Why Time Travel Romances Wouldn’t Work Outside Romance Novels.
Time Travel romances are a particular favourite of mine. I got hooked on the idea of travelling through time for love at a very early age, when I saw the 1960 version of The Time Machine, featuring Rod Taylor (who just happens to be Australian). In that story, the hero goes forward in time, but the general idea is the same. In the romance genre, most often one of the romantically involved travels back in time, to start the story rolling.
But as much fun as they are, if time travel really worked, the chances that a romance could flourish successfully back in history would be pretty damned small. Why? Because the person who came from that historical period probably wouldn’t understand the modern person well enough to fall in love with them in the first place.
Romance novels tend to gloss over this stark reality, if they give it any airtime at all. I sometime wonder if romance authors who write time travel novels have seriously considered this unique cultural problem, or if I’m just too geeky for my own good.
But I think about history, social psychology, time travel and immortality a lot, because my novels tend to deal with these subjects over and over again. I’ve just released my third time travel romance, and it won’t be my last by a long chalk.
Lemme explain. Here in our modern day world, we use cell phones, tablets, the Internet, and we are so wirelessly connected to one another that if someone goes off the grid for more than a few hours, a dozen friends from around the globe will send up the alarm.
If you listen to the average conversation of the average people around you (and I do, every day. I shamelessly eavesdrop on the bus!), you will hear speech thick with cultural references -- TV shows, movies, books, movie icons, comic characters. The words, slang and idioms are from movies, TV, music and books, popular cult figures and more. The more wired into each other we become (and the Internet moving to our cell phones and mobile devices as our primary access will be the penultimate step), the faster these references will change and adapt.
One hundred years ago, a child could pretty much expect to lead a life very similar to that of his or her parents, using the same technology, wearing similar clothes, earning a similar amount of money and staying within a hundred mile radius of where they were born.
These days, our parents have trouble keeping up with the technology and language we use, the books, movies and music we like, and often they’re living on a different coastline from us, or even a different country (mine are, for instance). Cultural change is speeding up. If our parents, who were born only one generation before us, have a hard time understanding our likes and dislikes, and sometimes don’t understand what we’re talking about, how would someone from one or two hundred years cope? What about someone from a thousand years ago?
Then there’s changes from country to country. Even in this day and age of globalization, there are still huge differences between one country and another. We laugh about polite Canadians and pushy American tourists, and meek British civil servants...but those clichés are still around for a reason. They point out differences between national cultures. When I first moved to Canada, I figured I would have no trouble at all fitting in. I was moving from one Commonwealth country to another, and everyone spoke English. No worries, mate.
Except, I had a permanent headache for six weeks, caused by the endless need to concentrate at all times whenever someone spoke, so I could sort past the accent, the strange words used, the cultural references I didn’t understand (I had a three year TV lag, just to begin, and some shows Australia simply never received), to finally reach a point where I understood what someone was saying. By the time I figured out what they’d said, they’d spoken again and I was back to squeezing my temples.
And I hadn’t even moved through time. Just space.
About six months after arriving here, I was hit by the strongest wave of homesickness I’ve ever experienced. The novelty of a new country and snow and mountains had worn off. Psychologically, I had adapted. And now I had started to miss all the things that Canada didn’t have (and all the friends and family), and subconsciously realized I would never experience again, unless I went back to Australia.
What sort of psychological depression would a time traveller go through, if they went back a few hundred or a thousand years and stayed there for a long while? Given the lack of technology and devices of convenience around back then (any “then”), the depression could be pretty severe. And the traveller would have to go back for a decent amount of time, if they’re going to have a serious shot at a long term romance, so there would have to be some sort of repercussion.
All that mental depression aside, and even if the couple could manage to overcome their communications difficulties to speak heart to heart, the odds are still stacked against a modern person and someone from the past successfully sustaining a romantic relationship. Personal values becomes the next gigantic hurdle. The historically-based of the pair would have values that the modern person would find at the very least a touch old-fashioned. For example: It wasn’t too long ago when a woman’s place was in the home, and men expected the woman to cook, clean, make his shirts, bear his children, and keep her mouth shut at all times unless he directly addressed her. These “values” were so strongly rooted in society that women who tried to buck the system were beaten, cast out of society and worse. A modern woman travelling back to historical times and falling in love with a historically-based male would find this expectation so rooted in her hero that he would not even be aware that there are alternatives for women. He would be surprised she would even question the situation, because for him, that is the way it has always been, and always will be.
Even if the open lines of communications allowed the pair to discuss their conflicting values, and if the man was a rare, open-minded forward thinker who could allow his modern mate the freedom she was born and raised to expect, the culture they live in would do everything to ensure she maintained the status quo, and was a good and proper mate. That would put incredible pressures on the couple and their romance. Do you think you could subjugate your personal freedom and will for the sake of love? I know I’d have to sit down and really think hard about it.
The problems couldn’t simply be resolved by having the historically-based mate jump forward, although this solution does lessen the degree of conflict. The one who jumped forward would have to deal with a culture shock far more severe than the temporary headaches, disorientation and mild depression I suffered from moving around the globe. Depending on how robust their intelligence and mental state, it’s possible they would not be able to make the adaptation at all, leading to a tragic end to the romance.
