Friday, December 4, 2009

On my Christmas list: a Time-Turner

I found this image posted by You-Know-Who at the Harry Potter wiki.
I hope he doesn't curse me for using it.

I've told my family what they can get me for Christmas this year: A Time-Turner. I love the idea of a small device to allow one to easily travel through time. The inscription on Hermione Granger's Time-Turner reads:
I mark the hours every one nor have I yet outrun the sun. (outer ring)
My use and value unto you are gauged by what you have to do. (middle ring)

I think I'd have this inscribed on mine:

Tempus fugit.* Ovid (outer ring)
Time flies like the wind. Fruit flies like bananas. G. Marx (middle ring)

* Translates as "Time flies."

There are so many wonderful stories which involve travel through time. What are your favorites?
If you were able to travel back to any time in history, when/where would you go? If you could meet any person in history, who would you choose, and what would you ask them or say to them? Do you think you'd prefer to live in another time permanently, or perhaps just visit every once in a while?

I have a hypothesis: that men are more likely than women to want to go back in time and change things. Based on my statistical analysis of one (me) I think women would prefer to just travel and immerse themselves in the period. I'm willing enough to change things in my own time, but I worry that changing one small detail about the past could damage the nature of the present. What do you think?

Then there's the school of thought that says endeavoring to change events through time travel can actually cause them; things are predetermined and fate is inevitable. I read an interesting novel, From Time to Time by Jack Finney, in which the main character attempts to change the course of the Titanic to prevent its collision with the iceberg. The change actually leads to the collision.

So I am determined not to meddle. I'll just use my Time-Turner for recreational travel.


Maureen said...

I think that if I were to travel back in time, I'd most definitely screw something up. But it would be pretty cool to be able to channel the power of a black hole and get outside of time and look at it for a while.

Kathy Amen said...

I think time-travel stories are possibly my favorite type of scifi. When they're done well, with few paradox loopholes, like the Back to the Future movies, they can be so poignant. I also really like the scene in Peggy Sue Got Married where Kathleen Turner (as an adult) is back in time (as a teenager) and talks to her grandmother, who, of course, has since died.

Time travel, when well-written, can really focus on the heart of the human condition, I think.

stephanie (bad mom) said...

I absolutely want to go back to the time of Henry VIII and get all naughty with the Dudley boys (while avoiding imprisonment and/or execution)...Then to Paris when Hemingway & Fitzgerald & Anais Nin et cetera were wandering & writing. Then I want to be someone in the young Beatles' circle of friends.

I plan to be very busy with my time travel.

lisleman said...

two things -
the song galileo by the indigo girls

Stephen Hawking (think it was him) - if time travel becomes possible in the future why don't we see any travelers now?

Emm said...

I totally agree with what you said about men and women and their different reasons for time travel!

My favourite time travel story/franchise of all time will probably surprise you (not): Doctor Who. I adore the Time Lord and everything about him!

I liked The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov and while I haven't yet read the book, I liked the 2002 film The Time Machine based on H G Wells book.

secret agent woman said...

I also want a Maruader's Map, so I know where everyone is.

Rachel said...

I would absolutely time travel if I could. Granted, I wouldn't want to stay forever in the past but a good visit would be fantastic. First, I'd probably head to London during WWII. I'd actually want to be there during the Blitz and as long as were fantasizing I'd like to be hanging out with Churchill. I'd also like to make a detour to Rome during Julius Caesar's reign. While I'm at it how about Elizabethan Britain, Louis XIV Versailles, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello wait.... there's really no historical period I wouldn't want to go back to. I'd even catch a ride into the Dark Ages as long as a had a few shots for plague. There's a great book about time travel in the Middle Ages called The Domesday Book.