The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 1950



   The Man Who Lived Backward
by Malcolm Ross
First publication: 1950

Mark Selby, born in June of 1940, achieves a unique perspective on life and war and death due to the fact that he lives each day from morning to night, aging in the usual way, but the next morning he wakes up on the previous day until he eventually dies just after (or is it before?) Lincoln’s assassination.

 Tomorrow, my tomorrow, is the day of the President’s death. 




   Pebble in the Sky
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: 1950

Joseph Schwartz takes one step from 1949 to the year 847 of the Galactic Era, where he meets archaeologist Bel Arvardan, Earth scientist Dr. Shekt, the doctor’s beautiful daughter Pola, and a plot to destroy all non-Earth life in the galaxy.

 He lifted his foot to step over a Raggedy Ann doll smiling through its neglect as it lay there in the middle of the walk, a foundling not yet missed. He had not quite put his foot down again . . . 


   “Stranded in Time”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: The Omnibus of Time, 1950

Only Farley himself knows his intent with this story, but to me it seems as if he were trying to make amends for his sexist tales of bygone pulp days by writing a story of football player cum physics student Milton Collett and his beautiful—but not airheaded—gal, Carolyn Van Horn, who together take a one-way trip to a future in which roles of men and women have been reversed. For me, Farley didn’t quite pull it off.

 His interne stared at him with awed respect. A man—able to read! 


The story also appeared in the second volume of Fantasy Book toward the end of 1950.   “The Man Who Lived Backward”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: The Omnibus of Time, 1950

Although this story shared a title with Malcolm Ross’s 1950 book of the same name, Farley’s story has but a small scope and a technical bent, explaining the natural mechanism that has taken the psychiatric patient known as Sixtythree and turned him into someone who (among other backward things) calls his beloved Margaret “Gnillrahd Tellagrahm!”

 For example, I well remember the night when he woke up the entire Asylym by yelling “Fire!”, just before the boiler explosion which nearly caused a holocaust. 


Farley wrote time travel stories in his spare time while under his birth name, Roger Sherman Hoar, he was a patent lawyer—and I have no other picture to illustrate another Farley story except this diagram from a time machine patent.   The Revenge of the Great White Lodge
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: first two chapters in The Omnibus of Time, 1950

Farley published the first 5500 words of this unfinished novel in his 1950 collection, The Omnibus of Time, but he never finished the partly autobiographical book about a New Hampshire lawyer, Lincoln Houghton, who follows an apparent time traveler to a cult compound before being transported to an alternate reality.

 As to the advice which I promised you. Watch your cousin warren, so far as Katherine is concerned!—Now you have a real reason to dislike your cousin. 


The story also appeared in this 1978 anthology.   “The Man Who Could
Turn Back the Clock”

by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: The Omnibus of Time, 1950

After a night in an isolated barn with a seductive woman, a man tries to explain his absence to his wife. It could be that Farley invented the choose-your-own-ending-story with this short parable.

 Then the man saw that he had made a tactical mistake; so he turned back the clock a few minutes and tried the conversation over again. 


   “Spectator Sport”
by John D. MacDonald
First publication: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Feb 1950

Dr. Rufus Maddon is the first man to travel 400 years into the future, but those he meets think he’s in need of treatment.

 Every man can have Temp and if you save your money you can have Permanent, which they say, is as close to heaven as man can get. 


   “The Wheel of Time”
by Robert Arthur, Jr.
First publication: Super Science Stories, Mar 1950

Decades before that other Robert wrote of his Wheel of Time, Robert Arthur gave us this story of his recurring mad scientist Jeremiah Jupiter and his long-suffering assistant Lucius. This time, Jupiter plans to create a time machine from oranges, The Encyclopedia Britannica, bass drums, tiny motorcycles, and three trained chimps.

 I am going to set up an interference in the time rhythm at this particular spot. Then the chimpanzies will enter it with my time capsules—since I know you wont—and they will deposit the capules here a million years ago! 




   “Forever and the Earth”
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: Planet Stories, Spring 1950

At age 70, Mr. Henry William Field feels that he’s wasted his life trying to capture the world of the 23rd century in prose, but he also feels there’s one last hope: Use Professor Bolton’s time machine to bring a great writer of the 20th century forward to today.

