1. akexodia
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    akexodia Member

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    Time travel: CLICHE??

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by akexodia, Jan 16, 2012.

    Are stories revolving around 'time travel' and similar concepts becoming cliche? If at all a new novel based on this very theme (assuming the author gets every single fact correct) appears, would you grab it for a read?
     
  2. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Time travel is not cliche because although the idea is appealing it has actually never formalised in real life.
    Hence movies which help make concepts come alive greatly and yet are quite deceiving if you were a child.
    The good thing about time travel is that it is left to the imagination to explore because it has not been formalised.
    So to answer your question: No it is not cliche and so it is yours to explore and play with as you wish.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's pretty much the bottom line... besides, being 'cliche' didn't stop lots of novels and movies from making a fortune for their writers...

    just don't treat the cliched subject in a cliched manner... think up some new twist...
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The only time-travel stories that work for me are ones in which time travel is very difficult. If it's easy, it's like a get-out-of-jail-free card. Any hopeless situation your characters get into can easily be gotten out of by going back in time to where the situation wasn't hopeless. It drains all the drama out of the story.

    I thought it was interesting in one of the Back to the Future movies, when Doc Brown got stranded in the Old West. He had his DeLorean with the time machine built in, but he had no gas for it, and he had no way of getting the speed up to 88 miles per hour to make the time travel work; that wasn't possible back in that time. So there was a story there. If you make time travel difficult, you can have a story. If it's easy, it's a big yawn.
     
  5. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    For what it's worth, many series have addressed the time travel storyline and, in fan favorite voting and in requests for reruns, the time travel episodes are always at the top of the list. (i.e. Star Trek, Stargate, etc) So, I would say that there is significant interest still if people are begging for reruns.
     
  6. OriginalUsername211
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    OriginalUsername211 New Member

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    I'd say it depends on the author and the concept itself. Time travel in itself isn't cliche, but many of the formulas associated with it are, at least in my opinion.
     
  7. Berber
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    Berber Active Member

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    I don't believe that time travel in itself is a cliche, but the means by which authors go about it can be; there are certain conventions that have become trite within time travel pieces. Examples might include: trying to use time travel to eliminate someone evil or save someone important, not being allowed to interact with yourself or ancestors, being "stuck" in a certain time period or a time machine that operates erratically, and of course, tiptoeing around the time travel paradox.

    The key to avoiding coming across cliche in such a piece is to make your usage of time travel original and avoid the commonplace concepts associated with it. I personally find the subject to be a very interesting topic and would love to read a new novel that took the time travel genre in a different direction.
     
  8. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I don't think so. It can be cheesy, but it's not cliche.

    I love most stories with time travel. There are so many possibilities.
     
  9. Corgz
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    Corgz Senior Member

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    Time travel machines area cliche, but say, your character has a problem. everytime he falls asleep he travels ten yearrs back into the past... I'd read that!
     
  10. LaGs
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    LaGs Banned

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    I love the use of time travel in Slaughterhouse 5 by Vonnegut, because it's excellently used in the novel as a convenient device for the author, where he can thread and weave the story to his own ends. And if it's done in a subtle way, like in that book, it really is a joy to read.
     
  11. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    I agree with these two statements. When your characters don't face conflict or they're not given something to overcome, especially with such a interesting, creative idea as time-travel, things can get boring pretty fast. You can utilize such a versatile topic as time-traveling to produce a fantabulous, intriguing, and hopefully original plot. The time-travel way to go can either benefit you or shoot you in the foot. And to answer your original question, no. I don't believe it's cliche.
     
  12. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    If you haven't seen it already, you might be interested in a film called Timecrimes. It's about a man who gets into a time machine by accident, and only goes back in time 1 hour but gets into a whole heap of trouble. I really enjoyed it and didn't find it cliche at all, despite it being about time travel.
     
  13. Ziggy Stardust
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    Ziggy Stardust Active Member

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    No time travel is not a "cliche". That doesn't mean that you can't write a horrible cliched book that involves time travel though.
     

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