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When Time Travel Got Light-Hearted
Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2015 8:00 PM

My first 4-nib review got squeezed out of me today - Paradox (David Whitaker) - and, since time travel features largely in that book, I started to think about when (exactly) time travel became less of a big deal.


Back in the Golden Age of Science Fiction (Asimov, etc.) the issues of time travel were discussed very soberly. I think there might even have been a consensus that it just wasn't that great an idea. That you never could get away "clean": never just substitute mustard for mayo and get everything fixed with any crazy side effects.


I think it was Back to the Future that seemed to suggest that you could zip around - backward and forward - and you could just dial in what you wanted to happen with a fair degree of precision.


Without giving too much away, Paradox discusses a situation where time travel has been perfected in a future much closer than I would have thought - and the person who makes the trip is doing it in a righteous cause.


I doubt that jumping back into the past would ever appeal to me, though. For one thing, standards of hygiene in just about any previous century you'd care to name were so much different that the first reaction of any time traveler would have to be: "What is that SMELL?" I specialize in Elizabethan literature. I know that, if I walked into the court of Elizabeth I, the first thing I would want to do is walk right back out again - the stench would certainly be too much.


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