Science fantastical work and the other feels that science

Science fiction (SF) is a difficult genre to define; in its
basic form, science fiction can be described as fantasy being turned into reality
while also utilizing the scientific knowledge we currently possess and building
from that. It’s origins stem from the 2nd century starting with
tales of outer space, alien life and interplanetary warfare. As time progressed
and societies began to become more industrialized, science fiction followed
suit. The intent of science fiction shifts with the concerns plaguing the
society of that time. Although the genre was a vessel for an entertaining way
to tell an underlying message, there was a big criticism of science fiction as
a genre because it can be difficult to balance a developed story and the
current/futuristic scientific practices. Science fiction can be looked at as a
means to explore human nature by using sciences and technology as a catalyst;
in that moment, as readers, we are using science fiction to deconstruct the
unknown to explain the known to offer a reflection of the issues that many
aren’t addressing and/or oblivious to the world surrounding them. Looking
deeper at literary devices within science fiction, specifically time travel, this
paper will prompt the audience to ponder the moral permissibility, obligations,
and conflict that arise when interjecting different time periods and how these
ethical implications are used to express deeper societal concerns in three
different texts; The Time Machine by
H.G. Wells, 11/22/63 by Stephen King
and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of
Azkaban by J.K. Rowling.

The origins of science fiction are
as shrouded in mystery as the definition of science fiction. Two major camps of
thought exist when discussing the history of science fiction; one group thinks
science fiction is rooted in early fantastical work and the other feels that
science fiction came about as a genre following the scientific revolution. Putting
aside ancient origins, science fiction became a genre in New York City in 1926.

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According to James Gunn, who wrote Science
Fiction around the World, it took a long time for Science fiction to gain
any type of credibility, but Hugo Gernsback changed that in 1926 when he
created the first science fiction magazine, Amazing
Stories which, “gave fiction an identity and a characteristic flavor,”
(Gunn 27). Amazing
Stories was a magazine that that began shaping the history of science fiction
everyone could agree upon, ultimately giving Gernsback one of the most famous
titles: “one of the fathers of science fiction”. In The Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe Type of Story”:
Hugo Gernsback’s History of Science Fiction, the author Gary Westfahl
discusses the history of Gernsback’s contribution to the construction of the SF
genre and how that shaped the SF genre everyone knows today. Gernsback’s
magazine ultimately identified science fiction from other literature and cite
past and present work to establish a concise history. But Gernsback was no
selfless scholar, he had a scientific background and major influence on radio
electronics and broadcasting. He was just in publishing for the money; he would
reprint a SF piece if he thought they would be popular with the readers and reprinting was cheaper than having new
stories every time. He would also feature work from well-established authors or
mention their name because he thought it would up his credibility as a
publisher. Despite Gernsback’s motives and credibility, his actions produced
useful results when discussing SF as a genre. The way he would choose what to
include in his magazine was built off an arbitrary formula: it had to have a
narrative; it must incorporate passages with scientific explanations; and it
must describe imaginary yet scientific invention or breakthrough. He came up
with these requirements by establishing the parameters of SF history.

Gernsback starts off by describing
the Middle Ages to the 1800’s as the “proto SF” era, claiming that there were a
few individuals during this time who had a decent amount of scientific
knowledge and imagination to write science fiction, but because there was no SF
genre, these authors didn’t get to flourish as they do now. Gernsback describes
the second era of SF beginning in the 19th century with the works
from Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. He felt that their SF stories
were, “charming romances intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic
vision,” (Westfahl 343). Gernsback used these three authors to set up a focus
for the type of SF he wanted printed within his magazine because he thought
they were the most important contributors. Everyone that Gernsback includes in
his magazine were pioneers in shaping the genre of SF; they were people who
valued scientific progress and the value of literature about scientific
progress. Because of this, Gernsback believed that 19th century SF
was the product of isolated individual geniuses. The third era of SF that
Gernsback describes is known as the modern interpretation, and it started with
him. While Amazing Stories was the
first SF magazine, it was not the first magazine that Gernsback published
science fiction in; in 1911, he chose one SF piece to publish in his scientific
magazine. The original starting point of this era is subjective, but all begins
with Gernsback; he brought SF to the public forefront due to his actions,
statements and publications.  

