Many years ago I read a story about humans who were extracted from various time periods (ranging from cave men to people from the far future) and brought together. The future humans were presented with the scenario to make decisions about their future.

From memory the story was told from the viewpoint of a modern person, who was plucked from an airplane mid flight.

Something reminded me of the story and I started to look for it, without success.

I thought it was "October the first is too late", which has a broadly similar plot, and have been going through my SF Collection looking (and re-reading lots) without finding it. (I am sure I owned the book, but my children had taken to "borrowing" my books, and not all have returned.)

  • 1
    How many years ago? Novel or short story? Who did the extraction, aliens or future humans? What had to be decided?
    – user14111
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 6:38
  • It would have been 25 or more years ago (it could be as many as 40), and was a novel. Unfortunately I do not remember the detail, but I do not think the future humans were actively involved.
    – Milliways
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 6:43
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    @Miliways This trope is very similar to "To Your Scattered Bodies Go" by Phillip Jose Farmer
    – Kao
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 7:55
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    Rebecca Ore's Time's Child, John Varley's Millennium and Stuart Gordon's Fire in the Abyss all have the "humans who were extracted from various time periods", but they don't match up the rest of the description. Although Millennium is close.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 18:09
  • 1
    Another "extracted from the ages but doesn't meet other criteria" is Jannisaries by Jerry Pournelle.
    – Jim2B
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 4:00

1 Answer 1


This story comes from TimeRiders, a time travel series by Alex Scarrow.

'The Agency' discreetly recruits young people just before they die. They leave their past behind to guard history as we know it. Whenever events are tampered with the team leaves their hidden time loop to set things right. Time travel is taxing and failure is not an option making every mission a big challenge.

One of the three main characters, Maddy Carter, is saved from an airplane that is about to crash to join the team.


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