First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch
“What if history didn’t happen that way … the first time?”
Garison Fitch was one of the most revered scientists in the Soviet Americas until he left fame behind to work on a secret project in his log cabin in the mountains of Marx.
But something went wrong. Instead of traveling interdimentionally, Garison has traveled through time … twice.
Now, he’s in something called “The United States of America” and a woman he’s never met before is calling herself his wife. It it a hoax? Or, has he somehow changed history?
If so, can he return the world to what he believes is “normal”, or must he live in this strange world he created?
by Samuel Ben White
Somewhere I still have a rather lengthy treatise a reader sent me about how the science of time travel which I allude to in my novel, First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch, was incorrect. He sent me diagrams and calculations and while many of them made little to no sense to me, they did to him and—I’m guessing—might make sense to other people.
I can’t speak to the veracity of his science, but I can say with some certainty that he missed the point. Entirely.
I’m not convinced that time travel is possible. I doubt that it will ever be possible because I think—if it were—time itself would be in complete chaos now from all the people from that future (where it has become possible) traveling back through time to try to change things. In other words: if time travel is going to be made possible, we should know about it already. Someone from the future would have come back and, for instance, stopped the Kennedy assassination.
So my novel is not about the science of time travel. That being said, though, a central feature of my novel—that I think the above-referenced reader missed—is that it is about the logic of time travel. “If time travel were possible and a man went back to the days of his ancestors, how might that effect his present?”
I could have thrown in space aliens, or an earthquake that happens on one time line that didn’t happen on another. Either scenario might make for some high drama, but both require a leap in logic. If the earth’s crust wasn’t effected in one time line, is there any reason to think it would be on another? If I go back to last week and set fire to my neighbor’s house, there is a logical progression of how that might have changed their lives in the ensuing days. Grief, time missed from work, kids having trouble at school, etc. There is no logical reason why my having done that, though, would have caused the moon to go out of orbit.
But, let’s say we could travel forward through time and see the outcomes of the two different paths. Perhaps in the one without the fire my neighbor’s family lives your basic, middle-class life. Kids grow up, marry, work good jobs and are essentially happy. On the other time-line, though, maybe the trauma of seeing her home burn down causes the little girl next door to have nightmares and, eventually, experience deep emotional trauma. Maybe that leads to a faulty marriage (or two) and her children and grandchildren are even more messed up. Flash forward two hundred years and maybe the two time-lines are basically the same—but it’s logically possible that my fire has really changed that future. Maybe the neighbor’s daughter flips out and kills a President, or maybe her grandson invents some product that almost eliminates all house fires worldwide.
This is all iceberg talk, though. What really makes a novel a hit with the readers is the story, the characters, even the grammar. But there are all these things under the surface—invisible like the bottom of an iceberg—that will never be noticed by the reader … unless the writer blows it. Logic is like a tire. Blow it and everything falls apart. But if it works like it should, the story flows along swimmingly and only a few may ever stop to think about these details, “Yeah, it would happen like that!”
Samuel Ben White (“Sam” to his friends) is the author of the national newspaper comic strip “Tuttle’s” (found at www.tuttles.net) and the on-line comic book “Burt & the I.L.S.” (found at www.destinyhelix.com). He is married and has two sons. He serves his community as both a minister at a small church and a chaplain with hospice. In addition to his time travel stories, Sam has also written and published detective novels, a western, three fantasy novels and four works of Christian fiction.
< img src="http://sweepingme.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/sigsweep_edited-1.png"/>