Thank heavens, though, the average romance novel does gloss over these uncomfortable and, well, depressing considerations about time travel. Time travel romances are, in the end, just plain good fun. A way to sneak back in history and play in it, while keeping all your modern attitudes and ideas.
by Tracy Cooper-Posey
Time is theirs to keep. But it comes with a price.
MMF Urban Fantasy Futuristic Time Travel Romance Serial
In the early 23rd Century, vampires learned how to travel back in time, and created a time-tsunami that threatened life as we know it, until they corrected their mistake. They created the Chronometric Conservation Agency, which is tasked with preserving history and therefore protecting humanity’s future. The Touring arm of the Agency offers trips back into the real past, with vampire guides, called travellers.
When Natalia (Tally) Marta, vampire and traveller, takes her client to visit the siege of Stirling Castle in 1314, she is caught and held hostage for ransom by Robert MacKenzie, a Bruce clansman. Rob finds himself drawn to the wilful, stubborn and very different English lady he has captured and the relationship becomes an intimate, highly-charged sexual pairing. Swiftly, Tally and Rob realize their bond is more than sexual, that the emotions stirring their hearts are true.
Christian Lee Hamilton, vampire, one of the last true southern gentlemen, and Tally’s ex-lover, knows the 1314 time marker enough to jump back and help Tally return home. His arrival at Bannockburn adds complications, for Christian finds himself drawn to Rob MacKenzie as much as Tally is. But neither of them can stay in the past forever. To do so means certain death.
An Excerpt From: BANNOCKBURN BINDING
Copyright © TRACY COOPER-POSEY, 2011 All Rights Reserved.
She bit her lip. “Can you not find a way to smuggle us out of the camp again? Perhaps, back to the Bannock burn?”
“And let the English pick ye up? Nay, I’ll not do that.”
She closed her eyes. “And do you not understand that as long as you keep
me here, I must find a way to escape? I cannot explain why, except to say that I would be betraying my own duty if I did not make the attempt.”
“Then I must stay with ye.”
She blinked. “Excuse me?”
“If ye must make the attempt, I must stay with ye to be sure ye don’t.”
“Now who’s being bloody ridiculous?” She looked amazed. Anger was stirring in her own eyes. He could see it.
Rob bent down and picked up the rope he’d discarded earlier and tied it about her wrist. “And don’t be trying to unpick it, for it’ll just tighten more,” he told her. “I know how to tie a good knot.” Then he lifted his own wrist.
She tried to pull away when she realized his intention, but he was braced for it and held her arm and tied the knot one-handed. His side didn’t need to be as intricate as hers. Then he lifted up his wrist, tugging her forearm up by the rope between them. “Here ye be and here ye stay, until the English are but blood on the field.”
Fury blazed in her eyes. “Rob, ye cannot—“
“Finally, ye acknowledge my name,” he said.
She fell silent, but her chest was heaving with her anger.
Rob wrapped his anchored arm around her waist and drew her closer. She fought him, pushing against his arms and chest, but he simply tightened his hold and waited until her strength gave out.
She gave out a shuddering breath and he felt her arms and shoulders give way. Her head dropped.
Rob lifted her chin with his free hand, forcing her to look at him. “’tis meant as a kindness, Natalie. You’ll understand, by and by.”
Her gaze was steady. The fury had gone. “I understand well enough.” Her voice was low. “’tis no way I leave this camp a maiden. Not tied to your wrist for half a summer.”
His body tightened. Thrummed. “Well as maybe, lass. You chose the terms of ye capture.” His voice emerged harsher than he’d have liked. “Count your blessings. If I’d left ye out there this night ye’d be the entertainment of the entire army.”
Rob relented. “Will ye not tell me ye family name, Natalie? Let me send word? Then all this will be over in a matter of days.”
She shook her head. “I cannot.”
Rob sighed. “Then the matter must proceed as ye have chosen.” He stroked her cheek. “I’ll do my best to ensure you don’t regret yer choice.”
~Book Buy Links~
* Erotic MMF romance, time travel, urban fantasy story line, on-going serial storylines.
* This is the first book in the BELOVED BLOODY TIME series.
* Futuristic settings: Australia, near-planetary space. Historical settings: Medieval Scotland, France.
* Vampires and other fantasy species. * Available at Amazon: Kindle format. Print format. * Available at All Romance ebooks: Adobe Acrobat, Palm DOC/iSolo, Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket (.prc and Mobi), Rocket, ePub
* Pages: 162 in PDF, including front matter. (Short novel-length story)
* $2.99 in all electronic formats, and at all retailers.
* $8.97 in print.
~About The Author~
Tracy Cooper-Posey is a national award winning author, with more than 35 romance titles published since 1999. She writes mainly romantic suspense and paranormal romance, with brief forays into other romantic genres here and there. She has been nominated for three CAPA's for best paranormal romance, and the CAPA for Favourite Author, and has won the Emma Darcy Award. …an author I’ll pick up simply because her name is on the cover. Kristi Ahlers, Amazon.com …reminded me of why I fell in love with reading in the first place. M.M. Gwynn, eBookConnections …touches the heart and makes you feel everything. Cherokee, Coffee Time Romance …writes books which deserve a place on keeper shelves everywhere! Julie Bonello, ECataRomance Reviews Connect directly with Tracy at her site...Facebook...Twitter...Google+...Amazon...All Romance eBooks... MMF Romance Novels (Tracy’s Facebook Group). Sign up for her newsletter and get two free romances. And check out some of the 100+ articles on her site, too!