The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 1951

   The Gauntlet
by Ronald Welch
First publication: 1951

 Peter gazed at it in silence. His head was feeling oddly numb, and the mist seemed to swirl around him with redoubled speed and thickness. Hardly realizing what he was doing, he slipped his right hand inside the heavy gauntlet, and this fingers groped inside the wide spaces, for it was far too large for his small hand.
From behind there came the thud of hooves, a shout, shrill and defiant, the clang of metal on metal, and then a confused roar of sounds, shouts, more hoof-beats, clang after clang, dying away into the distance as suddenly as they had come. The gauntlet slipped from Peters hand, and he shook himself as if he had just awakened.
 

[Nexus]

   “Such Interesting Neighbors”
by Jack Finney
First publication: Colliers, 6 Jan 1951

Al Lewis and his wife Nell have new neighbors, an inventor who talks of time travel from the future and his wife Ann.

The story was the basis for the second episode of Science Fiction Theater and also Spielberg’s Amazing Stories.

 But Ann walked straight into that door and fell. I couldnt figure out how she came to do it; it was as though she expected the door to open by itself or something. Thats what Ted said, too, going over to help her up. “Be careful, honey,” he said, and laughed a little, making a joke of it. “Youll have to learn, you know, that doors wont open themselves.” 

[Mar 2005]

   “. . . and It Comes Out Here”
by Lester del Rey
First publication: Galaxy, Feb 1951

Old Jerome Boell, inventor of the household atomic power unit, visits his young self to make sure that the household atomic power unit gets invented, so to speak.

 But its a longish story, and you might as well let me in. You will, you know, so why quibble about it? At least, you always have—or do—or will. I dont know, verbs get all mixed up. We dont have the right attitude toward tenses for a situation like this. 

[Apr 2012]

   “Like a Bird, Like a Fish”
by H.B. Hickey
First publication: Worlds Beyond, Feb 1951

When a strange ship crashes in Guadalajara, the villagers call Father Vincent. When the priest realizes that the visitors are lost and their ship is broken, he calls Pablo, who can fix anything (although generally mañana). And when everyone realizes that the visitors, who have already conquered their own realm where time-is-space and vice versa, mean to conquer Earth next (after all, Earthlings make good food), it seems too late to call anyone.

 Father Vincent was sorry that the villagers had called him. They should have set the fire. But it was too late.
“You will come in peace?” he asked, his voice beginning to tremble. “You will do no harm?”
 

[Aug 2015]

   Atlas Comics (Anthologies)
First time travel: Astonishing 6, Apr 1951

Before they started slinging superheroes, Stan Lee and the bullpen were working at Marvel’s predecessor, Atlas Comics, putting out comics that mimicked EC’s anthologies. The first one I found was in Astonishing 6 (Apr 1951). As I find others, I’ll list them on my time-travel comics page.

 Of course! thats it! I forgot to connect the plug to the electric outlet! 

—Harry in Mystery Tales 10, Apr 1953, explaining why his time machine did’s work the first time

[circa 1962]

   “Absolutely No Paradox”
by Lester del Rey
First publication: Science Fiction Quarterly, May 1951

Old Ned recalls the time fifty years ago when his young friend Pete LeFranc set off for the future despite Ned’s warning that time travel can lead to nothing but paradoxes. And, asks Ned (anticipating Hawking), if time travel were so easy, then where are all the time travelers from the future?

 If yours works, therell be more time machines built. With more built, theyll be improved. Theyll get to be commonplace. Peopled use them—and someone would turn up here with one. Or in the past. Why havent we met time travelers, Pete? 

[Sep 2015]

   “Don’t Live in the Past”
by Damon Knight
First publication: Galaxy, Jun 1951

A future transportation system goes awry, which results in flangs, tweedledums, collapsed flooring, argo paste, and mangels (yes, especially mangels) being delivered to the homes and business places of persons in a past century. Moreover, it’s quite possible that civilization down the line (including Bloggetts own time!) will be altered. When the buck finally stops, the buck-kickers have decided that it’s up to Ronald Mao Jean-Jacques von Hochbein Mazurin to travel back and set things right.

 The mathematicians are still working on that, Your Honor, and the best they can say now is that it was probably somewhere between the mid-Twentieth Century and the last Twenty-First. However there is a strong possibility that none of the material reached any enclosed space which would attract it, and that it may all have been dissipated harmlessly in the form of inconruent molecules. 

[Aug 2015]

   Lights Out
created by Fred Coe
First time travel: 2 Jul 1951

I wonder whether Lights Out was the earliest sf anthology tv show. The first four episodes were live broadcasts on New York’s WNBT-TV (NBC) starting on 3 Jun 1946. It was renewed by NBC for three seasons of national broadcast starting 26 Jul 1949, and I spotted at least two time-travel episodes. Some episodes have found their way to Youtube, although I watched “And Adam Beget” on Disk 5 of the Netflix offering. I haven’t yet listened to any of the earlier radio broadcasts.

