• [Time Travel Title]

    I’ve been participating in a discussion of The Time Traveler’s Wife at Howard Rheingold’s Brainstorms community. If you have read the book, you know that Henry always travels through time naked involuntarily. That reminded me of a time travelling story I read in the 1980s where the protaganist travelled naked on purpose. He explained a naked man was less startling in any time than a person in clothes wildly out of sync with the time in which the traveller finds himself. Imagine, for example, how remarkable it would be to find a traveller on the road in front of your house fully clothed in full Elizabethan regalia or some whacky futuristic clothing. While naked people are unusual on the road, at least they’re not anachronistic.

    In addition to time travelling, I believe the story may have involved some kind of barrier which trapped time travellers and broke their machines, if they used a mechanical method of time travelling. The protagonist hit this barrier and ended up in a society heavily controlled with an active police presence. When he interacted with the locals, they thought he might might have been “Slandutch” or “Slandeutsch” because he spoke still in complete sentences with a traditional English word order and verb conjugation. For example, where he would say, “Are you Slandutch?”, the temporal natives said things like “Be you Slandutch?”. The local police eventually caught up with the protagnist and he’s jailed with a variety of other humans and aliens who have also been time travelling.

    I’m guessing this story was written between 1950 and 1970, although I read it in the early 1980s. What is the name of this story and who wrote it?

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    2 comments on “[Time Travel Title]”

    • Anthony George says:

      Wonderful story! Called “The Barrier.” Can’t recall the author’s name, unfortunately.

      • Eingang says:

        A-ha! Yes, that’s the story. Barrier (sometimes “The Barrier”) is a 1942 short story by Anthony Boucher. I saw it in the Full Spectrum IV anthology. Perhaps I’ll be able track it down now. Thanks for commenting.

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