At the beginning of my novel The Lens and the Looker, humans in the 24th-century can’t time travel. They can in the 31st-century and a History Camp counselor from that future, Arimus, comes back and kidnaps three spoiled hard cases: Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln. He takes them back to a time when there is no social safety net and he abandons them. That’s when the fun and adventure starts.
So, as a writer whose stories depend on time travel, do I actually believe it’s possible? Not in the way it’s used by me or most speculative fiction authors. Am I suggesting that in the foreseeable future it’s possible? I used to believe it, but now I’m not sure. It’s impossible to be certain about things like that.
Then why do I use time travel? Well, it’s a great literary device that allows characters from different times to be thrown into the same arena of life to compare notes and knock heads – and the more outrageous the situation the better. You see, for me the art of writing (and the fun) is to make the impossible seem real and truly plausible; to craft words in a way that the reader will want to suspend disbelief. Also, time travel works especially well for me since my interest in doing these stories is to be part of a discussion about what type of world the human race will plan for the future. Time travel allows me to compare the past, as well as the future, and then I hope some readers will decide to live the changes they want to see happen in the world. Hey, like Arimus said, “. . . what’s life mean, without an impossible dream?”
One last thought about time travel and the one thing I am certain about. We shouldn’t hold our breath about it coming soon enough to help fix and save the world. The older I get, the more obvious it becomes that we’re on our own for that.
Lory Kaufman is the author of The Verona Trilogy, whose final volume, The Loved and the Lost has recently been published. You can find out more about him here.