Designer Alex Griendling’s peculiar calendar project gave me a chance to tryout crowd sourcing and indulge my love of time travel. Almost no strand in science fiction—I hate the term sub-genre, since it sounds so “sub”—has enthralled me more than time travel. It started with “Danny Dunn, Time Traveller” and the bad Irwin Allen TV series, “Time Tunnel,” and has continued through every chronology-bending, Grandfather-paradox-killing book, show or movie I could get my eyes on.
The only stories that ever trumped time travel, at least in my pre-teen mind, were dystopian tales of post-apocalyptic futures, since running from mutants and hunting your own irradiated food across a disaster-blasted planet Earth sounded like pure adventure to a 12 year old. What’s wrong with a life expectancy of 22?
I have proof that obsessive attention to a topic can have its benefits. My second novel is a YA time-travel story called “TIMERS: Samuel Tripp’s adventures across time with Rip Van Winkle, the Connecticut Yankee and Ebenezer Scrooge (oh, and he saves all of history).” I started it in late September and I’m flying—18,000 words written so far—and I’m having a blast. There’s nothing that says you can’t have fun writing. But I digress.
Griendling proposed on Kickstarter to create the 2012 Time Travel Calendar and I plunked down my $10. He got it funded and I got this great calendar. Each month, instead of a picture, the calendar lists important, and not-so-imporant, moments in history visited by time travelers in TV shows, films, videogames and comics. January begins with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back two and half billion years battling Slash in a 1992 video game, and ends in December with Superman trapped in the year 1,001,963 under a red sun with no super powers.
In between is a bounty of time travel trivia. The Titanic hosted both the dwarves and Kevin in the great film “Time Bandits” as well as Dr. Anthony Newman of craptastic “Time Tunnel.” Eighteen years later in history, Kirk and Spock travel to the Great Depression to stop McCoy from altering the past. This Star Trek episode, “City on the Edge of Forever” written by Harlan Ellison, was where I first encountered the change history, timeloop condnundrum that has fascinated me ever since.
The calendar also marks key dates in the history of time travel stories. You’ll find Skynet became self-aware on April 21, the day after Passover this year, the novel “The Time Machine” was published on May 7, as well as the birthdays of Robert Zemeckis and Stan Lee. I could go on and would if I weren’t already well beyond reasonable post length. It’s hard not to with a calendar that on one page alone cites “The Time Machine,” “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” “Somewhere in Time,” “Midnight in Paris” and “Timecop.”
Who doesn’t have time for that?
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