astounding
The Weapon Shops of Isher (Feb 1949)Thrilling Wonder Stories

 What did happen to McAllister from the instant that he found the door of the gunshop unlocked? 

[Jul 1969]

by Jack Williamson
First publication: Astounding, Aug 1941

Although it doesn’t involve Hitler by name, this story may be the start of the Use-a-Time-Machine-to-Kill-Hitler subgenre.

 With the new tri-polar units I can deflect the projection field back through time. Thats where Im going to attack Levin—in his vulnerable past. 

[Dec 2011]

The story also appears in the 1953 collection Assignment in Eternity, including this copy which I bought at Heathrow while waiting for my mother to arrive for my wedding.
aka “Elsewhen”
by Robert A. Heinlein (as by Caleb Saunders)
First publication: Astounding, Sep 1941

Professor Arthur Frost has a small but willing class of students who explore elsewhere and elsewhen.

 Most people think of time as a track that they run on from birth to death as inexorably as a train follows its rails—they feel instinctively that time follows a straight line, the past lying behind, the future lying in front. Now I have reason to believe—to know—that time is analogous to a surface rather than a line, and a rolling hilly surface at that. Think of this track we follow over the surface of time as a winding road cut through hills. Every little way the road branches and the branches follow side canyons. At these branches the crucial decisions of your life take place. You can turn right or left into entirely different futures. Occasionally there is a switchback where one can scramble up or down a bank and skip over a few thousand or million years—if you dont have your eyes so fixed on the road that you miss the short cut. 

[Feb 1980]

“The Man Who Saw Through Time”
by Leonard Raphael
First publication: Fantastic Adventures, Sep 1941

Walter Yale and his best friend Gary Fraxer build a time machine in the desert. Fraxer wins the right to use it first, but when he returns from the future, hes intent on killing Yale.

 They had wanted a place where no one would disturb them. So they had come out here and pretended to be doing astronomical observations. Actually, they were perfecting a time machine. 

[Sep 2015]

Asimov’s “Nightfall” also appeared in this issue.
“Short-Circuited Probability”
by Norman L. Knight
First publication: Astounding, Sep 1941
Our hero, Mark Livingston, finds a dead human body that is older than the human race—but still quite clearly his own body along with a highly evolved traveling companion.

 This is a story of something that did—or didnt—happen. Question is, can it be properly said that it did or did not? 
—Campbell’s introduction to the story

[Dec 2010]

“By His Bootstraps”
by Robert A. Heinlein (as by Anson MacDonald)
First publication: Astounding, Oct 1941

Bob Wilson, Ph.D. student, throws himself 30,000 years into the future, where he tries to figure out what began this whole adventure.

Evan Zweifel gave me a copy of this magazine as a present!

 Wait a minute now—he was under no compulsion. He was sure of that. Everything he did and said was the result of his own free will. Even if he didnt remember the script, there were some things that he knew “Joe” hadnt said. “Mary had a little lamb,” for example. He would recite a nursery rhyme and get off this damned repetitive treadmill. He opened his mouth— 

[Dec 1974]

“Flame for the Future”
by William P. McGivern
First publication: Amazing, Oct 1941
In 1990 with worldwide war still underway, a Hitleresque Leader sends two lieutenants into the future to recruit soldiers from the super race that he is creating, but the lieutenants seem to find only a barren Earth where they discuss the situation and smoke their cigarettes.

 “The object before you is a Time Machine,” he said with repressed pride. “The result of our Ingenuity and skill. With it we will draw new support to our Cause. Two of my most trusted Lieutenants are to travel into the future to enlist the aid of the races which will be created by us.” 

[Sep 2015]

“Bandits of Time”
by Ray Cummings
First publication: Amazing, Dec 1941

Bob Manse and his fiancée Doris are invited by a peculiar man calling himself Tork to a cult-like meeting at 3 A.M. where, says Tork, they will be taken to a New Era in the future with no troubles, no worries, no problems giving eyesight to the blind-from-birth Doris—and no problems kidnapping Doris whether she wants to go or not.

 Three A.M. A distant church spire in the city behind us boomed the hour, floating here on the heavy night-air. Abruptly figures were around us in the woods; arriving me. A man carrying the limp form of a girl. From the ship a tiny beam of white light struck on them. Tork! I recognized him. But more than that Blake and I both recognized the unconscious, inert girl. So great a horror swept me that for a second the weird scene blurred before me. 

[Aug 2015]

by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Unknown Worlds, Dec 1941

In need of $10,000 to open a medical clinic, Bill Hitchens calls forth Snulbug, a one-inch high demon who likes the warmth in Bill’s pipe, and orders the demon to retrieve tomorrow’s newspaper and bring it back to today.

 Then as soon as I release you from that pentacle, youre to bring me tomorrows newspaper. 

[Jan 2013]

DC Comics (Superheroes)
First time travel: Adventure Comics 71, Feb 1942

As a kid, I never read DC (Why would I? Excelsior!), but I’ve read some DC time-travel comics since then (don’t tell Stan). The earliest DC time travel that I’ve found was in 1942, but as for the big boys, the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder got the jump on the Man of Steel by a few months: Batman’s first travel was back to ancient Rome in Batman 24 via hypnosis by Professor Carter Nichols. Here’s a table of notable DC first time-travel experiences that I’ve found through 1969 (after that, everything became time-travel chaos):

 Starman (Feb 1942)Adventure Comics 71
Justice Society of America    (Apr/May 1942)All Star Comics 10
Green Arrow, et. al. (Jun 1942)Leading Comics 3
Green Lantern (Spring 1943)Green Lantern 7
The Shining Knight (Jul 1943)Adventure Comics 86
Batman and Robin (Fall 1943)World’s Finest 11
Wonder Woman (Nov 1946)Wonder Woman 20
Superman (Jan-Feb 1947)Superman 44
Johnny Quick (Nov 1948)Adventure Comics 134
Superboy (May/Jun 1949)Superboy 2
Lois Lane (Jan 1951)Action Comics 152
Blackhawk Commandos (Dec 1951)Blackhawk 47
Rex the Wonder Dog (Oct 1954)Rex 17
Jimmy Olsen (Sep 1955)Jimmy Olsen 7
The Flash (Oct 1956)Showcase 4
Legion of Super-Heroes (Apr 1958)Adventure Comics 247
Aquaman (Aug 1958)Adventure Comics 251
Challengers (Nov 1958)Chal. of the Unknown 4
Rip Hunter (May 1959)DC Showcase 20
Supergirl (Aug 1959)Action Comics 255
Adam Strange (Dec 1960)Mystery in Space 62
The Atomic Knights (Jun 1961)Strange Adventures 129
Elongated Man (Nov 1961)The Flash 124
JLA (Mar 1962)Justice League of America 10
The Atom (Nov 1962)The Atom 3
J’onn J’onzz (Dec 1962)Detective Comics 305
The Spectre (Apr 1966)Showcase 61
Eclipso (Jul 1966)House of Secrets 79
Prince Ra-Man (Jul 1966)House of Secrets 79
Sea Devils (Dec 1966)Sea Devils 32
[circa 1990]

“The Immortality of Alan Whidden”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Amazing, Feb 1942
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction characterizes Farley as “a rough-hewn, traditional sense-of-wonder writer,” who “as a consequence became relatively inactive with the greater sophistication of the genre after WWII.” But by the time of this story, Farley’s rough-hewn edges of his 1920s Radio Man stories had been smoothed out, and I find his writing to be engaging. I’ll grant that he never stepped away from the view of women as mere objects of beauty, and his characters have too much purity or evil with no examination of the morality of murdering a greedy man. Also, I have seen only stereotyped presentations of other cultures, but his time-travel plots are still fun and worthy of study. In this story, an immortal man serendipitously invents time travel which takes him from 1949 back to the time of his dastardly grandfather and a consistent resolution of the grandfather paradox.

