Due to my fascination with certain time periods, I always have an answer when anyone asks me about time travel. I could answer with several options, but my two favorite time periods are Regency England and Italy during the Renaissance, preferably Florence. I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. I traveled to Bath, England for a semester in college just so I could walk the streets she once walked. It was amazing. I’ve been to Florence, although the time passed too quickly and I need to go back again. I saw the wonder of Michelangelo’s David, the beautiful Ghiberti’s doors, and the Duomo. I’ll never forget seeing all of those things, but I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to see them during the highlight of the moment. So if anyone invents a time machine, please let me know!
How is time travel possible? No Flux Capacitors Here
One aspect of Einstein’s Theory of Relatively roughly states that although time appears to be constant, it is not and varies depending on how fast movement is occurring. People traveling at high speeds actually experience time at a slower rate relative to those at a fixed position on Earth. However, this difference in time is so miniscule that we do not notice it here on Earth given the low speeds in which humans travel. If humans were able to travel at speeds close to the speed of light, theoretically they could in fact time travel into the future. Unfortunately, no present credible theory allows for travel into the past.
Luckily, time travel in books can occur through a variety of means, not strictly through scientific theory.
In some books, like the Time Traveling Fashionista series by Bianca Turetskey, moving through time happens when Louise tries on vintage clothing. By making direct contact with the dresses, she’s transported through time. In the first book, she travels aboard the Titanic. Louise travels to the court of Marie Antoinette in the second book, coming out September 18th. In both cases, although she tries, she can’t change the course of history. The Titanic still hits an iceberg and sinks. Marie Antoinette still spends money on dresses and parties, causing the poor people to grow angry at her excessive spending while they’re barely scraping by. Time travel makes history come alive to Louise.
In other books, it’s a person that links them to the past. Michael from Hourglass by Myra McEntire desperately wants to change the death of his father. Emerson’s brother hires him to help his sister, who sees ghosts. Michael explains to Emerson that she’s not crazy. Instead the ghosts are real; they’re simply from people in the past. With this explanation, Emerson feels better about herself and her ability. Michael soon realizes that she’s the person who can help him travel into the past and change it. Neither of them realizes the cost of changing time.
In Mutiny in Time by James Dashner, which comes out next Tuesday, when fate goes wrong, it’s called a break in history. The SQ, current rulers of the world, seem to be responsible for those breaks. These breaks have had significant consequence, changing the course of the world. Sera fixes a ring that Dak’s parents have been working on for years. Once they encode the ring with the DNA of Dak, his parents, and Sera, no one else can use the ring should it fall into the wrong hands. The Hystorians and the Time Wardens want to create a ring and go back and fix these breaks. With Dak and Sera’s help, they might be able to repair history.
Gwen’s family in Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier created a chronograph, which is a machine to allow time travel to happen in a controlled environment. Once Gwen’s blood is entered into machine, she will no longer travel into time at a moment’s notice. For the past two days, she’s come to recognize the signs that mean she’s about to time travel. First she gets dizzy, then waves of nausea sweep over her, and finally the room goes blurry before her eyes. Once Gwen can convince the society, she will fulfill the last spot in the family prophecy; she’ll be able to use the machine.
The machine from Time Riders by Alex Scarrow uses a water cylinder programmed by a computer to ensure that nothing goes back in time except what is inside the cylinder. Liam, Maddy, Sal, and their robot, Bob, are responsible for watching the world on September 11, 2001. They’re not allowed to do anything, as it will change the entire history of the world. When they notice something amiss, Liam and Sal travel back in time for a reconnaissance mission. They have a short window for return, if they can make it back to the coordinates in time.
From dresses to people to time machines, there are several ways to travel from one time period to another in YA lit! What’s your favorite method of time travel?
— Jennifer Rummel, currently reading Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood