Have you ever wondered? Is time sifting every second you take your breath? One minute, Lee Harvey Oswald shoots and misses? That same minute… Oswald kills the President?
Shifting timelines… they can be pesky.
I’m crazy for time-travel stories. Novels, movies, TV shows… I like everything about time travel. Goes all the way back to that 1960s TV series Time Tunnel. Actually, it goes even farther back. Remember the movie World Without End? No? I do. Space travelers go through a time storm and end up in 2548. Hey, Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
My love affair with time travel stories leads to this question… are time travelers tampering with the timeline?
In the era before the advent of time machines, did the original timeline see President Abraham Lincoln live through Reconstruction and successfully oversee the integration of the South back into the Union? Did Lincoln navigate us successfully through an earlier Civil Rights Era in the 1870s and 1880s that prevented the turmoil we see now? Did a disgruntled white nationalist in the 22nd Century invent a time machine, whisper some insidious ideas into John Booth’s ear, and corrupt the original timeline?
Another example… the America’s fading manned space program. After astronauts landed on the Moon six times between 1969 and 1972, why didn’t the early success lead to moon bases and a Mars colony over the next five decades? Or maybe it did?
Maybe an Earth Firster go his or her hands on a time machine and manipulated the timeline? Since I’m having a thought hemorrhage… perhaps a Luddite stole a time machine and helped Oswald assassinate President Kennedy. The result? The Vietnam War heated up, Project Apollo lost political support soon after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed Eagle on the Moon, and the moon and Mars bases never happened except in movies and novels.
There’s a new TV series on Monday nights… Timeless. It’s exploring many of these themes. Here’s the synopsis: A ‘villain’ and his minions steal a super-duper time machine developed by a secretive multinational corporation and manipulates the past with the goal to keep the USA from becoming a superpower. Luckily, the corporation still has the prototype, and sends a team after the villain to prevent him from carrying out his plans. There’s a catch, though. Maybe the villain isn’t as villainous as first supposed? Could it be that the good guys are actually working for the true bad guys?
If I had a time machine in my garage, I’d want to do some preliminary experiments. I’d want to see if the ripples I create on the timeline would in time become a tsunami. I’d want to know if a time-changing event works like a genetic mutation when allowed to unfold over millions or even billions of years. All this brings to mind a science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury, ‘A Sound of Thunder.’ In the classic story, a time tourist visiting the epoch of dinosaurs disobeys the regulations. The result? He steps on a butterfly and kills it. When he and the other tourists return to 2055, they see that his action has led to catastrophic damage to the present.
My take? I’d want to some preliminary experimentation to see if time has a tendency to smooth out the ripples before they become tsunamis. In other words, does nature heal time wounds? I’d pick out a village in France with extensive church records and time-travel to that village during one of the Black Death periods in the Middle Ages. With me would be a medical bag filled with the drugs needed to save lives.
Dressed in the garb of the time, perhaps that of an itinerant cleric, I’d heal a peasant family, not an aristocratic one. Once back in the 21st Century, I’d recheck the church records and see what happened to that family plucked from Death. Over the decades and centuries did descendants who should never have been born accomplish significant achievements that benefited the human race? Anyone do dastardly deeds? Was the timeline altered enough to be noticeable to a time traveler? Or, just the opposite, did another plague or war wipe out the family in a decade or two down the line? In other words, do the natural laws of time smooth out the ripples time travelers make?
A final, lingering thought that won’t go away… is the 2016 Presidential election the result of tinkering by time travelers?
I like to write novels. I have a published fantasy series to my credit. I call it the Larenia’s Sword trilogy. Check them out on the websites of Barnes & Noble and Amazon. See the jazzy covers for The Emperor’s Mistress, Thief’s Coin, and Assassins’ Lair. They’re topnotch artwork by Wings ePress’s artist Richard Stroud.
I’m currently working on a Civil War romance novel. I’ve titled it Blessed Shadows Dark & Deep. It’s been written and is now being edited. I hope to submit it to the publisher of my fantasy novels early in 2017.
I have an Author’s Page on Facebook where you can keep up with my writing efforts. Sometimes I post short stories on the page as well as updates on the Civil War novel. Type in ‘Michael Staton’ in Facebook’s search field to find the page. It’s the only one with a book cover as a profile photo. No one wants to see my face, right?