 Framed in the front doorway stood a gloriously radiant girl of under twenty. Her flaunting reddish-brown hair was the first feature that caught Whiddens admiring gaze. Then her eyes, yellow-green and feral, set wide and at just the least little slant, beneath definitely slanted furry brows of the same tawny color as the hair. Lips, full and inviting. Complexion, pink and cream. And a gingham clad figure, virginally volupuous. A sunbonnet hung down her back from strings tied in a little bow beneath her piquant chin. 

[Feb 2015]

“The Man Who Changed History”
by David Wright O’Brien (as by John York Cabot)
First publication: Amazing, Feb 1942
Reggie Vliet and Sandra Vanderveer want to marry, but Colonel Vanderveer refuses his permission on the basis that Reggie’s family is not of the same standing as the long-established Vanderveers. So Reggie sets out to take down the Vanderveers in the times of Waterloo and the Civil War.

O’Brien was a prolific author who died in action during World War II at age 26.

 “Supposing,” he wondered, “that those two old ducks in the pictures on the walls hadnt been famous?” 

[Sep 2015]

“Recruiting Station”
aka Masters of Time, aka Earth’s Last Fortress
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding, Mar 1942

When the Glorious begin shanghaiing military recruits throughout time, Miss Norma Matheson and her once-and-future boyfriend Jack Garson are caught up in 18 versions of our solar system and a Glorious-vs-Planetarians war.

 We are masters of time. We live at the farthest frontier of time itself, and all the ages belong to us. No words could begin to describe the vastness of our empire or the futility of opposing us. 

[Mar 2012]

“Bull Moose of Babylon”
by Don Wilcox (aka Cleo Eldon Wilcox)
First publication: Fantastic Adventures, Apr 1942

A somewhat mad scientist tricks Hal Norton into traveling to ancient Babylon to record ancient animal sounds (I think), but the scientist never told Norton that the kinks in the return mechanism were still being worked out. Trapped in ancient times, Hal meets the also-trapped (and beautiful) niece of the scientist, and together they endure life as slaves while plotting a possible escape.

 Where does this slave, Betty, live? 

[Sep 2015]

“Some Curious Effects of Time Travel”
by L. Sprague de Camp
First publication: Astounding, Apr 1942
The very first Probability Zero story in Astounding took us on a romp back in time by the members of the Drinkwhiskey Institute to obtain saleable specimens of Pleistocene fauna, we learn that time travel has an effect on aging (coincidentally, the same effect described by Gaspar in Chapter 9 of El Anacronópete).

 A curious feature of time travel back from the present is that one gets younger and younger, becoming successively a youth, a child, an embryo and finally nothing at all. 

[Nov 2012]

“Time Pussy”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Astounding, Apr 1942 (as by George E. Dale)

Mr. Mac tells of the troubles of trying to preserve the body of a four-dimensional cat.

 ‘Four-dimensional, Mr. Mac? But the fourth dimension is time. I had learned that the year before, in the third grade. 

[Jul 1972]

This issue also contains Asimov’s first Foundation story.
“Forever Is Not So Long”
by F. Anton Reeds
First publication: Astounding, May 1942
The professor’s handsome assistant, Stephen Darville, is in love with the professor’s beautiful daughter and wants to spend every waking moment with her, but duty calls—duty to build a time machine, of course, in which the youthful assistant can go ten years into the future to return with the more polished time machines that will be produced by the professor’s very own technicians over the next ten years.

 The technicians would “save” themselves ten years of labor and the new sweeping highway in the future and the past would be open to mankind within the life of its discoverer. 

[Dec 2012]

“The Ghost of Me”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Unknown, Jun 1942

After Dr. John Adams is murdered, his ghost accidentally begins haunting some time before the murder occurred.

 Ive simply come back into time at the wrong point. 

[Jan 2013]

The story also appears in Groff Conklin’s 1952 anthology, The Omnibus of Science Fiction.
by Robert Abernathy
First publication: Astounding, Jun 1942
Nick Doody, inventor of the time machine and sole explorer through time, ventures some nine millennia beyond what he reckons was the fall of mankind.

 Are you not a Man, and do not Men know everything? But I am only a . . . 

[Apr 2012]

The story also appeared in this 1975 collection.
“My Name Is Legion”
by Lester del Rey
First publication: Astounding, Jun 1942
At the end of World War II, as the Allies occupation army closes in on Hitler, a man offers him a way to bring back thousands of copies of himself from the future.

 Years ago in one of those American magazines, there was a story of a man who saw himself. He came through a woods somewhere and stumbled on a machine, got in, and it took him three days back in time. Then, he lived forward again, saw himself get in the machine and go back. 

[Apr 2007]

“Time Dredge”
by Robert Arthur, Jr.
First publication: Astounding, Jun 1942

I haven’t yet read this story which appeared only in Astounding, but Jamie Todd Rubin writes that the story is of two men who seek a German professor who plans to pull things out of ancient South America to help the Germany win World War II.

 The German professor had a nice idea for making archeology a branch of Blitzkrieg technique—with the aid of a little tinkering with Time. 
—John W. Campbell’s introduction to the story

[Dec 2013]

The story also appeared in this 2003 collection.
“Secret Unattainable”
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding, Jul 1942
After his brother is killed by the Nazis, Herr Professor Johann Kenrube invents a machine that promises a little of everything to Hitler—unlimited energy and natural resources, instant transportation behind enemy lines, even a smidgden of time travel—but only after the Germans have over-committed themselves, does the truth about the machine emerge.

 Kenrube was at Gribe Schloss before two P.M., March 21st. This completely nullifies the six P.M. story. Place these scoundrels under arrest, and bring them before me at eight oclock tonight. 
—comment on a memo from Himmler

[May 2012]

“About Quarrels, about the Past”
by John Pierce
First publication: Astounding, Jul 1942
In addition to A.E. van Vogt’s “Secret Unattainable,” the July 1942 Astounding also had three short, short time travel stories as part of the magazine’s Probability Zero series. In this story, our narrator tells of the quirky Quarrels who took his time machine into the past—or we should say some past— to woo the winsome Nephertiti.

 Well, didnt you realize that this uncertainty holds for the past, too? I hadnt until Quarrels pointed it out. All we have is a lot of incomplete data. Is it just because were stupid? Not at all. We cant find a unique wave function. 

