The dates of imagined events lend interest to a story, and help to characterize it.
If the dates are still in our future, they link the tale to us via the chain of year-numbers. If on the other hand the dates are in our past but in the author's future (like, for example, stories written in the 1930s but set in the 1980s), they piquantly contribute to the history of expectations -
Harlei: Or to put it another way, the history of what might have been. Particularly in our sub-genre! The entire OSS is a rich field for nostalgic might-have-beens. "If only the planets had been habitable / inhabited, if only cheap space travel had been invented, if only this, if only that." To give a date to a fictional event is to rub in the "if-only" with extra bitter-sweetness.
Zendexor: And yet you get some critics who complain that dating a story makes it somewhat...er...dated.
Harlei: They just don't get it. Like those who say that Apollo 11 destroyed the readability of fictional first journeys to the Moon because it mad them "out of date", as though from July 1969 onwards readers might as well throw Operation Columbus into the trash bin. I'm not trying to knock reality, I realize it has its points, but Operation Columbus actually has Apollo 11 beat hollow -
Zendexor: Well, we can simply say to all that, "Fiction is reality. A book is a thing that exists. The ideas in it exist - "
Harlei: - though it's a pity Hugh Walters doesn't give us a date for the events in Operation Columbus...
Zendexor: Never mind, we do have the dates of other first-trips-to-the-moon (for example see below, under "1975", "1978" and "2026").
And there are some dates which refer to the far more distant past, since the OSS is really old - that is, it's backed in its own terms by a venerable timeline, as well as "old" in the other sense of being outdated.
Future researchers might model a two- or even three-dimensional "date-space" as outlined in the Diary, Complex Dates. And if that ever happens, maybe the following list may be of some use as a starter.
Happy browsing, folks.
I talked with the mind of... a general of the great-headed brown people who held South Africa in 50,000 B.C. [The Shadow Out of Time (1936)]
I talked with the mind of... Crom-Ya, a Cimmerian chieftain of 15,000 B.C... [The Shadow Out of Time (1936)]
I talked with the mind of... Theodotides, a Graeco-Bactrian official of 200 B.C... [The Shadow Out of Time (1936)]
Henri Lothiere, apothecary's assistant of Paris, is snatched through time to the year 1944 [The Man Who Saw the Future (1930)]
A student named Carolus meets a stranded alien from another star system [The Power (1945)].
Unexplained instantaneous transportation of Captain John Carter of Virginia from Arizona to the planet Mars (Barsoom), 4th March, 1866. [A Princess of Mars (1912, 1917).]
14th October: the first making of Cavorite. [The First Men in the Moon, chapter 2]
A year replete with cosmic horror in Massachusetts (threatened by malign undersea powers) and Vermont (infiltrated from space).
It was I who fled frantically out of Innsmouth in the early morning hours of July 16, 1927, and whose frightened appeals for government inquiry and action brought on the whole reported episode. [The Shadow Over Innsmouth (1931, 1936)]
The whole matter began, so far as I am concerned, with the historic and unprecedented Vermont floods of November 3, 1927. I was then, as now, an instructor of literature at Miskatonic University... [The Whisperer in Darkness (1931)]
Note: the Vermont floods really did happen.
Albert N Wilmarth discovers the dire secret of the Plutonian visitors to the wilds of Vermont. [The Whisperer in Darkness (1931)]
9 December, dusk: Time-traveller Ares Sen Kenlin (see 3059) is found unconscious by James Waters Bendell, on a roadside in the American West. [Twilight (1934)]
Appearance (on 5th June) of The Machine-Man of Ardathia (1927) from A.D. 29,940.
Miss Betty Mordan is reluctantly inveigled into an adventure in time with Roy Saber from 1951 [Wanderers of Time (1933)]
11 September: Dr Homer Green undergoes the experiment which makes his tissues invariant (see 2170) [Invariant (1944)]
Descent of airmen Johnny Wild and Danny Black to the subterranean world of Red Valley [The Perilous Descent (1952)]
French scientists bring Henri Lothiere forward in time from the year 1444 [The Man Who Saw the Future (1930)]
From Seedling of Mars (1931):
It was in the fall of 1947, three days prior to the annual football game between Stanford and the University of California, that the strange visitor from outer space landed in the middle of the huge stadium at Berkeley where the game was to be held...
Roy Saber sets off on his adventure in time [Wanderers of Time (1933)].
According to No Man Friday (1956), p14, the Americans secretly launched the first artificial satellite in this year. (Four years in advance of reality, and the reality differed in being not secret, of course.)
From Evans of the Earth-Guard (1930):
...in 1954, the first crude rocket had thundered out from earth into the great void toward its shining satellite. Neither that rocket nor the twenty-first had reached their goal, but the next one had.
According to No Man Friday (1956) this is the year the Russians sent up their satellite - secretly, just like the Americans. (In reality, when it did happen two years later, the Russians, who were first in space, were happy for the world to know it.)
First manned atomic rocket launched [The Legion of Space (1937, 1947), p.12].
