My father told me about a short story he read many years ago about a man in the military getting transported back in time to viking age Greenland by an atomic bomb. He was taken in by the vikings. He defended the village from a raid and was buried with all viking honors in a cliff. In the modern time, the archaeologists unearthed him and realised that he must have been a time traveler, because he was buried in his clothes with his firearms, as well as having his history carved into the stone.

Can anyone help me identify this story?

  • Roughly how many years ago would your father have read the story? 20 years ago? 60 years ago?
    – user14111
    Mar 4, 2018 at 23:31
  • about 20 years ago. it was an old story when he read it though.
    – johnny j
    Mar 4, 2018 at 23:36
  • 2
    The title alone made me think of Kung Fury.
    – Manuel
    Mar 5, 2018 at 15:53
  • possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/38243/… (which has an unaccepted answer confirmed as correct by OP comment)
    – Otis
    Mar 10, 2018 at 14:20

2 Answers 2


Not a 100% match, but science fiction and Vikings means Poul Anderson to me.

In this case, the 1956 short story "The Man Who Came Early".

In this story, it was lightning, not an atomic bomb, that sends a United States soldier stationed in Iceland (and all his weapons and gear) back in time. However, the soldier wonders if there has been an atomic war, so atomic bombs are discussed.

The story is mostly about him trying to adjust to the society he finds himself in.

His adjustment fails and

he ends up getting killed by the Vikings. But he dies an honorable death in battle.

  • You beat me to it... I was composing my answer when you posted! Mar 5, 2018 at 0:28
  • I'm thinking you id'd it correctly :) Mar 5, 2018 at 0:29
  • 4
    And he doesn't defend the village and isn't buried with Viking honors and isn't dug up by future archeologists. Nothing matches except soldier timeslips to Viking age.
    – user14111
    Mar 5, 2018 at 0:44
  • @HappyRobot How ironic ;-)
    – Strawberry
    Mar 5, 2018 at 16:36

Could this be "The man who came early" by Poul Anderson? The details are a little off - the main character is transported by a mysterious thunderstorm not an atomic bombs, and it's Iceland not Greenland, but the general plot of US soldier living among Vikings and helping using modern weapons is there. The ending has the narrator speculate on how the hero's burial mounds will be viewed by people a thousand years later (not actually archaeologists digging it up, but that could easily have been misremembered)

The Wikipedia entry has more details https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Came_Early

Also of note may be Anderson's "Three Hearts and Three Lions" - not such a close match but thematically similar, and if you like The Man Who Came Early, your really should try it

  • 1
    Anderson's protagonist isn't helping the Vikings with modern weapons, he is considered quite useless.
    – user14111
    Mar 5, 2018 at 0:45
  • I’m not sure it’s possible. I’ll have to read it. Thanks for the suggestion.
    – johnny j
    Mar 5, 2018 at 1:11
  • @johnnyj You can read it for free at the Internet Archive.
    – user14111
    Mar 5, 2018 at 3:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.