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"SF is a controlled way to think and dream about the future."
- Gregory Benford

Vibratium Wall Time Machine  
  An element that is unstable in time makes time travel possible and enables the Grandfather Paradox.  

One of the first references in science fiction to the "Grandfather Paradox", the idea that if a person went back in time and killed their own grandfather, they they would cease to exist. And so how would that person, who never existed, go back in time?

Resting on a movable platform was a large square box, tall enough and wide enough to accommodate several men, as well as a cluster of shiny machinery, tubes, numerous gadgets and controls. What was peculiar about the box was the material of which it was made. A transparent, metalliclike substance, harder and less clear than glass, and shimmering in a sort of ecstatic dance as though its component atoms were afflicted with a stuttering St. Vitus.


(Vibration Wall Time Machine from 'Ancestral Voices' by Nat Schachner)

“Curious element, vibratium. Without its strange property of reversing itself or speeding up in time, the machine could never have been made.”

The time machine cleared magically a moment, then clouded into milky opaqueness. The sharp outlines blurred and faded until there was only a gray mist ; then nothingness. The machine had started on its tremendous journey back into time!

The vibratium walls shimmered into translucency; the atoms were approaching normal speeds. A tiny jar, and vision was established. The machine had come to a halt.

From Ancestral Voices, by Nat Schachner.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1933
Additional resources -

The scientist's assistant tries to warn him:

Fifty thousand men, women and children vanished that fatal day; fifty thousand human beings of every race and clime ; in savage Africa, in far-off Australia, in teeming China, in blue-eyed northern Europe, in dark-haired southern Europe, in the vast stretches of America, the melting pot of all races.

“But it’s dangerous business, meddling with the past. What’s done is done. ‘The moving finger writes, and, having writ, moves on.’’ You know the rest.

"We try to introduce an anachronistic element into the past, and the consequences may be incalculable."


(Vibration Wall Time Machine Cover from 'Ancestral Voices' by Nat Schachner)

The scientist kills his own remote ancestor and dies on the return trip in the machine.

“This,” he repeated. “Look at it; it’s a Hun of Attila’s time. Read Gibbon’s description. Note something further. It’s a caricature, I grant you, but a painfully accurate caricature of Emmet Pennypacker the eminent scientist. This Hun was Pennypacker’s direct progenitor. Pennypacker killed his own father, so to speak, and therefore never existed. Pennypacker, gentlemen, was a myth!”

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Ancestral Voices
  More Ideas and Technology by Nat Schachner
  Tech news articles related to Ancestral Voices
  Tech news articles related to works by Nat Schachner

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