The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 1954

   “Anachron”
by Damon Knight
First publication: If, Jan 1954

Brother Number One invents a machine that can extract things and place things in elsewhen, but only if the acts don’t interfere with free will; Brother Number Two tries to steal the machine.

 “By God and all the saints,” he said. “Time travel.”
    Harold snorted impatiently. “My dear Peter, ‘time’ is a meaningless word taken by itself, just as ‘space’ is.”
    “But barring that, time travel.”
    “If you like, yes.”
 

[Jul 2011]

   “Experiment”
by Fredric Brown
First publication: Galaxy, Feb 1954

Professor Johnson’s colleagues wonder what would happen if he refuses to send an object back to the past after it has already appeared there.

I haven’t found anything earlier that brings up this question, but although the resolution was clever, it didn’t satisfy me, and (though I could be wrong) I think Brown misses the fact that at one point there should be two copies of the object in existence at the same time. In any case, this was the first part of a pair of short-short stories in the Feb ’54 Galaxy, which together were called Two-Timer (the second of which had no time travel).

 What if, now that it has already appeared five minutes before you place it there, you should change your mind about doing so and not place it there at three o’clock? Wouldn’t there be a paradox of some sort involved? 

[Jan 2012]

   The Haertel Scholium Stories
by James Blish
First story: Galaxy, Feb 1954

Blish’s story “Beep” appeared in 1954 with a casual mention of time-travel when a message is overheard from a future spaceship that’s following a worldline backwards through time. The main story follows video reporter Dana Lje who stumbles upon the newly invented Dirac radio which allows instantaneous communication and, as only she realizes, also carries a record of every transmission ever made, both past and future.

At Larry Shaw’s request, Blish expanded “Beep” into the short novel The Quincunx of Time, and both these stories share a background wherein the work of Dolph Haertel (the next Einstein) provides an ftl-drive (the Haertel Overdrive, later called the Imaginary Drive), an antigravity device (the spindizzy), and an instantaneous communicator (the Dirac Radio). I read many of these in the early ’70s, but can’t find my notes and don’t remember any other time travel beyond that one communiqué that Lje overheard. Still, I’ll list everything in The Haertel Scholium and reread them some day!
  1. Pantropy and Seedling Stars stories (1942-1956) Various publications
  2. Cities in Flight stories (1952-1962) Various publications
  3. Common Time (Jul 1953) in Shadow of Tomorrow
  4. Beep (Feb 1954) Galaxy
  5. Nor Iron Bars (Nov 1957) Infinity
  6. A Case of Conscience (Sep 1953) & novel (1958) If
  7. A Dusk of Idols (Mar 1961) Amazing
  8. Midsummer Century (Apr 1972) & novel (May 1972) F&SF
  9. The Quincunx of Time (Oct 1973) expands “Beep”

 It is instead one of the seven or eight great philosophical questions that remain unanswered, the problem of whether man has or has not free will. 

[circa 1974]

   The Marvelman Family
created by Mick Anglo
First issue: 3 Feb 1954

When Fawcett was forced by legal action to shut down their Captain Marvel franchise, the British publisher L. Miller and Son scrambled to find a replacement for their weekly reprints. The result was a new Marvel family created by Mick Anglo and featuring Marvelman, Young Marvelman, and Kid Marvelman. The first issues were Marvelman 25 and Young Marvelman 25 on 3 Feb 1953 (with the #25 being a continuation of the Captain Marvel numbering).

Marvelman (also called Jack Marvel in Australia, and later renamed Miracleman for a 1980s reboot) counted time travel among his powers, although I don’t know when he or his kin first traveled.

 Ive got it! Ill go to an era back in time where my superior intellect will soon make me master of the universe—and Marvelman cant touch me! 

—the evil Gargunza in the 1959 Marvelman annual (probably a reprint)

[Jul 2015]

   “The Man from Time”
by Frank Belknap Long
First publication: Fantastic Adventures, Mar 1954

Daring Monsson (yes, that’s his name) is one of many travelers in a Time Observatory, but he feels a compelling urge to do more than just observe. So he quickly opens the Observatory’s iris and steps into the 20th century where he can read minds and interact with people in various dramas, but doesn’t know how to speak.

 How incredible that it had taken centuries of patient technological research to master in a practical way the tremendous implications of Einsteins original postulate. Warp space with a rapidly moving object, move away from the observer with the speed of light—and the whole of human history assumed the firm contours of a landscape in space. Time and space merged and became one. 

[Sep 2015]

   “Jon’s World”
by Philip K. Dick
First publication: Time to Come, Apr 1954

First the Soviets and the Westerners fought. Then the Westerners brought Schonerman’s killing robots into the mix. Then the robots fought both human sides. You know all that from Dick’s earlier story, “Second Variety.’ But now it’s long after the desolation when Caleb Ryan and his financial backer Kastner intend to go back in time to steal the secret of Schonerman’s artificial brains to make the world a better place for surviving mankind, including Ryan’s visionary son Jon.

 And then the terminators claws began to manufacture their own varieties and attack Soviets and Westerners alike. The only humans that survived were those at the UN base on Luna. 

[Aug 2015]

   “The Immortal Bard”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Universe Science Fiction, May 1954

Dr. Phineas Welch tells an English professor a disturbing story about a matter of temperal transference and a student in the professor’s Shakespeare class.

 I did. I needed someone with a universal mind; someone who knew people well enough to be able to live with them centuries way from his own time. Shakespeare was the man. Ive got his signature. As a memento, you know. 

