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Check It Out

Courier Article by David Locker
Sunday, March 19, 2000


Just Imagine-A Trip Through Another Time

If time travel were possible, we could journey to ancient Alexandria and remove the vanished works of Aristotle and the lost plays of the famous Greek tragedians before they disappeared when the Romans set fire to their great library. Could we also stop the bullets that killed Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy and alter history? We probably could not, because these events were fated to happen. But we would probably be tempted to try.

Before Einstein set down his special theories of relativity, time was thought to be a constant. But now we know that time slows down, the faster one travels. It has been speculated that if we could connect a device on earth to a spaceship traveling at speeds approaching the speed of light, we might be able to travel in time. It is conceivable that we might someday be taking our children to time-travel theme parks, like the ones described in Michael Crichton's latest bestseller, Timeline.

Enchantment: A Classic Fantasy with a Modern Twist by Orson Scott Card (Del Rey, 1999).

The classic fantasy of the title is the story of Sleeping Beauty. Vanya, the son of an immigrant Russian professor, first set eyes on the sleeping princess Katarena when he was a boy before coming to America. Frightened, he ran away and tried to forget her, but the vision continued to haunt him. Returning to Russia to complete research for his doctorate, he is drawn once again to the enchanted spot. He fights a magical bear and kisses the princess, and she awakes. To completely free Katarena from the spell, Vanya must ask her to marry him. He is able to do this because the princess's ancient dialect just happens to be the one he is studying. Is this just coincidence or is it fate? Once they cross an invisible bridge, they are back in the ninth century.

Vanya's work has only just begun, however, because Katarena's kingdom continues to be threatened by the wicked witch of the east who cast the magical spell. As king, Vanya is expected to lead the kingdom of Tania into battle, but a scholar makes a poor warrior, even if he had been a member of his high school track team.

David Locker is a librarian with the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and do not reflect policies or official recommendations of EVPL.