Any Problems Down The Line?

Mike Staton’s the author of this post.

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?

Here’s a visualization of H.G. Wells’ time machine.

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?

And, ladies and gentleman, the time machine from the TV series Timeless.

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?

A representation of quantum time travel. I’d try to explain, but my head might burst. 

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.

Now here’s the time machine from the mid-1960s TV hit Time Tunnel.

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?


17 thoughts on “Any Problems Down The Line?

  1. Mike,
    I always wanted to travel back to the 20’s. I would have loved to work on silent movies or in vaudeville. I’ve also wonder it one could time travel, would a small change back then make a big change in the present or the future. Sometimes you might step on a butterfly but sometimes you might just step on a twig.
    – Stephen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Boy, that WAS a “thought hemmorhage!” I like your terminology there. Also, wow, I think you’ve given yourself all kinds of material for novels, several of them! Interesting questions for sure. I am working on a mid-teen novel using time travel: a modern 15 yo who’s planning to run away from home is hit by a car as she begins her journey and finds herself on a wagon train in 1846. Fun but challenging. Perhaps I can have her change some outcome of history in this journey! Hadn’t considered that before your post. Was just working on the change in her. Lots of food for thought in your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely sounds like a novel I’m going to want to read. And as well… I like your idea of having something she does in 1846 change the world of 2017 when she gets back. Maybe a sibling who died in the ‘other’ timeline is alive when she gets back thanks to something she did in 1846?


  3. I am not much of a science fiction or fantasy fan so have only seen a couple films involving time travel. I did thoroughly enjoy one film recently that had time travel in it. (I probably wouldn’t have watched it if I’d known that. Lol.) Safety Not Guaranteed is a quirky hilarious film that if you haven’t seen it, I suggest watching it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will take a look at it, Sarah. One movie that had a roundabout time travel theme was ‘Frequency.’ No one traveled through time, but during a strong Northern Lights event, an ancient CB radio became a way for a man in today’s world to talk to his ‘deceased’ father when still alive in 1969. It had some murder/crime elements to it that you probably would have liked. Another movie with time travel elements: Late For Dinner. IMDb describes the 1991 movie as “Two young men evading the police for a crime they didn’t commit are cryogenically frozen in the early 1960s. The next thing they know is that they are in a strange new world (thirty years on).” I love this movie.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember the Star Trek episode where some of the crew travels back to the 1920s/30s and Jim considers changing history by saving a woman’s life… but ends up not doing so. One of my favorite episodes! Fun post to read, Mike!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love time travel and loved Time Tunnel. Boy you sure hit upon some great ideas. Timeless is also pretty good show. Now, let me know if you do go back, I’d love to learn your results. Doris


  6. I love time traveling too. I loved Quantim Leap. I started a time travel Mystery about 5 years ago. I worked on it for awhile, and then put it away. I’ve been seriously thinking of getting it back out and working on it some more. I like Timeless too. Cher’ley


  7. Ah, Mike- good post! I think your final question could be relevant to many societies today, the UK included! Your other questions are way too hard for me to think about, far less answer. 😉 I’ve read some sci-fi over the decades but I confess to only find entertainment in it and not soul searching questions, Phillistine that I am. LOL


  8. That’s a lot to think about. Sorry I was distracted by the photo of H G Wells time machine it reminded me of an episode of the Big Bang Theory. As for time healing the ripple I think recent events prove it doesn’t .


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