[Jul 1976]

   “Where the World is Quiet”
by Henry Kuttner (as by C.H. Liddell)
First publication: Fantastic Universe, May 1954

This story appears in an issue of Fantastic Universe with a remarkable lineup including Frank Belknap Long, Philip José Farmer, Jack Williamson, Philip K. Dick, Richard Matheson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Robert Bloch. As for Kuttner’s contribution, a crippled priest enlists the aid of an adventurous anthropologist, Señor White, to track the fate of seven young girls who disappeared into the Cordilleras of eastern Peru in the direction of the great peak, Hauscan. Do anthropologists know anything about time-slips? (Yes, just a slight time-travel connection.)

 So, even now I do not know all that lay behind the terror in that Peruvian valley. This much I learned: the Other, like Lhar and her robot, had been cast adrift by a time-slip, and thus marooned here. There was no way for it to return to its normal Time-sector. It had created the fog-wall to protect itself from the direct rays of the sun, which threatened its existence. 

[May 2015]



   The Magic Series
by Edward Eager
First book: Half Magic, Jun 1954

In the first book, siblings Jane, Katharine, Mark and Martha find a magic wishing coin in the 1920s. But as wishes wont to be in stories, the wishes don’t work out as planned. This particular magic coin is only half-magic, granting only half of every wish (including time travel wishes), and leaving the children with the amusing challenge of finishing up the other half of the wish on their own. Sometimes it works out when they wish for twice what they want. Other times, not so much.

I’ve read only one of the other six books, The Time Garden, which Janet found for me in the local library.
  1. Half Magic (1954) King Arthur
  2. Knight’s Castle (1956) twelfth century
  3. Magic by the Lake (1957) Ali Baba
  4. The Time Garden (1958) retelling of Half Magic from new POV
  5. Magic or Not? (1959)
  6. The Well-Wishers (1960)
  7. Seven-Day Magic (1962)

 Dont you see? She wished she were home and ended up halfway home! I wished thered be a fire and got a little fire! A childs-size fire! Martha wished Carrie could talk and she can half talk! 

[Mar 2011]

   “Something for Nothing”
by Robert Sheckley
First publication: Galaxy, Jun 1954

A wishing machine (aka Class-A Utilizer, Series AA-1256432) appears in Joe Collins’ bedroom along with a warning that this machine should be used only by Class-A ratings!

 In rapid succession, he asked for five million dollars, three functioning oil wells, a motion-picture studio, perfect health, twenty-five more dancing girls, immortality, a sports car and a herd of pedigreed cattle. 

[Jan 2012]

   “Breakfast at Twilight”
by Philip K. Dick
First publication: Amazing, Jul 1954

Tim McLean’s ordinary family awakens on an ordinary day to find themselves in a war zone seven years in the future.

 We fought in Korea. We fought in China. In Germany and Yugoslavia and Iran. It spread, farther and farther. Finally the bombs were falling here. It came like the plague. The war grew. It didn’t begin. 

[Jan 2012]

   “A Thief in Time”
by Robert Sheckley
First publication: Galaxy`o, Jul 1954

Eight years before Professor Thomas Eldridge invents a time machine, a man from the future shows up with two policemen to arrest him for his future crimes. Knowing that he could never be a criminal, Eldridge swipes their time machine and flees to three future times, discovering that he’s wanted in each time for crimes ranging from potato theft to murdering another man’s fiancé
All in all, Sheckley’s story is a perfect example of a causal loop: I knew those potatoes would come in handy and that, given time, the girl would show up safe and sound.

 “We have no lawyers here,” the man replied proudly. “Here we have justice.” 

[Jun 2016]

   “This Is the Way the World Ends”
by H.W. Johnson
First publication: Astounding, Aug 1954

Living in a world threatened by nuclear extinction, seven-year-old Tommy receives the current and future thoughts of animals and people.

 There isnt going to be anything. Its all black after tomorrow. 

[Dec 2012]

   “The Easy Way”
by Oscar A. Boch
First publication: Astounding, Sep 1954

Hal Thomas’s wife thinks that he doesn’t pay enough attention to his children, one of whom is building an antigravity/time machine upstairs and the other of whom doesn’t need the machine to move through space and time.

 Space-time—is cute? 

[Dec 2012]

   “Meddler”
by Philip K. Dick
First publication: Future Science Fiction, Oct 1954

A government project sends a Time Dip into the future just to observe whether their actions have turned out well, but subsequent observations show that the act the observing has somehow eliminated mankind, so Hasten (the world’s most competent histo-researcher) must now go forward to find out what caused the lethal factor.

 We sent the Dip on ahead, at fifty year leaps. Nothing. Nothing each time. Cities, roads, buildings, but no human life. Everyone dead. 

[Jan 2012]

   Cave Girl
by Bob Powell
First time travel: Cave Girl 14, Dec 1954

Cave Girl had four issues of jungle adventures (numbers 11 to 14), and the last one had a strange machine that made dead people come to life by sending them into their own past, but keeping them in the present moment. In the end, the machine sends itself into the far past and disappears from the present.

The comic was published by Magazine Enterprises, which published from 1944 to 1958. So far, this Cave Girl is the only time travel I’ve spotted, though I do have one of their Teena issues in my dad’s stash of comics.

 Men in strange garb appear. It seems that they unfasten the machine and take it away. Actually they are setting up the machine, but since time is running backwards—so do they! 

[Jun 2012]
 

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.
1954

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


 1954
“The Golden Man” by Philip K. Dick [visions of possible futures]

“Lost in the Future” by John Victor Peterson [continually viewing the past]

“Time Fuze” by Randall Garrett [FTL]


19 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)