Ultimate Time Travel
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Classification: Past and Future Time Travel

 

In The Time Tunnel, we are introduced to a secret government research facility buried deep in the (Arizona?) desert. There, a team of scientists has built a time machine called ‘The Time Tunnel’. Why exactly is this machine built is never explained: conveiably, the government envisioned some sort of information gathering abilities.

 

As often with this type of expensive program, there comes a time when a political hotshot attempts to shut it down. Growing alarmed at this prospect, one of they key scientists, Dr. Tony Newman, sends himself back in time in order to prove that it works. His plan succeeds: he finds himself in the past… on the sinking Titanic! (Out of all the places..)

 

Unfortunately, from some unknown technical reasons, the team in the present discovers it is unable to recall Tony: pull him back to the present. They do, however, maintain the ability to witness what Tony is experiencing, but that is no help. Tragically, it seemed Tony is doomed to go down with the Titanic!

 

But Dr. Doug Phillips, Tony’s colleague and good friend, refuses to accept this. He, too, activates the Time Tunnel and sends himself to the Titanic. I’ll stop here. You’ll have to see the first episode to find out how it resolves.

 

During the rest of the show, we see that the research team is unable to recall Doug and Tony. However, as said, they are able to view what is going on with them, as well as occasionally send the odd useful item to the past. Although they keep attempting to recall them, this never works. Though at times someone else, a native of the current time, is occasionally pulled to the present. That being said, they are always eventually able to transport Tony and Doug to other periods of history in the hope that they’ll eventually return home.

 

Strangely enough, Doug and Tony have a knack of finding themselves in historical situations, usually just about the time things are about to go wrong. But fortunately, both are quite knowledgable about various historical eras, so they usually manage to come out unharmed. Truly bizarre, no? I’ve always wondered why can’t Doug and Tony find themselves stuck in a really good time for a while, sipping Margaritas on the beach ;) . But no can do. Let’s just say it is this way: if The Time Tunnel: The Next Generation is ever to be made, in the first episode, Doug and Tony would find themselves on the top floor of Twin Towers during 9/11. Mark my words.

 

As someone who did not grow up in the United States, for me The Time Tunnel represents the ultimate time travel show. When I was a kid, whenever a new Time Tunnel episode was released, I – together with all of my friends – would watch it in awe. Although it is quite possible that from a grownup’s perspective it won’t seem the masterpiece that I remember it to be, I’d take that risk any day. It really was a very good show – me, my friends, our parents – we were all glued to the screen.

 

During their adventures, Doug and Tony visit the Titanic, a future expedition to the moon, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Civil War, Nazi Germany in WW 2, the French revolution, Troy (before it fell), the old west (when Aliens took over!) and many more places. This offered a truly diverse set of stories, settings and historical characters.

 

What I particularly loved about The Time Tunnel is the seriousness in which it was made. It’s almost as if the producers wanted to us to learn history – the plot never turned into Kitsch or slapstick (as too many modern shows do). It just felt real.

 

In summary: Interesting, fun, serious, diverse, challenging, scary at times (ah, the episode where Aliens took over the present), the Time Tunnel is the ultimate Time Travel television show. Although it will definitely look outdated (it was made in the 60s), if you can let that fact go, I’m sure you’ll have a blast.

 


The Time Tunnel – Volume One on Amazon

 


The Time Tunnel – Volume Two on Amazon

 

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tosaynothing

Classification: Past and Future Time Travel

 

It is the year 2057. Lady Schrapnell is a wealthy patron of Oxford’s university time travel research unit (time travel being already an established science). She promises to provide ample funding, if the unit can help her build an exact replica of Coventry Cathedral, which was destroyed by Nazi bombing in 1940. The unit is so eager to get her endowment, that every member is going back and forth in time, looking for items which existed in the destroyed cathedral. One particular item, an esoteric piece of furniture called the Bishop’s Bird Stump is proving exceptionally hard to track down: was it stolen? burned during the bombing? No one manages to find an answer.

 

Ned Henry, the protagonist of To Say Nothing of the Dog – together with his teammates, repeatedly finds himself going to various periods in search of the elusive object. It’s almost as if someone is trying to keep this object from them. But the lady’s search eventually proves to be too much for poor Ned; after numerous jaunts to the past, Ned contracts a severe case of “Time Lag”. Thus, he goes for two weeks of rest in Oxford circa 1888. There he meets another time traveler, Verity Kindle, and realizes that he must fix a time anomaly accidentally caused by Verity when she brought something from the past.

