Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Genres -- Time Travel

I've read many books that are time travels but I've never written one. I've had several that are billed that way but they're really reincarnation novels. One even tied for a Time Travel award from Affaire de Couer a number of years ago. What's the difference between what I write and a true time travel. In my stories the main characters in the past lives are reincarnated in the present or perhaps even in a series of lifetimes. History plays a large part in these stories. History plays a major role in time travel tales. So what's the difference? Maybe only a mindset or editors not sure what to call these things I write.

Time Travel means a person from contemporary times is sent by some means to the past or someone from the past is brought to the present. I've also written fantasies where a person from our world is sent to an alternate world. One is strictly a fantasy world and the other is an alternate to ancient Egypt. These are not time travel either.

What I like about Time Travel books is the history and watching how the hero or heroine learns to fit into the new world. Sometimes I have trouble believing the method the writer chooses to send them to the past. I also have trouble believing that once a person has gone back in time that they can return to the present without bringing some nasty diseases with them. What if they ended in a time where smallpox or the bubonic plague was a threat? That gives me the chills,

So what do you think of time travel and what clever ways have you read that allow you to buy the theory of going back or forward in time.


Gina Rosavin said...

Well, as you know, I've written time travels, where a person is literaly magically transported backward or forward in time. In the case of going back, there's the paradox of bringing modern items to a time when they haven't been invented. That creates a whole set of issues on their own, which can be funny, terrifying or downright deadly!

As for deadly diseases, there are cases of plague and smallpox popping up now anyway, so even if they did bring it back, I'd bet the strain wouldn't withstand our modern antibiotics. I'd be more worried about not being able to get back and dying of those diseases. And explaining where and how it was picked up would be more a more interesting facet I think.

But I agree that reincarnation and time travel are two different things. A person reborn isn't necessarily traveling through time, and many times in the case of reincarnation, they are starting over again with each subsequent rebirth.

However, if the person is consciously aware of their soul being transferred into another body, that would be something different yet again. That might even entail possibly bringing all of the knowledge they possess up to that point.

So many different ways to look at it, but in my mind, each scenario is very different from each other.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

My WIP is a science fiction novel where my characters travel via spaceship through a stable wormhole into an alternate Twentieth Century universe. They are from our future (or rather, an alternate future), so their medicine is advanced enough to deal with TwenCen disease. They are able to return to their own universe--at least, as long as the wormhole remains stable.

I think the difference between reincarnation stories and time travel stories is the characters' mindsets. When characters reincarnate, they grow up in the culture and think of it as normal. In time travel, characters with modern mindsets face a new type of society, one that could have different values. Time travelers may know how history is supposed to play out; depending on the rules of time travel in that story, they may or may not be able to change history.

P.S. I found your blog through the BroadUniverse mailing list.

Liz said...

I love books involving time travel and the paradoxs it creates. Whether its by a time travel machine, a magical place, or something as simple as a lost letter I am there for the ride.

Terri said...

Time travel doesn't usually thrill me. Too many questions. Usually unanswered. Even Jude Devereaux's A Knight in Shining Armor left me cold at the end. It worked for me only as a straight medieval, without the time traveling bookends. The only exceptions I can think of are those when the protagonist pops around, as in some Star Trek episodes and Quantum Leap. And, of course, Back to the Future. Often I just get too caught up with the paradoxical Butterfly Effect type of tangles and can't forget them enough to enjoy the story. Why last season's ridunculous Lost episodes failed for me. On every level.

Wendy S Marcus said...

I don't typically like time travel books...or time travel in general. Although there was a movie with Meg Ryan I enjoyed. And Bill and Ted's excellent adventure. But otherwise, not so much.