DESTINATION TIME TRAVEL – by Steve Nallon and Dick Fiddy
The Storytelling Techniques of the Time Travel Tale
Where are we going?
The future, Doc!
Not forgetting the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey past.
That's right, ticket holders, DESTINATION TIME TRAVEL is your journey into the many worlds of the Time Travel Tale – exploring its tropes, its rules, its devices, its science, its values, its plots, its characters and, most importantly, its enduring – and timeless – appeal.
Yes, in DESTINATION TIME TRAVEL you'll find Time Portals, Time Vortexes, Magic Potions, Artefacts, Time Windows, Time Threads, Time Beings, Time Villains, Time Guardians, Time Loops, Causal Loops, Time Paradoxes, Time Rules, Time Codes, Dreams, Foretellings, Memory, Premonitions, Immortals, Ghosts (oooh! are ghosts Time Travellers?), Utopias/Dystopias, Counterfactuals, Time Sleep Tales, Time Stopped Tales, Genre Crossovers – plus of course the science and philosophy that underpins your Time World.
DESTINATION TIME TRAVEL - 'What's It All About?'
Well, it's all about time travel tales and we've called the opening chapter of DESTINATION TIME TRAVEL It's Story Time! because it asks why do we even bother to tell stories about time travel when they can't be true? But we know they do, so the chapter goes on to explores the writing craft of such tales. To illustrate this we've chosen two contrasting Time Tales: Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis' Back to the Future and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Who Tells the Time Tale? poses the question who is the storyteller and how should the tale be told and the following chapter, Who Knows What, When and Why? considers the importance of story information in building a Time Tale. The next chapter, The Time Machines, looks at the technology, science and design of some well known and a few lesser known mechanisms of temporal transport. Portals, Passageways, Gateways and Vortexes considers what you might call ‘Time Doorways' in the past, future or alternate timeline universes. Potions, Magic, Genii, Artefacts and Other Tickets for the Time Terminal explores the many and various clever ways you can time travel, especially if you know a friendly wizard or two. Time Windows and Time Threads examines the need sometimes in a Time Tale to connect one time world with another. After all that it's time to celebrate some of the main players in a Time Tale in Time Beings, Time Villains and Time Guardians. The next two chapters, Time Loops and Causal Loops in Time Tales and The Paradoxes of Time and Time Travel, reflect on the many tricky conceits of time travel that often require you to have a corkscrew mind that can think backwards. The Stories and Plots of the Time Tale looks at reoccurring scenarios such as endangered futures, being stranded in the wrong time and encountering multiverses. The Dramatic Devices of the Time Tale considers some of the tricks of the trade, so to speak, and The Rules of Time and Time Codes examines the various rules and strictures that are required, depending on the type of Time Tale. Dreams, Foretellings, Prophecy and Memory does what it says on the tin in that it reflects on dreams, foretellings, prophecy and memory. Ageing, Immortals and Ghosts looks at those who are immune to the ravages of time (or strive to be) and reflects on that vexing question: Are ghosts time travellers? Utopias/Dystopias, Counterfactuals, Social Commentary, Time Sleep, and Time Stopped takes a side-step into certain aspects of Time Tales which aren't strictly speaking about time travel but do involve a fundamental alteration of time or our understanding of it. Time Tales and Genre Crossovers asks whether there is such a thing as the time travel genre and examines the way the time travel plot has now found its way into the rom-com, horror movies and even westerns. The Science of Time and The Philosophy of Time explore in layman's terms some of the scientific principles underlying the possibility of time travel and the philosophical ideas around Time itself. We conclude DESTINATION TIME TRAVEL with The Appeal of the Time Tale which reflects on the enduring popularity of time travel stories.
Our purpose in DESTINATION TIME TRAVEL is not to reveal, as it were, the man behind the curtain, but rather to enhance the appreciation of the magic of the time travel tale by offering an insight into the storytelling craft and the decisions which go with it. The book is aimed primarily at the children of the streaming era who prefer to find their stories on multiple platforms. Although reference is made to the works of classic SF authors such as Philip K. Dick and Robert Silverberg and, of course, the great H.G. Wells, the majority of examples in DESTINATION TIME TRAVEL come from movies and television shows.
The history and analysis that you’ll find in DESTINATION TIME TRAVEL is by no means complete, nor is it meant to be an assessment of the merit of one Time Tale over another, though inevitably some observations are made on what works well and what does not. The aim is simply to offer a flavour of the many creative and dramatic choices available to the writer, plus the many scientific and philosophical ideas that can be explored when telling the tales of time.
