I remember this being a part of a collection of short stories. It's probably fairly old. Unfortunately, I don't remember much else about it. I've already searched Wikipedia's list of time travel stories in hopes of finding it, but no such luck.

This is the basic plot of the story:

In the future, criminals are sent back to the Renaissance as this is considered a humane form of punishment. One man is wrongfully accused by one of his rivals/enemies and punished in this fashion. He resolves to take revenge on his opponent and writes a letter addressed to him. He passes the letter on to his descendants, along with information proving his innocence and the other man's guilt. In this letter he tells his opponent that he will be convicted and sent back in time just as the protagonist was, and that he will be waiting for him. He also tells him that he is certain his plan will work, because the man arrived just a few hours after the protagonist did, and that he killed him.

  • 19
    Sounds like a great story, but I'm not sure how smart an idea it is to send criminals back in time where they can influence history...
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 19:45
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    In Robert Silverberg's Hawksbill Station, criminals are sent back to the Precambrian era, to avoid that they can alter history.
    – Ubik
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 21:57
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    Here's a long list of time travel stories, maybe you'll find it there: storypilot.com/time-travel-fiction.html
    – Ubik
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 18:42
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    The Many Colored Land by Julian May almost certainly is not what you're looking for. However, it does use time travel to exile criminals in the past, however, it's to the Pleistocene era.
    – Jim2B
    Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 23:28
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    The Avengers episode Escape in time does this slightly differently - criminals pay the inventor of a time machine to go back hundreds of years to escape the law.
    – Eborbob
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


It may be "My Object All Sublime" by Poul Anderson. Sorry, I tried to find a plot summary online for you but can't seem to locate one. However, this article suggests an anthology in which you can find the story...https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Best_of_Poul_Anderson

Edit: sorry, I didn't notice the part about going back to the Renaissance. This is probably not the story you're thinking of, but it does have a similar premise if you are looking for something similar!

  • The story can be found in a compilation available here on books.google. I agree the details don't match up, but the punishing criminals by sending them into the past theme is certainly there.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 4:55
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    My Object All Sublime ends with the criminal being sent to Damascus the year before Tamerlane sacked it (1399 iirc). Could hat count as Renaissance?
    – Mike Stone
    Commented 2 days ago

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