The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 1958

   The Lincoln Hunters
by Wilson Tucker
First publication: 1958

When a time travel novel brags the title The Lincoln Hunters, you more-or-less expect a mad race to stop John Wilkes Booth, but Tucker’s book instead focuses on Benjamin Steward, an agent of Time Researchers who is pegged to lead a team from the year 2578 back to 1856 Bloomington, Illinois, where they plan to record Lincoln’s lost speech condemning slavery.

 Full of fire and energy and force; it was logic; it was pathos; it was enthusiasm; it was justice, equity, truth and right, the good set ablaze by the divine fires of a soul maddened by the wrong; it was hard, heavy, knotty, gnarled, edged and heated, backed with wrath. 

[Aug 2016]

   The Time Traders Series
by Andre Norton
First book: 1958

Young Ross Murdoch, on the streets and getting by with petty crime and quick feet, gets nabbed and sent to a secret project near the north pole.
  1. The Time Traders (1958) Ross joins the project
  2. Galactic Derelict (1959) prehistoric alien wreck
  3. The Defiant Agents (Feb 1962) more Russians and aliens
  4. Key Out of Time (Mar 1963) on the planet Hawaika
  5. Firehand, with P.M. Griffin (Jun 1964) vs murderous aliens
  6. Echoes in Time, with Sherwood Smith (Nov 1999) alien Rosetta stone
  7. Atlantis Endgame, with Sherwood Smith (Nov 2002) back to Atlantis

 So they have not briefed you? Well, a run is a little jaunt back into history—not nice comfortable history such as you learned out of a book when you were a little kid. No, you are dropped back into some savage time before history— 

[Mar 2014]

   Tom’s Midnight Garden
by Philippa Pearce
First publication: 1958

When young Tom is sent to live in a flat with his aunt and uncle, all he longs for is a garden to play in; when he finds it during midnight wanderings, it takes him a few nights to realize that the garden and his playmate Hattie are from the previous century.

 Town gardens are small, as a rule, and the Longs’ garden was no exception to the rule; there was a vegetable plot and a grass plot and one flower-bed and a rough patch by the back fence. 

[Mar 2011]

   Wards Presents Magical Shoes
First publication: circa 1958

Of course, Montgomery Ward wants every kid to want their shoes, so what better way than to have a giveaway comic book advertisement in which young Billy and Milly realize that their Montgomery Ward shoes were special indeed!

 Milly: Theyre like seven-league boots!
Billy: Even better! Were covering a hundred miles at a step and were going back through history, too! These Ward shoes must have magical powers! 

[Jul 2012]



Host John W. Campbell, Jr., by Frank Kelly Freas
   Exploring Tomorrow
hosted by John W. Campbell, Jr.
First time travel: 29 Jan 1958

From Dec 1957 to Jun 1958, John W. Campbell himself hosted this radio series for the Mutual Broadcasting System. Many episodes were written by John Flemming, and although there was no official connection between the show and Campbell’s Astounding, many other scripts were by Campbell’s stable of writers including Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Gordon R. Dickson, Murry Leinster, Robert Silverberg and George O. Smith (“Time Traveler”). There were at least three time-travel episodes.
  1. Flashback (1/29/58) new father flashes forward to war
  2. Time Traveler, aka Meddler’s Moon (5/21/58)    50 years back to grandparents
  3. The Adventure of the Beauty Queen (6/25/58) love from the future

 Youve got a son to take care of you in your old age, Mr. Thompson. 

—from “Flashback”

[Mar 2012]

   “Aristotle and the Gun”
by L. Sprague de Camp
First publication: Astounding, Feb 1958

When Sherman Weaver’s time machine project is abruptly canceled, he takes matters into his own hands, visiting Aristotle with the plan to ensure that the philosopher takes the scientific method to heart so strongly that the dark ages will never come and science will progress to a point where it appreciates Sherman’s particular genius.

 Like his colleagues, Aristotle never appreciated the need for constant verification. Thus, though he was married twice, he said that men have more teeth than women. He never thought to ask either of his wives to open her mouth for a count. 

