Tuesday, July 5, 2011

DVR Time Travel

I’ve long been entertained by the notion that I exist in the wrong time, but I have no idea which time would be the right time. It’s not that I lack a fierce love of indoor plumbing or central heat/air. It’s not that I wish to have my inalienable rights, my education, or my independence ripped from me. Truly, I do appreciate modern sanitation and progressive equality. I love having a place in society as a person and not property.  Yes, yes, admittedly, still being alive at my age does have certain binnies. 

What If?

What if I could travel through time? What if I could find that right time? What if all I found was almost right? Paradoxes and hubris aside, I would totally monkey with history.  


What if pivotal moments in history hadn’t happened the way they had?  What if certain empires never existed? This is the reason I love alternate history novels. Talk about getting lost in a daydream. If I was remotely a fan of doing actual research and verifying facts, that would be my sweet-spot genre.  A rough knowledge of the past, gobs of erroneously linked misinformation, and a shoddy memory make highly entertaining fodder for fantasy novels -- wherein the names have been changed to disguise my ignorance.  Sure, I like historical fiction. Nigel Tranter is one of my favorite authors.  I like to take what I’ve learned from well written and well researched historical fiction and get lost in alternative history novels. I can spend days being led down paths of other people’s What Ifs. Those days translate into weeks of contemplating my own What Ifs.

What if:
  • Moses hadn’t gone back to Egypt? Or instead of taking “his people” and leaving, he’d become Pharaoh?
  • Themistocles hadn’t insisted on a strong Athenian navy? Would Darius have won the Battle of Marathon?
  • The Vikings had stayed the first time they’d landed in North America?
  • Alexandria hadn’t burned? Would the tomes in the Great Library reveal a very different history than the one we’ve pieced together?
  • Cleopatra had spanked Octavian? Could the Roman Republic have recovered?
  • The Huns had succeeded in taking over the Sassanid Empire?
  • Suetonius hadn’t defeated Boudicca? Would the British Monarchy be a Matriarchy? How would the rules of inheritance change? Would a patriarchal religion ever have taken root?
  • What if Constantine had embraced Buddhism over Christianity?
  • Clovis hadn’t united the Franks?
  • Napoleon had taken St. Petersburg? Would there have been a Bolshevik Revolution?
  • What if the Industrial Revolution had been defeated by a Naturalists Revolution?
I could go on and on and on…

When I figure out the whole time-travel thing, I’ll naturally want it like a DVR. There’ll undoubtedly be a need for fast-forwarding through the mundane and the blah, blah, blah. Oh yes, rewind and pause too for the parts worth reliving. 

~brow waggle~

If you could pick a historical event to change, which one would it be and how would it change?


  1. OMG...all fascinating questions! I want to go on your time travel trip! May I hold your luggage?

    I read a book once that speculated that the library of Alexandria held Thoth's tomes, the keys to ancient alchemy. I would love to dig through some of that papyrus.

  2. Out of everything you mentioned the one about the Great Library piques my interest the most. Not because the others aren't interesting, but because I've always wondered that myself. It's a huge "what if" and my imagination just takes off.

    A historical event I'd change? What would've happened if the two princes hadn't died during Richard III's reign? It might not be mind-boggling, but it makes me wonder if the Tudor dynasty would've come into being at all.

  3. I would totally save the library at Alexandria, too. Dammit.

  4. I'm happy to lead a Time Travel Tour. Laura and Jeffe, I'll drop you two at Alexandria, say, 20 years ahead of the first time it burned? That way you can scheme up a way to save it while Danica and I rush off to thwart the probable assassinations of Edward and Richard.

  5. Can I go back and be a guitarist for Janis Joplin? I could be all innovative and do cool stuff before Randy Rhodes or Eddie Van Halen were even a gleam in their daddies' eyes....

  6. I hate to say this, but I'm kinda glad that you - KAK - don't have a time machine. Because you would definitely meddle. And then I wouldn't be sitting here with my Malbec and my purring cat, thinking about writing. Although, I guess if I could come along for the ride I wouldn't care. Would you have beverages in your time machine?

  7. Oooo, Linda, nice one.

    Kerry, psht, it's my time machine, of course there will be beverages and of the leaded sort too!