 Ive called you because I feel Tom Wolfes the man, the necessary man, to write of space, of time, huge things like nebulae and galactic war, meteors and planets, all the dark things he loved and put on paper were like this. He was born out of his time. He needed really big things to play with and never found them on Earth. He should have been born this afternoon instead of one hundred thousand mornings ago. 




   2000 Plus
created by Sherman H. Dreyer and Robert Weenolsen
First time travel: 27 Apr 1950

After World War II, the American public became fascinated with science, scientists and the future, one result of which were the national science fiction anthology radio shows starting with 2000 Plus. There was no limit to the scientific wonders that we would have by the year 2000! The series had at least two time-travel episodes in its two-year run or original scripts (and possibly a third, “Time Out of Hand”).
  1. The Man Who Conquered Time (12 Apr 1950) to 10,000 AD
  2. The Temple of the Pharaohs (12 Jul 1951) to ancient Egypt

 The sky, the sky is wrong, Sebastian! The constellations are all twisted up. Halley’s comet is back where it must have been a few thousand years ago! Sebastion, I’ve got it! That sky! That sky is the sky of about 5000 years ago! 

—from “The Temple of the Pharaohs”






number 11 of 50 hand-colored Frazetta prints of Weird Science-Fantasy 29

   EC Comics (Anthologies)
First time travel: May 1950

The prototypical comic book weird story anthologies were EC’s titles that began in April 1950 with Crypt of Terror. I don’t know whether that title and EC’s other horror comics had any time travel (because I was forbidden from reading those!), but Harry Harrison, Wally Wood and their fellow artists managed some in the titles that were more geared to sf.

I’m aiming for a complete list of EC’s time-travel vignettes, but the list as of now is only partial. The first one I found was in Weird Fantasy 13 (May/Jun 1950), which was actually its first issue. That was part of a ruse to take over a second-class postage permit from A Moon, a Girl . . .Romance (which ended with issue 12). They stuck with that numbering through the fifth issue (number 17) when the postmaster general took note, and the next one was number 6. I did kinda wonder how many of those romance readers were surprised when Weird Fantasy 13 showed up in their mailboxes.

There was a sister title, Weird Science, which began in May/Jun 1952 with issue 12 (taking over the postage permit after the 11th issue of Saddle Romance). It had many time travel stories, starting with “Machine from Nowhere” in issue 14 (the 3rd issue).

Weird Science and Weird Fantasy were not selling that well, so EC combined them into a single title—Weird Science-Fantasy—with issue 23 in March 1954. Alas, there was but one time-travel story, “The Pioneer” in number 24 (Jun 1954), about which EC’s site says A man attempts to be the first to successfully time travel, but there are some casualties on the way. . . ..
By the way, the whole run of EC comics would be 4 stars, but it gets an extra ½ star because of Al Williamson’s adaptation of “The Sound of Thunder” in Weird Science-Fantasy 24 and the beautiful Frank Frazetta cover on the final issue (number 29) of Weird Science-Fantasy. The third image to the left is is that Frazetta did of that cover in 1972, with a bonus vamp in the bottom right corner. The cover had a gladiator fighting cave men, but it was not a time-travel story.

In 1955, the Comics Code Authority banned the word “Weird,” so the title became Incredible Science Fiction with number 30 (Jul/Aug 1955). The four-issue run had only one time-travel tale (“Time to Leave” by Roy G. Krenkel in number 31).

 I just stepped off the path, that’s all. Got a little mud on my shoes! What do you want me to do, get down and pray? 




   “Night Meeting”
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: The Martian Chronicles, May 1950

On his own in the Martian night, Tómas Gomez meets an ancient Martian whom he can talk with but not touch.

 How can you prove who is from the Past, who from the Future? 




   “The Fox and the Forest”
aka “To the Future”
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: Colliers, 13 May 1950

Roger Kristen and his wife decide to take a time-travel vacation and then run so they’ll never have to return to the war torn world of 2155 AD.

 The inhabitants of the future resent you two hiding on a tropical isle, as it were, while they drop off the cliff into hell. Death loves death, not life. Dying people love to know that others die with them. It is a comfort to learn you are not alone in the kiln, in the grave. I am the guardian of their collective resentment against you two. 




