Bug on Windshield (Photo credit: fauxto_digit)
Today let me introduce you to my concept of the “Bug on the Windshield” in the context of time travel.
To understand this concept, think of the bug as the time traveler and the windshield as the world. The bug can go to any spot on the windshield by crawling around. It stays in the present as it crawls around, never leaving the windshield or traveling through time, except in the normal forward progression of the time stream.
The outer surface of the windshield is the only world the bug knows. Suppose the windshield is attached to a car that is rolling along slow enough the bug doesn’t realize the windshield is moving. Suddenly the bug gets the urge to travel through time and jumps into the distant future. What happens to the bug with respect to its location on the windshield?
The answer depends on how time travel works. It might be a locally relative effect. By that I mean the bug jumps forward in time and reappears in the future still on the windshield. The car could have made any number of turns, accelerations, stops or reversals during the period elapsed between the bug’s departure from the present and its arrival in the future. No matter what the car does or how much the bug jumps around in time, the bug remains stuck to the windshield.
On the other hand, time travel could be a universally relative effect. By that I mean the bug jumps in time and reappears in the future still in the same place it was relative to something universal, such as the center of the universe, wherever that is. The windshield could easily be in a different place in the future than it was when the bug initiated the time jump. The car and windshield have been moving, as has the earth, the solar system and the galaxy. The bug could easily arrive in the future somewhere quite different from the world it knows. The chance is not zero that it would arrive in the future on some other planet, in some other solar system, some other galaxy, or on the windshield of some other car. But most likely the bug would end up in the vacuum of space. Oops.
Think about that bug the next time you consider time traveling. You’re lying there on your bed looking up at the ceiling and on a whim decide to pop into the future. If you’re still on your bed when you arrive in the future, then thank your lucky stars the bug was stuck to the windshield.
“TUESDAY” production sign (Photo credit: Vaguely Artistic)
So I have this time travel novella, You Died on Tuesday, that I wrote four years ago and almost had published. It’s at the low end of the scale for a novella, at about 18,000 words. To make it novel length, I need to add at least 22,000 words, to bring it up to a total of 40,000 words, the lowest word count that qualifies as a novel.
Originally, I had planned to write another novella about the events that occurred after the end of You Died on Tuesday. It would be long enough that when I combine the two novellas, I should have something of novel length. So that’s the current plan. But I’m starting to have doubts. Maybe I should go back to the original plan, publishing the two novellas separately. I’m wondering what other authors would do. If you had a novella written and were working on a follow-up novella, would you publish them separately, or combine them into a short novel?
I’m looking at this question from a couple different angles. There’s the most important question of which approach would get me the most readers. There’s the question of which approach might earn me the most money. While I don’t have any delusions of striking it rich from writing 40,000 words (ha ha), I could use any little penny I might earn right now.
What other angles should I consider?
Am I thinking about this too much? Does anyone have any suggestions for me, some sagely words of wisdom, or even just opinions? All comments welcome!
- The Novel or Novella Question (shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com)
- Review: Trick of Time (lynnebubbles.wordpress.com)
- Novella Month – Definition by Deena Drewis (emergingwriters.typepad.com)
Echo Park Time Travel Mart (Photo credit: Scott Beale)
If you had the ability to travel through time, how often would you do it?
If time travel were possible, do you think paradoxes would be easily created or impossible to create?
Of course, time travel is possible, in the forward motion. We all do it every day, from one moment to the next. There are no paradoxes caused by our moving forward in time. We all eventually die, and our absence after we die does not create a paradox. So why should a paradox be created if we were suddenly absent from the now and suddenly were present in the past or far future?
To a time traveler, jumping around in time would not feel like it. It would all be a normal flow of time for the time traveler. How could the time traveler even tell she was jumping through time? If she jumped to the past, she might ask someone there to verify the date and year. But what if the person she asked had also jumped through time? The two of them would have to ask a third person. And if that third person had jumped through time just then, the group of three would need to ask a fourth person.
What if everyone in the world jumped through time at the same time? How would we verify we had done it? What if we are not constantly and steadily moving forward, but jumping back and forth in the time stream all of us together to the same points in time? How would we know? There would be no one to ask to verify for us the date and year we currently occupy. Well, if our calendars didn’t follow us through time, we could tell by looking at them.
Look at your calendar right now. Does it say February 24, 2013? Mine does. If yours doesn’t, you might have just jumped through time.