To Be Continued – Notes for a story I may not write

The idea stemmed from my old video of the tedious time traveler, and then turned a corner when I realized that all time travel stories involve an individual or a small team of actors – but what if time travel became cheap and easy and popular, like Facebook, and suddenly everyone was doing it! And then, what if there was a kind of loop, a limited span of time in which all this could occur. For example, the time travel ‘fad’ begins in 2012 and ends in 2018, and these are the only time periods within which anyone can travel around. You could meet your future selves (me+2, me+4, me+6) and hang out with them, merging into them when their time came around, but … and this is the big but (pun intended), it turns out that there is no such thing as free will (the Catholics were right!) and nobody can change anything whatsoever!

Everyone knows who’s going to win the next World Series. Everyone knows, in fact, what the box score of the next game is going to be. The guy up to bat knows he’s going to strike out or hit a triple. Everybody knows! You know if you’re going to sleep with that guy you just met at the bar. It’s happened and your future self already told you. These future selves are everywhere, gossiping and spilling their guts. They won’t shut up and you don’t want them to. You want to know the future. Who doesn’t?

Well, by 2018, nobody wants to know anything about the future anymore. In fact, we all become sick and tired of the future by then. Especially our own futures. Those of us who are destined to die in that span will die, just as planned. Not a damned thing you can do about it.

For a while, no one knows that this nightmare will end in 2018. It gradually becomes apparent and eventually the man who was responsible for the entire fiasco, an inventor named Cedric Von Barkingham, is hunted down and killed in 2018, putting an end to it all.

Well, those are just some of the ideas percolating around the old brain. It could be fun, but I really don’t feel like writing any stories with a society-wide component. I would have to find a way to turn all that into merely a backdrop (as I tried to do with Humanoid Central and The New Guy in Moon Base Twelve) and focus mainly on a few characters, possibly including Von Barkingham. But chances are, I will leave the rest to your imaginations.

2 thoughts on “To Be Continued – Notes for a story I may not write

    • Thanks for asking. There are a few reasons. Mainly, as Dirty Harry once said, “a man’s got to know his limitations.” I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pull off the kind of sprawling, multi-scene, multi-character drama I had in mind when I said that. For me, writing a story is like a 400 meter run – I need to get off to a fast start and keep going, one time through. There’s room for some social scenery in there, as a backdrop, but not enough space or time to be the main focus. This can be done well in a story – as Carla Herrera recently did with ‘Blue Tent‘ – but gone are the days when I would try to pull a ‘Sheep Look Up’ kind of thing.


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