I read this story in a science fiction magazine, possibly if, Galaxy, or Tomorrow, sometime in the period of 1963 to 1968.

It was a short story, or at least shorter than a novel.

The protagonist and his two assistants operated a time machine or a spaceship or a combination. I don't remember whether he was a freelancer or a member of an organization.

The protagonist travels millions of years into the past or future, or to another planet (Mars, I think), or both. He meets two children, aliens but very human looking, and saves them from a number of dangers. They become quite attached to each other.

And in the end, the (Martian?) authorities arrive. They are described as tall, stern looking, wearing purple togas. And their leader is even taller, even sterner looking, and wearing an even purpler toga, which is as close to a direct quote as I can remember.

The (Martian?) authorities take the kids back where they belong and send the protagonist on his way.

1 Answer 1


When Time Was New by Robert F. Young.

It was written in 1964 so it fits with your memory that it was from the 60s, and it was originally published in If magazine. It is a novella rather than a short story.

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The scene you are remembering is:

The two kids came running up just as the commander of the cavalry stepped to the forefront of his troops. Actually, the troops were six tall Martians wearing deep-purple togas and stern expressions and carrying melters, while the commander was an even taller Martian wearing an even purpler toga and an even sterner expression and carrying what looked like a fairy godmother’s wand.

I don't think the story has been asked about here before, though it was mentioned in passing in user14111's answer to Which SF anthology about dinosaurs is this?

The story is available online here.

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