Welcome! We’ve asked authors Lisa Mason and Laura Vosika to talk with us about their time travel books.
Lisa Mason is the author of Summer of Love, A Time Travel, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel. Summer of Love was a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book. Locus Magazine said, “Remarkable. . .the intellect on display within these psychedelically packaged pages is clear-sighted, witty, and wise.” The Gilded Age was a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book. The New York Times Book Review called The Gilded Age, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”
Laura Vosika is the author of Blue Bells of Scotland, lauded as a book in the vein of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and earning many five-star reviews. Nan Hawthorne, author of historical fiction, called Blue Bells of Scotland one of her favorite books of the year. The praise was echoed by Robert Mattos of Book and Movie Reviews, adding that it is a must-have for the book shelves of any serious reader. The Minstrel Boy, Book Two in The Blue Bells Chronicles, is also out.
Q: How do your characters time travel?
Q: Do your time travelers have to observe certain rules of time travel or do they get into trouble?
Lisa: Of course they get into trouble! And there are sanctions and restrictions my time travelers must observe, starting with the classic “grandfather paradox;” if you traveled back in time and killed your own grandfather, you wouldn’t exist in the first place to go do the deed. Then there’s the “butterfly principle,” in which a time traveler goes back to a primordial jungle and accidentally kills a butterfly, changing all of reality.
Both Summer of Love and The Gilded Age begin with stringent “Tenets of the Grandmother Principle,” supervised by the Luxon Institute for Superluminal Applications, a far-future bureaucracy. Please go to the books to see what they are.
Like many authors before me, I played with these concepts and their ramifications, adding quantum physics into the mix. Under the Uncertainty Principle, the observer changes the observed, proven in the famous experiment in which a photon appears as a wave or a particle depending on how the experimenter sets up her observational apparatus.
I wanted to add another favorite trope of science fiction authors—that a sweeping and seemingly beneficial technology can go terribly wrong. Consider the automobile, a technology which has given us freedom and mobility unprecedented in pre-car history, reliable distribution and delivery of goods, and a lot of enjoyment. Cars have also blighted the landscape, caused us to be dependent on foreign oil, caused pollution, injury, and death, and alienated people. I explored the notion that the far-future technology of “tachyportation,” which could be employed to colonize planets and right historical wrongs, had sweeping unintended consequences.
Laura: Throughout Blue Bells of Scotland, Shawn and Niall have no idea what they’re dealing with. Niall, being from 1314, has no concept of Grandfather Concepts or of changing history. He gets Amy to help him research what happened to his people at Bannockburn–in her world, the history says they all died–and he doesn’t care much about changing her present or anyone’s future. He cares only about saving the people he loves.
Shawn, for his part, spends his first few days in medieval Scotland in a wilderness that looks much like parts of present-day Scotland. He is not aware of just how badly off track his life has gone, and even if he had been, he cares only about his own pleasure. Once he does understand that he’s not in his own time, his only motivation is survival and getting back where–make that when–he belongs, to safety.
In The Minstrel Boy, these ideas are delved into a little more, but my characters are dealing with something unheard of, something nobody else knows about, and something of which they have very little understanding. There’s no machine, no control, no bureaucracy, no answers to any of their questions. Their motivation continues to be mainly survival and setting their own lives right.
Thanks to Lisa Mason and Laura Vosika for a lively and thought-provoking discussion. If you, the reader, wish to join the discussion or have any questions or comments for our authors, feel free to contact them at their websites.
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We thank you for your readership!
Visit Lisa Mason at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.