The episode “And Adam Beget” came from a 1939 radio episode of Arch Obolers Plays, and it formed the basis for a 1953 Steve Ditko story, “A Hole in His Head,” in the Black Magic comic book.
  1. And Adam Begot (2 Jul 1951) time warp to prehistoric past
  2. Of Time and Third Avenue (30 Dec 1951) from Bester’s story

 You dont understand. Look at the short, hairy, twisted body—the neck bent, the head thrust forward, those enormous brows, the short flat nose . . . 

—from “And Adam Begot ”

[Apr 2012]

   Youthful Magazines
founded by Bill Friedman and Sophie Friedman
First time travel: Captain Science 5, Aug 1951

From 1949 through 1954, the Friedman’s Youthful Magazines published ten distinct comic book titles. The first time travel I spotted was in Captain Science 5, where the brainy captain takes yourthful teen Rip and redheaded bombshell Luana to Pluto at 40 times the speed of light to fight villians from the future. As I find other Youthful time travel, I’ll add it to my time-travel comics page.

 Yes. Lets see. Infinity over pi minus the two quadrants cubed . . . 

Captain Science 5

[Jun 2012]

   “Quit Zoomin’ Those Hands Through the Air”
by Jack Finney
First publication: Colliers, 4 Aug 1951

Grandpa is over 100 now, so surely his promise to General Grant no longer binds him to keep quiet about a time-travel expedition and a biplane.

 Air power in the Civil War? Well, its been a pretty well-kept secret all these years, but we had it. The Major and me invented it ourselves. 

[May 2011]

   “The Biography Project”
by H.L. Gold (as by Dudley Dell)
First publication: Galaxy, Sep 1951

Many sf stories are called upon to provide one-way viewing of the past with no two-way interference, but few (not this one) will answer.

 There were 1,000 teams of biographers, military analysts, historians, etc., to begin recording history as it actually happened—with special attention, according to Maxwells grant, to past leaders of industry, politics, science, and the arts, in the order named. 

[Jul 2013]

   “I’m Scared”
by Jack Finney
First publication: Colliers, 15 Sep 1951

A retired man investigates scores of cases of the past impinging itself on the present and speculates about the cause and the eventual effect.

 Then, undressing in my bedroom, I remembered that Major Bowes was dead. Years had passed, half a decade, since that dry chuckle and familiar, “All right, all right,” had been heard in the nations living rooms. 

[Mar 2005]

   “Ambition”
by William L. Bade
First publication: Galaxy, Oct 1951

Bob Maitland, a 1950s rocket scientist who dreams of going to the moon and the planets, is kidnapped in the middle of the night by an intelligent, athletic man named Swarts who speaks with an unusual accent. After the first interrogation by Swarts, Maitland realizes that Venus’s position in the sky means that he’s not only been taken to a different place, but to a different time as well—but he still doesn’t know why.

 When Swarts started saying a list of words—doubtlessly some sort of semantic reaction test—Maitland began the job of integrating “csc³x dx” in his head. It was a calculation which required great concentration and frequent tracing back of steps. After several minutes, he noticed that Swarts had stopped calling words. He opened his eyes to find the other man standing over him, looking somewhat exasperated and a little baffled. 

[Jul 2015]

   “Of Time and Third Avenue”
by Alfred Bester
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Oct 1951

Apparently, time travel has rules. For example, you cannot go back and simply take something from the past—it must be given to you. Thus, our man from the future must talk young Oliver Wilson Knight and his girlfriend into giving up the 1990 almanac that they bought in 1950.

 If there was such a thing as a 1990 almanac, and if it was in that package, wild horses couldnt get it away from me. 

[Apr 2012]





   Walt Disney’s Comics
First time travel: Mickey Mouse daily strips, 22 Oct 1951

The first mention of time travel that I’ve found for Disney characters in the comics was the story of Uncle Wombat’s Tock Tock Time Machine which ran in Mickey’s daily strip from 22 Oct 1951 through 19 Jan 1952. As for comic books, the first one that I ever read in the comic books was when Mickey and Goofy traveled back to Blackbeard in August, 1968. I’ve since found travel in the comic books as early as 1964 (Gyro Gearloose travels in Uncle Scrooge 50) and 1962 (Chip ’n’ Dale 30). I’ll keep looking and add any new finds to my time-travel comic book page.

 A fantastic time machine enables Mickey and Goofy to live in different periods of history. Right now they are aboard Mickeys unarmed merchant vessel off the Carolinas in the early 1700s—and off to starboard is a treacherous pirate ship . . . 