Time Travel first originated by one
of the fathers of science fiction, H.G. Wells, with his novel, The Time Machine in 1895. This was the
first time anyone had ever read about the concept of manipulating your
placement in time with science. Elana Gomel, author of Shapes of the Past and
the Future: Darwin and the Narratology of Time Travel, states that Wells, “…intented
not just a new plot, but a new chronotype,” (Gomel 334). Wells had uncovered a
new way to format time and space within literature and conversation by
conflating time and space to expose formal, philosophical and cultural
consequences; he made time travel require the reader to weigh the past, the
future and the present equally. Wells’ chronotype represented, “history as a
frozen ‘space-time continuum’ in which the future is determined and immutable
as the past,” (Gomel 335). This chronotype creates logical paradoxes because
time and space are thought of in a circular structure, this thought can be
illustrated by the “grandfather paradox”. Narrative and time travel have a
unique relationship in that the narrative allows the author to dramatize the
idea that events in every period in time are set and cannot cause effect to
other events. This narrative becomes destressing when the realization of being
able to change your own future doesn’t exist, but this didn’t stop time travel
from becoming one of the more widely used SF topics. Its popularity has
increased in the last thirty years, especially within video games, books, film
and television. There is something that draws the audience to the idea that
time can be space.

There are a multitude of ways time
travel has been presented to the audience since time travel became an SF archetype.

In SF literature, the main ways to write out time travel are  literary and scientifically. Authors can
choose to follow the modern theories of time travel that are supported by the
scientific community or just create a mythical means of time travel themselves.

First, it is important to acknowledge that time travel is scientifically
impossible at this moment so any manifestation of time travel is fiction, but fictitious
things can feasible and unfeasible. Feasible means of time travel are rooted in
real science so the examples you would see the author use in SF books would travel
through time though wormholes or by quantum time travel. Unfeasible means of
time travel are more magical, this is shown by portals, time machines or as a
natural skill one possesses. This is important to note when analyzing a novel
to determine the nature of time travel because it will tell you how time travel
influences causality. There are two big distinguishing features between
different types of time travel:

Is the time traveler there when history happens
the first time around? Does self-consistency occur?

Who has free will when time travelling, who’s
actions change the events following?

These features determine what type of time travel the author
would want to use and what may occur to the overall story. Timelines in SF
novels dealing with time travel are extremely important for the author to
always consider, logical consistency is the basis of a good time travel story
because the audience must believe there are consequences for actions to truly
care about the characters or mission in the novel otherwise the novel comes off
as a list of meaningless events. The time travel rules of the novel must be consistent
or the novel doesn’t make sense.

            Authors within
SF use time travel as a literary device to express a deeper societal concern. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The audience is so fascinated with being able to visit time periods just as
you would with a vacation destination. There is always a lesson to learn from
the use of time travel, but no one questions the ethical implications of taking
the outcome of events into our own hands or if it’s even justified if we
should. The audience neglects to think about the outcome of their choices if
given the opportunity to travel through time. A lot of the times the audience
does a quick evaluation of the moral permissibility when presented with an
opportunity to change the sequence of events from their previous arrangement
without considering the repercussions. In Ethical Puzzles of Time Travel by Sara
Bernstein, the author analyzes the ethical implications of time travel by
questioning the moral risk, moral obligation and conflict between past and
future self.

Is there moral risk to time travel?
Bernstein explains that there is a number of ways to argue that time travel is
never morally permissible because there are. People want to travel under the
assumption that time is set in stone and attempting to prevent certain situations
would actually trigger other events such as a more disturbing timeline or the
prevention of certain events, it is usually thought that time travel is
casually and morally risky to change the past. But Bernstein also plays Devil’s
advocate by saying that the changes we make in the past have the same effect as
interrupting events in the present, if one were to assess the moral
permissibility of changing the situation and found no real issue occurring, then
changing events hold little to no repercussions. Bernstein also discusses the
concept of hypertime, which is a defense for the moral risk of time travel.

There are ethical consequences to