It’s not the what, but the when

March 31, 2010 at 3:00 am (Events)


When I eagerly entered L.A.’s Blog Carnival, I wasn’t thinking. (Shocking, I know.) I mean, what kind of a subject is time and how am I going to write about it? Even though we are sisters under the skin, it’s not like I share L.A.’s love of the subject. Let’s be honest—the girl is seriously time obsessed. Anything to do with time travel and she’s into it like Marty McFly jumping into the DeLorean. I think if there really was a time machine, L.A. would go back in time to tell the 2 year-old version of herself about the overall awesomeness of time travel so she could be interested in it even earlier than she already was.

If you understood that sentence, consider yourself firmly in L.A.’s camp. You’re time obsessed, too.

However, I think we all are. I write not only historical romance (so far I’ve attacked 1883, 1780 and 1215) but have started to really dive into Victorian romance so I’m focusing even more narrowly on 1837-1901. I’ve also written a modern-day romance so my mindset at that time was in the beginning of the 21st century.

I love science fiction, so my time jumps have been from 2517 (Firefly/Serenity) to the 23rd century (Fifth Element) to a long time ago in that galaxy far, far away.

Even horror has gotten into the two-step time shuffle with post-apocalyptic thrillers like Stephen King’s The Stand (published in 1978, book set in 1984 (I think)) to the delicious “historical revenge fantasy” Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino.

And paranormal? Paranormal, my friend, is just alternative time, be it historical (Susan Squires) to current (Harry Potter) to the future (Nalini Singh anybody?)

And I believe that not one of these stories, be they mine or Joss Whedon’s or somebody else’s, could have been set in a different time and worked as well as they did. Now, Joss is one wicked storyteller and if anybody could have set Serenity in the Old West, it could have been him, but the story he wanted to tell was in 2517 and not 2518 and not 2516 and certainly not 1877, so time was important to him. Just like it’s important to all of us.

So let’s have some fun with time—it is a carnival after all, right? You have a magic time machine and you can visit three different times for the length of one day each. What would they be and why?



  1. Todd Wheeler said,

    Hmm, there’s a few days in the past 40 years where a side comment to a younger self to say “Hey, don’t worry about it” would be nice.

    Some time in the roaring ’20s would be interesting. I suspect it wouldn’t seem as different from this day and age as one might think.

    And going forward a few hundred years, just to see if we managed to clean up a few messes us humans have made, that would be worth the trip.

  2. Robin said,

    Hmm…I’d love to go back to the late 1800’s. I’d love to go back to the 1950’s. And I’d love to go back to when I was teenager and spend a day with my dad.

  3. Pamela Cayne said,

    Todd–fascinating time picks (love the roaring 20’s idea!) And yeah, there’s something to be said to visiting your younger self, isn’t there? Thanks for visiting today! 🙂

    Robin–how fun would the 1950’s be! And I wish I could give you your third pick, or any day with your dad. That would be a great use of my time machine. 🙂

  4. laughingwolf said,

    as the sole survivor of my immediate family [my sis’ kids and my own carry on], i’d like to go back 20-30 years when they were still alive, and enjoy their company again… 😦

    thx for dropping over and your kind comment on my post for laura’s carnival 😀

  5. Marilyn Brant said,

    Wonderful post, Pam! And LOL about the DeLorean…yeah, I understood that one. 🙂
    I’d visit Jane Austen around 1813–the year P&P was released–of course. I’d also be curious to go back to the time of Jesus, just to see with my own eyes what–exactly–was going on back then. (I never liked the idea of second-, third- and fourth-hand religious reporting–lol) And I’d save one for late in my life when I’d know there would be something I’d desperately want to see beyond my lifetime (probably my son…at my future grandchild’s wedding…)

  6. Pamela Cayne said,

    Laughingwolf–you make me want to build a time machine for you. I hope that someday somebody does, and you’re at the front of the line. It was lovely carnival-ing with you!

    Marilyn–Sure, you pick Jane Austen now, but I remember you picking a song written about you by Bon Jovi above that not so long ago! And I’d like to see Jane Austen Brant’s wedding, too! 🙂

  7. Subby said,

    Thought-provoking, indeed…and as a history major I’d have to really think hard about what or where I’d want to spend the day. Perhaps a stroll thru’ 15th century Florence, Italy for one…

    And many was a time I’d want to commandeer Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine…about as predictable as that DeLorean, heh…

  8. Just Me said,

    Oooh…a game, how fun. Okay, let’s see:

    1. I would have loved to go to Woodstock…unfortunately, I wasn’t born yet. So let’s put that one on the list…what an experience!

    2. My parents grew up next store to each other…except my dad is seven years older, so they didn’t really connect until much later (they actually both married and divorced other people before they ended up together!), so I’d love to spend a day back in their childhood, to see what they used to be like before they were with each other…

    3. This is kind of embarassing…but when I was a little girl, I was *obsessed* with the Little House series of books. I still find that time period wildly romantic. While I’m completely ill-suited for survival away from modern convenience, I would love to spend a day there.

    Great post, and a great idea for getting your commenters involved! Thanks for stopping by my blog today, as well! 🙂

    • Just Me said,

      And ooops…I must be tired. Obviously I meant my parents grew up “next door” to each other. Neither my mother or father was a shopkeeper. LOL! 🙂

  9. L.A. Mitchell said,

    Wow, we get three? You’re so generous 🙂

    I think I’d visit The Last Supper, the 1950s and a westward procession in the 19th century. Weird, huh?

    Beyond awesome how you took up the torch for the carnival. You’re a doll–thank you!!

  10. Pamela Cayne said,

    Subby–ooh, 15thc Florence! Nice! (And sorry your comment got stuck in my spam folder. Combine that with a crazy weekend and you get a late comment. Bad Pam!) Thanks for much for visiting! 🙂

    Just me–ditto the apology for the late approval. And OMG yes on the Little House! I think I made my mom get me one of those bonnets, though I would never give up indoor plumbing! 😉

    L.A.–count on you to mix things up. I want to know a few more specifics about the 1950’s though–spill! 🙂

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