Why Time Travel is Science Fiction's Best Story Concept
Time travel is science fiction's most popular premise. What makes time travel so interesting? For me time travel just makes for great story telling. The story of a person traveling to another time period other than their own opens the door to endless possibilities of wonder and imagination. Home
Time travel gives us a chance to look more closely at the human condition. As humans we only move forward in time, ever forward, but who hasn't dreamed of going back to fix a mistake, or to stop that embarrassing event we never forgot from high school. We've all done things on purpose or by accident that we regret. Some things are much worse than others, but time travel not only gives us the opportunity to fix those mistakes, through the miracle of time travel we can also ask ourselves what if we changed the road we turned down yesterday on the way to work? What if we had a healthy meal yesterday instead of that doughnut? Can insignificant little choices change our lives significantly? The answer is yes, of course. It's amazing how simple, seemingly meaningless choices can lead to the death of us or alter our lives forever. By hesitating for just a second before you cross the street could mean the difference between getting hit by a bus or meeting the love of your life. Through the magic of time travel or parallel worlds, we can explore the many ramifications of turning left instead of right or vice versa.
Time travel stories often take us to those important dates in history in which altering could change the course of human history. Such dates come to mind as the date Abraham Lincoln or JFK were assassinated. Remember the Twilight Zone episode, "Back There" where Peter Corrigan (Russell Johnson) travels back to the day Abraham Lincoln was shot, only to discover that only the smaller unimportant events of history can be changed. The TV show "The Time Tunnel" took the viewers to major historical moments every week, such as the sinking of the Titanic. That show even took its viewers to Biblical days.
A favorite movie of mine, "The Final Countdown" explores what happens when aircraft carrier ship in 1980 travels through a time storm and ends up face to face with the events of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Yet, again, the lesson is that history cannot be changed.
Alternate histories like the one from the book and Amazon series, "The Man in the High Castle are another point of interest. The story shows us America in the '60's had we lost World War II. It's not necessarily a time travel adventure, but it does give us a look at another period in history from different points of view.
In my short story book, "Sci-Fi with a Twist" most of my stories involve time travel or at least some element of time travel.
1. So this is the End - An astronaut from the 1960's wakes up in a strange future in a deserted laboratory and falls in love with a beautiful lady astronaut from the future, kept there captive by unknown entities. Can they discover where they are and when? Are they the last remnants of humanity left? In this story I explored what happens when you take a man from the '60's and introduce him to a beautiful woman from the distant future.
2. The Robber - An old thief goes back in time to finally obtain his much sought after big score, only to discover a family secret that could have changed his life altogether.
3. The Search for Heaven - Somewhere in outer space in an unknown time, a man named Noah searches for Heaven through a worm hole and finds the unexpected.
4. The Fastest Gun Alive -
A writer finds himself in his own story as his own wild west
character. Can he survive long enough to get back home?
5. The Cave - A teenager enters a
cave and emerges decades earlier running into his younger father
living in the 1980's.
6. The End of Time - A group of
time travelers save Abraham Lincoln, but at what cost?
8. Missing - A man's daughter
disappears mysteriously into thin air. Where and when will he ever
find her again?
9. By the Grace of God - A home inspector has his average life turned upside down. It all starts with a seriously strange unheeded premonition.
10. From My Cold Dead Hands - A
hit man has one last chance at redemption before it's too late for
11. Invasion from Outer Space - A group of teens in the 1950's witness what appears to be an alien invasion, but what is really happening will change their lives forever.
If we allow our imaginations to take us backward and forward in time anything is possible. The possibilities are endless, and that is what I love about time travel. We not only can explore events beyond our reach, but by revisiting the past we can learn lessons only available to us back there in history.
Let's not forget that time travel allows for viewing the future too. Amazingly, science fiction has a tendency to predict many aspects of the future correctly. Jules Verne foretold of the modern submarine, predicted that rocket moon landings would originate in Florida, predicted there would be voice recordings and even holagraphs.
Back to the Future II predicted the Cubs would win the World Series in 2015. They were only off by one year. The 1969 book Stand on Zanzibar predicted that the President of 2010 would be named President Obomi, cigarettes would be demonized, and marijuana would be made legal. Thankfully, H.G. Wells' prediction of a world of creatures called Morlocks hasn't came true, yet.
One of the things I find interesting about the younger generation, they tend to think of their time period as being superior to any other period. While older people tend to long for the good old days. The younger you are the more you tend to think of the present-day world as the hippest, coolest, most knowledgeable, open-minded point in history, as if people from the past were somehow all cavemen lacking in understanding, instead of the pioneers that struggled and persevered to bring us to where we are in this point in history. People are the same, no matter what era they live or lived under. The era they live in does affect their view on life somewhat, but all things being equal, if you took a modern day baby and put him in the early 1900's, he or she would likely grow up with the same view points held by other people of that era. We are all products of our experiences. Imagine how you might view the world if you grew up without running water or telephones.