The Time Travellers Library

4 Jul

Just had this buzzing through my head…

The Time Travellers Library

I blame it on Doctor Who, myself.

As soon as we develop the ability to travel in time, we start going back and meddling, making things better. Except…there’s a catch. Open up a portal to Britain in 1940 and the portal creates a split in the timeline. You can give Winston all the advanced weapons and technology you like, but it won’t actually change the past. All it will do is create a timeline where Winston Churchill rides an Challenger tank into Berlin while Adolf Hitler is hung from the nearest lamppost. Nothing actually wrong with that, of course, but it isn’t quite changing the past.

But it hardly matters. One the science of opening portals was well understood, everyone started to do it. Name a group that doesn’t feel that history kicked it in the ass a few centuries ago. No, I can’t think of one either. So their modern-day descendents grab whatever they can and charge off to save their ancestors from their historically-mandated kicking. Except…it doesn’t really change anything. What does it matter if Japan uses nuclear weapons against Pearl Harbour, or Caesar’s legions get mown down by machine guns, if Prime Timeline doesn’t change?

On the plus side, we don’t really fight wars any longer. Why bother when we can go back in time, create the ideal world, and then live in it?

Call us…a service industry. You see, the modern world is shockingly ignorant about the past, even though they can now walk back to the past. I don’t even want to discuss the number of people who expected an idealised wonderland and discovered the truth that life in a preindustrial age was nasty, brutish and short. Entire timelines were collapsing into chaos because those who thought they could intervene caused disasters. Something had to be done.

I work at the Time Traveller’s Library. We are the greatest historical library in the world, all the more so because we have sent observers back in time to find out what actually happened back then. You want to give Pompey steam engines when he was marching through the Middle East? We can tell you how to do it in nine easy steps. You want to assassinate Hitler – so many groups want to assassinate Hitler – or Stalin? We can provide you with the best places to stand and take your shot.

Or perhaps you want to cure smallpox five hundred years early? Save the Aztecs from the epidemics that wiped them out? We have all the knowledge you need to ensure that they get the best of modern medicine. Make Soviet Communism the dominant society of the world? We can teach you how to do that too.

The library – the first place to come when you want to change your past.

2 Responses to “The Time Travellers Library”

  1. Ian_B July 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    Interesting concept. Where are you planning on running with it?

    • chrishanger July 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

      Not sure yet. I just had the core concept buzzing through my head.


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