[May 2012]

Some other flag covers from July 1942
“The Strange Case of the Missing Hero”
by Frank Holby
First publication: Astounding, Jul 1942

Many magazines across the U.S. featured a flag on the cover in this patriotic month. In this second Probability Zero story of the issue, Elliot Gallant, hero to the people and beacon light of courage, was the first man to travel through time; Sebastian Lelong, editor of the Encyclopedia Galactica, aims to find out why he never returned.

This is the earliest story that I’ve spotted anywhere with the time traveler coming to know his own mother.

 Elliot Gallant went back into time thirty years. He liked the peaceful days of yesteryear. He married, had a son. 

[May 2012]

Interior artwork for the Probability Zero series
“That Mysterious Bomb Raid”
by Bob Tucker
First publication: Astounding, Jul 1942
Sitting around Hinkle’s, the narrator tells the story of how he, Hinkle and the local university scientist took a bomb back in time in an attempt to nip World War II in the bud.

 Well, sir, that little machine traveled so fast that before we could stop it we found ourselves in the last century. Somewhere in the 1890s. We were going to drop our oil drip there but I happened to remember that my grandfather was spending his honeymoon in Tokyo sometime during that decade— 

[May 2012]

“Time Marches On”
by Ted Carnell
First publication: Astounding, Aug 1942
Also appearing in the first ever Probability Zero column (along with de Camp’s story, listed above, and a story by Malcolm Jameson) is Carnell’s tale of a group of science fiction authors who explore the consequences of a simple time machine that can be built from radio parts, but can take the traveler only into the future.

 Yes, they were practically all here, thought Doc Smith, as his gaze moved from one to another of the circle. Williamson, Miller, Hubbard, Bond, McClary, Rocklynne, Heinlein and MacDonald, and many others who had once written about the mysteries of time travel—so many hundreds of years ago now. 

[Sep 2012]

by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Astounding, Sep 1942
John Brent travels 500 years into the future only to find that he can’t return because the authoritarian state has erected barriers to change that include regularization of all verbs and temporal barriers that prevent backward time travel.

 That is only to be expected when you jump five hundred years, but it is nonetheless perplexing to have your first query of" “What city is this?” answered by the sentence: “Stappers will get you. Or be you Slanduch?” 

[Nov 2012]

The story also appeared in Healy and McComas’s famous 1946 anthology, Adventures in Time and Space.
“The Twonky”
by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (as by Lewis Padgett)
First publication: Astounding, Sep 1942

A dazed man (apparently dazed from running into a temporal snag) appears in a radio factory, whereupon (before returning to his own time) he makes a radio that’s actually a twonky which gets shipped to a Mr. Kerry Westerfield, who is initially quite confounded and amazed at all it can do.

Because of the opening, I’m convinced that this twonky is from the future, but the origin of the twonky in the 1953 movie is less certain.

 “Great Snell!” he gasped. “So that was it! I ran into a temporal snag!” 

[Sep 2012]

The Anachron Stories
by Malcolm Jameson
First story: Astounding, Oct 1942
Golden-age favorite Malcolm Jameson wrote three stories of Anachron, Inc., a company that recruits ex-commandos for their “foreign” department—a euphemism for intertemporal commerce.

 Anachron, Inc. (Oct 1942)Astounding
Barrius, Imp. (Jan 1943)Astounding
When Is When? (Aug 1943)Astounding

 We can use a limited number of agents for our “foreign” department, but they must be wiry, active, of unusually sound constitution, and familiar with the use of all types of weapons. They MUST be resourceful, of quick decision, tact and of proven courage, as they may be called upon to work in difficult and dangerous situations without guidance or supervision. Previous experience in purchasing or sales work desirable but not necessary. EX-COMMANDO MEN usually do well with us. 

[Nov 2012]

“The Case of the Baby Dinosaur”
by Walter Kubilius (as by J.S. Klimaris)
First publication: Future Fantasy and Science Fiction, Oct 1942
Futurian Walter Kubilius wrote this story about Wilbur and Stevenson, two members of the Society for the Investigation of Unusual Phenomena, who must track down a time-machinist jokester who, among other things, drops a baby dinosaur in Times Square, plops Cleopatra into a modern beauty contest, and brings Shakespeare to a modern-day theater.

 A time-machinist with a sense of humor! 

[Apr 2014]

“Dinosaur Goes Hollywood”
by Emil Petaja
First publication: Amazing, Nov 1942

While waiting at a bar for Susie May, a man hears Jock Wemple’s story of how a big-shot scientist brought a brontosaurus to Hollywood just in time for the opening of Back to the Dawn.

 I heard a shrill feminine shriek. It was Dorothy LaMarr. Her dress was gold, and shone fit to knock your eyes right through the back of your head. 

[Sep 2015]

The Thunderbolt
drawn by Rafael Astarita
First publication: Doc Savage Comics 10, Nov 1942

According to the Michigan State University Comic Art Collection index, Doc Savage #10 included a 7-page origin of a superhero called The Thunderbolt (aka Dr. Adams). The story involved a scientific princess and time travel, but the hero was never heard from again. (Maybe he/she is lost in time.)

 With the aid of the mystic powers of Princess Ione, mistress of scientific wonders . . . 

A translation appeard in the all-Boucher issue of Urania (10 Feb 1991). Strangely enough, “snulbug” translates as “snulbug” in Italian; however “Elsewhen” is “Viaggio nel tempo.”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Astounding, Jan 1943

Private detective Fergus O’Breen investigates Harrison Patrigde, inventor and ne’er-do-well, who accidentally invents a short-range time machine, causing him to envision how the world (and the lovely Faith Preston) will admire him if only he can get enough money to build a bigger version (perhaps via a murder with the time machine providing an alibi).

 Time can pass quickly when you are absorbed in your work, but not so quickly as all that. Mr. Partridge looked at his pocket watch. It said nine thirty-one. Suddely, in the space of seconds, the best chronometer available had gained forty-two minutes. 

[Nov 2012]

“The Search”
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding, Jan 1943

When salesman Ralph Carson Drake tries to recover his missing memory of the past two weeks, he discovers that he had interactions with a woman named Selanie Johns who sold remarkable futuristic devices for one dollar, her father, and an old gray-eyed, man who is feared by Selanie and her father.

Van Vogt combined this with two other stories and a little fix-up material for his 1970 publication of Quest for the Future.

 “Just grab his right shoulder with that glove, from behind,” SpockPrice was saying. “Press below the collarbone with the points of your fingers, press hard.” 

[Apr 2012]

The story also appeared in this 1952 collection.
“Time Locker”
by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (as by Lewis Padgett)
First publication: Astounding, Jan 1943
Once again, drunken genius Gallegher invents something without knowing that he has done so’this time, a box that swallows things up until they reappear at now + x.

 He was, Vanning reflected, an odd duck. Galloway was essentially amoral, thoroughly out of place in this too-complicated world. He seemed to watch, with a certain wry amusement, from a vantage point of his own, rather disinterested for the most part. And he made things— 

[Dec 2010]

“The Angelic Angleworm”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Unknown, Feb 1943
If Charlie Wills and you have patience, then Charlie will figure out what’s causing those strange occurrences (such as an angleworm turning into an angel) and you will figure out that angels can time travel.

 We can drop you anywhere in the continuum. 

[Aug 2011]

“Mimsy Were the Borogroves”
by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (as by Lewis Padgett)
First publication: Astounding, Feb 1943

A scientist in the far future sends back two boxes of educational toys to test his time machine. One is discovered by Charles Dodgson’s niece in the 19th century, and the other by two children in 1942.

This story was in the first book that I got from the SF Book Club in the summer of 1970, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume 1 (edited by Robert Silverberg). I read and reread those stories until the book fell apart.

 Neither Paradine nor Jane guessed how much of an effect the contents of the time machine were having on the kids. 

[Jul 1970]

“Blind Alley”
aka “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville”
by Malcolm Jameson
First publication: Unknown, Jun 1943

Business tycoon Jack Feathersmith longs for the simple, good old days of his youth in Cliffordsville.

 Nothing was further from Mr. Feathersmiths mind than dealings with streamlined, mid-twentieth-century witches or dickerings with the Devil. But something had to be done. The world was fast going to the bowwows, and he suffered from an overwhelming nostalgia for the days of his youth. His thoughts contantly turned to Cliffordsville and the good old days when men were men and God was in His heaven and all was right with the world. 

[Jun 2015]

by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Astounding, Jun 1943
Mr. Holding, an American poet in Vichy France before the U.S. came into the war, visits an American scientist who is trying to stay neutral as he builds his time machine.

 I am, sir, a citizen of the world of science. 

[Jan 2013]

“Caverns of Time”
by Carlos M. McCune
First publication: Fantastic Adventures, Jul 1943
The Four Musketeers are transported from 1628 to a current-day Utah desert where they meet medical student and sometimes truck driver Clive, who kindly equips them with motorcycles and weapons more powerful than muskets for an impending battle with the cardinals men.

 Following d’Artagnon, they rode their motorcycles right into the main dining hall of the inn. 

[Sep 2015]

“Endowment Policy”
by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (as by Lewis Padgett)
First publication: Astounding, Aug 1943

A futuristic old man asks the taxi dispatcher for Denny Holt’s cab by name. When the man gets in the cab, he offers Denny $1000 to protect him from pursuit for the night and to steal a brown notebook with a secret formula for the War Department.

 Now, shielding the bills with his body, he took them out for a closer examination. They looked all right. They werent counterfeit; the serial numbers were O.K.; and they had the same odd musty smell Holt had noticed before.
“You must have been hoarding these,” he hazarded.
Smith said absently, “Theyve been on exhibit for sixty years—” He caught himself and drank rye.

[Jul 2015]

“Doorway into Time”
by C.L. Moore
First publication: Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Sep 1943

Treasures and beings from across time and space populate the halls of an age-old collector whose tiredness of life can be renewed only by the danger of the next hunt, which in this case means going naked and weaponless against Paul, defender of the lovely Alanna.

 On the wall before him, in the dimness of the room, a great circular screen looked out opaquely, waiting his touch. A doorway into time and space. A doorway to beauty and deadly peril and everything that made livable for him a life which had perhaps gone on too long already. 

[Jul 2015]

“Paradox Lost”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Astounding, Oct 1943
During a philosophy lecture, the left hand of bored college student Shorty McCabe disappears, at which point Shorty figures he may as well follow whereever the hand went, which turns out to be into a time machine invented by the only kind of person who could invent such a thing—a crazy man.

 But a time machine is impossible. It is a paradox. Your professors will explain that a time machine cannot be, because it would mean that two things could occupy the same space at the same time. And a man could go back and kill himself when he was younger, and—oh, all sorts of stuff like that. Its completely impossible. Only a crazy man could— 

[Dec 2012]

Dick Devins, King of Futuria
First appearance: Mystery Comics 1, 1944

Dick Devins was a 20th century time traveler who protected the 30th century from all that was evil. He appeared in the four 1944 issues of Mystery Comics (#-4) and in at least four 1947 issues of Wonder Comics (11-14).

 Twenty-four hours in the 30th century, eh? Sounds interesting—if your time machine works! Ill take your offer, professor! 
—from the splash page in Mystery Comics 1

[Jun 2012]

“As Never Was”
by P. Schuyler Miller
First publication: Astounding, Jan 1944

One of the first inexplicable finds by archealogists traveling to the future is the blue knife made of no known material brought back by Walter Toynbee who promptly dies, leaving it to his grandson to explain the origin of the knife.

 I knew grandfather. He would go as far as his machine could take him. I had duplicated that. He would look around him for a promising site, get out his tools, and pitch in. Well, I could do that, too. 

[Mar 2012]

The story also appeared in August Derleth’s 1948 anthology, Strange Ports of Call.
“Far Centaurus”
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding, Jan 1944

Four men set out for Alpha Centauri on a 500-year journey where each will awaken only a handful of times. That’s not time travel, of course, but be patient and you will run into real time travel.

Van Vogt combined this with two other stories and some fix-up material (especially for “Far Centaurus”) for his 1970 publication of Quest for the Future.

 Were here! Its over, the long night, the incredible journey. Well all be waking, seeing each other, as well as the civilization out there. Seeing, too, the great Centauri suns. 

[Apr 2012]

Archie Comics
created by John L. Goldwater, Vic Bloom and Bob Montana
First time travel: Archie 7, Mar 1944

I’d like to know more about time travel by Riverdale’s upstanding citizens. The earliest I found was in “Time Trouble” from Archie 7 (Mar 1944), which did get the jump on Batman by five months. Later episodes were in Pep 131 (Feb 1959) and at least a handful of 1960s stories.
[Dec 2010]

“Time on Your Hands”
by David Wright O’Brien (as by John York Cabot)
First publication: Fantasic Adventures, Apr 1944

Although I enjoyed the first Reggie Vliet story (“The Man Who Changed History’), this second story didn’t grab me, even though Reggie does inherit the time-travel watch and travels to see Antony and Cleopatra, Caesar, the sacking of Rome, and Columbus.

It does make me reflective to know that this story was written shortly before O’Brien’s death in a World War II bomber over Europe.

 He, Reggie Vliet, was again actually living in the past. He could enjoy it, relish it, admire it, and—change it. That was why he was here. To scramble the past, knock it off its customary track, blast it out of its timeworn groove. 

[Sep 2015]

“And Adam Begot”
by Arch Oboler
First publication: Out of This World, May 1944

I haven’t yet read this story, which came from Oboler’s 1939 radio play of the same name. It was later turned into a tv episode of Lights Out and was the basis of a Steve Ditko story in the Black Magic comic book (1953).
[May 2015]

Time Flies
by Ted Kavanagh, J.O.C. Orton, and Howard Irving Young (Walter Forde, director)
First release: 8 May 1944

Actress Susie Barton’s husband invested their nestegg in Time Ferry Services, Ltd., but the only way she’ll ever get anything out of it is by taking a trip to Elizabethan times.

 The Professor: Time? What is time? Having successfully controverted the classical views of Euclid and Newton, we arrive at the Theory of Relativity, which states that space-time in the neighborhood of a gravitational field is curved—pop!, pardon—whereas at an infinite distance from such a field field, it is not.
Tommy: How true, how true! Proceed, Prof.
The Professor: Now, the curvature of space-time at any point in the continuum is proportional to the intensity of the gravitational field at that point, and consequently, as I have shown, there is no reason whatever why time should be of infinite duration.
Bill: Very interesting, isnt it?
Susie: Yeah, whats he talking about?
Bill: He didnt say. 

[Jul 2015]

Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies Cartoons
voices by Mel Blanc
First time travel: 28 Oct 1944

I hope I’ll find more time travel in the Warner Brothers cartoons, but for starters, there’s “The Old Grey Hare” where Elmer Fudd is taken far into the future—past 1990!— where he chases bugs with the Buck Rogers Lightning Quick Rabbit Killer, and Daffy Duck with Speedy Gonzalez in “See Ya Later, Gladiator” (1968).

 When you hear the sound of the gong, it will be exactly twoooooo thowwwwwsand Ayyyyy Deee! 

[Jul 2013]
production photo from
The Encyclopedia of
American Radio

The Mysterious Traveler
by Robert A. Arthur and David Kogan
First time travel: 13 Jan 1945

I believe all episodes of The Mysterious Traveler were written by the prolific pair of Arthur and Kogan. The episodes stretched the sf field from thrillers to hard science fiction, but always with a creepy atmosphere. There were at least three time travel episodes and several more that I’ll mark as probably time travel based on their titles.

 Escape Through Time (13 Jan 1945)possible time travel
Murder at the Dawn of Time (4 Nov 1947)possible time travel
Escape into the Future (10 May 1949)possible time travel
The Man Who Tried to Save Lincoln (7 Feb 1950)traveler meets Lincoln historian
Operation Tomorrow (11 Apr 1950)traveler sees future war
Journey Through Time (27 Jun 1950)possible time travel
Escape to 2480 (21 Nov 1950)possible time travel
The Most Famous Man in the World (20 Nov 1951)travelers vs dictator

 This is the Mysterious Traveler, inviting you to join me on another journey into the realm of the strange and the terrifying. I hope you will enjoy the trip, that it will thrill you a little, and chill you a little. So, settle back, get a good grip on your nerves, and be comfortable if you can, and hear the strange story that I call “The Man Who Tried to Save Lincoln.” 

[Jul 2015]

“The Pink Caterpillar”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Adventure, Feb 1945

After Norm Harker tells of a magic man who can bring you back a single item from the future (for the right price), Anthony Boucher’s detective Fergus O’Breen tops the story with the tale of how he figured out why a dead American living in Mexico liked to call himself a doctor.

 At least thats the firm belief everywhere on the island: a tualala can go forward in time and bring you back any single item you specify, for a price. We used to spend the night watches speculating on what would be the one best thing to order. 

[Dec 2012]

Classic Comics’
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

adapted by Jack Hearne
First publication: Classic Comics 24, Sep 1945

Jack Hearne’s illustrations provided an abbreviated but accurate adaptation of Hank Morgan’s medieval travails.

 Ah! I’ve got it! On June 21st, 528, there was a total eclipse of the sun, but in 1879 there was none . . . now to wait . . . that will prove everything! 

[Jun 2011]

“Mr. Lupescu”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Weird Tales, Sep 1945

Time travel makes a cameo appearance in this story in which young Bobby tells his Uncle Alan about his godfather, Mr. Lupescu, who has a great big red nose, red gloves, red eyes, and little red wings that twitch.

 But one of Mr. Lupescus friends, now, was captain of a ship, only it went in time, and Mr. Lupescu took trips with him and came back and told you all about what was happening this very minute five hundred years ago. 

[Jan 2013]

“What You Need”
by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (as by Lewis Padgett)
First publication: Astounding, Oct 1945
Reporter Tim Carmichael visits Peter Talley, a shopkeeper on Park Avenue who provides for a select clientele things that they will need in the future.

I never include prescience stories in my list, but like Heinlein’s “Life-Line,” this one is an exception, both because of its tone and because it was made into episodes of both Tales of Tomorrow (the tv show) and The Twilight Zone.


[Apr 2012]

“The Chronokinesis of Jonathan Hull”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Astounding, Jun 1946

Private Eye Fergus O’Breen is back for his third and final encounter with time travel, this time with a time traveler who shows up dead in his room one day and is alive and walking in a stilted manner the next. In the process of explaining himself, the traveler also displays knowledge of Boucher’ traveler in “Barrier” and also of Breen’s other time travel encounters.

 And now, I realize, Mr. OBreen, why I was inclined to trust you the moment I saw yoiur card. It was through a fortunately preserved letter of your sisters, which found its way into our archives, that we knew of the early fiasco of Harrison Partridge and your part therein. We knew, too, of the researches of Dr. Derringer, and how he gave up in despair after his time traveler failed to return, having encountered who knows what unimaginable future barrier. 

[Dec 2012]

“Film Library”
by A.E. van Vogt
First publication: Astounding, Jul 1946

Each time a film goes through Peter Caxton’s projector at Tichenor Collegiate, it gets replaced with a different film from the future.

Van Vogt combined this with two other stories and a little fix-up material for his 1970 publication of Quest for the Future.

 Not that he would necessarily have suspected anyway that he had come into possession of films that had been made more than fifty years in the future. 

[Apr 2012]

Prize Comics’ Frankenstein
by Dirk Briefer
First time travel: Jul 1946

I’m always on the lookout for early depictions outside of sf with a climb-in-able time machine where you set the dials and go. Briefer’s humorous Frankenstein had just a such a machine in a 9-page story in issue 3 (Jul 1946). Frankenstein runs into Professor Goniph, and they travel in his machine to 2046 and 1646, although there is a twist at the end.

 It works!! It works!!! I am a genius!! We are in 2046!!! 

[Jan 2012]

The story also appeared in this 1982 collection.
“Blind Time”
by George O. Smith
First publication: Astounding, Sep 1946
Oak Tool Works has developed a handy time treatment whereby a portion of any tool can be sent into the future for a limited time, but its movements during that time must exactly mirror the movements of the rest of the tool during the current time. Peter Wright is the insurance adjuster who must examine an accident that the treatment is going to cause at 8pm.

 There is that element of wonder, too, you know. Every man in the place knows that someone is going to get clipped with that crane. 

[Mar 2012]

“Vintage Season”
by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore
First publication: Astounding, Sep 1946

More and more strange people are appearing each day in and around Oliver Wilson’s home; the explanation from the euphoric redhead leads him to believe they are time travelers gathering for an important event.

 Looking backward later, Oliver thought that in that moment, for the first time clearly, he began to suspect the truth. But he had no time to ponder it, for after the brief instant of enmity the three people from—elsewhere—began to speak all at once, as if in a belated attempt to cover something they did not want noticed. 

