Time Travel Fiction – Not As Easy As It Looks

Time Travel Fiction

Sure, on paper, you can simply step through a fold in time’s curtain — but time traveling fiction isn’t as easy as it looks. Or you can switc the hands of the clock backwards, or even just looking with a different angle of vision. But in reality, time traveling can really mess you up. And writing time travel fiction isn’t much easier than actually stepping back in time.

That is, if time travel were physically possible. Science says theoretically it is, but practically speaking, it would probably smash your insides and scramble your DNA. DNA, however, could be a reason someone could be able to time travel. That will be the case in my new time travel series featuring my time travel tour guide, George St. James. 

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Time Travel Fiction & Identity

Let’s just say it’s possible physically, and that you could find a way back to the century you’re interested in. Say you even could predict where you’d land – though my favorite time travel novels don’t always give that assurance. Books like The jane Austen Project posit a scientific way to calibrate exactly when and where you’d land. On the other hand, stories like Outlander make traveling in history seem like breaking your leg while hiking, only way worse.

Stepping into another time could surely challenge your sense of self, for one thing. How many of us carry our identities around in our purses and pockets? When you travel backward or forward to another century, let’s face it, that iPhone is a useless papereight and your driver’s license could be mistaken for a piece of witchcraft. You can’t get network, so you can’t see your calendar, your to-do list, your recent shares, book sales—come to think of it, that’s sounding better all of a sudden. But without your own century, who are you, really?

Traveling to another century, or even just another decade, also really screws with your wardrobe. I did ask myself before throwing away all those shoulder pads from the 80s, am I sure? And now, here I am in 1982 again, wishing I’d saved them all, and trying to remember how I made my hair that tall and full of scrunchies.

And seasons. If you travel in time and space, you could lose all sense of the seasons. Nineteenth century Australia, for example, has Christmas in July and surfing in December. (Actually they have surfing all the time, even on Christmas.) If you pop into the 13th century anywhere on earth you’ll found yourself in the perpetual wintry starvation of the Little Ice Age.

Time Travel Fiction & Comfort

Then there’s the question of plumbing. I think I can just rest my case against time travel right there.

Though I love writing and reading time travel, I want the fantasy, not the real kind. The armchair time traveling kind. With plumbing and good coffee. And you can have all those and your snart phone as you read about May Gold’s adventures with her artist hero in the 17th century. In The Renaissance Club, the time travel is only for a few hours or days at a time. My main character May has time to freshen up. I think after a few jaunts, May well understood the plumbing issue. And being a magical realism time travel story, her wardrobe changed automatically. Kind of a Cinderella situation.


I will come back to you through the doorway of stars.