alternate future n.

in time-travel contexts: one of a number of possible futures; cf. slightly earlier alternative future n.

SF Criticism

Time Travel

  • 1941 A. Bester Probable Man in Astounding Science-Fiction July 89/2 page image Alfred Bester bibliography

    So, although b can reverse his time machine and go back to his own date, he will never find the reality of the present he left. He will always land in another of the infinite number of alternate futures coexisting.

  • 1941 A. Bester Probable Man in Astounding Science-Fiction July 90/2 page image Alfred Bester bibliography

    It takes time, lots of time before the alternate futures split off and differentiate.

  • 1950 C. D. Simak Time Quarry in Galaxy Science Fiction Nov. 146/1 Clifford D. Simak

    That meant that Asher Sutton could not, would not be allowed to die before the book was written. However it were written, the book must be written or the future was a lie. Sutton shrugged. The tangled thread of logic was too much for him. There was no precept, no precedent upon which one might develop the pattern of cause and result. Alternate futures? Maybe, but it didnโ€™t seem likely. Alternate futures were a fantasy that employed semantics-twisting to prove a point, a clever use of words that covered up and masked the fallacies.

  • 1967 J. Brunner Quicksand ii. 7 John Brunner

    He felt poised in this instant of time, as an impossibly slow spinning top might poise before falling. He could almost sense the rotation of the earth, carrying him past the successive doorways leading to his alternate futures. It was within his power to move forward into whichever he wished, to go on putting up with things as they were or to make a clean break and any of half a dozen fresh starts, or to set in train events leading to a break being forced on him. He could picture with painful clarity the likely form that each of those futures would take. Only the act of choosing between them was beyond his present ability.

  • 1979 M. H. Greenberg in I. Asimov Presents Great Science Fiction Stories Vol. 1, 1939 194

    โ€˜Greater Than Godsโ€™ is a non-series story about an alternate future.

  • 2006 S.R. Green Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth 94 Simon R. Green bibliography

    My own car comes from an alternate future that clearly has nothing to do with the one you described.


Research requirements

antedating 1941

Earliest cite

Alfred Bester, "The Probable Man"

Research History
Douglas Winston submitted a 1967 cite from John Brunner's "Quicksand".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1999 cite from Rudy Rucker's "Saucer Wisdom".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1983 cite from an editorial blurb by Isaac Asimov in "Isaac Asimov Presents the Golden Years of Science Fiction".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1950 cite from Clifford D. Simak's "Time Quarry".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1952 reprint of Damon Knight's 1951 "Don't Live in the Past".
Douglas Winston submitted a 2006 cite from Simon R.Green's "Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth"

We would like cites of any date from other authors.

Last modified 2021-01-05 17:58:35
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.