“The Men Who Murdered Mohammed” is a 1958 science fiction short story by Alfred Bester. It is about a man who tries to kill his unfaithful wife by traveling into the past.
Another Cool Time Travel Story!
I read an awesome book last week: The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov. It is a fantastic piece of work about the peculiarities of time travel, and one which I highly recommend. Anyway, in that book there is a discussion about the familiar time paradox of a man who goes into the past and kills his own grandfather – I’m sure you’ve heard it. Here is a cool little story (written only a few years after Asimov’s novel) that puts a unique spin on that type of time traveling paradox!
Henry Hassel is a genuine mad professor – you know, the kind of guy that is super smart yet is kind of stupid when it comes to doing normal little things. Anyway, in the future year of 1980 (!) Henry makes his way home one day only to find his wife in the arms of another man – and this is where his mad professor personality takes over. You see, instead of finishing off the two in a jealous fit of rage he decides right then and there to build a time machine and use it to go into the past and kill his wife’s ancestors instead. Brilliant huh? Well, that sounds like a fool-proof plan that will show her a thing or two… except it doesn’t work. When he returns to the present he finds that nothing has changed! This makes him even angrier, so he goes on a rampage through the past and gets rid of all kinds of people – including famous scientists and religious leaders (hence the name of this story.) What he’s about to find out, however, is that there is something peculiar about the past – and only one other person realizes what that is!
Some Interesting Tidbits
- Word count: 4,255 (18 pages)
- Learn more about science fiction author Alfred Bester at Wikipedia.
- “The Men Who Murdered Mohammed” was nominated for the 1959 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.
Where To Find The Men Who Murdered Mohammed
- This short story first appeared in the October 1958 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
- You can read “The Men Who Murdered Mohammed” online for free at arthursbookshelf.com.
- It is also included in the anthology Virtual Unrealities: The Short Fiction of Alfred Bester.
Craving More SF Stories Like This One?
If you liked “The Men Who Murdered Mohammed” then you may also enjoy “All You Zombies-“ by Robert Heinlein – about an agent of the Temporal Bureau who travels back in time to recruit a young writer.