Monday, December 17, 2007

Journeyman Continues: 12: The Perfect Time Travel Story//Contest Winner!

Tonight's Episode 12 of Journeyman was one of the best hours of time travel ever on television. I expect it will become a classic-

But first, we have a new winner for tonight's contest. Like last week, I was emailed the correct answer for Dan's last word in tonight's episode within a minute of it being said-

No, I'll get back with the name of the winner, and some consolation prizes, at the end of this review...

Let's talk about this splendid show, first:

We had a perfect time travel story on Journeyman tonight, and I predict it will become an all-time travel television classic, along with "City on the Edge of Forever" in Star Trek: The Original Series and "Yesterday's Enterprise" in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and that's about it.

Even the beginning was perfect: Dan goes eight years back in time to save a mother and son, sitting in the front of an RV, perched half over a cliff. Dan's sheer weight, when he materializes at the back of the vehicle, prevents it from tipping over. And he then uses the weight of his intellect, as always, to talk the mother and son out of the vehicle.

All's well, except ...

Dan has left his new 2007 digital camera in this past. It fell out of his hands. Now leaving any piece of future technology in the past can be very dangerous. It can engender all kinds of profound changes in the present and future.

And it does. The introduction of this digital technology eight years ahead of our time catapults our digital technology far ahead of where it is today, in our and now Dan's original timeline. A scene in the Register's office makes this beautifully clear, as Dan and we see the marvels of digital paper, at least three or four years away from our real time.

But that's the least of it.

When Dan gets home - where he goes before seeing the advanced digital technology - he finds that Zach is gone, and Dan and Katie have a beautiful little girl, by the name of Caroline. Everything else is the same. Katie - and Jack - know about Dan's time traveling. Except Katie, of course, loves Caroline, just as she loved Zach in Dan's (and our) original timeline. And Dan, of course, is desperate to get Zach back ... which he tries to communicate to Katie. In one of the best scenes in the series - an exquisite scene, really - Katie makes it clear to Dan that he better not do anything to change Caroline...

Lovelines and timelines always clash in the better time travel stories, and this episode of Journeyman was one of the best of these I've ever read or seen.

As the time traveler, and agent of the change, Dan of course remembers and will remember everything. (We discussed this here in Infinite Regress last week.) When Dan goes back in time and eventually destroys the digital camera he left in the past, he gets Zach and his original life back. Katie doesn't suffer, because in this reinstated original reality she was always the mother of Zach not Caroline.

But what about Dan? He remembers everything, including the picture of a butterfly that Caroline made for him in school, and Zach now proudly presents his own rendition of to him ...

I wouldn't want to be in that position as a father, and watching this wonderful episode made me glad that I'm a writer of time travel stories, not a time traveler myself, though I've thought about it from time to time.

There were other fine touches in tonight's show - including a bit of information about why Dan and Livia are time travelers, and another cryptic appearance of our tachyon Dr. Langley.

I'll save discussion of those themes for Wednesday, and the 13th episode of Journeyman... I'm looking forward to every minute.

Which brings us to tonight's contest winner... the first to send me email with the last word that Dan uttered tonight. It was "minute" - as in, "you're kidding - wait a minute," Dan's last words to Langley, when the tachyon doc claimed he didn't know Dan...

But I know the winner of tonight's contest, and it's Stephanie! Congratulations!

An autographed copy of The Plot to Save Socrates will be in the mail to Stephanie tomorrow!

For everyone else: If you've already answered the question correctly - but got it in after Stephanie - I'll be happy to send you, via e-mail, a copy of my 1997 award-nominated time travel novella, Loose Ends (first published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine, and widely reprinted, including on

And, further, for anyone who answered tonight's question correctly, I'll be happy to autograph and return to you at my expense any copies of The Plot to Save Socrates that you send to me between now and the end of this year.

My email is

But Stephanie gets the free copy of my novel for tonight's episode.

Every minute really counted tonight. Believe it or not, I got another correct answer, just a minute after Stephanie's.

And the contest will continue for the next episode of Journeyman. I'll give a free, autographed copy of The Plot to Save Socrates to first person, after Wednesday's show, who e-mails Dan's last word on the show to me! See Extending The Plot to Save Socrates - Journeyman Contest for details.

Note, by the way, that the contest calls for Dan's last word spoken on each episode - not the last word spoken by someone else, if that last word is the last word on the show.

My reviews of other Journeyman episodes ... 1: NBC Quantum Leaps Into Journeyman ...2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5 ... 6... 7 ... 8. Livia's Story ... 9. Dan Unravels His Present ... 10. Jack's In! ... 11. Livia's Beau ... Lucky 13

The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

more about The Plot to Save Socrates...

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