As long as I can remember, I have had an obsession with time travel. I consume as much time travel fiction as possible, and also have read a good deal about time travel science. Right now due to an abundance of time travel themed TV shows feels like a golden age for time travel. I am currently watching “Making History,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” “The Flash,” “Time After Time,” “Travelers,” and “Doctor Who,” and I haven’t even had time for “Frequency,” or “12 Monkeys” (although I saw both film versions) or “Timeless.”
This love for time travel came from two sources, “Back to the Future” and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (it definitely has added to the appeal of Time After Time). Wells’ the Time Machine was amazing. It had the fantasy of time travel that I fell in love with, the idea that you’d get to see the past and the future, but it was also pretty scary. I read it at about ten years old, and the Morlocks terrified me. The book seemed to have everything a ten year old boy could want; adventure, thrills, and action.
As an adult, there has been a movie version of The Time Machine, but I haven’t seen it. I’m a little worried to revisit it (I haven’t reread it as an adult either) for fear of ruining my mental image of the story. I had to read The War of the Worlds in middle school, and thought it was awful, so I worried that either The Time Machine had been the only book I might like by Wells, or maybe if I went back and reread it, that I would find I didn’t even like IT any more.
But this book, really helped to shape my love for time travel, because of it, I began to realize that time travel was not really a genre as much as it was a narrative device that allowed for the writer to tell interesting stories across an array of different genres. One of my favorite films as an adult is About Time, which uses time travel as a device to analyze life, and philosophy, it could not be more different from 12 Monkeys, in tone or in plot, and yet they’re both “time travel movies.”
Another thing that Wells did in the book, was create a feeling of scientific responsibility, as well as encourage scientific discovery. I remember reading the book and thinking how cool it would be if time travel were possible, now as an adult, I realize it wouldn’t really be that cool, because I would be too worried about all the repercussions, but it still fascinates me as an idea. I’ve read essays about the scientific theories about how time travel is possible, and if I’m being honest, I only understand about half of the science in them, but it does not make me any less interested.
So what about you? What was your favorite book as a child? Have you gone back and reread it? Did it hold up? Let me know in the comments