[Jun 2011]

“Technical Error”
aka “The Reversed Man”
by Arthur C. Clarke
First publication: Fantasy, Dec 1946

When Dick Nelson is accidentally exposed to a tremendous electromagnetic field, he comes out with his body reversed left-to-right, essentially a death sentence since certain necessary stereoisomers will be unavailable in the reverse form in his diet. The solution is to flip Dick over once again, requiring a trip through the fourth dimension (spacial) and a bit of time travel to boot. The head physicist assures Nelson that this is purely a spacial fourth dimension that he’ll be flipped over in.

 “You say that Nelson has been rotated in the Fourth Dimension; but I thought Einstein had shown that the Fourth Dimension was time.”
Hughes groaned inwardly.
“I was referring to an additional dimension of space,” he explained patiently.

[Jul 2001]

Timely Comics
founded by Martin Goodman
First time travel: All Winners Comics 21, Winter 1946-47

Timely was the predecessor to Atlas which became Marvel Comics in the ’60s. Some of their superheroes survived that transition (Captain America, the Sub-Mariner, and an android Human Torch, among others). I’ve only begun to dig up their time travel, finding one issue of All Winners Comics where Captain America and the All Winners Squad do battle with a man from 1,000,000 A.D. Also, in 1948, the Timely superhuman, comical boxer, Powerhouse Pepper, visited the pilgrims via time machine (Powerhouse Pepper 4, Sep 1948).

 Project yourselves far into the fture . . . to the year one million A.D. The Earth is almost unfit for human life! 
—Captain America in All Winners Comics 21

[Jun 2012]

“The Man Who Never Grew Young”
by Fritz Leiber, Jr.
First publication: Night’s Black Agents, 1947

Without knowing why, our narrator describes his life as a man who stays the same for millennia, even as others, one-by-one, are disintered, slowly grow younger and younger.

The story is soft-spoken but moving, and for me, it was a good complement to T.H. White’s backward-time-traveler, Merlyn.

 It is the same in all we do. Our houses grow new and we dismantle them and stow the materials inconspicuously away, in mine and quarry, forest and field. Our clothes grow new and we put them off. And we grow new and forget and blindly seek a mother. 

[Apr 2012]

“Child’s Play”
by William Tenn
First publication: Astounding, Mar 1947

Sam Weber, an underemployed lawyer, receives a Bild-a-Man kit as a Christmas gift from 400 years in the future—and it’s a timely gift, too, seeing as how he could use a replacement girlfriend.

 Bild-a-Man Set #3. This set is intended solely for the use of children, between the ages of eleven and thirteen. The equipment, much more advanced that Bild-a-Man Sets 1 and 2, will enable the child of this age-group to build and assemble complete adult humans in perfect working order. 

[May 2015]

“Time and Time Again”
by H. Beam Piper
First publication: Astounding, Apr 1947

At 43 years old, Allan Hartley is caught in a flash-bomb at the Battle of Buffalo, only to wake up in his own 13-year-old body on the day before Hiroshima.

Piper’s first short story impacted me because I fantasize about the same thing (perhaps we all do). What would you do? Who would you tell? What would you try to change? What would you fear changing?

 Here; if you can remember the next thirty years, suppose you tell me when the War’s going to end. This one, I mean. 

[Jan 2012]

“Ancestral Thread”
by Emil Petaja
First publication: Amazing, May 1947
Lem Mason’s eleven-year-old nephew, Sydney, doesn’t want to go to a ballgame on Sunday afternoon. He’d rather show his Uncle Lem the contraption that Professor Leyton left in the attic, which has allowed the boy to experience the lives of his ancestors and his descendants!

 But you seem to have forgotten one little detail—the second big dial, the one marked ‘Ahead’! 

[Sep 2015]

“Tomorrow and Tomorrow”
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: Fantastic Adventures, May 1947
When a typewriter appears on the floor of his boarding room and begins typing messages from the future, down-on-his-luck Steve Temple thinks that it must be his old jokester friend Harry—but he’s wrong about that, and the fate of the world 500 years down the line now depends on what Steve does about the upcoming election.

“Tomorrow and Tomorrow” doesn’t have the notority of that other Bradbury story about time travel and an elected official, but even though this one’s riddled with ridiculous ideas on time, it does accurately predict text messaging!

 Sorry. Not Harry. Name is Ellen Abbot. Female. 26 years old. Year 2442. Five feet ten inches tall. Blonde hair, blue eyes—semantician and dimentional research expert. Sorry. Not Harry. 

[Apr 2012]

Repeat Performance
by Walter Bullock and William O’Farrell
First release: 22 May 1947

After Sheila Page kills her husband in a fit of passion on New Years Eve, she wishes nothing other than to have the entire year back—if destiny will only let her.

 How many times have you said, “I wish I could live this year over again?” This is the story of a woman who did relive one year of her life. 

[Jan 2015]

“Errand Boy”
by William Tenn
First publication: Astounding, Jun 1947
When invention mogul Malcolm Blyn spots an unusual can of paint that a young boy brings to his factory, he begins to wonder whether it came from the future and what else the future may hold.

 I hand him an empty can and say I want it filled with green paint—it should have orange polka dots. 

[Apr 2012]

“The Figure”
by Edward Grendon
First publication: Astounding, Jul 1947
The narrator, along with his pals Dettner and Lasker, are frantically working on a machine that can bring something back from the future before they’re all called away by the army to work on some cockroach problem.

I enjoy stories with some personal connection to myself (and generally award an extra half star). In this case, the connection is Alfred Tarski, the Polish logician who was the advisor of the advisor of my own academic advisor, David B. Benson.

 Lasker is a mathematician. He specializes in symbolic logic and is the only man I know who can really understand Tarski. 

[May 2015]

“The Children’s Room”
by Raymond F. Jones
First publication: Fantastic Adventures, Sep 1947

Bill Starbrook, an engineer and a devoted family man, discovers a hidden Children’s Room in the university library where his genius son Walt has been checking out books which nobody except himself and Walt can read. In some way that’s hard to explain, that leads to mutants on Earth, an alien invasion, a worry that the mutants are going to take away Walt to save mankind, and (in passing) a requirement that the Children’s Room be moved to a different time.

It’s fair to say that this story’s not about the time travel.

 Some emergency has come up. I dont know what, exactly. Theyve got to move the Childrens Room to some other age right away—something about picking up an important mutant who is about to be destroyed in some future time. 

[Aug 2015]

“Meddler’s Moon”
by George O. Smith
First publication: Astounding, Sep 1947
Joseph Hedgerly travels back in time some 60 years to ensure that his grandfather marries the right woman.

 Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan. If our lives are written in the Book of Acts, then no effort is worth the candle. For there will be those who will eternally strive to be good and yet shall fail. There will be others who care not nor strive not and yet will thrive. Why? Only because it is so written. And by whom? By the omnipotent God. Who, my friends, has then written into our lives both the good and the evil that we do ourselves! He moves us as pawns, directs us to strive against odds, yet knows that we must fail, because he planned it that way. 

