Books, Writing

Time Slip Novels

Time Slip Novels


A time slip novel, according to the, a novel that transports the main character and therefore the reader from one time to another, such as from the twenty-first century into the sixteenth century. Time slip novels, by my understanding, can combine this element of time travel and historical fiction, and fantasy. It is a device that I have seen used in a few novels that contain historical and fantastical elements, mythic elements. A time slip novel is different to a time travel novel, where the characters simply travel from one time to another in a linear fashion. A time slip novel shares the stories concurrently with each other.


The use of the time slip in combination with fantasy or magical elements can create a special story that can be unlike any other. Some examples of time slip novels are:


The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, set in Scotland just after World War Two, and through a magical stone portal, takes the heroine, Clare, back two hundred years.


The Puzzle Ring by Kate Forsyth, a children’s time slip novel set n Scotland, about the curse of Wintersloe and the Fairknowe family, and the heir’s quest to save her family from the curse.


The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, told across many years about Nell, and her search for her identity and family. This book moves backwards and forwards between modern times and the early twentieth century and Victorian times.  Set in Cornwall, on Blackhurst estate, it unravels the story of Nell, Eliza and Cassandra, and the place garden known as “the forgotten garden”. Filled with fairy tales, and authors and an image of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden”, it is a lovely time slip novel.


These are just three examples that I have read that fit this genre, there are likely many more that could be discussed. But what place do novels of this genre have in our world of literature?


Given that these three examples are not only time slip but historical fiction and have fairy tale and magical elements within their wondrous pages, and there are hundreds, if not more examples around, I will leave it at these three. These are three examples I have enjoyed. The idea of a time slip novel is, I think, an interesting concept, to have the linear worlds of two different times impacting upon each other even in small ways. As a genre, it is one I am yet to try writing in. It would just be a matter of the right plot and right historical moment in time to investigate for the story. 

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