Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Do You Believe in Time Travel?

I often get asked whether or not I believe in Time Travel. You think that would be an easy answer for me given the fact that my hobby, as it were, is time travel. Problem is the question is a bit of a loaded one.

Some people that pose the question are trying to judge what I like to call my “sanity factor”. What they are really asking is “Can I have an intelligent conversation with you or are you going to try and convince me that you are from the future and have a time machine in your basement?” For the record, I am not some conspiracy theorist nor do I think that time travelers walk among us. Besides, I flunked my time pilot license so it’s all just tachyons under an Einstein-Rosen Bridge. As a writer and lover of a well told story, I generally respond by saying “Regardless whether it’s scientifically possible or not, I think Time Travel* is a great story telling device.”

Seriously, time travel stories, whether it be in movies, on TV, in print, or on your computer screen, allow us to juxtapose different time periods, explore “what if?” scenarios, and to examine the vary nature of time. Yes it can also give you a Grade ‘A’ headache if you think too much about the paradoxes and improbabilities, but that side-effect can be lessened by a skillful storyteller.

At Andy’s Anachronisms I’ve tried to highlight some of those superb storytellers that manage to weave a good tale, entertain, and hopefully give you something to think about when its all said and done. Also part of my job has been to put up caution signs around the less than stellar examples of time travel that give the sub-genre a bad name.

I’ve been compiling some of my own top ten lists that I plan to post on Andy’s Anachronisms in the coming months. First up will be my “Top Ten Time Travel Movies”. I know it’s bound to be controversial for a number of reasons. For starters I have not seen every time travel film out there – yet. I know I am bound to overlook some gem. Secondly, taste is very subjective. Not everyone is going to agree with what I like, so be it. My advice to anyone who disagrees, get their own blog and post your own Top Ten list or go out and make a time travel movie make my top ten list.

In the meantime, I am planning on highlighting some of my favourite time travel authors starting with Jack Finney who will be the focus of my next entry.

*When I use the phrase “Time Travel” to describe the sub-genre I am also including its cousins Alternate History and Alternate Universe stories.


  1. Personally I really liked the Superman one..."come back to me!" says the old woman...what's her name? Her moving. Very romantic.

    I haven't told you that one of my friends recommended the old TV series The Time Tunnel. I have them on my ipod, but have only watched a few. Would it be easier or harder to do a top ten list of TV shows in the genre?

  2. Hahaha, liked this post! As a story telling device I think alternate time-stuff is wonderful. And wouldn´t it be great to be three years old and get that great birthday cake again? Or dump that boyfriend before he had a chance to dump you?

    I´m much more interested in what would happen if you could than the specifics of how it works.I find it often detracts from the story when they explain at length, so maybe it´s good that Mickey Mouse simply got to travel through time (re your Mickey-post)

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