H.G. Wells was right

Time travel novels have been around for a while, even before H.G. Wells wrote “The Time Machine” in 1895. I didn’t plan on writing a time travel novel because, well, because there are such a lot of them lately, mostly involving Scotsmen wearing kilts. And not wearing much else.

Don’t misunderstand, I am an ardent fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Love it.

I also enjoyed Susan Sloate and Kevin Finn’s “Forward to Camelot” which involves a young woman going back to 1963, thinking she is to retrieve the bible used for Johnson’s swearing in on Air Force One. She quickly discovers her real purpose is to prevent Kennedy’s assassination and it’s an interesting story that kept me up until the wee hours.

Then there’s the short story about the man who travels back to Cretaceous Era on a safari to kill a Tyrannosaurus Rex. All has been carefully orchestrated to minimize any impact, but when the man returns, he finds everything has changed. The reason: he accidentally stepped on a butterfly. (The story is called “A Sound of Thunder” if you want to look it up.) The “butterfly effect” is now a recurring theme in time-travel literature.

Sloate and Finn follow the rules of time travel by avoiding paradox — the heroine cannot travel back to any time in which she exists, but she is the right age to go back to 1963 since she wasn’t — won’t be– born until 1964. However, the authors use the butterfly effect to deliberately alter the future.

My hero (A Question of Boundaries, A Question of Loyalty) has the ability to travel in time, but has no concept of how to use it. As a child he used his gift to witness events, much like we would read a book. Later, it is an escape mechanism. In the third book (which is in the second-draft stage right now) he realizes the “gift” is actually a curse and although he has perfected his talent, he rightly refuses to use it because he fears that the least thing he might do in the future will affect the past–where his wife and child reside.

Yes, it’s a little backwards. I’ve always been that way.

Still, what with reading and writing time travel, it was to my mind purely a fun thing and nothing to do with reality. Until I read about physicist Ron Mallett, who is really and truly building a time machine.

Yes, that’s right. And when you read his theory, it begins to look not only possible, but that it might happen in this century.

A case of life imitating art, you might say.

I don’t know what will happen to paradoxes and butterfly effects, but it appears that we will find out soon.

Maybe very soon.




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