Sometimes it is fun to call the shots on this show – and this week (while Lucy was away on holiday!), I decided to indulge a personal favourite subject of mine: time travel. My love of time travelling tales has been life-long, from Back to the Future (obvs) to Kindred, there’s so much scope for interesting stories when time travel is involved. But how do scifi writers tackle writing such stories? And how much science is required for plausibility? So many questions and layers to uncover… which is why we brought in backup

Kameron Hurley’s latest novel, The Light Brigade, is a military scifi with a non-linear plot involving time travel. So she was the perfect guest to have on! We asked her why she wanted to put herself through the difficult process of writing a time travel story, given all the complications it adds to creating a consistent narrative, and what she loves about time travel stories in general.

As it turns out, Kameron wants to see some more optimistic time travel stories. For the most part, we see stories where characters travel into a dystopian future where everyone is dead. Why aren’t there any stories of hope, where the future is better than it is now?

‘There’s bad shit going down now, there’s bad shit going to happen… but what comes after that bad shit?’

What we like about time travel stories, says Kameron, is the way it comments on the choices we make. These stories explore the impact of our choices on characters and their potential future. As readers or viewers of time travel fiction, as well as in our own lives, we are curious about the ‘what ifs’.

‘I’m becoming an optimist, especially as things get worse.’

Texts mentioned in this episode include:

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

Make sure you pick up a copy of Hurley’s The Light Brigade, out now, as it is already being hailed as a classic of the genre. And if you need more convincing, in her words: ‘blah blah blah hand-wave hand-wave time travel’.

Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley is the award-winning author of the novel The Stars are Legion and the essay collection The Geek Feminist Revolution. Her epic fantasy series, the Worldbreaker Saga, is comprised of the novels The Mirror Empire (2014)Empire Ascendant (2015), and The Broken Heavens (Nov. 2019). Additionally, her first series, The God’s War Trilogy, which includes the books  God’s WarInfidel, and Rapture,  earned her the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer and the Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel. Hurley’s short fiction has appeared in Popular Science MagazineLightspeed MagazineYear’s Best SFThe Lowest Heaven, and Meeting Infinity. She has also written for The Atlantic, Entertainment Weekly, LA Weekly, The Village Voice, Bitch Magazine, Huffington Post, and Locus Magazine.