Sunday, 24 November 2013


Places coexist. Thus, someone who has traveled from place 1 to place 2 can then ask, "What is happening now at place 1?" However, times, e. g., 4.00 am and 4.00 pm, do not coexist but precede and succeed each other. Thus, someone who has either lived or "time traveled" from 4.00 am to 4.00 pm cannot then meaningfully ask, "What is happening now at 4.00 am?"

However, HG Wells writes, of his Time Traveller:

"He may even now - if I may use the phrase - be wandering on some plesiosaurus-haunted Oolitic coral reef..." (The Time Machine, London, 1973, p. 101)

- and John Brunner writes of men affected by an as yet unexplained "temporal surge":

"Now - if one could say such a thing - they were scattered across history..." (Threshold Of Eternity, New York, 1959, p. 11).

It would be interesting to know if Brunner realized as he wrote that he was echoing Wells on this precise point. However, Poul Anderson, who wrote three independent novels, one long series and several short stories about time travel, never made the mistake of referring to different times as if they were different places existing at the same time.

Addendum: In a film adaptation of The Time Machine, after the model time machine has disappeared, the Time Traveller says that by now it may be several years in the future.

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