Children's book 50s or 60s, in which time travel gives accidental space travel to moons of either Jupiter or Saturn as the time machine is fixed at a point in space, and the movement of the solar system over time 'moves' the earth away from it. It is a sealed machine with oxygen, so this is not fatal.

The author's name would begin with a letter between G and Q based on where in the library it was shelved (which I can remember). I read it around 44 years ago. It was a hardback.

It may have starred two children and a professor who built the machine.

I read it around 1974 from Garston Library, Liverpool.

It is not a conflation of the suggested Heinlein books, both of which I also read as a child, but later.

Following more research, it's more like (but I don't think it is) a cross between Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint and Danny Dunn, Time Traveler. I still think it's a real separate single book by a different author than the Danny Dunn series whose authors have names beginning A, & W, but in tone it would have been more like the Danny Dunn than Heinlein.

  • Although you've helped group the key words together, it'd be better if you added in more detail. You can find a good guide for that here. Some useful details would include more plot points and a clearer description of what you've already got.
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 18, 2017 at 23:52
  • Indeed unfortunately it was forty years ago, if I had more details or memories I'd add them. The space travel was accidental an unlooked for side-effect of the time travel, if that helps. Nov 18, 2017 at 23:54
  • 1
    That helps a load, it's already a lot clearer than what you've currently got written. If the guide linked above isn't triggering any more memories (and it has been known to work some magic) than just trying to make any details you've already got as clear as possible by editing your question is just as good!
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 18, 2017 at 23:59
  • No, that would be a short book. The time machine was a sealed unit with oxygen. (Possibly a sphere?) It's a long time since I read this, bear with me. Nov 19, 2017 at 0:24
  • I have no idea what the book is, but your description rings a faint bell -- I think I read it fifty or more years ago. Don't give up!
    – Mark Olson
    Feb 16, 2018 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


This sounds very much like a conflation of two juvenile novels by Robert A. Heinlein -- Tunnel in the Sky, in which the gate that takes people to the stars is discovered accidentally when the inventor was attempting to build a time machine (he thinks he's opened a gate to the Jurassic, but when he crawls through, finds himself in the rain forest exhibit of a botanical garden), and Farmer in the Sky, most of which takes place during colonization of Ganymede (but uses spherical torch ships for interplanetary travel).

Tunnel in the Sky had a single (teen male) protagonist, who goes on a survival class field trip, but his older sister (already a colony guide) figures prominently in an early scene, giving him a knife that winds up being his only survival tool after he's robbed by another student. Farmer in the Sky involved the (teen male) protagonist's whole family, including two younger siblings (a boy and a girl, as I recall), one of whom dies when a technology failure causes a period of extreme cold.

Both books were written in the 1950s, Heinlein would have been shelved in the correct part of the fiction section in your library, and the titles are similar enough to make them easy to conflate.

  • Sorry. I've read tunnel in the sky several times as an adult, and its nothing like the book I'm looking for. Jan 2, 2018 at 16:43
  • Sorry. I've read Heinlein's juveniles several times as an adult, and they're not the book I'm looking for either separately or together. This is a single book where the time travel is because the time machine remains static and the solar system moves around it. Jan 2, 2018 at 16:52
  • I'm not claiming it was a good book, certainly it wasn't as good as either of Heinlein's stories which I read later, I want to identify i as part of my childhood not because of its special merits as a work of sf. Jan 2, 2018 at 23:08

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