Probably read in the 80s or 90s. USA English paperback.

People from various time periods are living on an island or enclave/settlement on a beach. (Seem to recall a scene were a couple of people were looking out at the ocean while talking)

Story is set far in the future. There was a small group of people from various times (for example someone from 21st century, a couple from 22nd century, some from 24th century, and a couple from 30th century, etc.)

I think there may have been only 25 people total. (pretty sure it was less than 100)

The one from the 21st century had little more than the clothes he was wearing. The others had some of the advanced tech from the times they came from. For example I think the 2 latest (ie 30th century) had self contained habitat/vehicle/ship/craft (spaceflight capable?) that they lived in.

If I recall correctly, one of the ones from the 30th century (Woman I think) always stayed in her habitat. No one had ever seen her.

I Think something happened and wiped out humanity (like in 40th century) and the story is taking place in the 50th century.

I think one of the people from the 30th century had gone around and was finding the last surviving peoples and gathering them at the settlement. (people in time capsules? Suspended animation? Frozen Alive? Stasis Bubbles?) which was why they were all there.

The person who gathered everyone may have been an astronaut who had been on a long exploration voyage (visit another star?) who on return found nothing left of civilization.

The story focused on 2 mysteries:

  1. Trying to piece together what happened between the time of the latest person (30th century) and when the story is set (50th century) to the world so that no one was alive.

  2. Someone is killing the people in the settlement. So they nominate the person from the 21st century to be the "detective" to try to figure out who it is. (I think the reasoning for picking him is he is the most primitive, most active. The others especially the later years are used to having machines do everything for them, i.e. cant think for themselves. Or like some from the 24th century spend all their time taking drugs to keep themselves happy all the time. That's what people in that time period all did.)

  • 1
    As a note that may be of interest to you, your accepted answer is only the last of three stories in the continuity in question, The Peace War is the first novel there's a novella; The Ungoverned, and then Marooned in Realtime they're collected in an omnibus called Across Realtime.
    – Ash
    Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 11:30
  • The details don't match, but the general theme is much like October the First is Too Late, which you might also be interested in.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 11:37

2 Answers 2


There are similarities to Vernor Vinge's Marooned in Realtime which takes place on a post-singularity planet Earth populated by folk who were in time-bubbles (stasis). No one knows what happened to the rest of the populace, unless it's a miscreant who caused it all...

  • 5
    This is definitely Marooned in Realtime.
    – LSerni
    Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 8:54
  • Ok Just reviewed the first few pages... That's definitely it. Thanks.
    – NJohnny
    Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 15:42
  • Similarities? That's quite an understatement. Based on the description, how could it be anything else? I guessed that was it around like line 6 of the question. Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 18:56
  • 2
    Note that it doesn't go anything like as far as the 30th century. The latest survivor, Tunç Bannerman, is from 2210.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 9:54

I don't think this is it, but River World (Farmer) has elements like this. There are many stories going on in many books based on the same premise, and I have not read them all but this could in fact be present in one of the books.

  • I also thought of River World, but I think Marooned in Realtime is it. Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 10:45
  • River World has 36 billion inhabitants, and they are not survivors but resurrected. Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 9:48
  • The otherwise unnamed planet where the human population has been resurrected is called "Riverworld". It's a portmaneau word, not two separate words. The author's name is Philip Jose Farmer. To help anyone who wants to find the Riverworld books.
    – a4android
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 11:41

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