   Dimension X
created by Fred Wiehe and Edward King
First time travel: 27 May 1950

In the month that Colliers ran its first time-travel story, Dimension X broadcast the same story with an original adaptation. I found just one later story of time-travel in their 46-episode run. (They also did an abbreviated Pebble in the Sky, but without Joseph Schwartz’s time travel.)
  1. To the Future (27 May 1950) from war in 2155 to peaceful 1950s
  2. Time and Time Again (12 Jul 1951) dying soldier to his childhood)

 We have Time Machines for sale—simple little machines of paper and ink, tubes and wires that, coupled with your own mind can soar down the years of
Eternity.
 

—from a Dimension X advertisement


   “Time in Thy Flight”
by Ray Bradbury
First publication: Fantastic Universe, Jun/Jul 1950

Mr. Fields takes Janet, Robert and William back to 1928 to study their strange ways.

 And those older people seated with the children. Mothers, fathers, they called them. Oh, that was strange. 




   “The Little Black Bag”
by C.M. Kornbluth
First publication: Astounding, Jul 1950

In a 25th century where the vast majority of people have stunted intelligence (or at least talk with poor grammar), a physicist accidentally sends a medical bag back through time to Dr. Bayard Full, a down-on-his-luck, generally drunk, always callously self-absorbed, dog-kicking shyster. Despite falling in with a guttersnipe of a girl, Annie Aquella, he tries to make good use of the gift.

 Switch is right. It was about time travel. What we call travel through time. So I took the tube numbers he gave me and I put them into the circuit-builder; I set it for ‘series’ and there it is-my time-traveling machine. It travels things through time real good. 


   “Vengeance, Unlimited”
aka “Vengeance Fleet”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Super Science Stories, Jul 1950

After Venus is destroyed by an invading fleet, Earth and Mars end their dispute in order to put together a fleet that can travel back in time to extract vengeance on the invaders. I like Brown’s work a lot, but not this story which had gaping holes, not the least of which was a problem with the units of c raised to the c power (one of my pet peeves).

 In ten years, traveling forward in space and backward in time, the fleet would have traversed just that distance—186,334186,334 miles. 


   “Friday, the Nineteenth”
by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Summer 1950

Tired of his marraige, Donald Boyce begins exchanging the odd kiss and soft touch on the hand with his best friend’s wife Molly, all quite innocent until Friday, the nineteenth, when Molly proposes that they have a clandistine rendezvous on Saturday, the twentieth, throwing both of them into a continuous repeat of the nineteenth.

A well-written, early time-loop story, and also one of the first two time travel stories (along with “An Ounce of Prevention”) to appear in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

 “I dont want to go either. It’s been so wonderful,” she said, “this little time alone together. I love this funny little bar; Ive loved every moment here. I wish today would never end.” 


The story also appeared in this 1951 anthology.   “An Ounce of Prevention”
by Paul A. Carter (as by Philip Carter)
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Summer 1950

By virtue of being on Mars, John Stilson is the last survivor of the human race after the ultimate war, but the Martians have a plan to change all that by sending Stilson back to alter the amount of fissionable material in Earth’s crust.

 Wherever in history a decision involving alternatives has to be made, separate and distinct futures branch off, rooted in that choice. There is a world in which the American colonies became a nation, and a world in which they remained under British rule. There is a world in which Franklin Roosevelt was four times elected President, and a world in which the assassination attempt against him in Miami was successful. There is no “might have been,” for the events that “might have been” have actually taken place, somewhere in time—not before, not after, but beside their alternatives. . . . 




   “Time’s Arrow”
by Arthur C. Clarke
First publication: Science-Fantasy, Summer 1950

Barton and Davis, assistants to Professor Fowler, are on an archaeological dig when a physicist sets up camp next door and speculates abound about viewing into the past—or is it only viewing?

 The discovery of negative entropy introduces quite new and revolutionary conceptions into our picture of the physical world. 




   “Flight from Tomorrow”
by H. Beam Piper
First publication: Future Science Fiction, Sept/Oct 1950

When the revolution finally comes, the dictatorial leader Hradzka escapes to the past in a time machine, but he overshoots his target and ends up in the first decade after the discovery of atomic power.

 “The ‘time-machine’” Zarvas Pol replied. “If hes managed to get it finished, the Great Mind only knows where he may be, now. Or when.” 