 

Even worse, Ned’s very presence accidentally causes two lovers to never meet, and unintentionally he introduces someone to the girl whom she quickly falls in love with. He and Verity must to fix this as well, but the problem is that they are not exactly sure whom the girl was supposed to marry – her diary (which they’ve seen in the future) was unfortunately damaged in exactly the section describing these events.

 

Somehow the events of the missing Bird Stump related to what’s going on in 1888. But how? And can this be fixed?

 

To Say Nothing of the Dog weaves a very complicated story, with very memorable characters. I admit it took me three separate occasions to get to the hang of things, and I almost gave up. But I’m so glad I pulled through as it has become one of my all time favorite novels. It involves comedy, mystery, romance, Victorian etiquette, time travel, science and unresolved paradoxes. At times it can get confusing, but I advise the reader to bear with the novel – it’s absolutely worth it.

 

One of the novel’s strength is its humor. It is very hard to create a serious and believable story, and yet continue seeing the funny aspects. This is more the case when it comes to time travel stories. But the author successfully captures the ridiculous aspects of time travel and the Victorian era (and there are so many). More so, the humor feels right at home historically speaking (it’s often a comedy of manners, think “The importance of being Earnest”).

 

In terms of time travel, this is one of the few novels that is able to create multiple threads the reader knows must eventually be tied together, and yet do this in a satisfying – and unpredictable – manner without resorting to cheating or some pseudo-mystical solution. It’s a novel that constantly keeps you guessing.

 

In summary: To Say Nothing of the Dog is a very witty, very funny time travel novel. Despite being a highly ambitious novel, when one considers the number of things it’s trying to achieve, it does not disappoint for a moment. Highly recommended!

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com

 

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timeshare3

 

Classification: Historical Characters

 

The adventures of John Surrey continue in Timeshare – A Time For War, the third installment of the Timeshare trilogy.

 

In this book, John Surrey – the head of security of the time travel agency – and his wife Althea Rowland, go back to London in the 1940s so they could participate in World War II. John is determined to assist in the war effort, hoping it’ll end even better than it did, and so, he decides to join a special unit headed by Ian Fleming (author of the James Bond series).

 

As before, John meets and befriends various historical characters. There’s not much new to say about the book, since it’s very very similar to the other two entries in the series, and as with the other books, the plot feels is virtually secondary.

 

After reading the third novel in the series, I felt the novelty completely wore off. I wasn’t interested in reading about historical celebrities anymore, and the plot was simply not strong enough to keep me from losing interest. To be honest, after I finished it, I felt as if I’d already read it before – and at times I have trouble remembering which plot belong to which novel.

 

But in all fairness, this is still not a bad book, and in fact would make a fun read for someone who absolutely enjoyed the other two novels, and wants more. I’d even make a wager and say that if one hasn’t read any books in the series, he’d probably really like this one. It’s the repetitiveness of the three books which turns one off.

 

To summarize: If you can’t get enough of this style of book, go for it. Otherwise, you may want to skip this one. I probably wouldn’t be getting book 4 if it ever comes out.

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com

 

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timeshare2

 

Classification: Historical Characters

 

Timeshare – Second Time Around is book two of the Timeshare trilogy.

 

John Surrey, the ex-cop who works for the time agency, travels back in time to 1926 together with his wife and movie star, Althea Rowland. This time they must rescue a client who managed to escape from Timeshare. The hunt for the client provides lots of encounters with – strangely enough (yes, I’m being sarcastic) – numerous past celebrities! Including Bugsy Siegel, Ronald Reagen, Charles Lindbergh, Al Capone, Harpo Marx and more.

 

Indeed, just like in the previous novel, the plot very quickly becomes secondary, and celebrity hunt becomes the primary focus. Since this is the second book in the series, the novelty of the premise is starting to wear off; usually at this point the plot is suppose to hook us in, alas, the plot is not strong enough to maintain the reader’s interest. That being said, despite these obvious weaknesses, the book is generally still a fast-paced, fun read. It could be the perfect novel for lying on the beach or during long plane flights.

 

In summary, All in all, it’s a fun read, but don’t expect too much.

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com

 

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