Sunday, April 16, 2006

O Tempora!

Almost posted yesterday on dealing with criticism - causes, effects, possible methods, wisdom, etc.
One never sees blind-siders.
Ah well.

While leafing through an Enclylopedia of Ghosts and Legends by John and Anna Spencer in search of background legends, discovered an interesting theory that some instances of interactive apparations may be explained in terms of "time slips."

Naturally, my eyes perked up.
It's not an audio book, you see.

The writers speculate that some instances of hauntings may instead be a "slip" or a window between two times, allowing people on either side to see each other.
Dear me, the dreaded doorway or portal that so annoys Agent Kristin.

Interestingly enough, the authors do cite a case regarding skiers near Oslo Fjord in Norway in 1950 who encountered an angry woman dressed in old fashioned clothing who accused them of trespassing.
The woman was clearly interactive, and angrily and adamantly denounced them in conversation. She was decidedly unghostlike and witnessed by several people.
The skiers later confirmed with the present owner that they were free to ski. Their description of the woman tallied with a great- grandmother.
Unfortunately, there seems to be no record of the likely lady in question commenting in a diary of the appropriate period that she had to chase off some impudent trespassers today by giving them a piece of her mind. So we lack that mutual corroboration.

The very mundanity of the incident, uncluttered by associations of tragedy and doom, lends a certain veracity, I must say.
I suspect that if such random time slips do occur, most incidents would likewise be of a casual and unremarkable nature and therefore unworthy of record, or even mention beyond a limited circle.
At best recorded privately and thus never making it into the public cannon for analysis and postulation. Limited or suspect case histories from which to build any plausable theory of phenonema are the bane of researchers.
Another frontier.


Erik Ivan James said...

I believe what you posted is possible. The power of the Universe is beyond our human comprehension, at least now. Science indicates that everything in the universe rotates. If so, why not time too? Thus random "overlaps".

Now, I must make everyone aware that I earned D's & F's in science. So no offense taken if you trash my comment.

Bernita said...

Your knowledge of science probably exceeds mine, Erik.
The example cited is only anecdotaland relatively singular, but it did produce an interesting explanation of a type of paranormal occurrance beyond the "traditional" explanations.

Sela Carsen said...

An acquaintance just received a low score from a contest judge because her time travel hinged on the "magical" rather than the scientific. Hmph. Methinks that judge needs to remember it's fiction. I worried about whether my characters were realistic enough until I remembered one was the walking dead and another was a vampire.

Bernita said...

I agree. Hmph.
And that some science evolved from "magic."
I'm sure he or she is a very nice vampire, not too sure about the ghoul though.

Rick said...

That is odd about the contest, unless it was specifically SF. I would be hard put to say that one form of time slip was more scientific - in terms of our present knowledge - than any other.

Sela Carsen said...

The ghoul is the hero! LOL!!

I've seen beds, mirrors, books, paintings, secret rooms, mine shafts, even holes in the ground used as time travel mechanisms in romance. All I care is whether it works or not in terms of the characters. Heck, if Christopher Reeve can use hypnosis and a penny in "Somewhere in Time," I'll believe anything.

Bernita said...

That DOES sound interesting, Sela!

The mechanism is unimportant really, only needs a superficial rationale to my thinking - unless one is writing a hard Sci-Fi.
It's the characters and story that count.

Most readers would be bored silly of pages and pages of what after all - as Rick points out - is basically pseudo-science at this time.
I don't find time travel - as "if" then "this" all that different from many other fictional conventions in other genres.
"If he/she hadn't gotten off the train that day...then". Time travel is merely an extension.

Carla said...

I think it was Arthur C Clarke who said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Possibly this is why SF and fantasy are shelved together?

Bernita said...

I don't know, Carla, but it explains why I see electricity as a stream of little guys chasing after each other up and down copper wires...

December Quinn said...

You have read House of Many Shadows by Barbara Michaels, right? It's my favorite of her Michaels books and deals with just this type of mystery.

I can't believe a judge whining about magical vs. scientific time travel. :rolleyes. Nitpick much?

Bernita said...

I don't think so, December, but I think as soon as my local bookstore opens after the holiday I will see if I can find a copy.
Thank you.

I agree. It appears to be a garbage excuse.

Rick said...

If the contest was supposed to be specifically SF - especially hardish SF - I could understand the judge's grump, but not otherwise.

As to why SF and F are shelved together, I'd guess it has less to do with Clarke's "indistinguishable from magic" than with simply having a considerably shared readership (and even writership). Though perhaps that comes to much the same thing, on a sort of meta-level!

Robyn said...

Lynn Kurland has a Scottish forest filled with time gates. One way to get to medieval Scotland is a bench in Central Park.

I free pass that because I WANT TO. It's a great story otherwise, and a part of me likes the possibility of taking a snooze on a wood bench in NYC and waking up to a hunky kilted guy. Of course that particular threw her in a pit becuase he thought she was a witch, but still...

If the device, magical, scientific, DNA based or otherwise, engages my imagination I'll buy it.

Bernita said...

In fact, Robyn, the more odd the device, the quicker I'll buy it, just to see.Not interested in any hunky warriors, of course....

Probably, Rick, but it's a neat quote.

H.S. Kinn said...

Sela, Somewhere in Time is one of my all-time favorite movies!

To answer the original post though, if you're gonna do time travel, it needs to match the overall tone of the book--if there's lots of magical things going on in general, having "magic" time travel is appropriate, but not if the rest of the novel is very sci-fi or realistic.

I personally like the "overlapping time/space" notion; I've read it in a book or two, and I thought it worked very well indeed.

Dennie McDonald said...

ghosts... time travel... don't get me started- I have issues I tell ya ....

Bernita said...

Sounds very interesting, Dennie.

I agree H.S., since part of my plot is myth-busting, I chose a "natural" explanation.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

The old adage, "Fact is stranger than fiction" only works in a whimsical notation...LOL

The difference between fact and fiction is that the fiction has to make sense! so I'm seeing thins as the reasoning for the low score for Sela's time travel contest friend.

I've seen strange, unbelievable things happen, but if I were to write them in a novel, I'd have to give a plausable that's strange!

Candice Gilmer said...

For me, I find the paranormal and fantastic easy to believe, only because I've seen so much in real life that defies explanation.

Bernita said...

So true, Candice and Bonnie.
Logic is for fiction, not real life.

Shesawriter said...

I have always been fascinated by this. The theory that time doesn't run in a straight line, but rather loops lends credence to what you've written. In fact, I just saw a movie with this premise. The heroine was married to a man whose wife was murdered years ago. Only in the end we come to find out that the new wife murdered the old because both thought the other was an intruder in the house. They both lived in the hero's house and kept running into each other.