The 9 Laws of Time Travel in Romances
A tongue-in-cheek and (very) generalized look at the genre of time travel romances.
1. There will be no mechanics, gears, wheels or electronics to aid the time travel.
The traveling through time will happen spontaneously, without the need of equipment, tools or machines…or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
2. The traveler will experience very little disorientation upon arrival in the past/future.
There will be no side-effects from the traveling, and when the traveler arrives, they can figure out very quickly where they are, and what has happened. They accept the idea of traveling through time without question.
3. The traveler will instantly understand the local language, dialect and idiom.
Even if the locals are speaking a northern Italian early medieval version of Latin, the traveler will be able to both understand, speak and write in that language. Ancient English dialects present no barrier at all.
4. The traveler invariably meets someone famous in the past.
Time travel authors can’t help themselves. The historical personage not only appears in the story, but they are usually enamored with the traveler and their “advanced” thinking…
5. The traveler will find the contemporary clothes of the time they are visiting suits them perfectly.
There is never any disorientation about how to don historical garments, and the traveler never, ever finds the clothing irritating, frustrating or just plain uncomfortable.
They do, of course, look fabulous in their new garb.
6. The traveler will never fall ill of local and contemporary diseases.
There are some deadly diseases that have been all but contained or completely wiped out in our times, that a modern traveler would have no antibodies to resist if they met a nasty virus. Even a common cold would be an ancient variant that modern travelers should succumb to. Nevertheless, the traveler will breeze through their time in the past with nary a sniffle or spike in their temperature.
The traveler will also be able to consume and digest all local foods without ill effect or an adjustment period. No food intolerances are permitted.
7. The traveler will never fall foul of local laws, unless it brings them into contact with the hero/heroine.
Breaking the law, falling foul of local customs and ignoring the etiquette of the times never happens. The traveler, regardless of the degree or lack of historical education, manages to avoid all entanglements with the rules. They instinctively acquire a working knowledge of the local laws when they arrive.
The only time they will screw up is when it helps bring them together with the hero or heroine…or drives a wedge between them.
8. People in the past will not be suspicious about the traveler
Despite the traveler having the oddest accent the locals would have ever heard, a lack of familiarity with current events, and a general air of ignorance, locals will overcome their usually hostile or suspicious reception of strangers and accept the traveler as one of their own.
9. Whatever the traveler does in the past, it will rarely have any affect upon the future.
Einstein’s theories dictate that a visitor to the past must change the past, and even the smallest changes can ripple down through time, their effect expanding as history becomes more and more changed as the new events unfold. But that doesn’t happen in time travel romances. The traveler can bumble around in the past, meet and interact with key figures, even interfere with and change the course of key historical events, but because it is a time travel romance, they will find everything right with their world when they return to their own time.
For every law, above, there is probably a time travel romance out there that proves it is an exception. But time travel romances are too much fun to read and write to ever let little things like Relativity to get in the way.
I know I’m not about to abandon the genre!