Time Travel – A Frequently Used Literary Device

Guest Post by Don Massenzio

As a reader, my fascination with time travel began as a child. When I first read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, I was enthralled by the idea of travelling either backward or forward in time.

Traveling backward could allow one to catch glimpses of historical events or important figures. You could go back and wander among dinosaurs. Similarly, traveling forward gives a view of the development of man, technology and the future of our planet.

As I sat down to write my book, Extra Innings, I was fascinated by the different views of time travel that have been used in fiction. This post will discuss those various theories and I’ll give you a view of my thought process in landing on one.

Here are some of the theories that have been presented in fiction:

Watercolor dreamcatcher with beads and feathers. Illustration fo

  1. Precognition – This is the idea of seeing the future during dreams or through the feeling of déjà vu. Abstract black and white design
  2. Time Loops – If you’ve watched the movie, Ground Hog Day, you’ve seen this time travel plot device in action. Usually the events time loop repeat until the character or characters perform a certain action to end the loop and move forward.De Lorean
  3. Time Paradox – If you watched Back to the Future, when Marty McFly went back in time and nearly prevented his parents from getting together for the high school dance, you’ve experienced this time travel device.Time Tourism
  4. Time Tourism – Just like it sounds, when time travelers travel through time to witness historical events as a spectator, this is time tourism.terminator
  5. Time War – This is the use of time travel to conduct war over time using time travel. It could involve going back in time to change events leading up to a pivotal battle or trying to bring about a reset of events that didn’t play out as planned.Erasing The Past
  6. Changing the pastThis is the notion of time travel that I used in my book, Extra Innings. The idea of changing the past is logically contradictory. Even though the consensus today is that the past cannot be changed, science fiction writers have used the idea of changing the past for good story effect. Stephen King used this method of time travel effectively in his book, 11/22/63, by having his main character, Jake Epping, attempt to go back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Though ultimately successful, when Epping returns to the present, he discovers that his actions have had unintended consequences.

If you enjoy time travel and the possibility of going back in time to right wrongs and do things differently if given a chance, follow the adventures of Joe McLean in my latest novel, Extra Innings.


Joe McLean hates his life. A lonely, divorced, middle-aged man, stuck in a cramped apartment, the only bright spot in Joe’s life is cheering on his hometown baseball team.

Now, the local stadium, the place of many childhood and adult memories is being replaced. Joe desperately wants a piece of this iconic venue to preserve his memories and have some memorabilia from his happier past.

That’s when unusual things begin to happen, and Joe begins to rethink the direction his life has taken. Can Joe take a different path in life?

Can he use the special ability that he has acquired to change the course of his life? Will he realize the truth about old adage, you can never go home again? Follow the twists and turns in this supernatural story, Extra Innings, to find out.


53 thoughts on “Time Travel – A Frequently Used Literary Device

  1. I loved Stephen Fry’s novel Making History, his character goes back in time to make sure Hitler is never born, but the alternate future turns out to be a lot worse. This novel was published over twenty years ago, ironically the 21st century has turned out to be far different from what most of us could have imagined. I enjoy ( can’t resist ) writing about time travel, I think my novels would fit into Time Paradox… or would they…

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a very similar to Stephen King’s 11/22/63. His protagonist’s success in preventing the Kennedy assassination doesn’t yield the results he hoped for. That’s one of the inspirations for my latest work. It was fun to write. Continuity was something I really had to focus on as I went from timeline to timeline. Do you have this issue as well?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I didn’t have any well known people or historical events, that made it easier. I loved making up the future. Continuity in the present was the problem. My novel was meant to be set in the present, but by the time it was written, became a trilogy and finally published on Amazon, the present had changed, with all the technological developments etc. So my trilogy is set in ‘the early years of the 21st century.’

        Liked by 2 people

    • And a special thank you for sharing such a great post, Don! I had never thought about all the various types of time travel, but I recognized each and every example. Very interesting! I applaud your courage in branching out from your more traditional mysteries, and I have I feeling I’m going to really enjoy this book.

      My first book was set in two eras, 50 years apart, and that’s as daring as I think I’m likely to get. While I love the concept of real time travel, I’m not sure I could do it justice. (Just like I love epic fantasy, but I know that type of world building is too complex for me to tackle.)

      And have I mentioned how much I love this cover? 😀

      So happy to have you visiting today! You are welcome back any time!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, Marcia. It was fun to explore this. Time travel is a device I have enjoyed reading about and watching in movies. It seemed natural once I went in that direction in the story. I thought about having different eras, but I thought it would get confusing for me to keep everything straight.

        I’m very happy with the cover as well. The same graphic designer has done my last four covers and I’m very pleased with her work.

        Thanks again for the opportunity.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I always enjoy a good time travel story. My two favorite devices are the time paradox and altering the past. I pre-ordered Extra Innings and am looking forward to your take on time travel. Congrats on your upcoming release, Don!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on From the Pen of Mae Clair and commented:

    I’m a fan of time travel books, especially when it involves altering the past. Don Massenzio is visiting with Marcia Meara today on The Write Stuff with his book, Extra Innings. If you enjoy time travel as a plot device, be sure to hop over and check this out. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links | Staci Troilo

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