I invited author Wendy Nikel to my blog to answer a few questions about her new time travel book (coming out in January) called THE CONTINUUM. It tells the story of a professional time traveler whose job involves keeping tourists out of trouble on their trips into the past. Despite her expertise, she finds herself in over her head when she’s sent a hundred years into the future. Unfortunately, you can’t leap forward in time to buy the book, but you can preorder it! Now, here’s Wendy:
1. Many time travel stories have been written over the years. What makes THE CONTINUUM different from the others?
THE CONTINUUM grew out of a short story that I wrote in the summer of 2012. My local library district was sponsoring a writing contest, and even though it’d been years since I’d written anything, I had the idea of a time travel company where people could take “vacations” into the past when they just need to get away from the stresses of the present-day. In my short story, I also played with the idea of memory — that the very act of time travel might affect the way the human mind processes their “out-of-time” experiences. Some of these ideas eventually made it into THE CONTINUUM.
In my story, time travel takes place in our world, but those who use it go to great lengths to ensure that it’s kept secret, knowing that it would cause major issues if everyone knew what was possible. For Elise, my main character, time travel is a normal part of her life, but it’s not something she can share with anyone else, which isn’t an easy.
2. What time travel stories are your favorites?
I’m a huge fan of Jack Finney’s About Time anthology, which contains a dozen stories featuring time travel.
I’ve been posting some #TimeTravelTues discussions on twitter in anticipation of THE CONTINUUM’s release, and in one of them, I listed a dozen or so more recent time travel stories I’ve read and enjoyed as well. You can check them all out in the thread beginning here:
3. Time travel stories always struggle with paradox problems, and authors take different approaches to address them (or ignore them!) What approach have you taken in THE CONTINUUM?
One of the reasons I love time travel stories is because so many of them contain these little logic puzzles, and it’s fun to sort out how the time travel “works” in each story.
In THE CONTINUUM, different characters have their own theories about how time travel works. Because time travel is such a recent development, no one knows for sure, but Elise and her coworkers operate on the assumption that the timeline could be dynamic, and that it’s their job to prevent any ripples if that’s the case. Throughout the story, however, her theories are challenged and put to the test in ways she’d never expected.