The Chronic Argonauts

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"The Chronic Argonauts" is a short story written by H. G. Wells. First published by the Royal College of Science in 1888, it predates Wells's more famous time travelling novel, The Time Machine, by seven years. Although Wells is generally credited with the popularisation of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively, "The Clock that Went Backward" by Edward Page Mitchell, was published in 1881 and involves a clock that allows a person to travel backwards in time.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

A third-person narrator describes the arrival of a mysterious inventor to the peaceful Welsh town of Llyddwdd. Dr. Moses Nebogipfel takes up residence in a house neglected after the deaths of its former inhabitants. The simple rural folk become apprehensive about Nebogipfel's activities in the house and suspect him of witchcraft. Ultimately they storm the inventor's "devilish" workshop. Nebogipfel escapes with the sympathetic Reverend Elijah Ulysses Cook, in what is later revealed to be a time machine.

The unnamed narrator later discovers the dazed Reverend Cook, who has been missing for three weeks. Cook becomes a second narrator, relating in flashback the night of his disappearance, and a series of subsequent adventures with Nebogipfel. He reveals that Nebogipfel is an "Anachronic Man" whose genius drives him to seek out a time more suited to his abilities.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Vandermeer. The Time Traveler's Almanac. TOR. pp. 154, 450.