the men who murdered mohammed

Time Travel Stories

So, I’m working on a time travel short (I’m working on a lot of things in various states of production right now) and so I decided to re-read a couple of time travel short stories from my Alfred Bester short fiction collection. I like his approach and I think what it is is that I like is that he’s more focused on the effects of the sci-fi elements than the sci-fi elements themselves. 

I re-read Of Time and Third Avenue and The Men Who Murdered Mohammed. In the first a couple is confronted by a strange man from the future who wants to take a book they had just purchased, because it’s a misplaced almanac from the future. The second is about a mad scientist who invents a time machine (the exact mechanics of which are never described) in order to get back at his wife for cheating on him. He proceeds to go on a killing spree through history in a futile attempt to change his present but only ends up turning himself into a ghost as he’s erased only his own personal timeline from existence (it has an interesting way of looking at time). 

I have a particular love of time travel stories but among them my favorites tend to be these ones about normal people (more or less) and these (relatively) personal stories. Nacho Vigalondo’s film Cronocrimenes (Timecrimes) is like that too. Just a man who tries to investigate a mysterious person near his house and ends up time traveling and creating a time loop. 

The stakes aren’t global or about saving the future or the present from anything, it’s just people with a relatable problem or situation (meeting a strange person in a bar, cheating wife, or investigating a strange person on their property) that happens to tie into time travel. Well, Of Time and Third Avenue is kind of about saving the future but all of the drama is just about this odd man convincing this couple that they need to give him the almanac.

I like personal stories that include time travel more than stories about time travel, if that makes sense. Anyway, just was thinking about that, because I think that’s what I’m working on. Just a little story about a couple of people and then it turns out that time travel is involved.