SF authors don't claim to be prophets, but in guessing the year of the first probe to reach the Moon, Arthur C Clarke scored a direct hit in his Prelude to Space (written in 1947). 1959 was the year he said it would happen, and lo and behold, when 1959 came round, Lunik 2 hit the Moon in reality.
10th June 1967: "Mars Day" - the first intelligible public message from Barsoom to Earth, broadcasting greetings to the world from the city of Helium. [Prologue to The Moon Maid (1923).]
There's a strong hint in A Fall of Moondust (1961) that 1967 saw the Russians make the first Moon trip - thus celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.
"...Many men lost their lives in trying to reach the Moon, and most people said it was impossible for them to do it - there was even a movement to get their attempts banned. But the men went on trying. Duncan, K.K.Smith and Sudden actually got there, but they crashed on the surface and were killed. Then came the great Drivers. In 1969 he managed to take his rocket right round the Moon and bring it safely back to Earth..." [Stowaway to Mars (1936), p.23]
On 27 February 1971 Howard Lester, narrator of The Philosopher's Stone, under goes the operation on his pre-frontal cortex which increases his willpower...
The last mighty air war of 1972, which had ended in the total abolition of all national boundaries and the establishment of the World Government with its headquarters in the new world-capital of New York, had brought peace to the world, but it had also brought some measure of monotony... [The Universe Wreckers (1930)]
First trip to the Moon - but no return to Earth [Blindness (1935)].
At 0150 G.M.T. on December 1st, 1975, every telephone in the world started to ring.... [Dial F for Frankenstein (1962)] - full telephone interconnection unexpectedly creates an emergent intelligence.
War breaks out between the USA and the Sino-Japanese Federation [The Dimension of Chance (1932)]
"Selenine, derived from a fossil lichen found by the first rocket-expedition to the moon in 1975, has, as you know, practically wiped out the old-time curse of cancer..." [The Plutonian Drug (1934)]
US Secret Service operative Clement Morris encounters Japanese agent Sakamoto in The Dimension of Chance (1932).
From The Immeasurable Horror (1931):
I was with the first Venusian expedition, under the leadership of Admiral Carfax, in 1977. We were able to make no more than a mere landing, and were then compelled to return earthward because of our shortage of oxygen, due to a serious miscalculation regarding our needs. It was unsafe, we found, to breathe the thick, vapor-laden air of Venus for more than short intervals...
4 July 1977: Asher Sutton, man of destiny, comes from the future to encounter his ancestor John H Sutton, in a pasture in Wisconsin. [Time And Again (1951)]
...Garnall was drowned in Lake Erie, after returning from Luna, the first man to reach Earth again, alive. He didn't go on living, of course, but he was alive when he reached Earth. That we knew.
From Martian Blood (2013):
...no one knew for sure whether the planet was inhabited until Ares I landed there in 1977...
The year of the first voyage to the Moon in both Prelude to Space (written in 1947) and The Man Who Sold the Moon (1949, 1951)
Regarding The Man Who Sold the Moon: the date of the flight is not given in the story itself, but it appears in Heinlein's own Future History time-chart: "First rocket to the Moon, 1978".
From Frogheads (2015):
"You've been on Venus thirty years?" Ronson seized the chance to change the subject. "That means you would have belonged to one of the first expeditions."
"Da." He nodded vigorously. "Second expedition, 1978. Chief petty officer, Soviet Space Force."
From The Immeasurable Horror (1931), narrating the Second Venusian Expedition:
In 1979 we went back, more fully equipped for all contingencies this time, and landed on a high plateau near the equator.
The year of the secret Venusian invasion of Earth, in Three to Conquer (1956).
It was also, in Master of the Asteroid (1932), the year of the disappearance of the Selenite,
...the first known rocket ship to dare the zone of the asteroids.
At the time of its disappearance, fifty years ago, in 1980, a dozen voyages had been made to Mars and a rocket base had been established in Syrtis Major...
First trip to Venus - in spaceship Astarte whose log is found over a century later in Space Cadet (1948).
First trip to Mars - when the Gloria Mundi blasts off from Salisbury Plain [Stowaway to Mars (1936), p.31].
The few hardy souls who had elected to spend the night upon the open inhospitality of Salisbury Plain slept no later than dawn upon the morning of the twelfth of October, 1981, for it was with the first rays of sunlight that the influx which would last all day began...
First expedition to Mars, according to Transit of Earth (1971).
First expedition to Ganymede, according to Farmer in the Sky (1950).
11 July 1987, at Bridport, Wisconsin: John H Sutton writes the letter that will be found by his remote descendant Asher Sutton over six thousand years later, in 7990, setting in train a series of events in the time-war between supporters and opponents of Asher Sutton's idea of universal destiny. [Time And Again (1951)]
June 1990: Roger and Elaine Newton, hunted by bad guys who want to steal Newton's inventions, decide to seek refuge on the Moon. Elaine is pregnant with the son who will become Captain Future. See chapter 2 of Captain Future and the Space Emperor (1939, 1967). Interestingly, although there are planetary colonies, the Moon has been left alone so far, being considered useless - until the Newtons make it their refuge.
