The Theories Behind Time Travel

Great Scott! How many gigawatts does it take to write a story with time travel and parallel universes? It doesn’t take that much electricity, but it does take a lot of planning, researching and creativity.

H.G. Wells, Isaac Asminov, Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, Kurt Vonnegut — they’ve all written famous science fiction books that focus on time travel. Wells’ Time Machine dates back to 1895, before Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and before the ideas behind black holes and wormholes existed.

Traveling in time to alter our destinies has been a pop culture fascination for a long time. Many superheroes have experienced time travel in different ways. Superman could go back in time by flying around the world quickly enough to reverse Earth’s rotation. Similarly, The Flash could travel fast enough to go back in time. Even the mutant, Wolverine, traveled back in time in X-Men: Days of Future Past to change the fate the world.

The plot lines involved in time travel and jumping through alternate realities are not easy to follow and are even more difficult to write. This lesson takes a look back in time at how some science-fiction stories have rules and a structure to the way time and alternate universes function within their fictional world and how you can create your own narrative structure to write your own tight story involving parallel universes and time travel.


Some media may contain mature content. Discretion is advised when viewing with students.

Interview with Michio Kaku, leading scientific theorist on parallel universes

Interview with Ronald Mallet about building a time machine
Lesson Plan

Learning Objective: Students will learn basic information about writing fiction with parallel universes and time travel. The science behind these phenomenons will be explored as well as structures that have been used in science-fiction writing, television and movies. Students will learn how to brainstorm and establish a foundation for their writing as well as take historical facts into consideration.

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Lesson tags: Books, Comic books, Creative Writing, Eighth, English, Featured, Movies, Ninth, Science, Science Fiction, Superhero, Tenth, time travel, TV

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