- Holly Searle
- London, United Kingdom
- Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.
Saturday, 26 October 2013
Tick Tock By Holly Searle
It seems only fitting that as we gain an hour this weekend, to write a piece about time, or more notably, time travel.
I am fascinated by the concept of time travel and all that it allows. In all probability this was well and truly lodged in my mind after seeing Rod Taylor's character H. George Wells as he navigated his way through the past and the future, in the 1960 version of The Time Machine.
There he sat in his funny little sleigh like contraption in the conservatory of his house, defying the beliefs of his Victorian contemporaries, baring witness to the undeniable changing future nicely demonstrated by the clothes on the mannequin in the shop window opposite his home.
I was captivated and enthralled by his adventures, and became intrigued thereafter by both fictional and filmatic narratives that dealt with the subject of time travel, and the characters who undertook these time ticking treats of exploration.
And it's a tricky one, as the author has to take into considerations so many variables that the alteration of time in the context of the narrative may cause. This is known as The Butterfly Effect. If one sequence of events, however small is changed by the time traveller, then there is a danger that this may cause an irrecoverable ripple of events to occur elsewhere.
When these take place, the main protagonist has to retrace his or her steps to the moment that this chain of events began in order to reset and or prevent an alternative outcome.
In Back to the Future Marty unwittingly creates his own possible lack of existence when he discovers his father George McFly spying on his mother Lorraine in the tree outside her house.
George falls out of the tree and runs away. Marty chases after him and gets hit by the Lorraine's father's car that was intended for George.
Marty then replaces George in the fixed timeline, and becomes the focus of his mother's affections.
He then spends the rest of the narrative reversing his error to its original default timeline settings to ensure his own future existence.
In Back to the Future II Marty and the Doc find themselves in a dystopian noir future with a wealthy megalomaniacal Biff in control and now married to Lorraine. They are confronted with the mystery of how this has occurred and soon discover that it was again down to Marty. When Marty purchases the sports almanac in the fixed future timeline, he takes it back to the future where the fixed timeline older Biff, discovers it and uses the information it contains to make his millions and create an alternative future.
It's these simple errors of judgement, that can cause these ripples to develop, which in turn create major alterations in the fixed timeline.
Sometimes the characters of these time travelling treats are granted the gift of being able to see the future for their own gain.
In It's a Wonderful Life after reaching his own tipping point, George Bailey declares that he wishes that he had never been born. The response to this wish is revealed to him by an angle called Clarence, who shows him the alternative timeline had he never existed.
These revelations reverse George's wish, and makes him realise the importance of his life and the effect it has had upon others.
By the same token, the dissatisfied Dorothy Gale is transported to a fantasy world in The Wizard of Oz where she has to complete a set number of tasks to enable her safe passage home. When she finally returns to her own reality, she realises that there is no place like home and that she should never take that for granted ever again
In Woody Allen's charming Midnight in Paris, the romantic, but disillusioned screenwriter Gil Pender, wanders the post midnight streets of the city when he is suddenly transported back in time to the Paris of the 1920's. It is here that he meets all of his creative heroes who assist his future decision about himself and his work.
However, some time travellers like Henry DeTamble the protagonist from Audrey Niffenegger superb novel The Time Traveler's Wife, have little or no control over where they go or what they do.
Henry's ability to be able to time travel is the consequence of a genetic disorder called Chrono-Impairment, bouts of which are brought on by immense stress. He spends his entire life travelling backwards and forward in his own timeline, whilst trying to maintain his relationship with his wife Clare, both before and after they meet at a fixed point in time.
In Stephen King's 22.11.63, the protagonist Jake Epping a mild-mannered English teacher is given the opportunity to travel back in time via a vortex in the store-room of a local diner to prevent the assassination of JFK. The cancer ridden diner owner Al is unable to finish the mission himself, and tells Jake that he must do it as the consequence of his actions could change history and prevent other events that followed.
Jake discovers to his own personal detriment, again due to that old chestnut The Butterfly Effect, that this isn't the case.
Of course what all of these narratives demonstrate, is that there are both positive and negative aspects to being able to time travel. But, I have to admit, if I could choose one superpower, or ability, it would be that I could travel through time.
And I would have to say that I wouldn't use it to change any one historical event, as I would be far too concerned with the alternative outcome as Jake Epping discovered.
And yes whilst just like Edith Piaf Non, je ne regrette rien, I would certainly use it to reschedule a few events in my life so that the outcome was more positive in my favour.
With any power, comes great responsibility, so I wouldn't abuse it. But I would certainly enjoy knowing that the prevention, was far far better than the cure.
So remember when you gain an hour tonight, use it well and watch out for Morlocks.