The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century: Stories by Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Finney, Joe Haldeman, Ursula K. Le Guin,
LEAP INTO THE FUTURE, AND SHOOT BACK TO THE PAST
H. G. Wells’s seminal short story “The Time Machine,” published in 1895, provided the springboard for modern science fiction’s time travel explosion. Responding to their own fascination with the subject, the greatest visionary writers of the twentieth century penned some of their finest stories. Here are eighteen of the most exciting tales ever told, including
“Time’s Arrow” In Arthur C. Clarke’s classic, two brilliant physicists finally crack the mystery of time travel–with appalling consequences.
“Death Ship” Richard Matheson, author of Somewhere in Time, unveils a chilling scenario concerning three astronauts who stumble upon the conundrum of past and future.
“A Sound of Thunder” Ray Bradbury’s haunting vision of modern man gone dinosaur hunting poses daunting questions about destiny and consequences.
“Yesterday was Monday” If all the world’s a stage, Theodore Sturgeon’s compelling tale follows the odyssey of an ordinary joe who winds up backstage.
“Rainbird” R.A. Lafferty reflects on what might have been in this brainteaser about an inventor so brilliant that he invents himself right out of existence.
“Timetipping” What if everyone time-traveled except you? Jack Dann provides some surprising answers in this literary gem.
. . . as well as stories by Poul Anderson • L. Sprague de Camp • Jack Finney • Joe Haldeman • John Kessel • Nancy Kress • Henry Kuttner • Ursula K. Le Guin • Larry Niven • Charles Sheffield • Robert Silverberg • Connie Willis
By turns frightening, puzzling, and fantastic, these stories engage us in situations that may one day break free of the bonds of fantasy . . . to enter the realm of the future: our future.
space because there would have been a spatial constant. I mean, they wouldn’t have got smaller. Size is size. Moving a one-inch cube from here to Mars wouldn’t make it any larger or smaller.” “What about a different density in the surrounding medium? Wouldn’t that crush an object?” “Sure, and it’d stay squashed. It wouldn’t return to its former size and shape when it was taken out of the locker again. X plus y never equal xy. But x times y—” “So?” “That’s a pun,” Gallegher broke off to explain.
MATHESON Richard Matheson was recognized as a powerful new talent in postwar fantasy with the publication of his ﬁrst story, “Born of Man and Woman,” in 1950. His early novels I Am Legend and The Shrinking Man broke new ground through their blending of fantasy, horror, and science-ﬁction elements and elaborations of the theme that dominates all his writing: the individual alone in a hostile universe struggling to survive. Matheson’s special interest in the paranormal has served as the foundation
now, too, and a little timorous as he had always been with his captain, except in moments of greatest physical danger. Ross had always led them, and it was hard to rebel against it even when it seemed he was trying to kill them all. His eyes moved to the viewer screen where the planet began to loom beneath them like a huge dark ball. “We’re alive,” Ross said, “and I say there never was a ship down there. We saw it, sure. We touched it. But you can see anything if you believe it’s there! All your
Time. He is known for his interweaving of science ﬁction and history, notably in his novel The High Crusade, a superior ﬁrst-contact tale in which a medieval army captures an alien spaceship. Much of Anderson’s fantasy is rich with under- THE MAN WHO CAME EARLY 109 currents of mythology, notably his heroic fantasy Three Hearts and Three Lions, and A Midsummer Tempest, an alternate history drawn from the background of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Anderson received the Tolkien Memorial Award in
ragabrash and riffraff—it’s enough we have foreigners. So timetip or slip or ﬂit somewhere else. There’s no other way out of this depository.” They deposited him in a narrow passageway and dropped the entrance stone behind him. TIMETIPPING 181 It was hard to breathe, and the damp air stank. It was completely dark. Litwak could not see his hands before his eyes. Gottenyu, he thought, as he huddled on the cold stone ﬂoor. For a penny they plan to incarcerate me. He recited the Shma Yisroel and