Time to Mess with Time
This isn’t my novel, so don’t worry. A couple of days ago I suggested how a dystopian novel could be structured. Since then I have been trying not to generate a dystopian future. Despite myself, tonight I take my first suggestion… It’s very sketchy, just an idea.
1. Mess with time to generate a feeling of anxiety, guilt and purposelessness.
In The Beginning
When this century was in its teens, time-travel had been all the rage. Rows of time-tubes, like rows of toilet cubicles lined the town square. You could feed a pound into the slot and go whenever you wanted to go.
Getting back was a different matter. But people didn’t seem to mind. It didn’t feel as if anyone was really disappearing. You knew they wanted to time travel, so you assumed that that was what they were doing.
If you stayed put, as I did, all you saw was them entering the time-tube. And then they were gone.
It wasn’t long, well, is that even the right way to put it? Soon, in some way or other I knew things were wrong. The time-tube technology had been taken into the past.
Travellers appeared from the past, bewildered with their future. Present day time-tubers reappeared, and always appeared to be horrified with our city.
Not that I could see that it was any different to the city they had left. I had never moved. The rows of time-tubes still stood guard over the city, but, in the silence of my own mind, I seemed to sense my memories shifting, becoming less clear.
History in my childhood had meant something, I was sure. Now, if people wanted to check up a historical fact, they would just go there, find a time-tube, witness the event and come back.
Of course, that wasn’t what had originally happened. But then it then was what had originally happened. History was changing. I could sense it, but I couldn’t prove it. And I lived some days with the knowledge that other days I would not know this. It would all depend.
Time-tubing came to an end, eventually. The Authority stepped in and banned time-travel, trying to steady the status quo. Having every day as an alternate version of a new past couldn’t be healthy, even if you could never prove that that was what was happening. But it must have been.
They began to search for a volunteer, to go back, just one last time, and stop man’s ability to time-travel from being developed.