J. Kenner Writes…About Outlander, Time Travel, and Escapism

J. Kenner Writes...about Outlander, Time Travel, and Escapism
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Raise your hand if you’re watching or planning to watch the newest season of Outlander. {{Thrusts hand into the air}}

I haven’t started it yet—I’m weird about the whole book-to-movie/TV thing—and so even though I’ve read all of the books at least once (and Outlander itself at least five times), I’m compelled to re-read The Fiery Cross before diving into the new season. And in re-reading, I remembered how much I love time travel stories … and why Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber will always be my favorites, especially Dragonfly since it (spoiler alert) has so much of the time travel component. (Fortunately, I also love historical fiction, especially romance, so the entire Outlander series is a blast, even if no one is being flung through time, simply because of Claire, Roger, and Brianna’s perspective on the world.

Back around the turn of the millenium, I read a lot of Scottish time travel starting with one I still adore by Dee Davis—Everything In Its Time. We were critique partners at the time, so I had the pleasure of reading it even before it was published. That book is what turned me on to Outlander, and from there I pretty much read all time travel romances I could find. (And any time travel or time-altering fiction, actually.)

I have the urge to do that again, but because I have less reading time these days what with kids at home doing schoolwork and deadlines staring at me, I’ve turned my attention to movies.

I’ve recently watched Arrival (not actually a time travel, but has a time-bending component) and stumbled across Source Code (also a SFF take on time-travel). I enjoyed both of them so much that I started to make a list of what other time travels I could watch or rewatch.

Last night, I dove into the list with 12 Monkeys, which was fabulous (and, with the whole virus plot, eerily eerie). Great movie if you haven’t seen it yet.

Of  course Back to the Future is on my list, along with Terminator (fabulous time travel that is also a love story), Somewhere in Time, About Time (really, really, really fun, yet for some reason not that well known. Check it out. It’s a romance. I bet you love it.) And there’s Men In Black 3, the first Star Trek reboot movie, and Hot Tub Time Machine (which I haven’t seen, bu have been told I should).

Time Cop is campy but fun, and though I haven’t watched it in decades, I remember that Time Bandits amused the heck out of me.  Time After Time is a fabulous time travel thriller with Jack the Ripper and HG Wells (what could be cooler?), and though I haven’t seen it, Timeline comes highly recommended.

I’m debating The Time Travelers Wife. I loved the book until I got to the end … and can’t decide if I should give the movie a go. What do you think?

I know I’m forgetting lots and lots of awesome TT flicks, so please help me procrastinate better by sending suggestions! Tweet me at @juliekenner or comment here!

The big question, though, is why are TT stories so appealing? And I think it’s because they are about as escapism as you can get. Not just from whatever is going on out in the world (and I think most of us want an escape these days) but from reality itself. That coupled with a chance to do over or do better. And the possibility that maybe someday we will understand the nature of time, and these flicks won’t be as fictional as they seem.

Do you like time travel movies and books? Why or why not?

And if you could travel in time, would you go backwards or forwards? Or would you stay where you are, secure in the present? 

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