In diving into The Time Travel Chronicles, I dive into a long tradition of Science Fiction / Alternate History stories on time travel. I’ve only started into the book with Gambit and Hereafter. This is a great anthology from different perspectives, temperaments, and storylines all examining time travel. The first story I read (second in the book) is from the perspective of an historian (how cool would it be to do first-hand research; not just original sources depicting the even, but the even itself.) and the other is from a scientist. Both have the descriptive detail and moving narrative arc of a storyteller. The Time Travel Chronicles was released just 4 days ago and tonight there’s a celebratory Facebook Launch Party! Join the fun if you want to (virtually) meet some cool authors and learn a bit more about the book (which happens to be #1 amongst SciFi Anthologies right now).
While not the first in the book, I started with Rysa Walker’s Gambit because I recently finished Time’s Divide and was still well immersed in the Chronos Files world (starting in Time Bound, then Time’s Edge and concluding with Time’s Divide). In this story, we find a lovely peek into the first blush of Saul and Katherine’s relationship, Saul’s megalomaniac mind, and late 18th spiritualist manipulations. Ms. Walker does a nice job explaining the potential dilemmas of a time traveling historian – her main point being that we would all succumb to meddling to prevent horror and evil. We would all have fixed it so the bomb would go off in Hilter’s Eagles Nest. We would push Kennedy down sooner. We would whisk Archduke Ferdinand away. (Would that really stop the Great War? Unlikely.) As she wrote: “Even those of us who have absolute faith in our ability to screw things up might be tempted to tweak things just a bit, whether for humanitarian reasons or for personal gain.” In other words, we would all succumb, whether for good intentions or ill, to play God, even with a deep understanding of the law of unintended consequences. It is the sin as old as time itself.
The next story I read, Hereafter, I read because of, well, science. Mr. Peralta writes from the perspective of a scientist. I got science, but I also got poetry and a poignant love story. Due to the physics of time travel in this book, there are only time slices accessible to us for brief periods. Like a temporal strobe light, people meet at touch points. Long distance relationships are rough, meeting in snippets of time is rougher.
While I’ve yet to read the rest of the anthology, and I will be updating this post as I do, these two stories are indicative of how differently a theme can be handled. Different isn’t bad. I love the diverse, but good perspectives both elicit. I anticipate the remaining stories to be equally diverse and well done.
Kudos to Crystal Watanabe for editing such a great anthology and all the authors for bringing their inner worlds to life for us on such a fun and provocative topic.