The idea of the "dude farm" is put forward as a way of preserving old ways in an age of mechanisation. [City (1952), p.31]
Expedition led by the Cornell brothers sets out for Pluto [The Plutonian Drug (1934)]. (Returns in 1996.)
The Great Supernova of 1991 [The Crucible of Power (1939)]
In 1993 President Moraga signed into law the bill that terminated American economic development on Luna... [Time Out of Joint (1959)]
Later, as she sat in her robe at the kitchen table drinking coffee, her plate of toast and apple-sauce before her, she looked out on the sight of the ditch-rider arriving in his little flat-bottom boat which put-putted up the canal in its official way, never hurrying and yet always arriving on schedule. This was 1994, the second week in August. They had waited eleven days, and now they would receive their share of water from the great ditch which passed by their line of houses a mile to the Martian north. [Martian Time-Slip (1964), p.16]
...In February of 1994 a battle broke out at Base One, the nominal capital of the Lunar colonies. Soldiers from the nearby missile base were set upon by colonists, and a five-hour pitched encounter was fought. That night, special troop-transporting ships left Earth for Luna... [Time Out of Joint (1959)]
The Neptunians begin to tamper with the rotation of the Sun:
It was on the third day of May, 1994, that the world received its first news of the strange behavior of the sun... [The Universe Wreckers (1930)]
Johnny Dahlquist foils an attempt by his superiors in the Interplanetary Patrol to stage a coup d'état. [The Long Watch (1949); date given in Space Cadet.]
The January 14, 1996 copy of Time has a picture of world-saver Ragle Gumm on the cover and his biography inside - while Gumm believes he's living in 1959 [Time Out of Joint (1959)]
"...forlorn, frozen Pluto, which only one terrestrial expedition has so far visited - the expedition led by the Cornell brothers, John and Augustine, which started in 1990 and did not return to earth till 1996, when nearly everyone had given it up as lost. John, as you may have heard, died during the returning voyage, together with half the personnel of the expedition: and the others reached earth with only one reserve oxygen-tank remaining..." [The Plutonian Drug (1934)]
By means of an electronic probe, Gilbert Austin and Wolfgang Reich discover the ruins of Kadath two miles below the surface of Karatepe, Turkey. [The Mind Parasites (1967), p.36]
The Falling Sickness first attacked workers in a Greenland radium mine, in 1998. [The Crucible of Power (1939)]
"Upon the 14th of April, AD 1998, all was prepared for the great test. My financial affairs had been settled with an eye to the future in more ways than one. The time-travel room, lavishly set with windows and looking like a very large telephone kiosk, stood waiting in the middle of Farmer Wright's field. As I walked towards it, not knowing what Fate held in store for me, I thought what an incongruous object it looked standing amid the furrows. Without the slightest hesitation, I unlocked the door, stepped inside and relocked it, started the air-purifying apparatus, took one last look at Earth, fresh with the aura of spring, and closed the projector switch..." [Seeker of Tomorrow (1937)]
Shipping people between planets was expensive, even in this year of grace 1998... [Swords of Zar-Tu-Kan (2013)]
Ragle Gumm finds out it's not 1959 [Time Out of Joint (1959)]
The first two expeditions to Mars - as told in The Martian Chronicles (1950) - come to grief.
Date of the Saturnian visit to Earth in Crisis 2000 (1959).
We read in The Martian Chronicles (1950) how the Third Expedition to Mars, in April 2000, is bamboozled by the Martians.
22 Feb: date of Moon's departure from Earth orbit, in The Mind Parasites (1967).
The year of 2001 - A Space Odyssey (1968). In other words, the first expedition to the environs of Saturn (according to the book) or Jupiter (according to the film). (This tale is only borderline OSS - I include it here because after all its expectations do shed some light on the Old Space Program.)
According to The Martian Chronicles (1950) the Fourth Expedition to Mars, in June 2001, finds that the Martians have been more or less wiped out by disease brought by previous Earth expeditions.
...the great Witness Revival of 2003... [Bridge (1952)]
From Seeker of Tomorrow (1937): re the Dublin-New York rocket flight of 2004: "Not to be outdone, another fool starts out from Dublin and plunges clean through a skyscraper in New York, smearing himself all - "
War on Earth causes most settlers on Mars to head back to the home planet - The Martian Chronicles (1950).
Invasion of Earth by parasites from Titan [The Puppet Masters (1951)]
From Seeker of Tomorrow (1937): DAILY VOICE headline of May 22, 2007: NEW ROCKET RECORD - TO N.Z. IN EIGHTEEN HOURS.
2 Feb: Spaceship Pallas departs for Pluto [The Mind Parasites (1967)]
From Trouble with Time (1960):
...It bore the certificate of the Mars Bureau of Antiquities, guaranteeing that "this full-scale reproduction is an exact copy of the so-called Siren Goddess, discovered in the Mare Sirenum by the Third Expedition, A.D. 2012 (A.M.23)".
