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This Week on Mystery Theatre:”
The Conclusion of “Time is Out of Joint”

March 31st, 2022

In this week’s episode of Mystery Theatre’s “Time is Out of Joint,” we explore what mystery writer August LaFleur calls “the dream hemisphere.” That is, we consider stories that “depict time travel as a state of mind rather than a mechanical process.”

I’ve always been intrigued by such stories, exemplified by titles like A Christmas Carol, Somewhere in Time, Time and Again, and Slaughterhouse Five (all featured in this season of Mystery Theatre)—stories in which the engines of the unconscious prove to be the most powerful time machines of all.

Indeed, the notion of the mind as time machine is considered by H. G. Wells in his novel The Time Machine when the Time Traveler explains that “there is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our consciousness moves along it.” Interestingly, such musings anticipate the theory of “block time” that physicists like Carlo Rovelli writes about in his nonfiction book The Order of Time, and which science fiction aficionado Joe Coluccio tells us “is the basis for all story.”

Joe presents his theory in a post to my March 22nd blog. If you missed it, here’s what Joe has to say:

Physicist Carlo Rovelli has this notion that past present and future are a construct of our consciousness, not the physical universe. I have always believed that time travel is the basis for all story. I’ve been looking for time travel in, for lack of a more interesting word, “mainstream” fiction. In his first novel, The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer uses a bare device which he calls the “Time Machine,” It is a segment that provides a rich story experience of character backstory, development, and mingles past and present. These segments are very much a travel in time.

Heinlein’s The Door into Summer, sinfully not mentioned, has always been a favorite of mine, don’t forget “By His Bootstraps” and “—All You Zombies—” these are definitive time travel tales. Finally, if you are in the mood, the greatest time travel novel ever, In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. It is a time machine for the author and the reader. Just let the page take you.

Given that I believe time travel is the basis for all story, I am on the search, like the Coaster’s song “Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade got nothing, child, on me,” like Bulldog Drummond, for more overt examples.

It’s amusing to think how Joe’s comment might lead August LaFleur to change his proposition that “stories are everywhere” and state instead that “stories are everywhen.”

If you’d like to keep the conversation going, please consider posting a comment below or by reaching out through the social media buttons in the top right corner of this web page. You can also leave a note at PrimeStage.com/contact. And while you’re there, please consider claiming one of the books that Prime Stage Theatre has to give away to the first six listeners who step up to become patrons of Prime Stage Mystery Theatre.

Click here for more information on the books offered in Prime Stage’s special promotion, the details of which are also covered in this week’s installment of “Time is Out of Joint.”

But be advised, the special offer ends on April 3rd, so unless you have a time machine, you’ll want to take advantage of it now.

Either way, the player below will transport you instantly to this week’s Mystery Theatre installment. I’ll meet you there!