I must have read it in the seventies or eighties, and I have no idea if it was a translation or not, and if so, what language it was in originally.

A man dies during an accident (in a scientific experiment? Not at all sure) and wakes up in somebody else's body in the future. Once there, the people around him don't believe him when he tries to explain, they think he's gone totally insane.

Then when he dies again, he again wakes up in somebody else's body, further in the future, and the same happens, over and over. In many cases, he commits suicide rather than waiting for his own death. Also, he always ends up in a situation where he's around someone who looks like his wife.

In the end he arrives in a time when medical science has progressed so far that they can actually confirm his story, and they even have some control over the process. But they can't send him back in time, they can only send him forward, explaining to him that when he reaches the end of time, he will go back to the beginning and will at last come out in his own era.

In the end, he does indeed return to his own time. Only one problem, his own body is dead, you know, killed by the accident that started it all. He wakes up in the body of his wife.

  • 4
    I was on board until the ending...
    – Daft
    Oct 28, 2015 at 14:35
  • @Daft which book did you have in mind then? I'm pretty sure the ending was as I remember, but there is always the possibility that I'm mixing up two stories.
    – Mr Lister
    Oct 28, 2015 at 14:38
  • 1
    I think that maybe Daft is saying that he found it interesting up until the listed ending.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 28, 2015 at 15:37
  • 1
    This might be a dupe of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/99826/… except for that he was murdered in that one. The current suggested answer has a link to sample chapters.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 28, 2015 at 15:38
  • Not the same story, but parts of your description remind me of Poul Anderson's "Flight to Forever", which was my wrong answer to this other question. Guy time-travels to the future, can't go backward in time, finally gets home by going beyond the end of time. But Anderson's guy doesn't go by death and reincarnation, he uses a time machine.
    – user14111
    Oct 28, 2015 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


This is a repeat of my answer to a question about what I believe is the same book.

It sounds like Charles Eric Maine's Timeliner (1955).

Timeliner is a time travel story. A scientist working with "dimensional quadrature" is flung forward in time, to a period where his consciousness ousts that of another man. When that man dies, the protagonist leaps forward again, and so on. In each case, the personality he replaces belongs to a person who is close to a woman who resembles his wife.

Also, the story was originally a BBC radio play The Einstein Highway and first broadcast in 1954.

There is that a time barrier is erected in the future to prevent time travellers returning to their own eras. The time traveller is given a choice between imprisonment, I think, on the Moon or going to the disintegration chamber. When he discovers there is a theory that the disintegrated can return to their own era, he accepts the disintegration chamber. He succeeds in returning to his original era only to find he is now his own murderer on trial for murdering himself.

Charles Eric Maine employed the same form of time travel in his 1960 novel Calculated Risk where two citizens of a harsh dystopian future escape to the past the world of the 1960s. Their minds take over the bodies of twentieth century people. It doesn't end well.

  • More research found that this is definitely the one. Thanks so much!
    – Mr Lister
    Sep 22, 2016 at 19:55
  • @MrLister Glad to help. You may be amused to know I haven't read the novel, but I heard a version of the radio play when it was broadcast here later in Australia. So there may be differences between the radio play and the novel versions. My impression is there are substantial similarities.
    – a4android
    Sep 23, 2016 at 3:58

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