From chapter 1 of The Moon Maid (1923):
In 2015 Mars had dispatched a ship for Earth with a crew of five men provisioned for ten years. It was hoped that with good luck the trip might be made in something less than five years, as the craft had developed an actual trip speed of one thousand miles per hour. At the time of my graduation the ship was already off its course almost a million miles and generally conceded to be hopelessly lost.
10 Feb: Captain James Ramsay sets out for Pluto to seek for traces of the Pallas [The Mind Parasites (1967)]; see 2007.
2 March: The Pallas is found, deserted, floating about 2 million miles from Pluto [The Mind Parasites (1967)]
From chapter 1 of The Moon Maid (1923), describing the launch of the first spaceship to attempt to reach Mars from Earth:
Our estates were taken under trusteeship by the government. Our farewells were made at an elaborate ball at the White House on December 24, 2025, and on Christmas Day we rose from the landing stage at which The Barsoom had been moored, and amid the blare of bands and the shouting of thousands of our fellow-countrymen we arose majestically into the blue.
Sabotage of The Barsoom; forced landing in the Moon's interior. - See The Moon Maid (1923), chapters 1-2.
According to The Martian Chronicles (1950) a trickle of settlers return to Mars from war-torn Earth, and begin to realize that they are the Martians now.
9 September 2027: Victor Hunt's arrival at Houston - to investigate the Lunarian mystery. [Inherit the Stars (1977), p.101]
14 October 2028: Front page feature of the New York Times,
LUNARIAN PLANET LOCATED
Did Nuclear War Destroy Minerva?
...A tenth planet, christened Minerva after the Roman goddess of wisdom, is now known to have existed approximately 250 million miles from the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter... [Inherit the Stars (1977), p.104]
20 November 2029: Victor Hunt's report from Ganymede, setting out the solution to the mystery of the Lunarians/Minervans. [Inherit the Stars (1977), p.190-200]
Return of Julian 5th to Earth; birth of Julian 6th. - See the last page of The Moon Maid (1923).
In May, 2047, the latest experiment having revealed only highly interesting but negative results, Malcolm Mackay looked at Burns.
"John, that settled it," he said slowly. "Something is missing, and we won't get it here in a pair of lifetimes, even long ones. You know the only place we can find it."
"I suppose you mean the Sun," replied Burns sadly... [Blindness (1935)]
Malcolm Mackay develops thermlectrium [Blindness (1935)].
The nations of Earth, having mostly disbanded their armed forces, are living in peace.
...And then in the year 2050 the blow fell. Lieutenant-Commander Orthis, after twenty-four years upon the moon, returned to Earth with one hundred thousand Kalkars and a thousand Va-gas. In a thousand great ships they came bearing arms and ammunition and strange, new engines of destruction fashioned by the brilliant mind of the arch villain of the universe.
The renegade Orthis and his Kalkars (Lunar communists) conquer the Earth. [The Moon Men (1925), p.190-200]
Launch of the ship Prometheus, headed for the Sun [Blindness (1935)].
The Impossible World  tells us how a product of biological science known as adaptene was able to fit people for life on other worlds:
...Now, in 2050 A.D., bio-conditioned Earthmen were to be found on ten different worlds of the Solar System - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Saturn and Titan. Adaptene had burst the former bonds of the narrow range of conditions under which the human body could survive.
...They could design the apparatus, and did, in September, three years and one month after lifting off for the final drop to the Sun. [Blindness (1935) - see 2054]
...They made it, piece by piece, and tested it in January. It wasn't winter there; there was no winter. Only everlasting heat. And Mackay's eyes were failing rapidly. His work was over. Both because he could scarcely work any longer, and because, on January 14, 2054, the energy of the atom was harnessed by man! The Great Secret was discovered. [Blindness (1935)]
The Young expedition to Uranus - Planet of Doubt (1935).
Wyatt and Carpenter's foolhardy, doomed attempt at a Brightside Crossing.
The action of Tidal Moon (1938).
Amherst shook his head.
"That's ironic. In 2083, two months' old news has to be carried by hipp. It's like going back to post medievalism."
"It is. But you know radio is useless in the flood belt of Ganymede..."
Matt Dodson becomes a cadet in the Interplanetary Patrol - Space Cadet (1948).
Concordat signed between the vugs of Titan and the UN [The Game Players of Titan (1963)].
Implied date - since the Young expedition was "four decades earlier in 2060" - of the Hammond expedition to Uranus: Planet of Doubt (1935).
Julian the 9th born on 1st January 2100 in Chicago. [The Moon Men (1925), p.18]
The alien Sea Statue comes out of stasis in The World of Ptavvs (1966).
March: disastrous return of the Gunderson Europa Expedition in Redemption Cairn (1936) - see 2111.
Jack Sands' adventure on Europa in Redemption Cairn (1936) - the adventure starts in September 2111:
There I sat, Jack Sands, ex-rocket pilot. Yeah, the same Jack Sands you're thinking of, the one who cracked up the Gunderson Europa expedition trying to land at Young's Field, Long Island, in March, 2110. Just a year and a half ago!
