Friday, March 4, 2011

Is Time Travel Sci-fi?

Not too long ago, the owner of one of my listservs asked this question: is time travel classified as science fiction? There were mixed answers, but many proclaiming to be science fiction purists said "no." This, to me, makes no sense. I mean, even Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is considered a sci-fi fantasy. So why would so many proclaim it as not of the genre? This is my conclusion: time travel in fiction is more than sci-fi. It is cross-genre and anything that can't be easily classified as one thing is shunned as fitting at all.

I have a new book, make that old book totally re-edited and now a debut book at Black Opal Books. Craigs' Legacy was co-written with Linda Campbell under our pen name, Terry Campbell. It is the story of a modern day financial whiz who is pushed back through time by the ghost of a Confederate Colonel to save his life against three Union deserters. Is it possible? Not that we know of. Was techologically advanced equipment not yet known to man used? No,he pushed her back into an old wardrobe. But, did her body actually pass through a wormhole or cosmic string? Who knows? We may find out one day it can be done.

However, the story itself, though demonstrating how changes in our past can influence the present and the future, is a romance, is an historically-accurate account of times as they existed in 1864 Virginia, is a fantasy in that a woman can find her true love and hold on to it through time.

I am pleased it can be offered as a book that crosses four distinct genres.

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  1. Congratulations on your book!

    I've noticed that some Science Fiction writers don't think time travel should be classified as SF. I agree, it does cross over to several genres--but I've also heard that it's not considered SF (at least hard SF) because some scientists don't believe time travel is possible at all. Scientists have been wrong before of course, but at the present they don't seem to have a lot of evidence that it can be done.

  2. One of the fathers of science fiction, H.G. Wells, wrote the first time travel tale considered science fiction - The Time Machine. Few would try to classify Wells work outside the genre. I propose what makes it sci-fi is not the travel itself but the means by which it is accomplished. If it accomplished by magic, it is fantasy. If a scientist builds a machine, and provides some scientific like explanation for its operation, it is sci-fi. If it occurs natually via some scientifically explainable phenom like a wormhole, it is also sci-fi. The point is trying to suspend disbelief by pretending to be actually possible. Future travel is in fact possible - its getting back that is the problem.

  3. This is an interesting post. I think of time travel as Science Fiction but the present day part of the story could be another genre. Food for thought.