In this short story, there is a time travel agency which allows people to go back in time to mentor or encourage historical or famous people in their pursuits.

The main character visits his favorite sci-fi author, but he is so inept that he changes history: the author writes a scathing essay about sci-fi and time travel being inane topics, and he never becomes an author.

The agency, annoyed by the man's failure, tell him they will be sending him back to mentor Hitler with the idea being he will do such a terrible job that Hitler will never rise to power.

  • Probably not "Catch That Zeppelin!" by Fritz Lieber...
    – Spencer
    Jan 2, 2019 at 22:18
  • Unfortunately, that's not it. The majority of the story had to do with the time traveler interacting with the sci-fi author; the Hitler reference was a minor detail at the very end of the story.
    – yohohoho
    Jan 2, 2019 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


I believe this is Orpheus With Clay Feet by Philip K Dick. Jesse Slade travels back to 1956 to act as a muse for his favourite author Jack Dowland (a pen-name of Philip K Dick). After completely turning him off of writing science fiction and returning to his own time, the firm which sent him back decides that he could also be used to "uninspire" tyrants such as Hitler.

  • Yes, this is it! Thank you.
    – yohohoho
    Jan 4, 2019 at 16:39

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