Mickey Mouse 114

[Jul 1968]

   “Fool’s Errand”
by Lester del Rey
First publication: Science Fiction Quarterly, Nov 1951

Roger Sidney, a 23rd-century professor of paraphysics, travels back to ask an aging Nostradamus whether he truly wrote those uncannily accurate predictions that were not found until 1989, but Sidney overshoots his target and ends up searching for a young Nostradamus in a tavern in southern France.

“Fool’s Errand” was the second story del Rey wrote after moving to New York in 1944 where he rented a $3/week room near Ninth Avenue and Fifty-Seventh Street, but Campbell rejected the story for Astounding as being too obvious. It was another seven years before Roger Sidney would find his way into the pages of Science Fiction Quarterly, one of the new spate of 1950s sf magazines.

 If Nostradamus would accept the manuscript as being his, the controversy would be ended, and the paraphysicists could extend their mathematics with sureness that led on toward glorious, breathtaking possibilities. Somewhere, perhaps within a few feet, was the man who could settle the question conclusively, and somehow Sidney must find him—and soon! 

[Aug 2015]

   “The Hunting Season”
by Frank M. Robinson
First publication: Astounding, Nov 1951

For the crime of questioning the State’s hunts in public, huntman David Black is sentenced to become the quarry in a three-day hunt in the past—the 20th century in this case.

My own student, David Black, who died unexpectedly in the summer of 2006, would always talk with me about anything and everything. So if he were still alive as I read this (in 2015), we would have a happy afternoon reading it and talking about the social situation the story brings up, or maybe we’d figure out why I’m so attracted to one-against-the-system stories.

 Youre much better off than if we had held the hunt in Sixteenth Century Spain during the inquisition or perhaps ancient Rome during the reign of Caligula. You may even like it here during the brief period of the hunt. Its a fairly civilized culture, at least in a material sense. 

[Jul 2015]



Columbus Circle then:

...and now:

   “Pillar to Post”
by John Wyndham
First publication: Galaxy, Dec 1951

Terence Molton, a double amputee, falls into a dope trance and wakens in the body of a Hymorell, a man in a flawed uptopian future that to Molton’s mind is immoral in many ways. As for his part, Hymorell is back in Terence’s body, building a machine to reverse the swap. Quite naturally, Terence feels some resistance to swapping back, a resistance that’s driving enough to give him some questionable morals himself.

One of the pleasures of reading old magazines is seeing the innocence of the ads, such as a 1.5-inch ad for Frank A. Schmid’s bookstore on Columbus Circle in New York. i’ve got them all! every one!, proclaims the ad, referring to sf books of the day. And perhaps they did!

 I sat up suddenly, feeling my legs, both of them. There wasnt any pain. But there were two legs and two feet!
Then I did something I hadnt let myself do in years—I burst into tears.
 

[Oct 2015]

   I’ll Never Forget You
aka The House in the Square, aka Man of Two Worlds
adapted by Ranald MacDougall
First release: 7 Dec 1951

John Balderston’s play Berkeley Square is updated to the 1950s where Peter Standish, now an atomic scientist, is once again transported back to the 18th century (unfortunately, not via a nuclear accident) to romance beautiful Kate Petigrew.

 Roger, I believe the 18th century still exists. Its all around us, if only we could find it. Put it this way: Polaris, the North Star, is very bright, yet its light takes nearly fifty years to reach us. For all we know, Polaris may have ceased to exist somewhere around 1900. Yet we still see it, its past is our present. As far as Polaris is concerned, Teddy Roosevelt is just going down San Juan hill. 

[Mar 2015]

   “Pawley’s Peepholes”
by John Wyndham
First publication: Science-Fantasy, Winter 1951-52

Jerry, his girl Sally, and everyone else in the quiet town of Westwich are forced to put up with gawking but immaterial tourists from the future who glide by on sight-seeing platforms.

 Was Great Grandma as Good as She Made Out? See the Things Your Family History Never Told You 

[Jul 2013]

   Mighty Mouse Cartoons
created by Izzy Klein and Paul Terry
First time travel: 28 Dec 1951

Mighty Mouse saved the day many a time, so doubtlessly he has saved the day in many other times, too, but so far I’ve seen only one such episode (“Prehistoric Perils”, 1952) in which our mouse goes in our villian’s machine back to the dinosaurs to save Pearl Pureheart.

 And now, my little papoose, I shall take you off in my time machine. 

[Dec 2011]
 

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.
1951

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


 1951
“Excalibur and the Atom” by Theodore Sturgeon [despite title, no time travel]

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

“Reaping Time” by A. Bertram Chandler [despite title, no time travel]

“Temple Trouble” by H. Beam Piper (paratime) [alternate timelines]


25 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)