Operation Time Search

~ A Novel by Andre Norton



Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1967 dustjacket ~

When Ray Osborne, a young American photographer, was precipitated suddenly from the twentieth century into a prehistoric age, he did not know that he had blundered into the field of experimental time machine. But he soon realized that the new world was a hostile one when he was captured by a strange group of hunters, speaking no language he had ever heard. Only after he met the Murian, Cho, and was able to communicate with him telepathically, did he learn that they were both prisoners of the ruthless city-state Atlantis, which was preparing a war of annihilation against the golden kingdom Mu. Once they had managed to escape, Ray was increasingly aware that he could not avoid taking part in the coming struggle, but the nature of that part, and its magnitude, was not revealed to him until he had witnessed incredible horrors in the enemy's stronghold. Then at last he understood the justice of the cause he was serving and accepted the fate thrust upon him.
With the extraordinary imagination and the deep concern for the nature of good and evil that distinguished The X Factor and other works of this leading science-fiction writer, Andre Norton has developed from an ancient myth another taut and thrilling tale. 


Write-up from the back the back of the ACE paperback editions ~

“Ray Osbourne is catapulted back across the centuries to an earth on which even the continents are different. It is a hostile world and Osbourne’s army training saves his life many times as he is captured by hunters from Atlantis, braves the dangers of the Barren Lands, and joins forces with a group of telepaths from the continent of Mu in their struggle against the Atlanteans.
“As in all time travel tales, the big question is: what effect will a man thrown into the past have on the present? Will he change anything? The answer provides a twist ending which, combined with a touch of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ style, puts this novel a slice above the average science fiction story.” – Huntington Herald-Advertiser


Write-up from the back of the Fawcett paperback edition ~

While snooping around, taking pictures in a top-secret area, Ray Osborne suddenly found himself trapped in the field of an experimental time machine that hurled him into a pre-historic place filled with strange-speaking, terrifying hunters who took him prisoner abroad an odd ship.
He found himself drawn deeper and deeper into antiquity, into the very temples of the dread priests of the fabled city-state Atlantis, where telepathy was only one in a series of amazing primordial truths. Suddenly, he became a pivotal person in an ancient battle raging between good and evil, while the scientists of the Twentieth Century desperately worked with the instruments they had created, trying to draw him back into the present, away from the ancestral knowledge that no civilization could grasp and still survive….


Write-up from the back of the Ballantine Del Rey paperback edition ~

Snooping around a top-secret government installation, photographer Ray Osborne stumbled across an experimental time field. Suddenly the familiar Ohio landscape disappeared, and Ray found himself transported to a prehistoric world where the dread priest of Atlantis waged a war against the Sun-born of Mu.
So while the scientist of the Twentieth Century worked desperately to draw him back to the present, Ray Osborne was recruited by the people of Mu to win a war that could change the course of history, and trap him in the past forever!


Write-ups from fans ~

TIME SNAPS was the original title, and it may be Andre' earliest piece of work within the Science Fiction genre. It was first submitted in 1934 right after The Prince Commands. Getting rejected because the SciFi market in those days was for the pulp magazines which meant that this one was too long. Disappointed, she filed it, updated and re-submitted it later in 1967, it was published as OPERATION TIME SEARCH.
This is two stories in one. A government operation to photograph the past with an eye toward mining its resources. Ray Osborne, a free-lance photographer working for a group to stop the project. Of course, it all goes haywire, and Ray gets transported way back into the past and winds up in a war between Atlantis and its dark-lovin priests and the light-worshipping forces of MU. A proficiency in hand-to-hand combat and some esper power help him get along. Combat, sorcery and treachery are a few of the elements that make this an exciting read. It does have some of the flavor of her earlier works. Knowing when it was written helps explain that.
The attempts of the scientists to retrieve Ray are sprinkled throughout the main story and the ending is reminiscent of books like Key Out of Time. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles Over the Years

1969 by John Boardman in Science Fiction Studies, July
1969 by S. Mines in Luna Monthly #6 (fnz), November
1986 by Muriel R. Becker in Fantasy Review, March
2015 by James Nicoll
2019 by Judith Tarr


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1967) Published by Harcourt Brace, HC, LCCN 67017156, $3.95, 224pg ~ cover by Richard Powers, map by unknown {Black Cloth Boards}
  • (1967) Published by Longmans, HC, $4.75, 224pg ~ Canadian printing ~ cover by Richard Powers, map by unknown
  • (1967) Published by ACE, PB, 0-020-63410, $0.60, 221pg - cover by Jack Gaughan, map by unknown ~ #63411 1973 $0.95 221pg --#63412 1977 $1.50 221pg ~ covers by unknown, map by unknown (both 1973 & 1977 credit Jack Gaughan for covers but general consensus says it's not him and there are no signatures)
  • (1981) Published by Fawcett, PB, 0-449-24370-2, $2.25, 223pg ~ cover by Ken Barr, map by unknown
  • (1985) Published by Ballantine Del Rey, PB, 0-345-32586-9, $2.95, 223pg ~ cover by Laurence Schwinger, map by unknown
  • (2018) Published by Worldbuilders Press, DM, no ISBN, $3.99, 182pg ~ cover by Matt Forsyth
  • (2018) Published by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, TP, 978-1-68068-084-3, $8.49, 186pg ~ cover by Matt Forsyth


