Friday, May 06, 2005

Musings: The Boomerang Of Time

Time travel is a fantastic concept and absolutely wonderful for fiction. But don’t we all time travel every day through the use of our memories and imagination? It may not be ‘step into the machine, twist the dials and appear somewhen else’ ala H.G. Wells, but it’s the next best thing. And even though Stephen Hawking pretty much put the kibosh on practically traveling into the past, it is theoretically possible and, according to his research, this happens all the (pardon the usage) time to elemental particles. So where does that leave us? With great (if done right) time travel fiction in the form of stories and movies and shows. Actually any device which can throw your protagonist into unknown territory is fabulous, and I must say time travel is one of my favorites (I know I’m Canadian and I’m using US spelling . . . shame on me. My face is beginning to color, ah, colour. . . .) Immediately springing to mind are the ‘Back to the Future’ movies and ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’, and ‘Planet Of The Apes’, even ‘The Terminator’ movies were time travel in a way. And who can forget (Ummm, if you watched and liked the series that is) ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’? Or the Deep Space Nine episode ‘Trials and Tribble-ations’. Then, in fiction, there is Poul Anderson’s ‘Time Police’ or Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse Five’.The examples in fiction are almost limitless with more being created every day I’m sure.

So what does all this mean for the struggling writer? I think it implies that no door is closed in the creative writing process. Devices, such as time travel, are wonderful tools to propel your protagonists or antiheroes or small fuzzy ten eyed sentient millipede warriors on to exciting adventures. It’s one of the most fun devices to use, but one of the most difficult to pull off successfully since you have to keep track of multiple time-lines and the paradoxes and ramifications of moving back and forth through them. But in time travel you can meet yourself when older or younger, prevent catastrophes from occurring, or create them if they didn’t. The possibilities are endless. But why stop there. Throw in faster than light travel, superhuman powers, intelligent machines, some empathic vegetables and a dog named Bree. ‘Free your mind’ I say, ripping off a great three word phrase from ‘The Matrix’. Nothing is taboo in fiction and as you continue to write, try anything - try time travel. And in the end, when you are a successful author (Ummm, anybody know what that is exactly?) you can look back through the tunnel of time in your mind and see where it all began.

And tomorrow I post another story. Ummm, but it’s not a time travel story which is where you probably thought I was leading to with this musing. Well, maybe it is - because I am telling you in the present that I will post a story I wrote in the past in the future. . . . Does that count? Didn’t think so.

Keep writing. You never know what the future may hold.
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