Conflict between a Terran colonist and native Martians [At the Bottom of a Hole (1966)].
Thomas Cornwall's voyage to the Moon [The Crucible of Power (1939)]:
Captain Thomas Cornwall was a young ordnance engineer, on leave from the army. His rocket was the first to attain the velocity of escape - 11.3 km/sec. His triumphant return, after two weeks on the Moon, won him the world's frantic acclaim. The feat seemed symbolic of the reawakening of man, after the long night of the Black Century...
First uprising against the Kalkars, led by Julian 9th. [The Moon Men (1925)]
Funeral of Nelson F Webster (2034-2117). His son and successor, Jerome A Webster, suffers from agoraphobia - a disability which turns out to have huge consequences. [Huddling Place, the second tale in City (1952)]
Attempt by Garth Hammond's Volcano Steam and Metals Corporation to drill through Earth's crust ends in disaster [The Crucible of Power (1939)]:
...For, after a billion dollars had been spent to sink the great pit forty thousand feet, the bottom of it suddenly split. Men and refrigerating machines were drowned in flaming lava. A rain of boiling mud drowned the new city of Hammondspit, Virginia, taking twenty thousand lives.
Birth of Garth Hammond's son Chan, narrator of The Crucible of Power (1939).
Garth Hammond departs for Mars [The Crucible of Power (1939)].
Return of Garth Hammond with the Martian secret of power - solidified "photon dust" [The Crucible of Power (1939)].
Marriage of Garth Hammond to Doris Wayne, heir to the Marine Mines billions [The Crucible of Power (1939)].
5 October: birth of Leon Cartwright, future Quizmaster of the Nine Planets.
..."You can't operate this," Moore said quietly. "This isn't your line. What are you? I examined the records. You were born October 5, 2140, outside the Imperial Hill. You've lived there all your life; this is the first time you've been on this side of the Earth, let alone on another planet. You had ten years of nominal schooling in the charity department of the Imperial Hill. You never excelled in anything..."
[Solar Lottery (1955)]
According to Flight on Titan:
The year 2142, as most people recall, was a disastrous one in the financial world. It was the year of the collapse of the Planetary Trading Corporation and the year that ushered in the resultant depression.
Tim and Diane Vick therefore resolve to try their luck prospecting for flame-orchids on Titan...
...And sure enough, his guess had been lucky: on May 4, 2143, a Bindman named William Rust Lawrence had died, killed in an auto accident in Arizona. And Pete had become his heir, inherited his holdings and entered his Game-playing group.
[The Game Players of Titan (1963)]
Officially, Boss Kellon was merely executive secretary of the Union of Spacemen, Managers and Engineers. But Boss, now in 2145, was equivalent to Caesar. From the unitron converters on Mercury to the lonely mining outposts scattered across the Jovian moons, the Union dominated mankind... [Breakdown (1942)]
The Solarion, in 2146, returning with her seventh cargo of sunstone, was accosted by a strange vessel in space - a slim red arrow of a ship, unlike the mirror spheres of SPC. Heliographs flashed a message, signed "Redlance", demanding surrender of the ship and cargo, "in the name of liberty and human right." [The Crucible of Power (1939)]
Report reaches Earth that the Sun Station has been lost [The Crucible of Power (1939)]:
The Solarion III, in 2148, safely reached the Sun and returned. But her holds were empty and she brought appalling news...
Disappearance of Kennicot Muir and founding of the Society of Thieves [The Paradox Men (1953)].
4 August: Carew, from the Institute, visits Dr Homer Green, the Invariant. (See 1943.)
...to tread on rugs, to see chairs covered in cloth with a nap, to see instruments for smoking, to see and hear a primitive radio... above all to see an open fire; all this gave me a sense of unreality, prepared though I was. Green saw by the fire in a chair, as we almost invariably find him, with a dog at his feet. He is perhaps the most valuable man in the world...
The peacefully seated man expresses confidence that the invariant-treatment will work on him.
"It does work, Dr Green," I assured him. "Indefinitely."
"We mustn't be premature," he said. "After all, a short time - "
"Do you recall the date, Dr Green?" I asked.
"September 11th," he said. "1943, if you want that, too."
"Dr Green, today is August 4, 2170," I told him earnestly.
The time-retracing Toynbee Twenty-Two crash-lands in the Ohio River near Wheeling on 21st July, five years before its launch.
On 22nd July a man is found wandering along the river bank,
dazed, almost naked, carrying a leather-bound book with him. The book bore the gold-stamped legend - T-Twenty-two...
The man joins the Society of Thieves and becomes known as Alar.... [The Paradox Men (1953)]
Spoken in 2177:
"...Four years ago the Lunar Station began sending me microfilm plates of both celestial hemispheres by the space second. One of these plates is of particular interest, and I feel that what it shows may have a bearing on the future of civilization. It should be analysed immediately." [The Paradox Men (1953)]
A momentous year. Bern Haze-Gaunt, the evil Chancellor of America Imperial, is plotting "Operation Finis".
