ID the SF story - Part 2,384

The basics - I don’t remember if this story is a novel or a novella. I seem to recall reading it in Analog many years ago.

The plot - A small group of aliens crash-land on Earth in the early 1900s. They figure out what will happen in the next few decades, and have no problem letting earthlings know what the future held. They go into suspended animation, to be awakened in a few centuries when Man had finally developed nuclear propulsion. They are awakened in less than 20 years, because the people of Earth decide that the future sounded bleak, so they changed things. Kept WW1 from happening, for one thing.

Does this ring any bells?


I don’t recall this story, but my Analog subscription only ran from like 1978-1985 or so. Have you checked things over at The Internet Speculative Fiction Database ?

Come on, silenus, give us some vague idea of when you read this story.

Mid-70s or so, I think. The aliens (who look pretty much like us) are befriended by H. G. Wells (I think.) They also fix Wilhelm II’s withered arm for him.

I believe it is a story called And Having Writ.


We have a winner!

Thanks. It was bugging me no end.

This was the first thing I thought of when I read the OP yesterday, but dismissed it because of this:

My copy of the book is packed away, so I can’t verify my recollection that the aliens never went into suspended animation, nor was it even an option for them. The additional details provided this morning would have clinched it for me, if montag01 hadn’t beat me to it.

No, they went in SA. I remember that when the aliens wake up, they see Wells staring down at them and are puzzled how he could have lived so long. Then they discover that Mankind has been busy while they snoozed.

From wiki:

It concerns four aliens who crash-land on Earth in 1908 and then journey around the planet, trying to jump-start World War I. Even though they failed to do this, they did succeed in creating the circumstances for their ultimate departure from Earth after a period of suspended animation.[2]

That’s right, I had forgotten that the aliens went into suspended animation near the end of the book.