Steve Nallon is a writer, voice artist, actor and occasional academic and lecturer. Steve's acting and voice artist work ranges from theatre, film and television, to video games, puppetry and audio books. As a playwright and comedy writer, Steve has a considerable body of credits to his name, including plays and series for BBC radio, three one-man theatre shows, plus the satirical book I, MARGARET, published by Macmillan, which he co-wrote with the novelist Tom Holt. THE TIME THAT NEVER WAS, the first in Steve's Time Adventure book series THE SWIDGERS, was published by Luath Press in 2022. For most of the 1990s Steve was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, where his specialist areas of study were story theory, comedy and Greek theatre, and he continues to teach and offer workshops on a freelance basis. Over the years, Steve has contributed to numerous periodicals such as THE NEW STATESMAN and MUSICAL STAGES, and is a much sought after speaker on the lecture circuit for his insightful and amusing talks.
Dick Fiddy has researched into, and written extensively about, archive television for many years. He is the author of MISSING BELIEVED WIPED: SEARCHING FOR THE LOST HERITAGE OF BRITISH TELEVISION and is the coordinator of the British Film Institute's Missing Believed Wiped initiative, which seeks to uncover items absent from the official TV archives. Dick is employed at the BFI as their Archive Television Programmer.
12 Monkeys (1995), 13 Going On 30 (2004), 17 Again (2009), 41 I (2007), 2067 (2020), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), A.P.E.X. (1994), About Time (2013), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC 2013-20), The Amazing Mr Blunden (1972 & 2021), Arrival (2016), Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997 + sequels), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Back to the Future (1985 + sequels), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Before I Fall (2017), Berkeley Square (1933), Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (2020), Big (1988), Biggles (1986), Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Blood Punch (2014), The Bourne Identity (1980), Brigadoon (1954), The Caller (2011), Camp Slaughter (2005), Chien Andalou, Un (1929), Clockstoppers (2002), Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), The Day Time Ended (1980), Dead Zone (2001), Deadpool (2016), Déjà Vu (2006), Demolition Man (1993), Dimensions (2011), Ditto (2000), Diverge (2016), Doctor Strange (2016), Donnie Darko (2001), DoppelgängerI (AKA Journey to the Far Side of the Sun 1969), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), The Endless (2017), Erased (AKA Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi 2016), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Eternals (2021), Evil Dead: Army of Darkness (1992), Extinct (2021), Felix the Cat Trifles with Time (1925), Fiddlers Three (1944), Field of Dreams (1989), Final Countdown (1980), Final Destination (2000), The Flash (2023), The Fountain (2006), Freejack (1992), Frequency (2000)
Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009), From Time to Time (2009), Fun2shh … Dudes in the 10th Century (2003), Galaxy Quest (1999), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), Groundhog Day (1993), Happy Death Day (2017 + sequels), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Haunter (2013), Hellzapoppin' (1941), Highlander (1986), A Hitch in Time (1978), Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), Idiocracy (2006), The Infinite Man (2014), Inglorious Basterds (2009), Intolerance (1916), Idaho Transfer (1973), It Happened Tomorrow (1944), It's A Wonderful Life (1946), Ivan Vasilievich Changes Profession (1973), The Jacket (2005), Jacob's Ladder (1990), La Jetée, La (1962), Kate & Leopold (2001), The Knight Before Christmas (2019), The Lake House (2006), Last Night in Soho (2021), Lola (2022), Looper (2012), Lost Horizon (1937), Lost Memories (2002), Love and Time Travel (2016), Love Story 2050 (2008), The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021), Il Mare (2000), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Meet the Robinsons (2007), Memento (2000), Men in Black (1997 + sequels), Midnight in Paris (2011), Millennium (1989), Mine Games (AKA The Evil Within 2012), Minority Report (2002), Mirage (Durante la tormenta 2018), Mirai (2018), Mr Destiny (1990), Mr. Nobody (2009), Mr Peabody & Mr Sherman (2014), The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988), Needle in a Timestack (2021), Night has a Thousand