6 June: the action of The Paradox Men begins on or just before this date. Evening: the masked ball in the Imperial Palace...
21 July: Launch of the transphotic universe-circumnavigating time-retracing history-re-writing Toynbee Twenty-Two [The Paradox Men (1953), p.97] - a second chance for the human race.
"Three years ago, in 2196, the results of the Holdane Expedition to the asteroids were published at some length in an official pamphlet by the Society for Interplanetary Research..."
[fragment of The Master of Destruction]
Beginning of the Venusian invasion and disastrous "Venusoforming" described in The Metamorphosis of Earth (1951).
In the year 2197, the first intimation of a strange peril of world-wide scope and gravity came and passed unrecognized for what it really was in the form of a newspaper dispatch from the Sahara, reporting a sand-storm of unprecedented fury...
The events of Solar Lottery. To quote the blurb:
"Positions of public power decided by a sophisticated lottery. Everyone had a chance, could live in hope. Opium for the people. One day you too could be boss. And with it: The Assassination Game, which you could watch on TV. Would the new man be good enough to avoid his chosen killer? Survival of the fittest formalised into a game. Lots of excitement for everyone, keeps them all happily distracted while the Big Five industrial complexes run the world, the solar system, the people, unremarked, unopposed.
Then in the year 2203 a hitch developed in the system."
...the Ceres Mining Company, organized in 2250 for the exploitation of the mineral resources of Ceres, Pallas and Vesta... [The Stars My Destination (1955), p134]
Mace Waldron, the famous pilot who saved that Martian liner in 2263... [Jay Score (1941)]
Jay Score's piloting rescues the Upskadaska City.
You may remember the stunt that the audiopress of 2270 boosted as "McNulty's Miracle Move"? It's practically a legend of the spaceways. Afterward, when we'd got safely home, McNulty disclaimed the credit and put it where it rightfully belonged. The audiopress had a good excuse, as usual. They said he was the captain, wasn't he? And his name made the headline alliterative, didn't it? Seems that there must be a sect of audio-journalists who have to be alliterative to gain salvation. [Jay Score (1941)]
15 February: Ben Reich, megalomaniac boss of Monarch Utilities, having wakened screaming from his recurrent dream of The Man With No Face, comes to a decision: he will murder his arch-rival Craye D'Courtney of the D'Courtney Cartel.
It's D'Courtney who's giving me the screams. Not because I'm afraid of him. I'm afraid of myself. Known all along. Known it deep down inside. Knowing that once I faced it I'd have to kill that D'Courtney bastard. It's no face because it's the face of murder... [The Demolished Man (1953), p9]
16 September: Gully Foyle, spaceman, marooned on the wreck of the merchant ship Nomad, sees the approach of what he trusts is a rescue ship. But the ship, Vorga, passes him by, leaving him to his fate. This act galvanizes the hitherto dull-witted, unambitious Foyle:
...the stereotype Common Man was no more. The key turned in the lock of his soul and the door was opened. What emerged expunged the Common Man for ever.
"You pass me by," he said with slowly mounting fury. "You leave me rot like dog. You leave me die, Vorga... No. I get out of here, me. I follow you, Vorga. I find you, Vorga. I pay you back, me. I rot you. I kill you, Vorga. I kill you deadly."
The acid of fury ran through him, eating away the brute patience and sluggishness that had made a cipher of Gully Foyle, precipitating a chain of reactions that would make an infernal machine of Gully Foyle... [The Stars My Destination (1955), p21]
Return of Hilary Grendon from a five-year space trip, the first space voyage, to find Earth has been enslaved by invaders from Mercury [Slaves of Mercury (1932)]
Yawning, Mr. Eric Stokes-Harding stood before the great open window, staring out. Below him was a wide, park-like space, green with emerald lawns, and bright with flowering plants. Two hundred yards across it rose an immense pyramidal building - an artistic structure, gleaming with white marble and bright metal, striped with the verdure of terraced roof-gardens, its slender peak rising to help support the gray, steel-ribbed glass roof above. Beyond, the park stretched away in illimitable vistas, broken with the graceful columned buildings that held up the great glass roof.
Above the glass, over this New York of 2432 A.D., a freezing blizzard was sweeping. But small concern was that to the lightly clad man at the window, who was inhaling deeply the fragrant air from the plants below - air kept, winter and summer, exactly at 20 degrees C... [The Cosmic Express (1930)]
Date of the Official Rule Book for the Annual Terran-Martian Football Game [Rule 18 (1938)]:
"Each player on the respective teams must be able to present documentary evidence that he is of pure blood of the planet upon whose team he plays for an unbroken span of at least ten generations. Verification of the aforesaid documentary evidence and approval of the players upon this point shall be the duty of the Interplanetary Athletic Control Board..."
Outbreak of the White-Yellow War [Seeker of Tomorrow (1937)].
