Andy's Anachronisms - Time Travel Book Reviews

Keith Laumer - Time Tracks (Book Cover)
Keith Laumer


Published in 1972, this anthology of five short stories by Keith Laumer covers a wide variety of tales almost all of which involve some form of time travel. A fan of time travel himself, Laumer published a number of other works related to time travel and parallel worlds including The Great Time Machine Hoax, Dinosaur Beach, and Worlds of the Imperium, to name a few.

Laumer is perhaps best known for his Bolo series features heavy tanks that become self-aware fighting machines and his Retief series about a inter-galatic diplomat named Retief.

Index of Stories

The Time Sweepers   © 1969
The Devil You Don’t,   © 1970
The Time Theives   © 1969
The Other Sky  © 1964
Mind Out of Time  © 1968

The Time Sweepers   © 1969 by Keith Laumer

Summary and Analysis

Originally published in 1969, The Time Sweeepers later became the basis for the novel Dinosaur Beach (1971). What starts out as a typical time travel scenario - stranger tries to convince average Joe that he is a time traveller from the future and has critical information – quickly turns into something much more complex and interesting. Agents from the future return to the past to try to undo the damage that was done by previous meddling time travelers. Only problem is they are tripping all over each other and causing other agents from further up the line to intervene.

The Devil You Don't   © 1970 by Keith Laumer

Summary and Analysis

First published in 1970, The Devil You Don’t is the one story admittedly not time travel related, but is well written all the same and worth the read. It involves Lucifer trying to enlist the aide of a Professor of Physics to stave off an invasion of alien demons from another dimension. The characters feel a bit dated (okay a lot dated), but the humorous context suits them well and carries the story.

The Time Theives   © 1969 by Keith Laumer

Summary and Analysis

In The Time Thieves, published initially in 1969 as The Star Sent Knaves, a cocky Dan Slane thinks he knows how thieves are mysteriously making off with priceless artworks from seemingly impenetrable vaults. When he puts his theory to the test and interrupts what he assumes to be time travelers, he ends up at the center of a much larger scam that spans dimensions and not just time. An okay story, that is more inventive than well executed.

The Other Sky  © 1964 by Keith Laumer

Summary and Analysis (Warning: Contains some spoilers)

The Other Sky, published in 1964 as The Further Sky, is starts off with Amory Vallant being confronted by a stranger that claims to know him from sometime in the future and has important information about a portal. Vallant soon finds himself on the run from the authorities and the alien race the Niss in a stolen star ship. With the aide of a small sentient being called Jimper, Vallant manages to stay one step barely one step ahead of his tormentors as they crash land on Pluto in search of Jimper’s home world. Without giving the rest of the story away, the tale for me was an uneasy blend of SF and Fantasy that seemed too drawn out by far. It does have some interesting concepts on time dilation and alien races (for the early 1960s), but not enough for me to recommend it.

Mind out of Time  © 1968 by Keith Laumer

Summary and Analysis

Published in 1968, “Mind out of Time” features two pilots of an experimental space craft who find themselves literally at the end of the universe and outside of time as a result of their maiden voyage. Desperate to undo the mission and correct the mistake one pilot relentlessly chases the other through time convincing him to return.

©2007 - A. Taylor

Review Posted:   2007-10-12

R E L A T E D   L I N K S
Free Keith Laumer Books from Baen Library.
A number of related Keith Laumer books available for free download from Baen Books.

Dwight's Keith Laumer: SF Author Webpage.
Dwight U. Bartholomew's fan page for Keith Laumer may not be pretty to look at (I am one to talk!), but its fairly thorough and has a good overview of Laumer and his work.

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