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What Are The Best Time Travel Stories?

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn't so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You're invited to submit your answers to any of these questions -- or a related one of your own! -- that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, crossposted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

John Boot: Time-Travel Thriller Looper Should Make Its Director a Hollywood Player

Hannah Sternberg: 5 Reasons I Don’t Want to Travel Back in Time

What pop culture questions do you want to debate and discuss? Please leave your suggestions for upcoming Pop Culture debates also in the comments or submit via email.

Updated May 9, 2014: A very helpful, thorough primer from a reader:

Hi Dave!

If you want to start with the written Time Travel Stories:

We must start with Robert Heinlein.

"By His Bootstraps" was his first attempt at a Time Travel Story.

"All You Zombies" -- Classic story in only six pages. Brilliant!

His novel “The Door into Summer” --  it’s both a time travel novel AND a robot novel. (Even though “IRobot” is named after Asimov’s short story, the robots work like Heinlein’s.) Heinlein was an engineer, so his robots make more sense.

All books from “Time Enough for Love” on…(Which is really the ULTIMATE Time Travel/Parallel Timeline/Parallel Universe series.) “The Number of the Beast” anyone? ;-)

Asimov’s “The End of Eternity” is actually an alternate Timeline novel with Time Travel elements. Alternate from the Empire and Foundation timeline before he merged his robot novels into it.

H. Beam Piper – “Paratime”.  The “Federation Books” are really alternate Timeline books from “Paratime”. (Including the “Little Fuzzy” series.) (Yes, I realize that Paratime is just passing into parallel universes, but…)

“Star Trek” – numerous episodes and Movies, and when you consider that the new movies are actually in an alternate timeline. Not a “reboot”. They won me over when they mentioned “Admiral Archer”. (He’s from before the split.)

“Back to the Future” – When you think about this series, it’s really both Time Travel and Alternate Timelines.

“Doctor Who” -  I just started getting into him.

So this idea is not just Time Travel, but Alternate Timelines.

These are just the big ones.

There was the “Time Wars” novels in the 80s and 90s. I remember the author talking about that third season “Star Trek:TOS” episode with the Wyatt Earp saying that that episode was the closest anyone ever came in Hollywood to making the look of the Earp’s and Doc Holliday “Look right”.

Hope this helps.


PS The ultimate conservative science fiction books - “Starship Troopers” and H. Beam Pipers “A Planet for Texans”, also known as “Lone Star Planet”. Look it up, the paper back is only 87 pages long. A quick read. I'd like to see Glenn Beck make this one into a movie with his studio. (Piper has the BEST court room stories.)