   Operation Peril’s Time Travelers
created by Richard Hughes
First publication: Operation Peril 1, Oct/Nov 1950

Before it became a war comic, the first twelve issues of ACG’s Operation Peril included a regular series about Dr. Tom Redfield and his rich fiancé, Peggy, who buy some of Nostradamuss papers and discover that hed designed a time machine.

I haven’t found difinitive information on the creators of this series. Several sites name ACG editor Richard E. Hughes as the writer; some places speculate that it was drawn by Ken Bald, but Pappy’s Golden Age Blog indicates that a reader names Lin Streeter as the actual artist, and Pappy agrees.

 Why, what an odd-looking blueprint! Tempus Machina—why, Tom! Thats Latin for Time Machine! 


   Time and Again
by Clifford D. Simak
First publication: Galaxy, Oct/Nov/Dec 1950

After twenty years, Ash Sutton reurns in a cracked-up ship without food, air or water—only to report that the mysterious planet that nobody can visit is no threat to Earth. But a man from the future insists that Sutton must be killed to stop a war in time; while Sutton himself, who has developed metaphysical, religious leanings, finds a copy of This Is Destiny, the very book that he is planning to write.

 It would reach back to win its battles. It would strike at points in time and space which would not even know that thre was a war. It could, logically, go back to the silver mines of Athens, to the horse and chariot of Thutmosis III, to the sailing of Columbus. 




   “The Third Level”
by Jack Finney
First publication: Colliers, 7 Oct 1950

A New York man stumbles upon a third underground level at Grand Central Station which is a portal to the past.

This is the first of Finney’s many fine time-travel stories.

 I turned toward the ticket windows knowing that here—on the third level at Grand Central—I could buy tickets that would take Louisa and me anywhere in the United States we wanted to go. In the year 1894. 




   “Day of the Hunters”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Future Science Fiction, Nov 1950

A midwestern professor tells a half-drunken story of time travel and the real cause of the dinosaur extinction.

 Because I built a time machine for myself a couple of years ago and went back to the Mesozoic Era and found out what happened to the dinosaurs. 




   “Transfer Point”
by Anthony Boucher
First publication: Galaxy, Nov 1950

Vyrko, the Last Man on Earth, is confined to a shelter with the beautiful but unalluring scientist’s daughter Lavra, until he starts reading a stash of old pulp magazines with stories that exactly describe himself and Lavra.

 Good old endless-cycle gimmick. Lot of fun to kick around but Bob Heinlein did it once and for all in ‘By His Bootstraps.’ Damnedest tour de force I ever read; there just arent any switcheroos left after that. 




   Ziff-Davis Comics (Anthologies)
founded by William B. Ziff, Sr. and Beranrd G. Davis
First time travel: Amazing Adventures 1, Nov 1950

Ziff-Davis published dozens of comic book titles in the first half of the 1950s including some anthologies of weird stories. The first issue of their Amazing Adventures included a time-travel tale called “Treaspasser in Time” in which the hero and the professor go through a strange fourth dimension full of inverted coneheads.

 Were obviously stranded in the fourth dimension . . . Weve both escaped that monster by plunging into the color-stream . . . which must be the stream of time! 


   “A Stone and a Spear”
by Raymond F. Jones
First publication: Galaxy, Dec 1950

In a post-Hiroshima world, Dr. Dell resigns from a weapons lab to farm, and when Dr. Curtis Johnson visits to pursuade him to come back, he finds that Dell’s reasons are linked to time travel.

 Here within this brain of mine has been conceived a thing which will probably destroy a billion human lives in the coming years. D. triconus toxin in a suitable aerosol requires only a countable number of molecules in the lungs of a man to kill him. My brain and mine alone is responsible for that vicious, murderous discovery. 


Close, but No Time Travel
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
“Outside of Time” by Carroll John Daly, Weird Tales, Jan 1950 [stopping time ]

To the Stars by L. Ron Hubbard, Astounding, Feb–Mar 1950 [time dilation ]
aka Return to Tomorrow

“Last Enemy” by H. Beam Piper (paratime), Astounding, Aug 1950 [alternate timelines ]

“S.O.S. . . . in Time” by D.K. Garton (as by Durham Keys), Thrills Incorporated, Oct 1950 [plagiarised from Simak’s The Loot of Time ]

“A Subway Named Mobius” by A.J. Deutsch, Astounding, Dec 1950 [4D spacial topology ]
aka ‘Non-Stop’

 


33 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)