The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century: Stories by Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Finney, Joe Haldeman, Ursula K. Le Guin,
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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.
you’ve put me in.” “B-but—” Vanning grimaced. “Why do you suppose you saw that cop at Finance Unity? They could have nabbed you any time. But they wanted to scare you into heading for my ofﬁce, so they could catch both of us on the same hook. Prison for you, disbarment for me. Oh, hell!” MacIlson licked his lips. “Can’t I get out a back door?” “Through the cordon that’s undoubtedly waiting? Orbs! Don’t be more of a sap than you can help.” “Can’t you—hide the stuff?” “Where? They’ll ransack this
casually what might have occurred down there on that planet. Then he happened to glance at Ross. Ross was thinking. His lips pressed together. He said something to himself. Mason found the captain looking at him. “Mason,” he said. “What?” “Alien race, you said.” Mason felt a chill ﬂood through his body. He saw the big head nod once in decision. Unknown decision. His hands started to shake. A crazy idea came. No, Ross wouldn’t do that, not just to assuage vanity. Would he? “I don’t . . .” he
They’re all actors, you know.” “You’re nuts, friend,” said Harry bluntly. “That guy works on the docks.” “Oh yes—that’s his part. That’s what he acts.” “No kiddin’. An’ what does he do when he isn’t acting?” “But he—Well, that’s all he does do! That’s all any of the actors do!” “Gee— I thought he looked like a reg’lar guy, too,” said Harry. “An actor? ’Magine!” “Excuse me,” said the little man, “but I’ve got to get back to work. We mustn’t let anything get by us, you know. They’ll be through
there’s so much I didn’t do!” He poured himself a jolt, but he made a face as he drank it. “Never got around to distilling a really better whiskey. Had some good ideas along that line, too. So many things I never did do. Well, I can’t improve things by talking to myself here about it.” Then he sat and thought. “But I burr-tailed can improve things by talking to myself there about it.” He turned on his retrogressor, and went back sixty-ﬁve years and up two thousand feet. Higgston Rainbird was
hidden behind him, pueblos thrived on the faces of sheer cliffs. Cliff dwellings and cities made of smooth-hewn stone commanded valley and desert. 182 THE BEST TIME TRAVEL STORIES OF THE 20TH CENTURY “It looks dead,” Moldanado said. “But all around you is life. The Indians are all over the cliffs and desert. Their home is the rock itself. Behind you is Cliff Palace, which contains one hundred and ﬁfty rooms. And they have rock cities in Cañon del Muerto and, farther south, in Walnut Canyon.”