Is Time Travel Possible?

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In writing HISTORY AMENDED, I held fast to the belief that in a time travel story an author can’t gloss over the mechanism his characters use to make it happen. Despite the fact that if you Google time travel you’ll find overwhelming consensus from the scientific world that time travel is impossible, it continues to be a key concept in science fiction. So whether your characters are using a mysterious portal, a superhero’s ability to bend time and space, or a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, even though science suggests it’s not possible a writer must still give the reader something that’s, at the least, believable. Or explainable.

In HISTORY AMENDED, my character Dr. Jeff Jacobs creates a device that allows for human time travel based on Einstein’s 1905 Special Theory of Relativity. Einstein described that the closer an object got to the speed of light the slower time would go – and that no object could ever actually reach the speed of light (though last fall, scientists in Europe made a much-debated find that would prove Einstein wrong if true). If any object could supersede the speed of light, it would be caught in a state of timelessness. Which would suggest that once that object slows down from the speed of light, it would be unpredictable as to when it would actually return. Dr. Jacobs’ physics are to identify and pinpoint when the subject would return should the object be able to reach the speed of light.

Of course, while time travel science fiction is woven throughout the story, HISTORY AMENDED is ultimately about the characters, their adventures and the “human” side of time travel. But I know there will be readers who will want the science to be believable. As I continue to write the 2nd and 3rd books in the trilogy, I want to use this blog to ask the most basic question about time travel:

Do you believe that time travel is, or ever will be, possible?

That’s a loaded question, of course, because there are various levels to it. If you believe that time travel will ever be possible – then technically it already is, because the current reality would not be immune from someone traveling back in time with the technology. While the technology might not be available on Earth in 2012, if the technology will be available at any time in the future, we can assume – due to the nature of time travel – that it can then be available at any point in history, past, present or future. While I am writing a number of characters who are traveling through time, I’m writing twice as many characters who are not – and have to believe, not believe, deal with, and feel threatened by those who claim to be time travelers. I’m curious how people perceive the concept.

So what do you think? Will humans ever be able to travel through time?