Notice the butterfly: the lure of literary time travel.


Notice the butterfly: the lure of literary time travel.

If you had a time machine, where would you go? In ancient Egypt? Tang dynasty China? The globe theatre in 1599? Or maybe in the 25th century, because who knows, buck Rogers might be there.

Sadly, no one can create a working time machine anytime soon. However, this has not stopped the author group that has been exploring time travel since HG Wells described his first morlock. Slip, network and prediction and paradox – writers have come up with a hundred ways to get back and forth in time. This is one of the great things about literary time travel: every writer seems to have reinvented the mechanism, and every time they write it down.

You can change history or not change history, you can be an observer, you can go to you really become part of the past, help to fulfill the history, this is very infinite.

Connie Willis

“We can actually do whatever we want,” says Connie Willis, a science-fiction writer. She has won awards for time travel historians, such as the “judgment day” and “the dog doesn’t talk.” The best thing about time travel, Willis says, is that no one invented it – so it can be anything you want.

“You know, you can change history or you can’t change history, you can be an observer, you can go to you really become part of the past, help to fulfill the history, it’s very infinite.

So within a reasonable range – don’t step on any ancient butterflies, or accidentally shoot your grandfather. You don’t want to cause conflict. “Writing time travel is the most difficult part of the conflict,” Willis said, “because the fact is, you know, we can’t back in time, one reason is that, as long as we can change things there, you know, so this is what you spend most of my time doing things! ”

Avoiding the paradox is particularly tricky for Willis, which typically tracks multiple roles to different points of time. “I must remember, that happened earlier, but later, it hasn’t happened – and I usually end in the head of each page wrote angry notes to yourself, she still think he is a murderer!

Unlike Willis historian, I can’t return to the past – but I can do the next best thing, is to go to visit the speculative fiction conference in Boston every year – the reader (Readercon). If anyone knows about time travel literature, these are the people. In fact, this year they held a panel devoted to time travel. Panel moderator – occasional contributor to NPR – k. Tempest Bradford is making a time travel novel, “basically is to use time travel, not sinking to complete Shakespeare’s twelfth night”.

Part of the attraction of time travel is the temptation to experience other times and places, adds Bradford. But it is also an opportunity for the end of the universe. “I know that if I go back in time, I might warn some people not to do this or that, or they should be careful to exchange blankets.”

Leah Bobet, a writer, bookseller and reader of Readercon, said that the past was fascinating because it was a place we couldn’t go. “Time travel stories have too many ways to challenge and reinforce past paradigms. Unfortunately, we are learning the consequences of dealing emotionally with one thing we cannot undo. ”

When they talk about time travel, it is often the past that people talk about. “It’s interesting,” said bobbitt, “because the future is always coming, whether you like it or not, the future will come, seconds and seconds — it won’t come again.

Of course, unless you have a time machine, which brings us to the typical time traveler’s dilemma: suppose you could arrive in Berlin in 1937, should you kill Hitler? ‘oh yes,’ said Connie Willis. “That is the dilemma of time travel, there is no any event there has been no contact with other events, so may lead to worse, in addition to Hitler’s so bad, so unique, I tend to think that, if given the chance, yes, you bet. ”

Personally, I would probably return to sarajevo in 1914, rather than the elimination of gavrilo Priscilla. If I have a time machine.


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