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1992) Published in Paris, France; by Albin Michel, PB, 22-260-0820-9, 246pg ~ translation by Bernard Weiner ~ cover by Alain Nery ~ French title Opération Atlantis [Operation Atlantis]
  • (1990) Published in Milan, Italy; by Mondadori, Urania n. 1137, 4,500 lir, 176pg ~ translation by Paola Tomaselli ~ cover by Vicente Segrelles ~ Italian title L’altra faccia del passato [The other side of the past]
  • (1993) Published in Bydgoszcz, Poland; by BeTa, 83-901-3100-5, 239pg ~ translation by Władysław Refling and Maciej Grześkowiak ~ cover by Siegfried Gawrich ~ Polish title Operacja "Poszukiwanie Czasu" [Operation Time Search] (reprinted in 1995 with new cover by Waldemar Pawlikowski)
  • (2002) Published in Warsaw, Poland; by Amber, 83-724-5860-X, 182pg ~ translation by Ewa Witecka ~ Polish title Operacja “Poszukiwania w Czasie” [Operation "Search In"] (reprinted in 2004 with new cover)


Russian Omnibus Editions ~

  •  (1992)-1 Published in Chisinau, by ADA, 5-862-14010-7, HC, 446pg ~ Russian title Научно-фантастические романы [Science Fiction Novels] ~ Released with 4 different cover colors and a dust-jacket - Also sold with pirated dust jacket


    • "Operation Time Search" ~ pp. 3-168
    • "Dark Piper" as "The Dark Trumpeter" ~ pp. 169-318
    • "Catseye" as "The Cat's Eye" ~ pp. 319-443


  • (1992)-2 Published in Moscow, by Reteks, 5-874-86003-7, HC, 464pg ~ cover by B. Romankova ~ Russian title Поиск во времени [Time Search]


    • "Operation Time Search" as "Operation Search in Time” ~ translation by V. Martov, pp. 5-156
    • "Forerunner Foray" as "The invasion of distant ancestors" ~ translation by V. Martov, pp. 157-304
    • "Moon of Three Rings" as "The Moon of the Three Rings" ~ translation by V. Martov, pp. 305-463


  • (1993)-1 Published in Niahny Novgorod, by Phlox, 5-871-98046-5, HC, 480pg ~ cover by A. Tarasov ~ Russian title Долгая ночь ожидания [The Long Night of Waiting]


    • "Operation Time Search" as "Operation Search in Time" as ~ translation by L. Deutsch, pp. 3-164
    • "Garan the Eternal" as "Eternal Garan" ~ translation by N. Khokhlova, pp. 165-270
    • "Catseye" as "Cat's gaze" ~ translation by L. Deutsch, pp. 271-382
    • "Long Live Lord Kor!" as "Long live Lord Cor!" ~ translation by L. Deutsch, pp. 383-440
    • Fantastic stories
      • "Mousetrap" as "The Mousetrap" ~ translation by L. Deutsch, pp. 442-449
      • "All Cats are Gray" as "The Secret of The Empress of Mars” ~ translation by L. Deutsch, pp. 449-456
      • "Long Night of Waiting" ~ translation by L. Deutsch, pp. 456-467
      • "Gifts of Asti" ~ translation by N. Rezanova, pp. 468-479


  • (1993)-2 Published in Chisinau, by EYA, 5-85268-053-3, HC, 608pg ~ cover by V. Kirchev ~ Russian title Зеркало Мерлина [Merlin's Mirror]


    • "Merlin's Mirror" ~ pp. 3-137
    • "Yurth Burden" as "The Burden of the Yurts" ~ pp. 138-221
    • "Wraiths of Time" as "At the crossroads of time" ~ pp. 222-350
    • "Quest Crosstime" as "Search at the Crossroads of Time" ~ pp. 351-465
    • "Operation Time Search" ~ pp. 466-605


  • (1993)-3 Published in Moscow, by AST, 5-870-12025-2, HC, 366pg ~ cover by S.P. Atroshenko ~ Russian title Поиск во времени [Time Search]


    • "Operation Time Search" as "Operation Search in Time” ~ translation by T. Romanova, pp. 5-168
    • "Quest Crosstime" as "Search at the crossroads of times" ~ translation by T. Romanova, pp. 169-306
    • "Long Live Lord Kor!" as "Long live Lord Cor!" ~ translation by T. Romanova, pp. 307-366


  • (1995) Published in Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14040-2, HC, 384pg ~ cover by D. Avvakumov ~ Russian title Драконова магия [Dragon Magic]


    • "Operation Time Search" as "Operation Search in Time" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 3-206
    • "Dragon Magic" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 207-383


  • (2001) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-040-07452-2, HC, 512pg ~ cover by W. Nartova ~ Russian title Звездные врата [Star Gates]


    • "Operation Time Search" as "Operation Search in Time" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 5-146
    • "Crossroads of Time" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 147-264
    • "Quest Crosstime" as "Search at the crossroads of time" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 265-390
    • Andre Norton. Stargate (novel, translation by D. Arseniev ), pp. 391-509


  • (2002) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-01010-6, PB, 384pg ~ cover by W. Nartova ~ Russian title Перекрестки времени [Crossroads of time]


    • "Operation Time Search" as "Operation Search in Time" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 5-209
    • "Crossroads of Time" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 210-380


  • (2014) Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 978-5-699-74398-8, HC, 672pgs ~ cover art by A. Dubovik ~ Russian title Перекрестки времени [Crossroads of time] ~ Limited to 3100 copies


    • "Crossroads of Time" ~ translation by D. Arseniev ), pp. 5-158
    • "Quest Crosstime" as "Search at the crossroads of time" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 159-320
    • "Stargate" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 321-480
    • "Operation Time Search" as "Operation Search in Time" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 481-669


  •  Pirated edition, marked as being published by "North-east", a non-existent publisher. ~ Russian title Кошачьим взглядом [The Cats Eye] ~ see: 1992-1

View the Original contract

View the 1978 ACE contract

View the 1989 Italian contract

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