Nate and Jen


This is a brief passage from a new book – a comedy time travel. In this scene Jen is in the past and goes to a science fiction writers talk to try and get some clues on how to get back to her present. The book has no title, and is barely half done, and with any luck and far less procrastination, it could be finished this year….  here’s a bit….

 “Back to the Future,” he said, “has a lot to answer for. But in a good way.”

 “I’ve always wondered if writers actually believe that time travel is possible.” She added. “I’d like to think it is.”

 “I think we all would. The idea that we can go back and right some wrong is an attractive one.”

 “And that we  can come back again,” she said.  “Very important. I get shivers thinking of that scene where Charlton Heston finds the statue of liberty in the sand.”

“I pay homage to it in my new book.” He handed her a bookmark. “One of the most unforgettable scenes in cinematic history. Just brilliant.”

“As a best selling author…”  She’d seen that in his bio on the leaflet, although it didn’t say where exactly he’d been a bestseller. “Do you often get people coming to you claiming they’ve time traveled?” She lowered her voice. “There do seem to be some odd people here. Odd not in a bad way.  You must get a lot of inspiration from people. Story ideas and plots and stuff like that.”

He narrowed his eyes at her.  “Are you accusing me of plagiarism?”

 “Good heavens, no. Of course not. But as a fan of time travel…” If he only knew. “I’m fascinated. Making it believable is quite a skill. And as a reader…” She drew a breath, warming to the subject. “I want to feel it could happen. I want to know it can happen.”

“You’ve hit on the key. Making it believable. You would not believe the contests I’ve judged where the author has resorted to the same old gimmick to achieve a time shift. A piece of jewellery, an article of clothing. A closet.”

   “Like in Narnia?”

   His face darkened. “You can’t do a closet after Narnia. You just don’t even try. Lewis did it and that’s it. No one else can do it.” He thumped his clenched fist on the table. “Period.”

“Amen,” she agreed. Had she been anywhere near her closet before the incident? She seemed to recall she’d just chucked her clothes on the floor and collapsed into bed half drunk and depressed. Just thinking about it now made her cringe. She’d been so self-obsessed, so in to herself and her own problems.

She said, “So what about time travel machines? Are they more believable than, say, a closet or a cardigan?”

“In a way, yes.” He waggled his hand.  “But they’ve been done to death. However. If you can come up with a believable scientific process, then yes, it can work. It can make the reader believe that anything is possible. The mark of a great writer.”

“But how can you come up with a believable process when time travel is fictional, when it can’t really happen?”

The writer at the next table had managed to dislodge the aspiring author and now turned his chair towards them. “You add in a few quantum physics terms, talk about dimensionality, and you’re in.”

Greg gestured. “Ron knows what he’s talking about.  He won the Norton two years running.”

Ron rolled his eyes at Jen’s blank expression. “It’s the Pulitzer of science fiction. It’s prestigious.”

“I’m sure it is, but getting back to time travel. Do you think it’s possible right now to travel back or forth in time?”

“There are rumours.” Ron leant back in his chair. “One of those crazy billionaire software geeks was rumoured to have hired some clown from Stanford to investigate.”

“I heard Deepak Chopra was in on it,” Greg murmured.

“I heard he wanted himself cloned. The point,” Ron stressed,” is, that while we indulge in make believe, there are people out there who want to make it reality. Man went to the moon. A sheep was cloned. A rat grew an extra head. It’ll happen.”

A shiver went down Jennifer’s spine and she said, “How do you both think it’ll happen?”

Ron said thoughtfully, “I’m picking it’ll be electricity.”

Greg shook his head. “I’m guessing some supernatural fluke thing that no one can understand.”