“Missing One’s Coach: An Anachronism,” anonymous, 1838

“Missing One’s Coach: An Anachronism,” anonymous, 1838 — A “nineteenth century man, encountering a ‘fault in the strata of time,’ meets the Venerable Bede…” (H. Bruce Franklin)

Comments: Available in August Derlath’s Far Boundaries: Twenty Science Fiction Stories, 1951.  See H. Bruce Franklin’s commentary in Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century, which notes the story’s connection to Bede’s treatise on the calculation of time, De Ratione Temporum.  See also Wikipedia’s entry under time travel fiction:

“In the science fiction anthology Far Boundaries (1951), the editor August Derleth identifies the short story ‘Missing One’s Coach: An Anachronism’, written for the Dublin Literary Magazine by an anonymous author in 1838, as a very early time travel story. In this story, the narrator is waiting under a tree to be picked up by a coach which will take him out of Newcastle, when he suddenly finds himself transported back over a thousand years. He encounters the Venerable Bede in a monastery, and gives him somewhat ironic explanations of the developments of the coming centuries. It is never entirely clear whether these events actually occurred or were merely a dream—the narrator says that when he initially found a comfortable-looking spot in the roots of the tree, he sat down, ‘and as my sceptical reader will tell me, nodded and slept’, but then says that he is ‘resolved not to admit’ this explanation. A number of dreamlike elements of the story may suggest otherwise to the reader, such as the fact that none of the members of the monastery seem to be able to see him at first, and the abrupt ending in which Bede has been delayed talking to the narrator and so the other monks burst in thinking that some harm has come to him, and suddenly the narrator finds himself back under the tree in the present (August 1837), with his coach having just passed his spot on the road, leaving him stranded in Newcastle for another night.”

Author: unknown


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1926 and earlier, time/history/causality. Bookmark the permalink.

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