If I had a chance to go back in time, I think the period I would most like to go back to is the 1980s... Fantastic music, hair styles, classic movies, and real food that actually tasted good (admitted laden with hydrogenated fats, salt and sugar); and Coka Cola in a glass bottle tasted like an orgasm on the tongue. What better age? For me, watching the Adam Sandler movie The Wedding Singer is nostalgic and one of my all time favourite films. I'm sure I'm probably viewing that era through rose-tinted glasses, after all it was the main period of my childhood... I would worry, however, that seeing it with present-day-eyes would ruin my appreciation for that decade, akin to watching old classic TV shows that brought so much joy and entertainment back in its day, but now look bloody awful and terribly dated on our all-singing all-dancing HD TV sets.
The best novel I've read on time travel in recent years is Ben Elton's Time and Time Again (what a great title!). If you plan to read this, skip this paragraph as there are some spoilers! The main plot deals with an opportunity to go back in time to effect a change to avert a disaster that (it's alleged) affects the world today... the protagonists believe the main disaster in history was the start of World War One. Mr Elton's story cleverly follows the main character as he travels back in time with a mission to stop the death of Franz Ferdinand (The Archduke not the Scottish band!) by assassinating the man who killed him, Gavrilo Princip. It is stated in history that the death of Franz Ferdinand was the spark that ignited the beginnings of the first great war. Time and Time Again has a few good plot twists, and subtly deals with the butterfly effect, illustrating this by pitting the hero of the story in resultant time zones, all bleaker and made worse by his actions. By the end of the book the lead character - like you will have - has decided that it was all a big mistake trying to change things, and he then proceeds to try and make amends.
Some of my favourite films deal with time travel, or use time travel as a key component of its story. I've already mentioned Back to the Future, which is ripe for a remake. The first of the trilogy was exceptional, but the sequels, though acceptable, could have been much better. The Terminator films deal headlong with the idea of going back in time to stop a prominent leader before he was born... I'm looking forward to seeing the new one: Terminator Genisys shortly to see if the producers can redeem themselves for Terminator 3 and Terminator Salvation. I could go on with further comments about films, but instead, here's my top ten, which was difficult to compile as there are so many I love:
- Back to the Future
- The Terminator 1 & 2
- Donnie Darko
- Deja Vu
- Groundhog Day
- Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
- Edge of Tomorrow
- About Time
- The Time Traveller's Wife
I could have included many others, but these are the one's that have brought me most enjoyment (okay, I feel bad leaving Time Cop out... sorry JCVD). I also think there could have been a place for Hot Tub Time Machine or Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me, both of these are immense fun.
I guess time travel, or at least the ability to return to a former time, appeals to many (myself included), because it offers up the opportunity of being able to go back to a place in history when things seemed better, allowing you to experience idyllic moments once again, akin to a living, breathing photograph. Additionally, it could grant you hindsight to alter things that, in turn, could help you make decisions that would (or could) have a positive effect on your life, today. The second most-often cited use of time travel is using the ability to find out some winning lottery numbers... admit it, you would too if you could!
Professor Stephen Hawking doesn't believe it's possible to time travel, but other prominent scientists throughout time (see what I did there!) claim that it can (including Professor Brian Cox - if that has any weight!); no one has been able to prove it yet, but that doesn't mean anything. Whether or not time travel is possible, it takes nothing away from the fact that the idea of it is compelling, and one which, without doubt, will be used for countless more novels and movies for many years to come. Who knows, I may even be planning to write one myself.