Science Fiction Story Ideas – Part 16: Time Travel & Alternate Worlds

Science Fiction Story Ideas

Time Travel and Alternate Worlds

Time Travel

  • After a head injury, a man has an unusual problem: every time he falls asleep, he wakes up ten years in the past.
  • A child discovers a time machine and uses it to get revenge on her abusive stepfather.
  • A hypnotist discovers that time is only in the mind, causality just a matter of perspective.
  • A time traveler visits artists and musicians who died before their time, attempting to convince them to change their lives and avoid their tragic fates.
  • A man falls in love with a popular actress, and uses a time machine to visit her in the past. He tries to engineer major events in her past to bring the two of them together in the future.
  • An elderly scientist builds a time machine and accidentally ends up trapped sixty years in the past. He meets his teenage self, tells him what happened, and tries to convince him to not experiment with time travel.
  • Judges in the future send criminals to the present as punishment.
  • A dimwitted man uses a time machine for pointless things (watching old TV shows, returning to a night at the bar to get drunk again, etc).
  • A cult leader teaches his followers that, by obeying his teachings, they can be sent into the past and find salvation in the “beforelife.”
  • A Hollywood director attempts to use a time machine to change the films of the past.
  • A religious man tries to prove to the world that Jesus actually existed. He travels two thousand years in the past where encounters another time traveler, a woman trying to prevent the crucifixion.
  • Variation – A time traveler travels two thousand years in the past in an attempt to meet Jesus Christ. Villagers see him using futuristic gadgets and call him a miracle worker. Despite his protests, he draws a following, and soon he is the center of a competing religion.
  • In the future, genetic engineering creates the most beautiful humans ever born. One of them, an engineer with the body of a Greek god, invents a time machine. He visits the past and has romantic adventures with history’s most beautiful women, dramatically changing past events.
  • A wealthy, Southern businessman finances the development of a time machine. He travels back to the Civil War and gives the Confederacy modern weapons.
  • A woman is visited by a salesman offering a bizarre assortment of amazing technology. The salesman is from the distant future and does not realize that he has passed through a rip in time and traveled to the past.
  • An inventor builds a device that monitors the present for changes in the past due to time travelers.
  • A young boy obsessed with comic books meets the man who writes his favorite, Time Travel Adventures. The old man tells the boy a secret: all of the stories are true.
  • A time traveling hitman “erases” his victims by changing the past so that their parents never met.
  • A history professor discovers the means to travel through time. He projects himself into the past, taking part in major historical events and trying to earn his own place in the history books.
  • Terrorists build a device called a “time scoop.” It cannot be used to travel in time, only to bring things from the past to the present. They unleash a flood of pirates, Vikings, and dinosaurs on Washington, D.C.
  • A female college student gets a summer job assisting a scientist. Exploring the lab, she discovers a prototype time machine, accidentally sending herself to Victorian era England. With no way to return to the present, she tries to adjust to her new home. For her, the lack of technology isn’t nearly as big of a problem as Victorian ideas about “proper” female behavior.
  • When a time traveler jumps ten days into the future, he finds that no one remembers him. His house, his car, and any evidence that he ever lived is gone.
  • A suicidal time traveler visits his parents in the past and attempts to arrange things so they never meet. His father meets and marries a different woman, and they have a different child. When the time traveler returns to the present, he finds that he has become a very different man.
  • A scientist spends a decade in therapy, trying to overcome her troubled childhood. She develops a time machine and decides to visit the past. She kidnaps her infant self, vowing to be the loving mother that she never had.
  • Members of a popular musician’s fan club discover that he is a time traveler. Every time he needs a new hit, he steals it from the past. The musician travels into the past and kills the song’s original author before the song was written. He returns to the present and claims the song as his own. The fans find the original copies of the songs hidden away in his attic, written by musicians they never got a chance to hear: Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison, John Lennon…
  • After his grandfather dies, a man inherits a most unusual pocket watch. The watch has a button that allows the user to repeat the last hour, experiencing it again. Any time there is a major event in his life, the man repeats it hundreds of times to get it just right.