[Mar 2012]

DC Comics (Funnybooks)
First time travel: All Funny Comics 20, Nov 1947

It seems that everyone in the DC stable wanted to get in on the road to time travel including the humor line-up. The earliest that I’ve found so far in the Nov 1947 issue of All Funny Comics. Later, there were Bob Hope (in Bob Hope 43) and Jerry Lewis (in Jerry Lewis 43 and 54). In Bob’s story, he gets sent into the future by Carolyn Spooner. It also had a cover with Bob as a caveman. As I find others, I’ll list them in my time-travel comic books page.

 This cant be the stone age!—Im just putty in the hands of a girl like you! 
—from the cover of Bob Hope 43

[Jun 2012]

“The Timeless Tomorrow”
by Manley Wade Wellman
First publication: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec 1947

Demoisell Anne Poins Genelle visits Nostradamus and witnesses one of his visions—children climbing into a series of long, wheeled structures with glass windows—and she promptly steps into the vision.

I enjoyed how he wrote out his visions in quatrains.

 Within the Isles the children are transported,
The most of them despairing and forlorn,
Upon the soil their lives will be supported
While hope shall flee. . . .

[Jul 2015]

Brick Bradford Movie Serial
by George Plympton, Arthur Hoerl and Lewis Clay
First release: 18 Dec 1947

In fifteen episodes, Brick travels to the moon to protect a rocket interceptor while his pals take the time top to the 18th century to find a critical hidden formula.

 Maybe tomorrow you’ll be visiting your great, great grandmother. 

[Dec 2010]

“Me, Myself and I”
by William Tenn
First publication: Planet Stories, Winter 1947

As an experiment, a scientist sends unemployed strongman Cartney back 110 million years to make a small change. He makes this first change, which changes things in the present, and then he must go back again and again, whereupon he meets himself and him.

I keep finding earlier and earlier stories with the idea of destroying mankind by squishing a bug, and I am wondering whether this is the earliest linchpin bug (although that doesn’t actually happen here).

 Maybe tomorrow you’ll be visiting your great, great grandmother. 

[Jan 2012]

“Double Cross in Double Time”
by William P. McGivern
First publication: Fantastic Adventures, Feb 1948

I like stories that begin with a want ad, including Heinlein’s Glory Road and the recent movie Safety Not Guaranteed. This is the earliest such story that I’ve seen, in which Paddy Donovan answers the ad (just off Fourth Avenue) to find Professor O’Neill, the professor’s angelic daughter, and a machine that stimulates a man’s dormant ability to travel through time. So, after a quick jaunt to ancient Egypt, Paddy offers to bankroll the development of the time machine’s business potential.

 Opening for young man of adventurous nature. Opportunity for travel, excitement, glory. 

[May 2015]

“The Monster”
aka “The Brighton Monster”
by Gerald Kersh
First publication: Saturday Evening Post, 21 Feb 1948
In April of 1947, a man makes a connection between a tattooed Japanese man and a monster that washed up in Brighton two centuries earlier.

 I should never have taken the trouble to pocket his Account of a Strange Monster Captured Near Brighthelmstone in the County of Sussex on August 6th in the Year of Our Lord 1745. 

[Jan 2014]

The Thiotimoline Stories
by Isaac Asimov
First story: Astounding, Mar 1948

I don’t know if this is time travel or not, but it certainly violates causality when the time for thiotimoline to dissolve in water is minus 1.12 seconds.

 The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline (Mar 1948)Astounding
The Micropsychiatric Properties of Thiotimoline (Dec 1953)Astounding
Thiotimoline and the Space Age (Oct 1960)Analog
Thiotimoline to the Stars (Nov 1973)Analog
Antithiotimoline (Dec 1977)Analog

 Mr. Asimov, tell us something about the thermodynamic properties of the compound thiotimoline. 
—Professor Ralph S. Halford to Asimov at the conclusion of his Ph.D. oral exam on May 20, 1948.

[Apr 2012]

“The Tides of Time”
by A. Bertram Chandler
First publication: Fantastic Adventures, Jun 1948
Upon his 21st birthday, the twentieth in the line of descendents of Aubrey St. John Sheraton is to be taken into confidence about the secret of his family’s centuries-long financial success.

 I’d wait five hundred years for you, my darling. 

[Feb 2015]

“Time Trap”
by Charles L. Harness
First publication: Astounding, Aug 1948
The story presents a fixed series of events, which includes a man disappearing at one point in the future and (from his point of view) reappearing at the start of the story to then interact with himself, his own wife, and the evil alien.

It’s nice that there’s no talk of the universe exploding when he meets himself, but even so, the story suffers from a murkiness that is often part of time-travel stories that are otherwise enjoyable. The murkiness stems from two points: (1) That somehow the events are repeating over and over again—but from whose viewpoint? (2) The events are deterministic and must be acted out exactly the same each time. I enjoy clever stories that espouse the viewpoint of the second item (“By His Bootstraps”). But this does not play well with the first item, and (as with many stories), Harness did not address that conflict nor the consequent issue of free will. Still, I enjoyed the story and wish I’d met Harness when I traveled to Penn State University in the spring of 1982.

 But searching down time, Troy-Poole now found only the old combination of Troy and Poole he knew so well. Hundreds, thousands, millions of them, each preceding the other. As far back as he could sense, there was always a Poole hovering over a Troy. Now he would become the next Poole, enmesh the next Troy in the web of time, and go his own way to bloody death. 

[Jul 2011]

“Brooklyn Project”
by William Tenn
First publication: Planet Stories, Fall 1948

So far, this is the earliest story I’ve read with the thought that a miniscule change in the past can cause major changes to our time. The setting is a press conference where the Secretary of Security presents the time-travel device to twelve reporters.

 The traitorous Shayson and his illegal federation extended this hypothesis to include much more detailed and minor acts such as shifting a molecule of hydrogen that in our past really was never shifted. 

[Jul 2011]

“The Cube Root of Conquest”
by Rog Phillips
First publication: Amazing, Oct 1948

Hute Hitle, a dictator on the war-torn planet of Amba, plans to bring down an apocalypse and then travel to the future where he can fulfil his insatiable ambitions to be accepted as the one Leader.

The story is a crudely written Hitler fantasy, but it does have the interesting idea that travel through time can best be accomplished by stepping sideways into a parallel universe, traveling through time in that other universe, and then stepping back. Fortuntely for Amba, the scientist who discovered this version of time travel knows more than Hitle ever will.

 A time machine in one of these other universes could carry me to any point in the future without danger it might have encountered in this one, such as an atom bomb dropped on the space it would have been in here? 

[Jun 2015]

“La otre muerte”
aka “The Other Death”
by Jorge Luís Borges
First publication: El Aleph, 1949

I’ve read many translated stories of Jorge Lu%iacute; Borges, and many of those have surreal time elements, but this is the only one that I’ll deem to have time travel with a sophisticated branching universe, no less!

