I am so pleased to welcome Devorah (Dee) Fox as my guest blogger today. Dee is a #fantasy/ #thriller #author and #columnist who was my guest on CHANGES conversations between authors for Episode 18.
Dee is a contributing writer to a new anthology about time travel releasing this month and has an interesting set of questions posed, below, regarding the distinctions (or not) among #Fantasy, Science-Fiction (#scifi) and general #fiction, with a discussion of #parallel/ #alternate #universes and multiple #timelines as well. Since I deal with many of these topics in my own writing, via The Spanners Series, http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners-2, we both welcome your comments, questions and experiences! Join the conversation, please!
For more information about how to reach Dee and know more about her writing, to become a guest on CHANGES or become a guest blogger on my site, see below this post.
Thanks for visiting!
Observations from a Master of #Timetravel
by Guest Blogger, Devorah Fox
A couple of years ago, I ruminated on what categorized a story a Fantasy as opposed to General Fiction. Fiction is about made-up stuff. That’s why it’s fiction and not nonfiction. I asked myself: is a work considered Fantasy simply by virtue of the degree to which the fiction is imaginative?
Although I am now on the fourth book in The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam, labeled by me as an “epic Fantasy series,” I’m still not convinced that these stories belong in the Fantasy genre. It’s true that they are set in an imagined geography and in a period that is more “once upon a time” than an actual historic era. And yes, the hero battles dragons, sea monsters, and other mythical creatures. However, the life challenges that King Bewilliam faces are contemporary: career displacement and divorce in The Lost King; parenting in The King’s Ransom; the nature of leadership and the morality of war in The King’s Redress. So, are those stories Fantasy?
When I embarked on a short story for Masters of Time: A Sci-Fi and Time Travel Anthology, I found myself wondering about the difference between Fantasy and Science-Fiction. I’ve seen the comment that Science-Fiction explores the possible, albeit improbable, while Fantasy explores the impossible, but I wouldn’t agree. I don’t see a clear distinction between imagining a world that includes aliens versus one that includes werewolves.
Masters of Time: A Sci-Fi and Time Travel Anthology
Ray Bradbury, whose work falls into both genres, suggested that Science-Fiction is a logical projection of the future. Science-Fiction takes as its departure point what we do know about reality, whereas Fantasy is based in invention.
I prefer to think that Fantasy explores what we don’t know about reality. At the risk of sounding metaphysical, there are planes of existence for which we cannot provide evidence using our five senses. Nevertheless, spiritualists and religious leaders encourage belief in the numinous. Fantasy embraces the supernatural and the paranormal, but notice that “natural” and “normal” are at its roots. I’d go even further and say that scientists are very imaginative and fantasize about what we don’t know…yet. What makes them Scientists is that they then seek to prove or disprove that, while Fantasists don’t seek proof.
Many a Fantasist has explored time travel as if it were possible. Even noted scientists take the idea seriously, according to a blog post by theoretical physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku. He wrote that a contemporary of Einstein, mathematician, Kurt Goedel, suggested that time is flexible: it speeds up and slows down. Also, time has whirlpools in which it could wrap itself into a circle. This would enable anyone walking along the direction of rotation to find themselves returned to the starting point but backwards in time.
Decades later, mathematician, Roy Kerr, proposed the concept of a rotating black hole. Dr. Michio Kaku explained it this way: “…[T]he black hole would not collapse to a point (as previously thought) but into a spinning ring (of neutrons). The ring would be circulating so rapidly that centrifugal force would keep the ring from collapsing under gravity. The ring, in turn, acts like the Looking Glass of Alice. Anyone walking through the ring would not die, but could pass through the ring into an alternate universe.”
Before we all run off and start building time machines, though, we should address some paradoxes. Take, for instance, this problem: if you go back in time and undo the circumstances that led to your birth, you would never come to be, much less be around to time travel. This is what’s known as the Grandfather Paradox, which results in an inconsistent causal loop. It puts “effect” ahead of “cause” instead of the other way around, as we commonly understand it. This paradox creates an infinite loop: you go back in time and kill your grandfather, thereby preventing your own birth, thereby preventing yourself from going back in time to kill your grandfather, thus your grandfather is never killed, which allows you to be born, so you can go back in time and kill your grandfather….
Let’s say, instead, that time is fixed, that even if occurrences of the past are changed, the future that they led to cannot be. For example, you travel back in time and kill your grandfather (poor Grandad. Whatever did he do to deserve all this antagonism?). To cover your actions, you replace him with someone else, but that man marries and somehow gives birth to your father, who has a child—–you–—so, you are born, after all.
Another possibility is that there are alternative and parallel universes. If this is so, you can travel back in time, kill your grandfather and thwart any offspring, including you. However, all you have done is alter one timeline. Others, including the one in which you do exist, continue unchanged. However, you (the homicidal maniac time-traveler), cannot return to that timeline.
Indeed, the protagonist of my story, “Turning the Tide,” doesn’t so much travel through time herself as she changes it. She reaches into the past to put two men she loves on different paths, effectively moving them into parallel universes, where they enjoy brighter futures.
It’s not hard for me to believe in parallel timelines. At any point in any of our lives, there are different tracks we can follow, deliberately or reactively. The Time Master in “Turning the Tide” knows that the consequence of her manipulation could be that she never meets the men she so loves. However, it’s also entirely possible that, even though their lives took different courses, one or both of them could still meet her. There are so many roads, with so many forks in them. Any one of them could intersect with another parallel timeline, just at a different point.
You’ll find both Fantasy and Science-Fiction at the heart of the stories in the newly-launched Masters of Time: A Sci-Fi and Time Travel Anthology Check it out: http://meet-the-time-masters.blogspot.com.
You can find about more about my epic Fantasy (or not) series, The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam: http://devorahfox.com and http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006L9BJAO.
The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006L9BJAO
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/devorahfox/videos
Apple iBooks/iTunes: http://apple.co/1bp77vK
Barnes & Noble/ nook: http://bit.ly/1Kkkr0C
Dee Fox was also my guest on CHANGES conversations between authors, an almost-weekly, Google+/Youtube video chat show, on Episode 18. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time: http://goo.gl/eX0D8T
OPENINGS occur frequently! #Authors, especially those in sci-fi/speculative fiction and who blog, learn more about and get yourself on CHANGES, and
#Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest: http://goo.gl/1dbkZV
If you’d like to be a Guest Blogger, please visit my Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame and learn what’s involved.
Thanks for visiting, commenting, following, and enjoying this site! http://www.sallyember.com
A fascinating post and discussion on fantasy vs. science fiction. I particularly enjoyed the multiverse solution to time-travel paradoxes!
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Thanks for visiting and commenting, Nicholas!
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What a delightful read! I love reading Devorah’s take on Fantasy.
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