As recommended, I'm "migrating"/"duplicate" from literature here, to sci-fi.

I can not remember, who is the author, but this seems was Ray Bradbury, however, I've already read couple of his short stories, which would be matched by titles, and nothing found.

So, probably, it is not Ray Bradbury. But this shall be someone like him... ( by date of creation, 1950+ -- somewhere here-- -1990 )

The story starts with one time-traveler, he starts his travel in something like U-boat/Time-Travel-Boat. After a while, another one of him appeared right inside this "Time-Travel-Boat". Okey, they going to travel together.

Thereafter, the third of him - appeared right inside this "Time-Travel-Boat"....

Next one, next one, next one.... etc...

After some time, there were 20+ of him ( may be 600 - six hundredth ). Part of them were from his childhood, and were very young. Another part, opposite, were very old, with beards, etc... Everything mixed up. And such very-very funny chaos happened on this "Time-Travel-Boat".

Please, help!

Q & A:

  • Q: Is the story a short story, not a novel?
  • A: Seems, it was short story...

  • Q: By a "U-boat" do you mean it is literally a boat that goes under water, a submarine?
  • A: No, by "U-boat" I'm meaning environment of action, something like "U-boat", closed / isolated atmosphere, without any chance to exit from it...

  • Q: What kind of "funny chaos" happens?

  • A: "funny chaos", because all of this 20+ persons - was one man, he knew everything about this place, about himself, about each of this 20+ crew members, about all this story... etc... And everyday life is turning in something very different...

  • Q: Is the story humorous in tone?
  • A: Yes, it is humorous, and each new "copy of him", makes the story more-and-more fun... Certainly, It was not a philosophical sight on time-traveling, though, i'm still thinking about this concept of duplication of personality.
  • Q: Is there any sex?
  • Q: no.
  • Q: Are there any other characters besides duplicates of the original time-traveler?
  • A: Seems, not. Only copies / duplicates of main character.
  • 4
    The traveler having to deal with multiple copies of himself from different eras sounds vaguely like the 7th Voyage from Stanislaw Lem's Star Diaries (but time loops in that story are an accident, this is a spaceship, not a time machine). Do they have at some point to work together to fix the ship by any chance? Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 14:28
  • So probably not The Man who Folded Himself by David Gerrold, which was my first thought.
    – Spencer
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 15:23
  • Funny how you answer a question with a question there....
    – Spencer
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 15:25
  • 1
    Not everything matches, but potentially could be Heinlein's "By His Bootstraps", which you can check out here just to see if your memory recognizes it: archive.org/stream/Astounding_v28n02_1941-10#page/n7/mode/2up Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 17:59
  • 1
    @user14111 While it obviously didn't turn out to be the case, do you know how many times minor details like the number of duplicates there are tends to be very wrong? Or how easy "most of it happened in the protagonist's room" can morph to "they were locked in a confined space together, like maybe a boat." Memory, particularly of an old, old story, exaggerates. A lot. So, it's worth pointing out examples that are close in certain key respects, even if you don't have a lot of confidence. (Which I didn't - that's why I did it in the comments rather than a full answer). Just in case. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


Like Eike Pierstorff says in a comment, this matches the seventh voyage from The Star Diaries (Dzienniki gwiazdowe) by Stanisław Lem.

In that story, Ijon Tichy is stranded with his spaceship in a time vortex, and ends up together with several copies of himself. The story is humorous, Ijon both gets in fights with his past and future self and has to cooperate them to repair his spaceship. The necessary repairs are of such nature that they need two pairs of hands, but Ijon only has one spacesuit. Eventually two of his child versions get into the same spacesuit, such that two handle tools with the spacesuit hands and two with its feet.

The previous story-id answer Humorous time travel short story about a man's dealings with other versions of himself gives some more details.

  • 1
    The linked answer is accepted by comment. Due to that not being immediately obvious, and that I feel like this question provides a bit more info, I marked the other one as a dupe of this one.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 14:21
  • Also scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/31879/… is an unaccepted answer that matches.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 16:34

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