It’s some what fitting that on the day that marks “Back to the Future Day“, the latest story in Futures toys with time and family issues. Prime time is the second story from Jennifer Campbell-Hicks to appear in Futures (you can catch the first, Transference, here). You can keep up with Jennifer’s work at her website or by following her on Twitter. Here, she reveals the inspiration behind her latest tale. As ever, it pays to read the story first.
Writing Prime time
Time travel is one of my favourite science-fiction devices. My first favourite television show that wasn’t a cartoon was Quantum Leap. I have a miniature TARDIS and Dalek on my desk at work. I’ve danced around time travel in a couple of stories, but this is my first real leap (see what I did there?) into that subgenre.
If I were going to write a time-travel story, I needed a twist that I hadn’t seen before. What I came up with: a malfunctioning machine that spits out the same traveller at the same point in his time line, over and over. Moreso, he comes out in multiples so the total number of his clones always equals a prime number. Why primes? Any machine that does complicated calcuations involving time and space would manifest its malfunction mathematically. It made sense.
My other favourite part of writing this story: the long-suffering teenage girl with a mad-scientist father. She handles the insanity much better than I would. Then again, I imagine she has dealt before with her father’s crazy inventions going haywire. This is her normal, living in American suburbia with a time machine in the basement.