From Seeker of Tomorrow (1937): "...Move those feet of yours a little more and your tongue a little less. And, just in case you want to keep up the play, Methuselah, may I anticipate a question by informing you that this is the year of disgrace 2486?"
...Then came the fabulous "sea-rush" of 2507, brought about by the simultaneous development of two inventions... [Waters of Wrath (1940)]
I talked with the mind of... the Australian physicist Nevel Kingston-Brown, who will die in A.D. 2,518... [TheShadow Out of Time (1936)]
22nd October: Archiving of the story of Star's Reach into the central archive of the Guild of Rememberers.
Legislation breaks up the great sea ranches [Waters of Wrath (1940)].
Gulf Stream open to public claim [Waters of Wrath (1940)].
Ares Sen Kenlin's trip on a space-liner from Earth to Mars takes 5 days. [Twilight (1934)]
Ares Sen Kenlin of Neva'th City begins his voyage in time. (See 1932.) [Twilight (1934)]
The last of the Sutton family moves out of their area of Wisconsin. [Time And Again, p.185]
The "Fostering of Ooranye" - when the inhabited Uranus of Uranian Gleams (2015) surfaces in this continuum. The Fostering is defined as
the one successful example in history of "reality engineering"; the action taken, and the process which took place, on 10th July A.D.3564, by which the gas giant planet Uranus became, and now always has been, more fully itself as the ice-giant planet Ooranye. By analogy the Fostering has been likened to the switching of points on a railway after a train has gone past: so that, if the train were to go into reverse, it would go back along a different track. In other words, a "new" past was grafted onto Uranus... Meanwhile the un-Fostered reality survives in one remaining clue: the "U" in the adjective "Uranian".
Note: the Fostering appears to have happened at two different dates; see 4160. Such an event can hardly have two stages; so either there is an inconsistency, or we may take it that cause-and-effect from the 4160 event cascaded backwards and triggered the 3564 event. I reckon the latter is right; it's what the Earth historian seems to be saying.
The historian says:
Everybody knows the bare outline of the events which ushered in our present era; how the Second Great Fleet did succeed in reaching Arclour and its ultimate sivvan, and how that discovery retro-triggered our retro-Fostering of Ooranye, that is to say, the grafting of Ooranye's true history onto the history of our solar system.
...it was in 4901 that nuclear war broke out between the planets... after a statesman on Earth made the mistake of using the old derogatory term "immigrants" about the inhabitants of Mars... Mars was silenced for ever... Earth was hit by no more than twelve 10,000 megaton bombs. It was enough... [Helliconia Winter (1985)]
I talked with the mind of Yiang-Li, a philosopher from the cruel empire of Tsan-Chan, which is to come in A.D. 5000... [The Shadow Out of Time (1936)]
Catherine Martin is awarded her diploma by the College of Science, Alkatoon, Mars [Cosmic Engineers (1939, 1950), p.18]
Jovian forces driven back to Jupiter; end of Jupiter's inconclusive war against Earth and Mars. [Cosmic Engineers (1939, 1950), p.27]
(Class-room lecture given by the Most Honorable Erru Saggus, Professor of Hamurriquanean Archaeology at the World-University of Toshtush, on the 365th day of the year 5998:)
Males, females, androgynes and neuters of the class in archaeology, you have learned, from my previous lectures, all that is known or inferred concerning the crudely realistic art and literature of the ancient Hamurriquanes. With some difficulty, owing to the fragmentary nature of the extant remains, I have reconstructed for you their bizarre and hideous buildings, their rude mechanisms...
[The Great God Awto (1940)]
I saw the first of the strange creatures who appeared among us in the year 6371, men who were later known to be from the planet Venus. But they were repulsed, for they were savages compared with the Earthmen, although they were about equal to the people of my own century, 1900... [The Coming of the Ice (1926)]
Catherine Martin is revived from suspended animation [Cosmic Engineers (1939, 1950), p.20]
Return of Asher Sutton to Earth from his mission to 61 Cygni. [Time And Again (1951) - the book depicts an interstellar empire but the action takes place in the Solar System and is relevant to the OSS in its portrayal of Earth and asteroids.]
Del Two-Forty A, time traveller, sets off forward in time - many millennia later he will meet a traveller from 1951, in a far future world. [Wanderers of Time (1933)]
I talked with the mind of Nug-Soth, a magician of the dark conquerors of A.D. 16,000... [The Shadow Out of Time (1936)]
28th or 29th March 29,940: starting point for the time-sortie of The Machine-Man of Ardathia (1927).
"...If I am not mistaken in my calculations, you are thirty thousand years in the past. What date is this?"
"June 5th, 1939," I replied, feebly. The creature went through some contortions, sorted a few metal tubes with its hands, and then announced in its metallic voice:
"Computed in terms of your method of reckoning, I have travelled back through time exactly twenty-eight thousand years, nine months, three weeks, two days, seven hours, and a certain number of minutes and seconds which it is useless for me to enumerate exactly."
