Saturday, 4 January 2014

A Little More On Time Travel

See here.

I said earlier that, in Neil Gaiman's The Books Of Magic series, the title of each individual volume is on the title page though not on the front cover. I see now that it is also on the spine but this is so thin as to be almost unnoticeable.

Volume IV, The Road To Nowhere, involves time travel. In any carefully written time travel story, it is necessary to heed any apparently inconsequential remarks that may turn out to be significant later. Of course, that is necessary in any fiction but time travel adds an extra dimension. A figure in the background of a scene may turn out to be a character who, later in the story, sets out to travel pastwards in order to observe or intervene in that earlier moment.

When Tim and Mr E pass through the sixtieth century, they are addressed by a disembodied voice that asks them where they are from and, when told "the past, the twentieth century," continues:

"We have a throwback to be punished/scolded/rehabilitated) not pleasing here [will you expropriate him to your time/?" (p. 21)

When Tim sounds uncertain, the voice, unconcerned, says that it has:

"...located your lodging date-line now ( will be jimdandy for the madchild..." (ibid.) 

So someone will be sent from the sixtieth to the twentieth century because, in the sixtieth, he is regarded as a throwback, as mad and as a child. Does this correspond to any known DC character? I thought that it might refer to Mr E walking back from the end of time. He is a throwback and mad though hardly a child but maybe he seems such in the sixtieth?

Booster Gold is a superhero of questionable maturity who has time traveled from (maybe it is the sixtieth?) to the twentieth century but this seems like a different scenario. (Later: No, the twenty-fifth.)


  1. It actually refers to

    which is interesting since he is described to have willingly travelled backwards in time after finding that no one was interested in his magic tricks which paled in comparison to the highly advanced marvels of his time. Maybe Gaiman took some liberties here.