Literary images of time


The twentieth century is remarkable for many things, one of which is the extraordinary diversification of literature into many genres and formats. Of interest to us in this chapter are those novels and films that discuss time travel. Many such novels and films are stories where time travel is just a literary plot device with little or no thought given to consistency or to physical implications. In many stories, extraordinary events happen because of ‘magic’ or super-physical powers granted to individuals. The Greek myths contained such elements. Another common plot device in many time-travel stories is to introduce ‘alien technology’. This plot device allows a writer to maintain a pseudo-scientific facade allowing any sort of unphysical possibility into a story on the logically false basis that ‘because we cannot prove the non-existence of aliens and such technology, we are entitled to assume that they exist’.

There are benefits and dangers in reading time-travel fiction and watching films based on time travel.

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