From Seeker of Tomorrow (1937):
'"You are within my house situated in the city of Leamore," he answered in a pleasantly modulated voice, "and the year is 772 by the new reckoning, or 34656 by the old. You have leaped a chasm of time representing about thirty-two thousand years!"
The year the Time Traveller emerged onto a far-future England divided between the Eloi and the Morlocks - as narrated in The Time Machine.
Brian Aldiss, Helliconia Winter (1985); Arthur K Barnes, "Waters of Wrath" (Thrilling Wonder Stories, October 1940); Alfred Bester, The Demolished Man (1953); The Stars My Destination (1955); Eando Binder, "The Impossible World" (Startling Stories, March 1939); James Blish, "Bridge" (Astounding, February 1952); Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles (1950); Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars (1912, 1917); The Moon Maid (1923); The Moon Men (1925); John W Campbell, "Twilight" (Astounding Stories, November 1934); "Blindness" (Astounding Stories, March 1935); Bruce Carter (pen name of Richard Hough), The Perilous Descent (1952); Arthur C Clarke, Prelude to Space (1947, 1951); A Fall of Moondust (1961); 2001 - A Space Odyssey (book and film both 1968); "Transit of Earth" (Playboy, January 1971); "Dial F for Frankenstein" in The Wind From the Sun (1972); "Trouble with Time" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, July 1960, as "Crime on Mars"); Philip K Dick, Solar Lottery (1955); Time Out of Joint (1959);The Game Players of Titan (1963); Martian Time-Slip (1964); Francis Flagg, "The Machine-Man of Ardathia" (Amazing Stories, November 1927); Robert Gibson, Uranian Gleams (2015); Rex Gordon, No Man Friday (1956); Edmond Hamilton, "Evans of the Earth-Guard" (Air Wonder Stories, April 1930); "The Universe Wreckers" (Amazing Stories, May - July 1930); "The Man Who Saw the Future" (Amazing Stories, October 1930); Captain Future and the Space Emperor (1939, 1967); Charles L Harness, The Paradox Men (1953); Robert A Heinlein, Space Cadet (1948); The Man Who Sold the Moon (written 1949, published 1951); "The Long Watch" (American Legion Magazine, December 1949); Farmer in the Sky (1950); The Puppet Masters (1951); Murray Leinster, "The Power" (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1945); H P Lovecraft, "The Whisperer in Darkness" (Weird Tales, August 1931); "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" (written 1931, first published as booklet 1936); "The Shadow Out of Time" (Astounding Stories, June 1936); Charles Eric Maine, Crisis 2000 (1959); Larry Niven, "At the Bottom of a Hole" (Galaxy, December 1966); The World of Ptavvs (1966); John Pierce, "Invariant" (Astounding Science Fiction, April 1944); Eric Frank Russell, Three to Conquer (1956); "Jay Score" (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1941); Eric Frank Russell and Leslie J Johnson, "Seeker of Tomorrow" (Astounding Stories, July 1937); Nat Schachner, "Slaves of Mercury" (Astounding, September 1932); Clifford Simak, "Rule 18" (Astounding, July 1938); Cosmic Engineers (1939, 1950); Time And Again (1951); City (1952); Clark Ashton Smith, "The Dimension of Chance" (Wonder Stories, November 1932); "The Great God Awto" (Thrilling Wonder Stories, February 1940); "The Immeasurable Horror" (Weird Tales, September 1931); "Master of the Asteroid" (Wonder Stories, October 1932); "The Metamorphosis of Earth" (Weird Tales, September 1951); "The Plutonian Drug" (Amazing Stories, September 1934); "Seedling of Mars" (Wonder Stories Quarterly, Fall 1931, after a plot by E.M.Johnston, and titled "The Planet Entity"; reprinted with given title in Tales of Science and Sorcery (1964)); "The Master of Destruction" (fragment and synopsis only; see www.eldritchdark.com); Allen M Steele, "Martian Blood" in Old Mars, ed. George R R Martin and Gardner Dozois (2013); "Frogheads" in Old Venus, ed. George R R Martin and Gardner Dozois (2015); S M Stirling, "Swords of Zar-Tu-Kan" in Old Mars (2013); Hugh Walters, Operation Columbus (1959); Stanley G Weinbaum, "Flight on Titan" (Astounding Stories, January 1935); "Planet of Doubt" (Astounding Stories, October 1935); "Redemption Cairn" (Astounding Stories, March 1936); [with Helen Weinbaum], "Tidal Moon" (Thrilling Winder Stories, December 1938); H G Wells, The Time Machine (1895); The First Men in the Moon (1901); G Peyton Wertenbaker, "The Coming of the Ice" (Amazing Stories, June 1926); Jack Williamson, "The Cosmic Express" (Amazing Stories, November 1930); The Legion of Space (1935, 1947); "The Crucible of Power" (Astounding Stories, February 1939); "Breakdown" (Astounding Science-Fiction, January 1942); Colin Wilson, The Mind Parasites (1967); The Philosopher's Stone (1969); John Wyndham, "Wanderers of Time" (Wonder Stories, March 1933); Stowaway to Mars (1936)