timestream n.

the sequence of events in time considered notionally as a flow capable of being altered to form different timelines

Time Travel

  • 1931 ‘J. Taine’ Time Stream in Wonder Stories Dec. 837/2 page image John Taine bibliography

    The slightest excess of effort might upset the balance at any point of the time stream, sending them backward into the past or forward into the future independently of my will.

  • 1931 C. D. Simak World of the Red Sun in Wonder Stories Dec. 879/1 page image Clifford D. Simak bibliography

    You're traveling in time, my lad… You aren’t in space any more. You are in a time stream.

  • 1938 J. Williamson in Astounding Science Fiction May 13/2 Jack Williamson

    For our lives were cast far apart in the Stream of Time. And not all the power of the gyrane can lift you out of the time-stream, living—for then the whole current must be deflected. But the stream has small grasp upon a few dead pounds of clay.

  • 1944 P. S. Miller As Never Was in Astounding Science-Fiction Jan. 34/1 P. Schuyler Miller

    As any schoolchild learns, the time shuttler who goes into the past introduces an alien variable into the spacio-temporal matrix at the instant when he emerges. The time stream forks, an alternative universe is born in which his visit is given its proper place, and when he returns it will be to a future level in the new world which he has created. His own universe is forever barred to him.

  • 1947 R. Dragonette in Astounding Science Fiction Feb. 62/2

    It seems that something happened to one of their Chronoscopes—those little devices they scattered back in the time stream which would radiate visually, everything that happened within their range.

  • 1958 R. Silverberg Stepsons of Terra 72 Robert Silverberg

    As for me, I am no longer needed in the plan of events, and so intend to remove myself from the time-stream upon finishing this note.

  • 1977 B. Aldiss Future & Alternative Hist. in B. Ash Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction 122/3 Brian W. Aldiss bibliography

    Another early novel of some influence on the development of the theme was Jack Williamson’s The Legion of Time (1938), in which the hero discovers the future existence of two possible time-streams (amongst others), that of Jonbar, a good, peaceful world, and another, Gyronchi, of an oppressive nature. Which of these two futures will actually come to pass depends upon a young boy who, in 1921, will find either a magnet or a pebble.

  • 1977 R. Scholes & E. S. Rabkin Science Fiction: History, Science, & Vision 178 Eric S. Rabkin Robert Scholes bibliography

    Science fiction has provided us not only with visions of time travel and hence of alternate time streams, but of whole alternate universes. The term ‘alternate universe’ may refer simply to the universe in which history follows an alternate time stream, but more strictly speaking, it refers to a universe somehow complete and yet coexistent with ours.

  • 1983 J. Varley Millennium iv. 69 John Varley

    The timestream is littered with these blank areas.

  • 1985 B. Hambly Ishmael xix. 252 Barbara Hambly

    We are, in fact, the product of a tampered time-stream already.

  • 1990 Thrust Winter 23/3

    ‘Remaking History’…packs much more thought into a similar wordage: having an alternate time-stream relying on a single change necessarily slants things toward the Great Men theory of history.

  • 1999 P. J. Nahin Time Machines 217

    The tale tells of a young physics teacher who is ‘twisted into a reversed Time Stream’ by an electrical discharge.

  • 2000 Interzone Oct. 22/3

    One of the functions of the College that he set up to manage time travel is to infiltrate and manipulate the timestreams instead.

  • 2001 Science Fiction Chronicle July 24/2

    The Time Rangers…travel the time stream righting wrongs and fixing that which can be repaired.

  • 2007 C. Stross Halting State (2008) 160 Charles Stross

    When you finally stretch and kick back from the laptop keyboard, it takes you a minute or two to remember where the hell you are. There’s the usual moment of disorientation, a kind of existential dizziness as you re-enter the everyday time-stream in which most people spend their lives: hours have slid by unnoticed, feeling like minutes (except for the ache in your neck and the gritty heat in your eyes).

  • 2011 N.Y. Times (National ed.) 26 Sept. c5/4

    It’s established early on that the colony exists in a separate ‘time stream’ from the 21st century that the settlers leave.

Research requirements

antedating 1931

Earliest cite

'J. Taine' 'The Time Stream'

Research History
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1938 cite from Jack Williamson's "The Legion of Time".
Cory Panshin submitted a cite from a reprint of Clifford Simak's "The World of the Red Sun"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1931 magazine version.
Mike Christie submitted a 1931 cite from John Taine's "The Time Stream".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1997 cite from Scholes' and Rabkin's "Science Fiction: History, Science, Vision".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from Paul Nahin's 1999 "Time Machines", quoting Charles Hall's 1938 story "The Man Who Lived Backwards".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1977 cite from an article by Brian Aldiss in Brian Ash's "A Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction".
Mike Christie submitted a 1947 cite from Ree Dragonette's "Eye to the Future".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a reprint of Robert Silverberg's "Stepsons of Terra"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1958 first edition.

The OED has cites back to 1937 for senses unrelated to time travel.

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