If you have read anything in the Sci-Fi genre or watched anything close on TV, you've come across the concept of Time Travel. Travelling through time seems to be on the human mind more often than not, with TV shows like Leap Year, Doctor Who, and Primeval dominating the spectre. JK Rowling touched on the subject during one her Harry Potter books, and even Stephen King, the Master of Horror, has jumped on the bandwagon with his release entitled 11/22/63.
So, let's take a moment and look at the many forms that Time Travel has taken over the years since its appearance in literature.
MechanicalSome versions of Time Travel have appeared as Mechanical. This can be in a space ship with time travel compatibility or a time machine - one that can only travel in time, not in location. This can vary - for example, in Doctor Who, they have the TARDIS. While this may give the appearance of a time machine (as it resembles a Victorian police box) it is actually a space ship with time travel compatibility. It can move in location, as well as in time. In Hot Tub Time Machine, for example - they only travel in time, making this a time machine. (I know, they are TV or Movie references, but are the easiest and most currently recognizable.) When it comes to literature - books featuring Mechanical Time Travel include The Time Machine by HG Wells and How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe by Charles Yu.
PortalPortal based Time Travel is similar to, say, the Crack in the Wall in Doctor Who. A portal is generally a hole in the space-time continuum. Most likely you'll see this a rift or hole that glows and generally floats in the sky. Stephen King's 11/22/63 is an example of portal based Time Travel, as the character travels through a rift hidden in a storeroom.
FantasticalThink Charles Dickens... Fantastical Time Travel is orchstrated by a ghost or other such phenomena. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future from A Christmas Carol are the perfect example. They guide the character through different points in time. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is another great example of Fantastical Time Travel.
Magical/Item BasedMagical or Item Based is when an object holds the power of time travel. A character cannot travel in time without this specific item. The mystical stones in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander shows magical/Item Based Time Travel well, as does JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
UnexplainedBecause, well... why not? It's most likely in the future, right? If you find yourself wondering exactly how they managed to travel, consider it unexplained. Sometimes a light explanation (ie: They're The One) still makes it fall into this category.
The Multiverse of Max Tovey combines two of these unique travelling methods, making for an interesting explanation of Time Travelling. The Multiverse meshes historical elements, science-fiction (ie: Time Travelling), and mythic folk lore for a whirlwind ride through vital historical points in Britan's history.
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