"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Outlander 1.1-3: The Hope of Time Travel

I was drawn to the Outlander series on Starz, because, as all of you devoted and casual readers of this blog well know, time travel is one of my passions, as a viewer, reader, and author.  In addition, the retooled Battlestar Galactica on the SyFy Channel a few years, by Ronald D. Moore, is one of my favorite series ever on television, period, and Outlander, based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, is Moore's baby on television.

The story certainly is firmly situated in time travel.  Claire, a newly married nurse in Britain in 1945, somehow slips through time and finds herself in the tumultuous Scotland of 1747.   But, so far, in the first three episodes at least, there's little more than a dash of time travel in this excellent historical narrative.

Indeed, we actually get a double historical narrative in Outlander, because 1945 is after all history to us, too.   But almost all the action after the first episode has been in 1747, where we meet a bow-legged Laird, and all kinds of colorful characters.   Claire's being a nurse makes her a good character for a time travel scenario, given that she brings to 1747 the greatly evolved medical knowledge of 1945.  But the main time travel in the story so far, other than her falling through time, is her interior monologues, interestingly consisting of her musing about how she can apply her future medical knowledge without arousing too much suspicion.

Instead of time travel, we get an immersion in the politics of the time, and a brewing flirtation between Claire and a handsome Scot soldier.  This creates a significant tension, since Claire's happily married in 1945 - but it's worth pointing out that someone who looks just like her husband is a no-good Brit in 1747, played by Tobias Menzies of Rome and all kinds of other fame.  If all of this were Claire's dream, her husband being a bad guy in 1747 would say something about her marriage in 1945 - but presumably, this is real not a dream.   So, what's someone who looks exactly like her husband doing back in 1747?   Surely not coincidence.  Did he time travel, too?   But, if so, how come he didn't recognize Claire?

I'll keep watching Outlander, but more for the historical romance than the time travel, which at this point is more of a hope than a reality.

podcast review of the first half season

Sierra Waters series, #1, time travel


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