Making Time Travel Work

Caught with my pants down again!  Between edits for two different publishers, prepping for back to back conferences and a new site launch at work… Today’s blog snuck up on me!

Despite all this, there’s a storyline that’s been nagging at me, a time travel storyline.  Of course, since I write gay erotic romance, that’ll be there, too.  But the time travel bit is a bit of an experiment.  Time travel is complicated and, like vampires and zombies as romance heroes, it takes a bit for me to suspend my disbelief enough to make it viable.

Thinking about all the things that can go wrong… unintended effects of people trying to do the right thing… contemplating the paradoxes makes my head want to explode.  One of the prime examples: Do we kill Hitler, or stand back and let history unfold?  Would changing history in that manner mean the world would be in better or worse shape than it is now?  Preventing the tragedy of WWII is a noble example, but what if diverting the course of history resulted in an even more horrific situation?  Or, as some have postulated, would actions of time travelers have no affect at all, merely creating small changes that add up to the same ultimate time line?

So, that’s where I’m at in the brainstorming process.  Deciding how much effect a person’s actions can have in the past, and how that will affect the storyline.  In fact, that may comprise most of the plot, since the backbone of this story well and truly focuses on an idea for one character, a man who is so vivid and compelling in my mind I wonder if I’ll be able to properly convey his charm (and his snark).

But he needs a juicy story line, a reason for him to go mucking about in the past, finding his one true love.  Which leads me to the questions… can we change things? Should we change things? Or would our actions have no significant or tangible consequences, as far as history is concerned?  If time travel were moderated in some way, like in the movie Time Cop, how would the regulating body be able to tell if anything had been changed? (Yes, I know, it’s fiction, I can make it all up — only problem is, I keep waffling.)

Thoughts?

And just for shits & giggles, here’s a link to the application page to the Time Travel Fund. (I think the rest of the site has been taken down, cuz it’s a total scam, obviously, but I think it’s amusing as hell.)

KC Burn

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3 comments

  1. My brain explodes every time I start considering the problems and paradoxes of time travel. I think that altering the future by removing someone like Hitler is the more obvious paradox to consider. I don’t think history would have unfolded in quite the same way without a personality as driven and maniacal as Hitler. But then, consider the smaller ramifications. Without WWII, my soldier grandfather would never have met my ambulance driver grandmother. Would I still exist? Would I be me, but a different me? It’s about this point that my brain starts to explode.

    1. Yes, exactly, I have that same problem! I know I’ve read books where people try to change things and they can’t or, say someone did succeed in killing Hitler, they might return to their own time and find the same things happened but at the behest of someone else. I think that’s the easier route, but I haven’t decided if easy will also be better!

  2. I love time travel stories, ever since I first saw Time Bandits as a wee lad. But that’s the great thing about time travel (& many other tropes of sci-fi), since it’s not real, there is no way to do it “wrong.” If you want it to be impossible to change the past, then it is. If you want it to be possible, then it is. And that goes for any other time travel rule you come up with. It’s not like anyone can say “That’s not how time travel works!”

    The important thing is to remain consistent within your own story. Don’t break your own rules. Because I can think of a few stories where that’s happened, like Back To The Future II, and it’s something I usually catch and it takes away some of the enjoyment of the story.

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