Eyes (1948), Old (2021), On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970), Palm Springs (2020), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), Petite Maman (2021), The Philadelphia Experiment (1984), Planet of the Apes (1968), Pleasantville (1998), Premonition (2007), Primer (2004), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Repeaters (2010), Run Lola Run (1998), Seconds (1966), Self/Less (2015), The Shining (1980), The Sleeper (1973), Sliding Doors (1998), Spider-man: Far From Home (2019), Split Infinity (1992), Somewhere in Time (1980), Sound of my Voice (2011), Source Code (2011), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek (2009), Superman (1978), Sziriusz (1942), Tenet (2020), The Terminator (1984 + sequels), Time Bandits (1981), Time Flies (1944), Time Lapse (2014), The Time Machine (1960), Time Trap (2017), The Time Travelers (1964), Timecop (1994), Timecrimes (Los cronocrímenes 2007), Timeline (2003), Timescape (1992), Tomorrow I'll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea (AKA Zltra vstanu a opaří Čajem 1977), Total Recall (1990), Trancers (1984), Triangle (2009), Tru Calling (Fox 2003-05), Turn Back the Clock (1933), Unbreakable (2000), Wayne's World (1992), When We First Met (2018), Where Do We Go From Here (1945), A Wrinkle in Time (2018), Yesterday (2019), X-Man (2000 + sequels), Your Name (2016), Zelig (1983)
Literature and Plays
11/22/63 (Stephen King 2011), Absolutely Inflexible (Robert Silverberg 1956 short story), Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll 1865), Alice Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll 1871), All You Zombies (Robert A. Heinlein 1959 short story), El AnacronÓpete (Enrique Gaspar y Rimban 1887), Armageddon 2419 A.D. (Philip Francis Nowlan 1928), Aura (Catols Fuentes 1962), Beatrice the Sixteenth: Being the Personal Narrative of Mary Hatherby, M.B., Explorer and Geographer (Irene Clyde 1909), Berkeley Square (John L. Baderston play 1926), By His Bootstraps (Robert A. Heinlein 1941), The Child in Time (Ian McEwan 1987), A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens 1843), The Clock that went Backwards (Edward Page Mitchell short story 1881), Communicating Doors (Alan Ayckbourn play 1994), A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Mark Twain 1889), A Day with Wilbur Robinson (William Joyce 1990), Dead End (Malcolm Jameson 1941), The Dead Past (Isaac Asimov 1956 short story), Doctor Faustus (Christopher Marlowe play c1592), E for Effort (T.L. Sherred 1947 novella), The End of Eternity (Isaac Asimov 1955), Erased (AKA Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi Kei Sanbe 2012-16 Manga series), Experiment with Time (J.W. Dunn 1927), The Far Side of the Bell-shaped Curve (Robert Silverberg 1982 short story), Flashforward (Robert J. Sawyer 1999), Flight to Forever (Poul Anderson 1950), The Gap in the Curtain (John Buchan 1932), The Ghosts (Antonia Barber 1969), The Ghosts of the Mail (Charles Dickens 1837 short story), Gianni (Robert Silverberg 1982 short story), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Yasutaka Tsutsui 1965), Girl in the Golden Atom (Ray Cummings 1919), The Golden Man (Philip K. Dick 1954 short story), Green Mile (Stephen King 1996), Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift 1726), Harry Potter (series J.K. Rowling from 1997), The Haunted Man (Charles Dickens 1848), Here and Now and Then (Mike Chen 2019), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams 1979), The House on the Strand (Daphne du Maurier 1969), I Killed Hitler (Ralph Milne Farely 1941 short story), I See You (Damon Knight 1976 short story), In the Tube (E.F. Benson 1923 short story), The Jest of Hahalaba (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett 1928 play), Lest Darkness Fall (L. Sprague de Camp 1933), Life After Life (Kate Atkinson 2013), The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Laurence Stern 1759), Looking Backwards 2000-1887 (Edward Bellamy 1888), Lost Hearts (M.R. James 1895 short story), Lost Horizon (James Hilton 1933), Man in His Time (Brian Aldiss 1965 short story), Man in the High Castle (Philip K. Dick 1962), The Man Who Woke, The (Laurence Manning 1933), Many Mansions (Robert Silverberg 1973 short story), Memoirs of the Year 2500 (Louis-Sébastien Mercier 1771), Memories of the Twentieth Century Samuel Madden 1733), Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul (Charles King 2014), Millennium (John Varley 1976), Mysterious Stranger (Mark Twain 1916 unfinished story), Needle in a Timestack (Robert Silverberg 