Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time Travel

I'm avowed fan of science fiction, and one my favourite tropes to explore is 'Time Travel'.

This short story by Desmond Warzel updates Time Travel by drawing from contemporary internet culture to frame the narrative in a novel way.

The story itself is built around one of the most common time travel conventions, that of 'going back and killing Hitler', but manages to stay away from cliche.

Some short stories, especially science fiction short stories, can be built around a single tiny fact, and if that fact is sharp enough, it can puncture the entire trope. The Time Traveler by Gavin Raine, makes a very satisfying 'pop'.

Last but not least, good ideas are often found in strange places. Balloon Juice is typically a political blog (and a good one for the most part IMO), but one day they opened a thread to their readers to discuss 'what events in history you would change if you had a time machine?'.

As with most internet discussions it rambles a bit, but along with the aforementioned 'kill Hitler' suggestions were a number of very interesting ideas;

- intervene in the battle of Yarmouk
- stop the Black Plague
- prevent the assassination of Julius Caesar
- stop the destruction of the Library of Alexandria
- prevent the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

...and lots more. Its the kind of thread that is fertile with ideas and easy to get lost in.

Part of the thought experiments answer is also a revealing look at ones own priorities. Is stopping the holocaust the most important thing? What if that might have unintended bad consequences? Would the largest appeal be getting rich off Microsoft stock?

What if you could be the first person to write the novel 'Ulysses', or the poem 'Ozymandias'?

Welcome to the X-Ray

I can't think of a better way to start off a blog that is the extension of a self-publishing enterprise, then by linking to a blog post exploring the success of someone who went the way of self-publishing.

Read about how Tucker Max, the author of 'I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell', hit the New York Times bestseller list here.

And welcome to our blog!