In the story, Borges himself tells of a man, Dom Pedro Damián, who first has a history as a soldier who lost his nerve at the 1904 Battle of Masoller and then lived out a long, quiet life. But after Damián dies some decades later, a second history appears in which the soldier was actually a dead hero at that very same battle, and no one remembers anything of the earlier life.

Motivated by the final part of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Borges argues that the only complete explanation involves God granting a death-bed wish to the 1946 Damián, allowing him to return to the 1904 battle, causing time to branch into two universal histories, the first of which is largely—but not wholly—suppressed.

 In the fifth chapter of that treatise, Pier Damiani asserts—against Aristotle and against Fredegarius de Tours—that it is within Gods power to make what once was into something that has never been. Reading those old theological discussions, I began to understand Pedro Damiá;s tragic story. 

[Jul 2015]

“The Red Queen’s Race”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Astounding Science Fiction, Jan 1949

By my count, this was Asimov’s third foray into time travel, but his first as Dr. Asimov. In the story, the dead Elmer Tywood also had a Ph.D. and a plan to translate a modern chemistry textbook into Greek before sending it back in time to inaugurate a Golden Age of science long before it actually occurred.

 There was a short silence, then he said: “Ill tell you. Why dont you check with his students?”
I lifted my eyebrows: “You mean in his classes?”
He seemed annoyed: “No, for Heavens sake. His research students! His doctoral candidates!”

[Jul 1972]

Hallmark Playhouse
hosted by James Hilton
First time travel: 3 Mar 1949 in Berkeley Square

Before tv’s Hallmark Hall of Fame, CBS aired the half-hour Hallmark Playhouse on its radio networks. I spotted only one time-travel episode, the well-worn Berkeley Square, which aired on 3 Mar 1949.

 An ancestor of mine built this house in 1730. See that picture there, above the fireplace? His father. Look at it. 

[Feb 2015]

Young William Shatner

Studio One
created by Fletcher Markle
First time travel: 20 Mar 1949 (“Berkeley Square”)

Almost every week for a period of nearly eleven years (7 Nov 1948 to 29 Sep 1958), Studio One presented a black-and-white drama to CBS’s television audience. We can claim some of the tv plays as our own in the sf genre, and at least two included time travel (a “Berkeley Square” remake on 20 March 1949, and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” on 19 May 1952). One other sf connection comes from Studio One clips of William Shatner (in “The Defender”, 1957) which were used to portray a young Denny Crane in an episode of Boston Legal (“Son of the Defender”, 2007).

 Youve heard of the transmigration of soul; have you ever heard of the transposition of a mans body in time and place? 
—A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

[Jan 2015]

ACG Comics (Anthologies)
founded by Benjamin W. Sangory
First time travel: Adventures into the Unknown 4, Apr 1949

ACG had a handful of weird story comic books including Adventures into the Unknown, Forbidden Worlds and Forbidden Worlds. I picked up a few of these at garage sales as a kid, but never really got into them. The earliest time travel that I’ve found so far was a story called “Back to Yesterday” in Adventures into the Unknown 4. Some of the issues are now available on google books.

 Its supposed to work by producing a displacement in the hyper-temporal field by means of a powerful mesotronic stasis of the continuum—and anyone near the machines field will immediately be projected into the future! 
——Hugh Martinson in “Adventure into the Future”

[Jun 1965]

A Connecticut Yankee
in King Arthur’s Court

adapted by Edmund Beloin (Tay Garnett, director)
First release: 22 Apr 1949

You know the story of Hank Morgan well enough by now, but do you know Edmund Beloin’s (one of Bob Hope’s writers) musical version with bumpkin Bing Crosby? This is my favorite of all the filmed versions.

 ♫Lord help the sister, who comes between me and my sister,
and Lord help the mister, who comes between me and my maaaan!♫
—oops, wrong Crosby movie!

[Jan 2015]

Mighty Mouse Comics
First time travel: Mighty Mouse 11, Jun 1949

Surely Mighty Mouse time traveled in his comics many times, but the one that I ran across in the Michgan State University library records is a 2-page text piece called “The Time Machine”in issue 11. I haven’t read it, so I can’t say whether it’s fiction or perhaps something on H.G. Wells’s story.

The mouse did save the day himself via time travel in 1961 (Mighty Mouse 152). As I find other instances, I’ll add them to my time-travel comics page.

“Let the Ants Try”
by Frederik Pohl (as by James MacCreigh)
First publication: Planet Stories, Winter 1949
After a nuclear war, Dr. Salva Gordy and John de Terry decide to use their time machine to see whether a recently mutated form of ant might do a better job than mankind if the ants were given a 40-million-year head start.

 And I doubt that you speak mathematics. The closest I can come is to say that it displaces temporal coordinates. Is that gibberish? 

[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.
1940 to 1949

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

“Wheels of If” by L. Sprague de Camp [alternate timelines]

“—And He Built a Crooked House” by Robert A. Heinlein [4D spacial topology]

“Borrowed Glory” by L. Ron Hubbard [fountain of youth]

“Dead ENd” by Malcolm Jameson [viewing the past]

“The Fountain” by Nelson S. Bond [fountain of youth]

“El jardin de senderos que se bifurcan” by Jorge Luís Borges [alternate timelines]
                aka “The Garden of Forking Paths”

Methuselah's Children
by Robert A. Heinlein
First publication: Astounding, Jul/Aug/Sep 1941

The time travelin’ didn’t commence until 1973 in Time Enough for Love, but trust me and read this one anyhow to get Lazarus’s back story.

 “‘Life is short—’”
“‘—but the years are long.’”
“‘Not,’” Mary responded, “‘while the evil days come not.’”

[Jul 1969]

“The Eternal Wall” by Raymond Z. Gallun [long sleep]

“The Push of a Finger” by Alfred Bester [predictions]

“El milagro secreto” by Jorge Luís Borges [stopping time]
                aka “The Secret Miracle”

“The Yehudi Principle” by Fredric Brown [predictions]

It’s a Wonderful Life by Goodrich, et. al. [viewing alternate pasts]

“No-Sided Professor” by Martin Gardner [4D spacial topology]

“He Walked Around the Horses” by H. Beam Piper (paratime) [alternate timelines]

“Police Operation” by H. Beam Piper (paratime) [alternate timelines]

“The Shape of Things” by Ray Bradbury [4D spacial topology]
                aka “Tomorrow’s Child”

“Night Call, Collect” by Ray Bradbury [despite appearances, no time travel]

“Time Heals” by Poul Anderson [stopping time]

“The Wall of Darkness” by Arthur C. Clarke [despite appearances, no time travel]

What Mad Universe
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Oct 1949

Suppose that a novel has no time travel, but when the hero, Keith Winton, is blown into a parallel universe (replete with alien invaders, a bigger-than-life hero, and scantily clad spacefaring women), the only way he can make a living is writing a time-travel story. Do I include the novel in my list? Normally, no—but this is Fredric Brown!

 It was a time-travel story about a man who went back to prehistoric times—told from the point of view of the cave man who encountered the time traveler. 

[Nov 2012]

137 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 (