I attended FenCon 2019 and went to a couple of panels by science fiction and fantasy authors that I thought had useful information for writers.

The leaders of the discussion were Kathleen O’Brien and Melanie Unruh.

by Adolfo Felix via Unsplash

When has this idea been done?

  • Quantum Leap
  • Voyagers
  • Star Gate
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, about time-traveling archaelogy
  • Tunnel in the Sky by Robert Heinlein, with the recommendation that you “travel light and hide a knife”

What are the interesting questions?

habitability–Ex:., If we lived in dinosaur time, we would be dizzy as the oxygen was 5-1-% higher.

How easy is it to come back?

  • Guardians of Forever
  • StarGate SGI
  • Sliders
  • Other Worlds (1985-86, 10-12 episodes)

How could you make life easier for yourself?

  • bandage wrapping to hide a weapon
  • think about metals available at the time
  • Dress in layers. Have cloak on outside (because can help you “hide” while you decide what to actually wear.) Wear pants under a skirt.
  • Cultural norms shift over time.
  • Aim for middle class or lower. Servants were routinely ignored, but they also didn’t have access to some things.

As soon as you arrive, get out of the way, get somewhere not obvious, and check. What do you find?

by Filios Sazeides via Unsplash

Things to consider

  • clothing
  • oxygen
  • appearance
  • food
  • sanitation
  • vaccinations
  • medical conditions (ex. Lucifer’s Hammer)

How would you buy things? Currency issues.

  • Could carry money belt under clothes, but have to have right currency.
  • Spices for selling, but there was a royal monopoly.
  • Guilds control things in medieval periods.
  • Aluminum might be good, because hard to smelt, but if they don’t know what it is…

What knowledge could you bring with you?

  • 3 things needed for gunpowder
  • Survival skills
  • Medicinal herbs and plants

Texts in which people time travel or step through space/time

  • 13th Warrior–great scene for language
  • Guardians of the Flame by Joel Rosenberg
  • Gordon Dickson’s Dragon series
  • Apocalypse Troll by David Weber
  • Excalibur Alternative by David Weber
  • Lest Darkness Fall in the 1930s


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