[May 2012]

   “Time Travel Inc.”
by Robert F. Young
First publication: Super-Science Fiction, Feb 1958

I found this in one of three old sf magazines that I traded for at Denver’s own West Side Books. (Thank you, Lois.) Both the title and the table-of-contents blurb (They wanted to witness the Cruxifiction) foreshadow Moorcock’s “Behold the Man,” although the story is not as vivid.

 Oh . . . The Cruxifiction. You want to witness it, of course— 

[Apr 2014]





   The Changewar Stories
by Fritz Leiber
First story: Astounding, Mar 1958

Two groups, the Snakes and the Spiders, battle each other for the control of all time. At least one other story (“When the Change-Winds Blow”) has appeared in the Change War collections with no snakes or spiders, but it may be in the Change War universe nonetheless.
  1. Try and Change the Past (Mar 1958) Astounding
  2. The Big Time (Mar and Apr 1958) Galaxy
  3. Damnation Morning (Aug 1959) Fantastic
  4. The Oldest Soldier (May 1960) F&SF
  5. No Great Magic (Dec 1963) Galaxy
  6. When the Change-Winds Blow (Aug 1964) F&SF
  7. Knight’s Move, aka Knight to Move (Dec 1965) Broadside

    These might be Changewar, but with no time travel:
  8. A Deskful of Girls (Apr 1958) F&SF
  9. The Number of the Beast (Dec 1958) Galaxy
  10. The Haunted Future, aka Tranquility, or Else! (Nov 1959)    Fantastic
  11. The Mind Spider (Nov 1959) Fantastic
  12. When the Change-Winds Blow (Aug 1964) F&SF
  13. Black Corridor (Dec 1967) Galaxy

 Change one event in the past and you get a brand new future? Erase the conquests of Alexander by nudging a Neolithic pebble? Extirpate America by pulling up a shoot of Sumerian grain? Brother, that isnt the way it works at all! The space-time continuums built of stubborn stuff and change is anything but a chain-reaction. 

—“Try and Change the Past”

[Apr 2012]

   “Poor Little Warrior!”
by Brian Aldiss
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Apr 1958

You are reading an artsy story, told in the second-person, about a time traveler from AD 2181 who hunts a brontosaurus.

 Time for listening to the oracle is past; youre beyond the stage for omens, youre now headed in for the kill, yours or his; superstition has had its little day for today; from now on, only this windy nerve of yours, thius shakey conglomeration of muscle entangled untraceably beneath the sweat-shiny carapice of skin, this bloody little urge to slay the dragon, is going to answer all your orisons. 

[Dec 2013]

   “Two Dooms”
by C.M. Kornbluth
First publication: Venture Science Fiction, Jul 1958

Young Dr. Edward Royland, a physicist at Los Alamos in 1945, travels via a Hopi God Food to the early 22nd century to see what a world ruled by the Axis powers will be like—and quite possibly setting off a seemingly endless sequence of alternate WWII stories such as The Man in the High Castle, most of which, sadly, do not include time travel.

I liked Kornbluth’s description of the differential analyzer as well as the cadre of office girls solving differential equations by brute force of adding machines.

 Instead of a decent differential analyzer machine they had a human sea of office girls with Burroughs desk calculators; the girls screamed “Banzai!” and charged on differential equations and swamped them by sheer volume; they clicked them to death with their little adding machines. Royland thought hungrily of Conants huge, beautiful analog differentiator up at M.I.T.; it was probably tied up by whatever the mysterious “Radiation Laboratory” there was doing. Royland suspected that the “Radiation Laboratory” had as much to do with radiation as his own “Manhattan Engineer District” had to do with Manhattan engineering. And the world was supposed to be trembling on the edge these days of a New Dispensation of Computing that would obsolete even the M.I.T. machine—tubes, relays, and binary arithmetic at blinding speed instead of the suavely turning cams and the smoothly extruding rods and the elegant scribed curves of Conants masterpiece. He decided that he would like it even less than he liked the little office girls clacking away, pushing lank hair from their dewed brows with undistracted hands. 

