Time travel. I've been thinking about this lately-- as you do. (You can tell I've been hanging out with some sci-fi practitioners.)
It occurred to me that time travel in print and film isn't just time travel. It’s 'Take me back/forward in time -- and to somewhere more exciting.'
Logically, unless you choose somewhere with potential to start from, like Stonehenge or the Tower of London, time travel might be pretty boring. If your starting point is your own front room and all you do is move forward or backwards, how much fun would that be? The future might be interesting, provided your house isn’t destined to be under a shopping mall or an office block sometime in the future, but back in time would probably only land you in whatever field, forest or swamp was there before the house was built. Think about it.
So, most time travel seems to have time and space built in. Dr Who never knows when or where he might land, although I believe the TARDIS is meant to be programmed to take him to where there's some trouble that needs to be sorted out. If you were going back, you'd probably want to specify where, as well as when-- ancient Egypt, the coronation of Henry VIII, the first airplane flight.
And how would you do it? There are innumerable time machines, torpedoes, glass coffins, chariots pulled by geese, magic potions and fairy portals that will allegedly get you there – though getting back again seems to be more of a problem.
Apparently, C. S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien dabbled in what we would now call science-fiction at one time -- in Lewis's case, the result was Out of the Silent Planet. Tolkien's efforts are a tantalising series of incomplete notes and drafts, but his take on time travel seems to be that it was all in the mind, and that it would be achieved through dreams and tapping into collective memory. I have to say that idea appeals to me much more than the 'Step into my time machine.' approach.
So, that's today's question. If you could travel in time:
1. Would you?
2. If you would, how would you like to go?
3. Where/when would you like to go?
Or would you rather do it through the pages of a book?