I love time travel in fiction.
That is one of the main reasons why I love Doctor Who.
I love how this storytelling device can put ideologies from vastly different cultures, separated by decades or centuries, up against each other. By doing this, we can compare them, and find strengths and weaknesses in both. It can also just lead to funny jokes, or cool imagery, like a medieval knight riding on a velociraptor and wielding a laser sword.
I love how time travel can be used as video game check-points. Did you fail at something? Why not go back and try again? In some stories there are really horrible consequences to doing that, in others there are not.
I love the paradoxes that can occur, and how the story can work around them. What happens if the time-traveler travels back in time, and kills himself at birth? If he never grew up, then who killed him?
I love when there are created time-circles, like when Philip J. Fry from Futurama became his own grandpa. He could not have been born without fathering his father, but he could not have fathered his father without being born.
I love seeing how different the world could be, if certain things in history had changed. What would the world look like if America was still a colony? Or if The Roman Empire never fell?
I love the possibility of treating another time like another country. Letting a character “vacation” in Ancient Japan, as an example, could lead to some very fun storytelling.
But most of all, by combining all these elements, I just love how weird it can get.
I wrote this as a sort of prelude to the Time Travel Blogathon, in which I am taking part by writing about the 2011 film Source Code.
What is your favorite time travel story?