Take a minute, if you will, to consider the prominence of time travel as a theme in the arts. You don't have to be a brilliant but evil scientist huddled in a secret mountaintop laboratory, rubbing your hands together and cackling with glee as you contemplate flipping the switch on a time machine fueled by lightning bolts and filched uranium, to understand this essential truth:
Time travel captivates the imagination.
That, you scoff, is hardly news. H.G. Wells published "The Time Machine" in 1895. "Doctor Who" has been giving geeks the vapors since its 1963 inception. "Groundhog Day"(1993) is a perennial favorite. In 2003, Chicago writer Audrey Niffenegger had a hit with her novel "The Time Traveler's Wife." Computer games such as "Chrono Trigger" and "Timesplitters," introduced in 1995 and 2000 respectively, use time travel to get the action going.
But it is worth burning up a bit of that precious and non-renewable resource — time — to reflect on how contemporary creators have spruced up and redeployed this chestnut of a theme.