Rules for Time Travelers

I found a great article in Discover about rules that all writers of Time Traveler stories should follow. But, to be honest, I have not followed these rules absolutely in my Chrysalis Chronology series. I have time paradoxes in several upcoming books in my series. But, as the author of the article states, “dramatic storyline trumps science.”

But I did find many of the rules to be ones that I’ve pretty much followed.
Rule 1: Traveling to the future is easy.
In books 4 and 5 of The Chrysalis Chronology series, the Five Founders are traveling to the future in cryogenic chambers, and later in chrysalis pods. The point is that they travel at the same speed as everyone else: one second per second.
So that’s the easy part.

Rule 2: Traveling into the past is hard.
In books 2, 3, and 5, travel to the past happens, but only by -thought-. Memories are the conduits of travel.
No physical objects travel back through time in my Chrysalis Chronology series.
I tried to stay consistent with whatever might be possible in time travel by not using a machine that drives through time like some cosmic city bus dropping passengers off at any point in time.
That is seen so much in sci-fi, and it often breaks rule 8: “You can’t travel to a point in time before the machine was built.”
Of course, what writer wants to follow that rule? The fun of time travel to the past is changing the future. Right?
But the Five Founders in books 4 and 5 of The Chrysalis Chronology series are able to change their own future without sending a physical body/person back, and without a time machine.
Yes, they are creating a new future, and that fits into the multiverse theory.

So I believe that time travel should be hard. It should not be as easy as pushing a button. There should be a cost.

In fact, that theme, that there should be a cost, is something that I’ve followed throughout the entire series. Every power or special ability has a cost. For example, in book 2, Tim Long can jump back in time a few minutes and relive them in a different way. But that also means that he is aging twice as fast. Sure it’s only a few minutes here or there, but it adds up. Eventually he discovers signs that he’s aging faster than other people. There’s a cost.

So, sci-fi writers, these time travel rules should be considered, as you write your epic story.

Here is that article in Discover:

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