timeline n.

one of a set of possible future or past events

SF Encyclopedia

Time Travel

  • 1941 ‘R. Rocklynne’ Time Wants Skeleton in Astounding Science-Fiction June 16/2 page image Ross Rocklynne bibliography

    A Wittenberg disrupter tears atoms apart. The free electrons are shunted off into accumulators, where we get power for lighting, cooking, heating and so forth. The protons go into the proton analyzer, where the gravitons are ripped out of them and stored in a special type of spherical field. When we want to move the ship, the gravitons are released. They spread through the ship and everything in the ship. The natural place for a graviton is a proton. The gravitons rush for the protons—which are already saturated with 1846 gravitons. Gravitons are unable to remain free in three-dimensional space. They escape along the time line, into the past.

  • 1942 M. Jameson Anachron, Inc. in Astounding Science Fiction Oct. 63/2 page image Malcolm Jameson bibliography

    At the moment, I was considering a means to cross these lines at right angles, especially since there may be independent time lines parallel to us of which we do not dream.

  • 1943 ‘A. Boucher’ Elsewhen in Astounding Science Fiction Jan. 113/1 Anthony Boucher

    They cannot be made to see that to move along the time line with free volitional motion, unconditioned by the relentless force that pushes mankind along at the unchanging rate of—how shall one put it—one second per second—that to do this for even one little fraction of a second was as great a miracle as to zoom spectacularly ahead to 5900 A.D.

  • 1945 ‘L. O'Donnell’ Code in Astounding Science Fiction July 39/1

    Rufus, say, simply switched to another time-line as he retrogressed.

  • 1946 ‘L. Padgett’ Fairy Chessmen in Astounding Science Fiction Feb. 168/2 Henry Kuttner C. L. Moore bibliography

    ‘You can move—and continue to move—in only one temporal direction, either future or past. But you can’t return. You'd meet yourself coming back.’ ‘What?’ ‘It’s a one-way track,’ Wood said. ‘Two objects can’t exist in the same space-time.’ ‘You mean two objects can’t occupy the same space at the same time.’ ‘Well? An extension of Ridgeley exists from now to his own period, along the time-line. He can’t go home. He'd bump into himself. He'd explode or something.’

  • 1948 H. B. Piper in Astounding Science-Fiction July 20/2 H. Beam Piper

    It’s entirely illegal to transpose any extraterrestrial animal or object to any time-line on which space travel is unknown.

  • 1951 D. Knight in Galaxy Science Fiction June 62/1 Damon Knight

    I know what you mean… Every displacement moves the observer to a new time line. But remember you’re not required to do anything once you get there; all you have to do is see what happened. As I understand it, you won’t be attached to that time line at all; you'll just be partially in it, the same way stuff in a transport tube is partially in this line.

  • 1965 H. B. Piper in Analog Science Fiction/Fact Nov. 15/2 H. Beam Piper

    Well, that’s why you’re getting those five control-study time-lines.

  • 1983 J. Varley Millennium vi. 86 John Varley

    The temporal technicians took the pulse of the timeline, checking for damage.

  • 1984 ‘S. Hawke’ Pimpernel Plot (1986) x

    The Timestream Split. In the event of a disruption of a magnitude sufficient to overcome temporal inertia, the effects of the Fate Factor would be canceled out by the overwhelming influence of the resulting discontinuity. The displaced energy of temporal inertia would create a parallel timeline in which the Uncertainty Principle would be the chief governing factor.

  • 1997 J. Barnes Patton's Spaceship 91

    ‘Look, in your timeline, who won the Peloponnesian War, and how long did it last?’ Anybody in any branch of history at least knows that. ‘Sparta. And it lasted about thirty years.’ ‘Well, in this timeline Athens won, very early in the war and all but bloodlessly. And then a couple of people you didn’t have in your timeline—Thucydides the Younger and Kleophrastes were the important ones—created a new Athenian Empire, with a very generous citizenship policy, structured as a sort of federation. That federation went on to win control of the Mediterranean, and then to conquer Asia east to Burma, all of Europe to the Urals, and all of Africa. A couple of thousand years later, they fought a long war with China over control of the New World—and at the end of that, Athens ruled the Earth, which meant one generation later, everyone as Athenian.’

  • 2000 Interzone Nov. 41/2

    In the film, the School has expanded into an institutional embodiment of the X-universe itself: an enormous Hogwarts for trainee superheroes, through which different team members from different generations pass in their own private timelines, all scrambled up so that Storm (for example) has already graduated while Iceman is still frozen in senior year.

  • 2002 Dreamwatch Sept. 18/2

    Pitt and Blanchett play multiple roles in The Fountain, which features three timelines. Blanchett is cast as a queen and a ghost, while in the film’s third timeline, set in the present day, she plays Izzi, a woman dying of cancer, with Pitt as her husband, surgical researcher Tommy Verde, and Ellen Burstyn as his supervisor Lillian.


Research requirements

antedating 1941

Earliest cite

Ross Rocklynne, in Astounding

Research History
Ann Kaelber submitted a 1997 cite from John Barnes' "Patton's Spaceship".
Jeff Wolfe submitted a cite from a 1986 reprint of Simon Hawke's "The Pimpernel Plot".
Alexx Kay submitted a cite from a reprint of H. Beam Piper's "Down Styphon!"; Mike Christie verified it in the 1965 first magazine appearance.
Jeff Wolfe submitted a cite from H. Beam Piper's "Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen"; Mike Christie verified it in the original 1964 magazine appearance.
Edward Bornstein submitted a cite from a reprint of Robert Sheckley's "The Deaths of Ben Baxter"; Mike Christie verified it in the 1957 first magazine appearance.
Jim Landau submitted a 1948 cite from H. Beam Piper's "Police Operation".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2002 cite from Peter Heck's book review column in Asimov's.
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1975 reprint of Richard Meredith's 1973 "At the Narrow Passage".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a reprint of Damon Knight's "Don't Live in the Past"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1951 original magazine appearance.
Douglas Winston submitted a 2000 cite from Poul Anderson's "Genesis".
Mike Christie submitted a 1946 cite from Lewis Padgett's "The Fairy Chessmen".
Mike Christie submitted a 1945 cite from Laurence O'Donnell's "The Code".
Mike Christie submitted a 1943 cite from Anthony Boucher's "Elsewhen".
Mike Christie submitted a 1942 cite from Malcolm Jameson's "Anachron, Inc.".
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1941 cite from Ross Rocklynne, in Astounding.

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.