It sneaks up on you out of the dark, sometimes in broad daylight, and you never see it coming. “Oh, it’s you…” you may say. After all, you recognize it. It’s no stranger. It’s just been a while. “What are you doing here?”
Or more likely, more to yourself, “Am I ready for this?”
When it comes barrelling like a train around the bend, you’re just standing helplessly in the middle of the tracks. “Get off the tracks!” the audience yells, but by the time you react, the train is upon you, over you, through you….
It’s also something you may seek, peering into corners, under tables, even plumbing the depths of the past. And a lot of us find it there, surprisingly, nestled against the bosom of time. You also may know exactly where it is, and spend your time nurturing it with poignant tenderness. Or wrestling it with reckless fervor.
It’s difficult to describe and hard to define. But call it an idea. A wild thing. A philosophy. A chemical reaction. A monster.
Love. Love is all of the above, and then some. Love and romance. And even better…time-travel romance.
There’s nobody here, but you don’t have to admit it out loud if you’re into romance. In case your scientist friends deem you a fool because it’s been incontestably proven that ‘love’ is an abstract concept derived from chemical interactions, or the other lion tamers snort in disgust since any notions of ‘love’ will have the big cats clawing your back open because they can smell ‘weakness’ in the air.
But I see no shame in the well-crafted romantic time travel story, or in romance in general. Not the crappy ones. The good ones. Of which, unfortunately, in my opinion at least, are few and far between. I might be toeing the PC line here to suggest this is largely not a guy topic, generally, but if you know someone who’s into this kind of thing, guy or girl, I have three gems for you to share.
In time travel romances, there’s a variety of ways that the heroines, usually by accident, trigger their leap back in time.
In an earlier blog, I complained about these tropes endlessly and also outlined how I would write a time travel book (if I had the cajones to actually do it and not just talk about it): https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/106774177/posts/2314. (My heroine would be a 45-year-old bodybuilder with a rotator cuff injury and no patience for men in kilts.)
Two books which transcended, in my opinion, not only the mechanism by which they time traveled but the usual story, too, are “Beautiful Wreck” by Larissa Brown: larissabrown and “Transcendence” by Shay Savage: shay savage.
Dive into “Beautiful Wreck”–or tell someone you know to dive in–for its luscious writing describing the stark imagery of an ancient Viking civilization. Yeah, I know. Vikings. Ha ha. But this one’s well-researched and elaborately detailed. It’s moody and dark. A genuine attraction between the two main characters unspools gradually and unhurriedly in the midst of a strange mystery later brought to light. And I adore the title. Because I love opposite words that are shoved together.
“Transcendence” also bypasses the usual touching of a mysterious gem/locket/necklace/ring, car driving off a cliff, into fog, into a bog, partial concussion or other bodily damage by scientific means, and believably so.
But the amazing thing about “Transcendence” is its point of view, which comes entirely from the male protagonist, who is pre-lingual, and therefore verbal communication between he and his potential mate is nil, resulting in only universal sign language and lots of eye contact.
The male’s internal monologue is repetitive and hilarious, casting the much of the story in a light, comical air, and is more than worth reading, in my opinion.
I’m sure I don’t have to remind anyone about Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander,” the OG of time travel romance, from 1991, the one that started it all and which has been made into an extremely popular series on Starz. The extent of Gabaldon’s historical research pretty much outshines almost everyone else in spades, along with Jamie and Clare’s careful evolution as a couple.
I love to love love. That’s not a typo. I love love. Love to love it. Especially in the unexpected and unusual circumstances that altered reality presents.
It’s time. Go out back, right now, jump in the time machine where you have it hidden behind the shed–or take that person with you whom you know will love this stuff–and set your coordinates for these stories.
I’m personally so happy I found them, because it makes me love love even more. The monster, philosophy, wild thing, expected, unexpected, past, present, future: I love them all. Happy Valentine’s Day.