Tag Archive: time travel

In the 1970s, Erich von Däniken’s bestselling book Chariots of the Gods fired up a craze of speculation that aliens had visited our ancestors thousands of years ago, spurring the dawn of human civilization. Von Däniken cited such evidence as the ancient Nazca Lines in Peru, suggesting they were designed to be seen from the air or space, as well as pictographs of humanoid figures that appeared to be wearing spacesuits.

A notebook computer in ancient Rome?Now an article in the UK’s Sunday Express suggests that time travelers rather than aliens may have visited our ancestors, bringing with them modern technology like helicopters, planes and notebook computers. (See one of several curious photos from the Express article on the right.)

Does all of this speculation make Templum, my fictional account of time travel to ancient Rome, any more feasible? 🙂 Could a modern-day woman be transported to the first century and have to face the upcoming eruption of Vesuvius? For me, the premise was intriguing enough to suspend my disbelief and explore the idea. You can read the first couple of chapters of my take on it on this page. (Scroll down the page to view the reader.)

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Working Against Time

The concept of time travel is a surprisingly recent thing. Only a handful of old stories (and no ancient ones) feature characters who maybe slept for years or visited a strange place, then learned afterwards that while they were out, years had passed. As for traveling backward in time, that’s an even newer concept. I guess going forward is less of stretch since we’ve all traveled from the past to the present, but no one known has traveled back in time.

One of the first stories that describes a character traveling to the past (as well as the present and future) is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, published in 1843. Interestingly, only Ebenezer Scrooge’s soul, not his body, seems to travel back, since he remains invisible to other characters during his visits.

In 1889, Mark Twain published A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, in which a man gets knocked unconscious and wakes up, body and all, in the past. A few years after that, in 1895, H.G. Wells introduced the idea of The Time Machine and purposeful time travel.

It’s interesting to me that my only time-travel book, As You Wish, was the first manuscript I sold (though the third or fourth one I wrote) and that year after year, it continues to sell better than my other books. Why? Is it because of the setting? (The heroine travels to Regency England, and maybe people find that elegant or romantic?) Or is it the past in general that appeals to readers — a simpler, more natural lifestyle than ours? Of course, maybe it’s just the title of the book that grabs attention somehow.

I’m fascinated with the past, which is why I love reading classic literature, from Austen to Shakespeare, from Apuleius to Herodotus. I’m working on some ideas for a story about a contemporary heroine who winds up in an ancient Roman town. Anyone want to go there?

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