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Friday, October 19, 2012

Time travel in books

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself in another age? Take for instance, you land in the Paris of 1792 - in the middle of the French Revolution. How would you go along? First of all, you need to speak French without an accent that gives you away (can you? I speak French when necessary, although I'm not quite fond of this language of Molière). And how would you survive on the streets, full of danger?

Or imagine some guy from the seventeenth century pops up in your garden. He belongs to the court of King Charles the Second or that of Louis the Fourteenth of France (you choose). How would such a person see our world? Take in the cars, the modern way of dressing, the changes in speech, the planes flying over, the trains thundering past (I take my own garden as example, which borders the railroad. And we have lots of planes flying over, even F16's who pretend to raid the railway station. The noise they make makes even me rattle.) And then I'm not speaking about our wristwatches, our telephones and handhelds and especially not our computers...

That's why I like to read novels which deal with time travel. I'm always curious to see how the author makes everything go along. Because for me time travel is ok, as long as the story remains credible. No time capsules, I don't believe in them. "Back to the Future" is just a big laugh.

A story like The Last Cavalier by Heather Graham, for instance, is something I can relate to. Some guys are re-enacting a battle scene in the Civil War, and a young woman meets a guy looking like a Southern gentleman.

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Or Knight in Central Park and Return of the Rose by Theresa Ragan.

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What's your viewpoint? Do you like to switch between times, and do you think it's credible?

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