Oh, To Travel In Time

Keep Calm and Time TravelTime travel has long been an interest of humankind. And I think that we all wish we could go back in time; either to redo or correct something we’ve done in the past, or to a time before we were born to see an ancient civilization, meet a favorite historic figure, etc. Many people would probably love to travel forward as well, to behold the future of our planet and our species.

Globe Theatre

The Globe Theatre in London, England.

For myself, if I could travel backward in time, my first stop would be London, England, around 1590, to witness one of Shakespeare’s plays, starring Will and the rest of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, in the Globe Theatre. Of course, I would also have a secondary motive of possibly meeting my literary hero, William Shakespeare himself. My second stop, would be Baltimore, Maryland, roughly three-hundred years later, to meet my second literary hero, Edgar Allan Poe. I would also love to meet Socrates, Abraham Lincoln, and several of my ancestors who could answer the genealogical questions that have me and other family members stumped.

The idea of time travel has always been an interest of mine, and being an avid science-fiction and fantasy reader, when it comes to the former, I tend to gravitate to the time travel stories. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed many a great science-fiction story or novel that had nothing to do with time travel, but I have a special interest in the time travel stories. And as a science-fiction and fantasy writer, I have of course, incorporated this into a couple of my science-fiction short stories.

A Hundred Yards Over the Rim

A scene from “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim”. Chris Horn from 1847 enters a 1960s diner.

The same goes for television and movies. For one, I am a huge fan of The Twilight Zone television series; the original one from the 1960s. I wasn’t born yet when they originally aired, but I have bought the DVDs of all five seasons, and watched them time and time again. There are many episodes about time travel. My favorite episode of the entire series is “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim”. I won’t give anything away here, but in 1847, a train of covered wagons are traveling from Ohio, and  headed for California. Chris Horn is leading them, and as they are running out of food and water, Chris sets off over a nearby hill, (the rim), and ends up in 1961 New Mexico. I won’t say anything more about what happens, in case anybody wants to journey on over to YouTube or something to watch it.

Flight 33-Both Photos

Scenes from “The Odyssey of Flight 33”.

Another of my favorite episodes is called “The Odyssey of Flight 33”, and this is about a Global Airline flight in 1961 that, after experiencing increasing speed, severe turbulence, and and a flash of light, ends up way back in time. How far back? They look out the window and see a dinosaur. They try to enter the same jet stream as before, in an attempt to return to 1961. and end up at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. All I will say on this episode as well.

I have many favorite episodes, and most of them are about time travel, or, as I am also a US history buff, are about a historical event or figure.


The TARDIS from Doctor Who.

On the subject of TV shows, I am also a Whovian, and absolutely love Doctor Who.

As far as movies go, I also enjoy time travel movies, especially the Back To the Future series, the Terminator series, X-Men: Days of Future Past, (although I am a Marvel fan and enjoyed all the X-Men films), and being a Trekkie, I can’t leave out the three Star Trek time-travel movies; First Contact, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and the Star Trek motion picture from 2009 and directed by J.J. Abrams.

Alexander Fomich Veltman

Alexander Fomich Veltman (1800-1870).

But what I would really like to find is an English copy of the 1836 Russian science-fiction novel, Predki Kalimerosa: Aleksandr Filippovich Makedonskii. English translation: The forebears of Kalimeros: Alexander, son of Philip of Macedon. Almost sixty years before H.G. Wells wrote The Time Machine, Alexander Fomich Veltman wrote the above-named book. And the reason that I would love to read it is because this was the first novel to use time travel; a feat that is accomplished by riding a hippogriff nonetheless. No offense meant to Wells of course, The Time Machine is not only a literary classic, it is also a terrific book. And speaking of great books about time travel, I can’t leave out Stephen King’s novella, The Langoliers, and the 1995 mini-series based on the novella. In addition, two of my all-time favorite books regarding traveling in time, are Domesday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, both by Connie Willis.

I do believe that one day, time travel will become possible. Sadly, this may not be during my lifetime; it may not be for another thousand years, but maybe one day. However, do let me introduce a paradox. If in fact, time travel does become possible in the future, whether it be tomorrow or the year 3000, people from the future would probably travel back in time to our present. They would have to blend in so as not to draw attention to themselves and thereby potentially alter their own present and future. They would use our modern vernacular and slang, dress the way we do, and only use technology that we already have now. Yes, you could be walking down the street and pass by someone from the future and you wouldn’t even know it.

