|The story also appeared in this 1996 collection.|| || “Execution” |
by George Clayton Johnson
First publication: Scripts and Stories written for “The Twilight Zone”, 1977
A man without conscience who’s about to be hung in 1880 is transported to a scientist’s lab in 1960.
Serling turned Johnson’s story into a 1960 Twilight Zone episode, but I’m uncertain whether the story was published before Johnson’s 1977 restrospective collection. Johnson is also well-known for Logan’s Run, with Jenny Agutter but (sadly) no time travel.
Commonplace, if somewhat grim, unsocial event known as a necktie party. The guest of dishonor, a cowboy named Joe Caswell, just a moment away from a rope, a short dance several feet off the ground, and then the dark eternity of all evil men. Mr. Joe Caswell who, when the good Lord passed out a conscience, a heart, a feeling for fellow man, must have been out for a beer and missed out. Mr. Joe Caswelll, in the last quiet moment of a violent life.
—Opening narration of the Twilight Zone episode
| || The Rook |
by Bill DuBay
First publication: Eerie 82, Mar 1977
As you know, post-1969 comic books are not normally permitted on the list, but seeing as how Restin Dane, aka The Rook, is the great, great grandson of Wells’s original traveler (not to mention that the Rook and his Time Castle rescued the traveler at the Alamo in his debut “castling” adventure), how can I not make an exception?
Mister . . . I don’t know who you are, where you came from, or where you got them fancy guns . . . but I want t’thank God and San Houston f’r sendin’ ya! My name’s Crockett . . . and before you got here, I thought fro sure I’d wake up tomorrow shakin’ hands with th’ devil!
| || “Joelle” |
by Poul Anderson
First publication: Asimov’s Science Fiction, Fall 1977
Canadian Eruc Stranathan is one of the few people in the world who can merge his mind with computer hardware, taking him to mental vistas beyond that of mere humans. At a conference to explore the possibilities of the technology, he meets the beautiful American Joelle who shares his ability. The two fall deeply in love, but because of security restrictions, it’s fifteen months before she can show him the capabilities of her mind-machine connection.
The time-travel connection is slight in this long story, but it is relevant to Joelle. As I read though, I wondered whether the story could have been much more had the time-travel element been taken more to heart.
He swept out of the cell, through space and through time, at light-speed across unseen prairies, into the storms that raged down a great particle accelerator.
| || The Backspace Stories|
by F.M. Busby
First story: Asimov’s Science Fiction, Winter 1977
After fixing the smog problem by reversing the direction of Earth’s spin, Pete’s flaky friend Sam shows up with device that includes a calendar display and a grey backspace button. That, of course, was in the 1977 story, “Backspace”. I don’t know whether there were any earlier stories of Peter and Sam before the backspace button appeared, but there were several others afterward in Asimov’s Science Fiction. In the second story (“Balancing Act”), Sam could still “edit” time, even though he’d burned out the backspace button by stopping World War III. It’s unclear whether this second sort of editing involves time travel, but it is fun to speculate on what I might edit if given the chance.
- Backspace (Winter 1977) enter the backspace button
- Balancing Act (16 Feb 1981) editing Pete’s bloopers and more
- Backup System (26 Oct 1981) Sam’s death causes backspacing
- Wrong Number (21 Dec 1981) aliens v. Russia
My friend Sam is the only person I know who edits events. Which is to say, he does something in his head and the past changes; the alterations, of course also reflect into the present and the future.