1970), The Open Door (Margaret Oliphant 1882 short story), Orlando: A Biography (Virginia Woolf 1928), Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon from 1991), Paycheck (Philip K. Dick 1952 short story), A Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde 1890), A Pleasant Evening (Robert W. Chambers 1896 short story), The Portrait Painter's Story (Charles Dickens 1861 short story), Private Eye (Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore 1949 short story), The Queer Story of Brownlow's Newspaper (H.G. Wells 1932 short story), Rip Van Winkle (Washington Irving 1819), The Second Trip (Robert Silverberg 1972), She: A History of Adventure (H. Rider Haggard 1887), The Skull (Philip K Dick 1952 short story), Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut 1969), The Sleeper Awakes (H.G. Wells 1910), A Sound of Thunder (Ray Bradbury 1952 short story), SS-GB (Len Deighton 1978), The Star Rover (Jack London 1915), A Story of the Amulet (Edith Nesbit 1906), Sultana's Dream (Begum Rokaya 1905), The Swidgers: The Time That Never Was (Steve Nallon 2022 + sequels), Sziriusz (Ferenc Herczeg), Tale of the Ragged Mountains (Edgar Allan Poe 1844), The Technicolor Time Machine (Harry Harrison 1967), There Will Be Time (Poul Anderson 1972), Time and Again (Jack Finney 1970), The Machine (H.G. Wells 1895), The Time Story (Ray Cummings 1921 short story), The Time Traveler's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger 2003), Tom's Midnight Garden (Philippa Pearce 1958), The Toynbee Convector (Ray Bradbury 1984 short story), Trips (Robert Silverberg 1974 short story), Uncle Cornelius His Story (George MacDonald 1869 short story), The Variable Man (Philip K. Dick 1953), Version Control (Dexter Palmer 2016), Via the Time Accelerator (F.J. Bridge 1931 short story), Vintage Season (Henry Kuttner & C KL Moore 1946), Was it an Illusion (Amelia B. Edwards 1881 short story), We Can Remember it for You Wholesale (Philip K. Dick 1966), What We Learned from the Morning's Newspaper (Robert Silverberg 1972 short story), The World Jones Made (Philip K. Dick 1956), Zig Zag (José Carlos Somoza 2006)
Adam Adamant Lives! (BBC 1966-67), Adam Project (Netflix 2022), Alice (SBS TV 2020), ARQ (Netflix 2016), Bernard's Watch (ITV 1997-2005), Blackadder Back and Forth (BBC 1999), Captain Z-Ro (KKTV) 1951-56), Catweazle (ITV 1970-71), Children of the Stones (ITV 1977), Christmas Do-Over (ABC Family 2006), Class (BBC 2016), Clementine's Enchanted Journey (Antenne 2 1985–1987), Crime Traveller (BBC 1997), Dark (Netflix 2017-20), Doctor Who (BBC from 1963), Devs (FX 2020), Early Edition (CBS 1996-2000), Erased (AKA Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi Netflix 2017), Family Guy (FOX from 1999), Five Days to Midnight (SF 2004), FlashForward (ABC 2009-10), Flipside of Dominck Hide (BBC 1980), Fringe (FOX 2008-13), Futurama (Fox/Comedy Central/Hulu from 1999), Goodnight Sweetheart (BBC 1993-99), Heroes (NBC 2006-10), If I Hadn't Met You, (AKA Si no t'hagués conegut TV3 2018)
In the Shadow of the Moon (Netflix 2019), It's About Time (CBS 1966-67), The King: Youngwonui Gunjoo (Eternal Monarch) (SBS TV 2020), The Lazarus Project (SKY from 2022), Legends of Tomorrow (CW 2016-22), Life After Life (BBC 2022), Life on Mars (BBC 2006 + sequels), Loki (Disney + from 2021), The Magic Boomerang (ABC 1965-66), Midnight at the Pera Palace (2023), El Ministerio del Tempo (LA 1 2015-2020), Mirai Sentai Timeranger (TV Asahi 2000–2001), Mirror Mirror (Network 10 1995), Naked (Netflix 2017), New Amsterdam (FOX 2008), Next (2007), Night Gallery (NBC 1970-73), The OA (Netflix 2016-19), Old Guard (Netflix 2020), Outer Limits (ABC 1963-65), Outlaws (CBS 1986-87), Phil of the Future (Disney 2004-06), Primeval (ITV 2007-11), Quantum Leap (NBC 1989-93), Red Dwarf (BBC/Dave from 1988), Russian Doll (Netflix from 2019), Sapphire and Steel (ITV 1979-82), See You Yesterday (Netflix 2019), Seven Days (UPN 1998-2001), Sijipeuseu: The Myth (Sisyphus JTBC 2021), Star Trek (NBC 1966 + sequels), Stranger Things (Netflix from 2016),That Was Then (ABC 2002), Thrill Seekers (AKA The Time Shifters TBS 1999), Time Stalkers (CBS 1987), The Time Traveler's Wife (HBO 2022), Time Trax (Primetime 1993-94), The Time Tunnel (ABC 1966-67), Timeless (NBC 2016-18), Timewasters (ITV 2017-19), Tom's midnight Garden (BBC 1980), The Tomorrow People (ITV 1973-79), Torchwood (BBC 2006-2011), Travelers (Showcase/Netflix 2016-18), Twice in a Lifetime (CTV 1999-2001), Twilight Zone (CBS 1959-64), The Umbrella Academy (Netflix from 2019), Voyagers! (NBC 1982-83)