Alternate Dimensions

  • A failed businessman discovers a portal to an alternate dimension. This new dimension is filled with stores and products, but all the people are missing. He makes trip after trip, emptying a shopping mall and selling the salvaged goods. After making a pile of cash, he discovers what happened to all the missing people.
  • After a bad breakup, a teenager finds a way to reach into other dimensions, summoning alternate versions of his ex-girlfriend. Many of them are still in love with him, but there’s always something wrong.
  • A farmer hears his young daughter scream and finds that she has fallen down an abandoned well. Soon he discovers that the well was built over a doorway to another world. He is too large to climb down to rescue her, and strange beings are approaching…
  • When a family goes on a camping trip, their three young children wander off into the woods. The children encounter a UFO and are accidentally pulled into an alternate dimension. The children wander through portal after portal, searching for the way home.
  • A comic book writer is visited by a real-life superhero from another dimension, who believes that the writer’s stories are based upon him. He angrily corrects the writer on the details he had “gotten wrong.”
  • A new pet store offers bizarre animals from alternate dimensions.
  • A scientist visits an alternate dimension and discovers that everything is the same except, in that world, he is a she. The female version of the scientist is a much happier, more successful person. When the scientist returns to his home dimension, he wonders if he should make a big change in his life.
  • When the walls between parallel dimensions begin to break down, it becomes possible to simply walk from one world to the next.
  • After breaking a window, a young boy is grounded and sent to his room. The boy decides to run away from home, but he ends up running a little farther than he had intended.
  • A physicist builds a portal to parallel worlds but is afraid to test the new technology on himself. Days later, he discovers that someone has used the machine: an alternate version of himself. This doppelganger has been sleeping with his wife and spending time with his kids. The physicist discovers that his family likes the “new him” a little bit better than the original.

Alternate History / Anachronism / Steampunk

  • During the Civil War, the South develops the jet pack
  • Gun powder was never invented, and World War II is fought with catapults and crossbows
  • While investigating the Roswell crash, a government agent is badly burned. He is taken back to Area 51, where the doctors realize he is in desperate need of skin grafts. Unfortunately, they do not have any skin available. That is, any human skin…
  • In the nineteenth century, a man discovers a way to combine the telegraph and punch card data storage into a kind of proto-internet. The technology rapidly progresses, leading to the rise of Victorian era hackers.
  • During the Civil War, a doctor and an engineer team up to create the world’s first cyborg, The Steam-Powered Man.
  • The Fastest Gun in the West owes his success to his robotic arm.
  • Variation – A failure of a gunfighter has been shot dozens of times. Each time he takes a bullet, he replaces part of his body with metal.
  • The Dark Ages become even darker when the earth is covered by the shadow of a floating city and giant birds made of steel.
  • A knight struggles to rescue his beloved maiden from a new type of wizard, an early mad scientist.
  • Stuck on Earth with no place to live, the surviving Roswell aliens attempt to get themselves declared a part of the Jicarilla Apache nation, so that they can move onto the reservation.
  • In 1901, President McKinley is shot. The first bullet is easily found and removed, but doctors are afraid that exploratory surgery to locate the second bullet might kill the president. Fortunately, they receive some assistance from an inventor with a strange machine…
  • Christopher Columbus gets caught in a hurricane and ends up discovering Antarctica.
  • In 19th century California, cowboys struggle with cattle thieves, stagecoach robbers, and the last of the dinosaurs.
  • Prohibition Era gangsters have a secret weapon on their side: a bootleg liquor-powered android.
  • In 1820, Russian explorers discover Antarctica. However, it is occupied. In order to claim the new continent for themselves, the Russian explorers decide to attack the Antarctic society with a top secret Russian weapon – the freeze ray.
  • A time traveler visits the Middle Ages and returns home, accidentally leaving behind a loaded revolver.
  • In 1945, the B-29 bomber Enola Gay heads for Japan. But before it reaches Hiroshima, the airplane encounters Japan’s latest weapon: a living dragon. Cloned from preserved eggs, the immense lizard guards the islands of Japan, burning anything in its path.
  • In 1945, the B-29 bomber Enola Gay heads for Japan. The airplane is loaded with America’s newest weapon: the time bomb, a device that can send entire cities 50 years into the future.
  • In 1945, the B-29 bomber Enola Gay heads for Japan. The airplane is loaded with America’s newest weapon: Steel Sam, a robot the size of the Chrysler building.
  • Martin Luther gets caught in a thunderstorm. Fearing for his life, he dedicates his life to god. However, he dies of pneumonia soon after and never sparks the Protestant Reformation. Centuries later, the Catholic Church controls the world.
  • At a jousting meet, a knight sneaks into his competitor’s tent. He discovers that his opponent’s armor does not contain a man, but a strange, steam-powered machine.
  • A team of archeologists discovers that the pharaoh tombs in the pyramids are just a decoy, and that the pyramids were actually built to hide the real secret, far below the sands of Egypt…
  • During the war in Vietnam, a dozen American POWs are visited by Vietnam’s greatest hypnotist. They are hypnotized and released, and return to America. Thirty years later, they must carry out their instructions…
  • On November 22, 1963, a team of scientists and doctors struggles to save the president’s life. They find that they could keep his brain alive if they put it in another body. The Secret Service begins the search for the perfect “donor.”
  • In 1963, John F. Kennedy is shot, but survives. At first, the country is told that the shooter simply missed his target. However, one man’s home video shows the truth: the bullets strike the President in the head, but simply bounce off.
  • A medieval scientist is hired by the king to be his court wizard. After the scientist invents the jetpack, the castle’s knights hold the first airborne jousting tournament.
  • A librarian discovers a strange book, A Complete History of the United States. All of the events are there, but the details are wrong. Confused, she turns to the last page of the book, which describes something called “the Omega Memory Editing Satellite.”
  • In eighteenth century Scotland, James Watt realizes that his developments in hydraulics and steam power could be combined with another invention developed years earlier: Leonardo Di Vinci’s tank.

40 comments on “Science Fiction Story Ideas – Part 16: Time Travel & Alternate Worlds

  1. Salma Hashi on said:

    Very creative. Mind if I use any of these?

  2. Shannon Scarlotti on said:

    I really liked the man who travels to the past when he sleeps
    Any problems if I use it?

  3. taytay on said:

    this is a great website!! mind if i use one of the ideas for homework??

  4. Isabella on said:

    Hi, this website has been very helpful for me! Though very few of these ideas are something I would use, but I love this place because it gives me so much insperation! I’m an ameture filmmaker and whenever I get writer’s block, I just come here, and wahlah! I’ve got a great idea! Thanks so much! :D

  5. this website is really helpful! thanks for sharing all these awesome plots! hope i can make them into movies in the future! :)

  6. awesome yaaaaarrrrrrr!

  7. I’m not sure the idea about sending criminals to the past as
    punishment makes much sense, I mean, couldn’t the criminal
    then change the future — kill the judge who sent him, make it
    so that he never got caught in the first place….not sure if this
    one was very well thought out.

  8. Shae-Lynne on said:

    Thank you so much for posting these! It really sparked some creativity on my part. I need to write a story for the education board and I had no ideas. We’re not marked on the content just your ability to write but I couldn’t do that if I didn’t have an idea…and now I do. Thank you!

  9. Natasha Sergeyovna on said:

    I like these ideas. . .they are very creative and fun to use. I like writing but I am not very good at it. . .practice is helpful. . .thank you for wonderful ideas! :)

  10. Great ideas! I am so saving this website to my favourites!

  11. Matt Allen on said:

    Really great ideas. I like the sleeping one (I actually tried working with that one, but the plot was totally different.) I also like the two religious ones and the hit man.

  12. Geronimo on said:

    Whoa this is so cool! I want to write my own Doctor Who Story! If you know what that is could you put up some ideas from that sort of perspective cos’ i’m horible for ideas :D

  13. Incogneto on said:

    “A team of archeologists discovers that the pharaoh tombs in the pyramids are just a decoy, and that the pyramids were actually built to hide the real secret, far below the sands of Egypt…”

    This is actually half-true. The pyramids, no matter what you believe they were built for, were actually discovered to be built from the top-down…
    Along with that, a giant underground room contained ancient buildings…
    And a flying saucer.
    Also, even if you don’t beleive this, they make great sci-fi :)

  14. Lavamer on said:

    The best ideas ever !!! Thank you so much !!! They really helped me with my essay
    Thanks !!!

  15. Danielle on said:

    Mind if I use the man who wakes up in the past? Need an idea for a sci fi story for school :)

  16. Lily Nadal on said:

    These ideas are great. I have a lot of writing aheadof me. If i get ever get published, I’ll certainly give you credit.

  17. Tasker on said:

    Thanks for this list! It is really useful:)

  18. natashaliz marie velasquez on said:

    thank you for the great ideas I really was not goin 2 write my story until now that I came to your website and your ideas inspired me

  19. clairecl on said:

    Thee one about sending prisoners to the past as punishment….The writers of Looper blatantly were inspired by this site.

  20. Cassidy Smith on said:

    I am a 12 year old (hopeful) sci-fi writer. Can you give me any tips please? Thank you!!!!! :)

    P.S: Your ideas are totally AWESOME!!!!!

  21. The hitman one seems amazing! Can I change it around a bit?

  22. Aarushi on said:

    I LOVE THIS WEBSITE. My dad told me to write a novel and these were very helpful!

    THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Amy :) on said:

    I love this site! It was actually my English homework to develop a sci-fi story and I was stuck for ideas until I found this site! I have a really good idea now and your site inspired it.

    Thank You x :)

  24. writer girl on said:

    whats a hitman?

    • Jade on said:

      A hitman is a person who accepts offers from other people to kill someone that person wants dead, in exchange for money. They charge thousands of dollars, but the advantage to the person willing to pay is that they don’t have to kill the person themselves; it makes it much harder to link the hitman’s customer to the victim.

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