[May 2015]

   “The Amazing Mrs. Mimms”
by David C. Knight
First publication: Fantastic Universe, Aug 1958

The Amazing Althea Mimms is an operative for the time-traveling nonprofit agency Destinyworkers, Inc. This time (the only time actually recorded in a story as far as I could determine), she’s tasked with sowing domestic harmony in a 1950s apartment building in New York City. Its neverending, hard work, but at least there’s the compensation of 20th-century tea when she has enough energy left to make it.

 There was a muffled rushing noise and the faintly acrid smell of ion electrodes as the Time Translator deposited Mrs. Mimms back into the year 1958. Being used to such journeys, she looked calmly about with quick gray eyes, making little flicking gestures with her hands as if brushing the stray minutes and seconds from her plain brown coat. 

[Oct 2015]

   “Thing of Beauty”
by Damon Knight
First publication: Galaxy, Sep 1958

After a time-slip, con artist Gordon Fish receives nine packages containing a machine that makes magnificent drawings, but the instructions are in some unknown language.

 There was a time slip in Southern California at about one in the afternoon. Mr. Gordon Fish thought it was an earthquake. 

[Jun 2015]

The story also appeared in this 1959 collection.   “The Ugly Little Boy”
aka “Lastborn”
by Isaac Asimov
First publication: Galaxy, Sep 1958

Edith Fellowes is hired to look after young Timmie, a Neanderthal boy brought from the past, but never able to leave the time statis bubble where he lives.

 He was a very ugly little boy and Edith Fellowes loved him dearly. 

[Mar 1976]

   “The Men Who Murdered Mohammed”
by Alfred Bester
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Oct 1958

When Professor Henry Hassel discovers his wife in the arms of another man, he does what any mad scientist would do: build a time machine to go back and kill his wife’s grandfather. He has no trouble changing the past, but any effect on the present seems rather harder to achieve.

 “While I was backing up, I inadvertently trampled and killed a small Pleistocene insect.”
   “Aha!” said Hassel.
   “I was terrified by the indicent. I had visions of returning to my world to find it completely changed as a result of this single death. Imagine my surprise when I returned to my world to find that nothing had changed!”
 

[Apr 2012]

   “Wildcat”
by Poul Anderson
First publication: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Nov 1958

Herries, the leader of 500 men drilling for oil in the Jurassic, wonders about free will and the eventual fate of twentieth century America and its nuclear-armed adversaries.

The story was a nice forerunner to Silverberg’s “Hawksbill Station.”

 But we are mortal men. And we have free will. The fixed-time concept need not, logically, produce fatalism; after all, Herries, mans will is itself one of the links in teh causal chain. I suspect that this irrational fatalism is an important reason why twentieth-century civilization is approaching suicide. If we think we know our future is unchangeable, if our every action is foreordained, if we are doomed already, whats the use of trying? Why go through all the pain of thought, of seeking an answer and struggling to make others accept it? But if we really believed in ourselves, we woiuld look for a solution, and find one. 

[Jun 2016]

   The Time Element
by Rod Serling
First aired: 24 Nov 1958 (on Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse)

Serling wrote this one-hour time-travel episode as a pilot for a one-hour anthology show, but after it was filmed, Willaim Dozier at CBS requested a change to a half-hour format. So, “The Time Element” was shelved while Serling worked on a new pilot (which also had a stormy history). Meanwhile, Bert Granet, producer of the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, caught wind of the original Serling pilot and quickly snapped up the production for which he had to then fight hard with the Westinghouse bigwigs in order to air.

The story involves a time traveler, Pete Jensen, who couldn’t stop the attack on Pearl Harbor, but he certainly made his mark as the Twilight Zone precursor.

 I have information that the Japanese are gonna bomb Pearl Harbor tomorrow morning at approximately 8am Honolulu time. 

[Dec 2010]
 

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.
1958

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


 1958
“The Last Paradox” by Edward D. Hoch [bizarre physiological aging]

“That Hell-Bound Train” by Robert Bloch [stopping time]


18 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)