Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Guest post on time travel in Time Fall by Timothy Ashby

Today I'm featuring a guest post by Tim Ashby on time travel in his new novel Time Fall.

About Time Fall
Lt. Art Sutton’s team of six US Rangers parachute into Nazi Germany… but they vanish in 1945. They land, a few minutes later, in 2011. The Rangers are unaware of the passage of time all around them and the valiant, misguided soldiers begin to attack “enemy” targets.

They face the age old question - What is good? What is evil?

About Tim Ashby
Timothy Ashby's life has been as thrilling as one of his action/adventure novels. Visit his author blog at

An international lawyer, businessman, and writer, Tim Ashby worked in Washington DC as a counter-terrorism consultant to the U.S. State Department, and then as a senior official - the youngest political appointee of his rank - at the U.S. Commerce Department, responsible for commercial relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. He held two Top Secret security clearances and worked with a number of colorful characters, including members of the U.S. military's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He has lived in the Caribbean and Europe as well as various places in the United States. An avid historian, he published widely on military history, archaeology, business and international relations. A licensed attorney in Florida and the District of Columbia, Tim Ashby has a PhD degree from the University of Southern California, a JD from Seattle University Law School, and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh Scotland.

Time Travel in TIME FALL by Timothy Ashby

In my new thriller, Time Fall, I chose to treat time travel as a "natural" freak of nature – a severe electrical storm as portrayed in the book. The plot device that causes the World War II soldiers to “fall” through time is therefore neither supernatural nor some advanced sci fi technology. I introduce this in the book’s opening scenes:
The transport’s teenaged flight engineer ducked inside the cockpit. “Radio operator just picked up a weather report,” he said. “Severe electrical storms northern France, southern Germany. Low cloud ceiling.”

Soon afterwards, as the military transport enters the storm, the crew experience the beginning of the natural phenomenon:

“What the hell?” Woody yelled. Cal’s eyes swept the windshield, widening at a kaleidoscope of sparks flecking the glass. Beyond, the aircraft’s nose was bathed in an eerie glow. He glanced out a side window, seeing the same bluish flame flickering along the port wing.
“It-it’s only St. Elmo’s Fire,” he said, quavering voice betraying his doubt. “Happens when you’re flying through a charged atmosphere like this thunderstorm. Nothing to worry about.”
Woody continued to watch, mesmerized by the ghostly display.
“Glad you think so,” he said hoarsely.

Then, as Lt. Art Sutton and his Rangers team prepare to jump into Nazi Germany on their sabotage mission, they begin to feel the effects of the electrical storm that will propel them into another time:

Heart pounding, Sutton shuffled forward, the bulky parachute pack jouncing against his thighs. Then he was at the doorway, fingers hooked into the perforated jambs, hunched against the shrieking gale outside. He could see the tip of the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer shimmering with phosphorescent light. The metal skin of the aircraft hummed ethereally, rising in volume like a celestial chorus.
An uncanny prickling raised the hairs on the back of Sutton’s neck. He wondered if it was a premonition of death.

The moment that the “time fall” takes place is described from the pilot’s perspective:

An enormous thunderclap shook the aircraft. At that moment the electric blue glow shrouding Bouncing Betty intensified along with the humming sound. Sparks crackled throughout the cockpit. The aircraft’s radio went dead and the compass spun like a demented top. Cal’s jaw fell open, fingers tightening on the control yoke as the airplane seemed to plummet into a void. Ears ringing, he frantically scanned the instrument panel, watching its gauges fluctuate. A spasm of nausea wrenched his gut.
“Woody!” he gasped, glancing at the copilot before returning to the instrument panel. His eyes widened. The banks of red-lighted instruments were now functioning perfectly, every needle steady.
“Wh-what was that?”
Woody bit his lower lip to control its trembling. “Felt like we took a direct hit!”
Cal shook his head, feeling vertigo like oxygen deprivation. He figured that the phenomenon had lasted several seconds, roughly the length of time it took for the parachutists to leave the aircraft.
“Dunno,” he said, “but that weird St. Elmo’s Fire is gone.”

Although the aircraft and its crew safely return to their wartime base, the effects of the phenomenon linger:

From the corner of his eye, he saw Woody shake his left wrist, then lean forward and rap on the instrument panel clock. “Hey,” the copilot said, “let me borrow your watch. Both mine and the aircraft’s have stopped.”
Cal pushed up his sleeve. Surprise tightened his features.
“Mine’s stopped too.”
“Hey,” added Ward, “so’s mine.”

Two days later, Bouncing Betty’s crew gathered in a country pub. Cal rambled drunkenly about the strange phenomena and instrument failure while Woody watched a trio of WAAFs at the bar. But Jim Ward drank quietly, wondering what had caused every timepiece aboard the aircraft on the Bandstand mission to irreparably stop at 11:08 P.M.

Later in the book, I offer a hint about what had caused Sutton’s team to land in Bavaria in 2011 after parachuting from their aircraft in 1945:

Leafing through the paper, he noticed a story in the Science section: “Magnetic Convulsions Behind Sun Storms.” The article said that solar storms causing massive convulsions of magnetic energy were exceptionally powerful that spring. Physicists were speculating that solar flares could influence weather patterns and even affect the space-time continuum. Yeah, sure, Eddie thought cynically before closing the paper.

Do I think that “time travel” as described in my novel is possible? While the story is fictional, I describe – in a dialogue between two Vietnam veterans – an actual incident that inspired me to write Time Fall. During the Vietnam war a military helicopter mysteriously disappeared after flying into a strange cloud during the monsoon season. Hundreds of military personnel witnessed the phenomenon, a high-level investigation took place, but no trace of the aircraft or its crew was found. Perhaps one day that helicopter will land in a very different Vietnam with its unsuspecting crew of young American soldiers.

Filled with historically accurate details, Time Fall is a complex military tale that keeps readers riveted through every surprising twist. Read an excerpt and to enter to win a FREE copy of Time Fall, visit your copy, visit You can also get your copy at all major book retailers.

No comments: