If you could travel back in time…

If you could travel back in time to observe one event in history, what would you choose?

I’ll stipulate that observing the event will not have evil effects on the timeline. If you return to the Cretaceous period and step on a caterpillar, when you  return to the present day you will not discover that Tyrannosaurus Rex is actually a tyrant king, who sits on the throne roaring and waving a sword in his little T. rex arms. Nor will you get caught up in the event you’re observing. If you go back to watch the Mayans play football, you won’t end up with your head being thrown through the hoop to score the winning goal.

Me? Considering that my upcoming novel features people running for their lives in the New Mexico desert near the Trinity Site, and that I recently reread Richard Rhodes’ The Making of the Atomic Bomb, I might return to July 1945 to watch the first nuclear explosion. The morning that humanity broke open a power inherent in nature: it would be exciting and terrible and awe-inspiring.

Hey, I’m a thriller writer. Did you think I’d go back to watch something cuddly?

Plus, maybe I’d get to meet Richard Feynman.

8 responses to “If you could travel back in time…

  1. I would go back in time to 1986, when I walked out of the Top Gun movie for the first time. I would slap the snot out of myself and then tell me to forget about being a pilot.

    Later on when my friend offered me to start a computer business in 1991 I would have accepted and make millions of dollars with him.

  2. If I could travel back in time, maybe I could go back 30 seconds to before a wayward mouse click wiped out the long, thoughtful reply I’d just completed.

  3. (trying again)
    I’d like time travel tickets to performance I’ve read about or seen filmed glimpses of. Fred and Adele in 1920s London, George M Cohan in anything, Angela Lansbury in Mame.

    Or just to stand on a street corner anywhere, any time, and look at life going on around me, whether it’s VE Day in Trafalgar Square or downtown Toronto in 1901.

    (Meg, did you catch the latest series of Foyle’s War? Your target moment is depicted at the start of one episode. Very chilling. The looks on their faces….)

  4. I would like to go back to the day in Jerusalem when Jesus was supposed to have walked out of his tomb. That is the biggest mystery as far as I am concerned. Did it happen or didn’t it?

  5. This is a toughie! Part of me would love to sail the Titanic (in first class, of course). But another part of me would like to find out what happened to the Princes in the Tower…

    • You’re presuming you’ll have control over when you can leave the event. I guess that’s fair. Unless you’re ready to knock Kate Winslet off that raft…

  6. You know, Mythbusters proved that both Kate and Leo could have survived. Or I could always count on washing up on shore and becoming a mysterious millionaire who throws the best parties on Long Island…

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