Time Machine-from the movie

Illustration of the Time Machine used in the movie based on H.G. Wells’s novel.

Alas, since time travel is not yet a component of reality, I can still dream of it through the help of books, movies, and television shows that have me convinced that, even if I never see it, one day, someday, people will be able to climb into their time machines, (or their TARDIS, or aboard their hippogriffs), and travel back and forth in time to their hearts content.


Happy birthday to the Bard

I was once asked, “If you could go back in time and meet any one person, who would it be?”

My immediate answer: William Shakespeare.                      William Shakespeare

Sure, there are a few others, i.e. Abraham Lincoln, Plato, Edgar Allan Poe, etc.  But my first choice would be the Bard.  I mean if I could step into my time machine, (assuming that I had a time machine), and go back in time, my first stop would be Stratford-Upon-Avon, or London, England in the late 16th or early 17th century.  The location in England would depend on the date that I arrived there; Shakespeare was born, raised, and retired in Stratford, but he lived in London for most of his life.

Today is April 23rd, 2013, William Shakespeare’s 449th birthday.  (I’ve also read that it’s National Talk Like Shakespeare Day.  I haven’t found any other sources to back this up, but I like the idea.  I don’t do it though, because hardly anyone would know what I was talking about, and I would probably only receive odd looks from anyone that I said this to, “Good day, how art thou?”)

So in the birthday spirit of, in my not-so-humble opinion, the greatest playwright who ever lived, I am wearing my ‘Got Shakespeare?’ tee shirt, and writing this blog.

Now, I’m not going to go into Shakespeare’s life story here.  Plenty of websites and books do that as it is.  But I figured that I would give phrases that were coined by Shakespeare, and give a list of my six favorite Shakespearean plays in chronological order, and their characters.

Common phrases attributed to Shakespeare:

It was Greek to me. (Julius Caesar)

What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. (Romeo and Juliet)

Bated breath. (The Merchant of Venice)

To thine ownself be true. (Hamlet)

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

All that glitters is not gold. (The Merchant of Venice)

Dead as a doornail. (Macbeth)

For goodness’ sake. (Henry VIII)
Devil incarnate. (Titus Andronicus/Henry V)
Elbow room. (King John)
Eaten me out of house and home. (Henry IV, Part 2)
Fancy-free. (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Good riddance (Troilus and Cressida)

‘Tis high time. (The Comedy of Errors)

Knock knock! Who’s there? (Macbeth)

In a pickle. (The Tempest)

In my mind’s eye. (Hamlet)

Much Ado About Nothing (Title)

All’s Well That Ends Well (Title)

Parting is such sweet sorrow. (Romeo and Juliet)

Time is out of joint. (Hamlet)

Once more into the breach. (Henry V)

What’s past is prologue. (The Tempest)

Star-crossed lovers. (Romeo and Juliet)

Pomp and circumstance. (Othello)

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (Sonnets 18)

Primrose path. (Hamlet)

Pound of flesh. (The Merchant of Venice)

Something wicked this way comes. (Macbeth)

Henry V

Henry V

The course of true love never did run smooth. (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Play fast and loose. (King John)

The short and the long of it. (Merry Wives of Windsor)

Double, double, toil, and trouble. (Macbeth)

There’s the rub. (Hamlet)

This mortal coil. (Hamlet)

Lord, what fools these mortals be! (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Wear my heart upon my sleeve. (Othello)

A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse! (Richard III)

What’s done is done. (Macbeth)

Too much of a good thing. (As You Like It)

What the dickens? (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

Wild-goose chase. (Romeo and Juliet)

These aren’t all the phrases attributed to Shakespeare, but some of the better-known phrases of our time.

My favorite Shakespeare plays:

The Comedy of Errors:  favorite characters:  Antipholus of Ephesus and Dromio of Ephesus

Romeo and Juliet:  favorite character:  Mercutio

Much Ado About Nothing:  favorite character:  Benedick

Henry V:  favorite characters:  Henry V and Bardolph

Hamlet Kenneth Branagh

Hamlet with Kenneth Branagh. “Alas, poor Yorick!”

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark:  favorite characters:  Hamlet, Horatio, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern

Macbeth:  favorite character:  Banquo

Note:  Mercutio and Benedick, along with Philip Faulconbridge (King John), are my favorite Shakespeare characters.

So once more, Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare! And if time travel ever becomes available in my lifetime, I just might meet you one day.

And now I pose this question to you: If you could go back in time and meet any one person, who would it be?