I write EPIC FABLES and have covered that term in a past blog dealing with Literary Jargon (https://www.howardloring.com/blog/literary-jargon-defines-the-epic-fable).
Today’s endeavor concerns yet another unique term, the ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME, encompassed in all of my Time Travel books and used in each of their titles.
For my purposes, the phrase ELASTIC LIMIT is also jargon, for it has a specific, technical meaning pertinent to the theory that I employ in all of my EPIC FABLES.
These EPIC FABLES explain that in order to successfully Time Travel, one must first understand the true Nature of Time, so that it may be manipulated to permit the phenomenon mostly, but not always, by employing hardware designed for the purpose, all of which is fully covered in each of the books.
My interpretation of the true Nature of Time has also been discussed in a past blog, found here: https://www.howardloring.com/blog/the-true-nature-of-time.
Both this theory and the hardware involved are therefore encapsulated within the set jargon of the ELASTIC LIMIT, but the term as I use it has another, broader meaning, given the phrase is also a Metaphor for the Human Imagination.
Utilizing this interpretation, the novel BEYOND the ELASTIC LIMIT, could also be named BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATION.
As well, the novel PIERCING the ELASTIC LIMIT could be entitled BLOWING YOUR IMAGINATION AWAY, while TALES of the ELASTIC LIMIT, holding twelve Time Traveling short stories, could be interpreted as FEEDING YOUR IMAGINATION.
As an aside, the image attached to this blog is a wall painting that I created in a Past Reality, one that depicts the exact moment the elusive ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME is breached, and the small red object above my arm is the Containment Room, an integral part of the machinery involved, which is fully explained in the books.
My EPIC FABLES on the ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME utilize MYTH, the set rules of storytelling, and mostly I adhere to the system described at length by the late Joseph Campbell, who gleaned his basic points from various sources that came before him.
According to the predominant theory, MYTH as a literary tool is all-powerful because it’s an unconscious connection, or can be, that is.
Given this hidden aspect, MYTH moves one in unseen ways and this fact is most satisfying in literature, for it can be exploited to astonishing effect, slapping you in the face as it were, or coming from left field, especially if you play the established formula counter to form, which is what I do in all of my TIME TRAVELING books.
The conventional rules of MYTH are now well recognized but no egghead in some Ivory Tower dictated them, rather they were slowly honed through vast durations of TIME spent crafting the Art of Lore.
After all, spoken language predates written by some five millennia and that massive span of centuries engendered more than enough repetition and trial and error to fully perceive what techniques are most efficient in terms of gripping and engaging, effective storytelling.
That’s why when written language did emerge the rules were already set, and Homer, for example (who in reality may have been several different people), is preeminent not because he invented the craft of storytelling, but because he had learned these time tested lessons well and employed them very early on to great effect, at least in Western Literature.
Indeed, all good storytellers use MYTH whether they realize it or not, for if it’s an alluring tale the MYTH is always present, and that's why it can affect you as it does, in ways that you may not understand nor be comfortable with, etc.
Ever experienced a movie, play or TV show with great production values, suitable acting and direction yet the effort was just not satisfying, for you felt it was somehow lacking?
Chances are the MYTH therein was ill used, perhaps the stereotypes mismatched or not resolved properly, and often the numbers involved are off, a huge but basic mistake.
Numbers are VERY important in MYTH, again an unconscious commodity that can be manipulated ad infinitum, and as a literary device is only self-limited for an author.
I’ll discuss what I call the ‘magic numbers’ of MYTH at length in a later discourse, but for now I’ll stick to the fundamentals:
MYTH, being unconscious relates the back-story, and this practice relieves the author from the burden of doing so, which tends, I believe, to bog things down, or can, at least.
In my opinion, as a writer you can’t flow if you’re stuck in minutia, and given I construct TIME TRAVELING page-turning adventures, I prefer instead to engage the awesome power inherent in MYTH, thus alleviating this normally abundant technical problem altogether.
As well, MYTH is universal and so can be applied universally:
Everyone has been unlucky in love, hated the job or felt to be at the end of their rope, but most have also had hope, joy at times and occasionally at least, a sense of purpose or duty; these are basic human situations innately understood by all.
To actuate the formula, there are many set ‘types’ in MYTH, prototypes or so-called archetypes, stereotypical figures that everyone can easily recognize, and so their basic motivations are already comprehensively established by the nature of who they are.
These can be such universally recognizable characters as the hero or villain, the innocent victim, the wise one who helps (and this could just be knowledge or magic gleaned along the way), the comic or trickster, the sidekick or warrior, etc.
Likewise, to be effective as Literature, any unfolding action (the quest or journey, overcoming some obstacle, any comedy or tragedy involved) must also follow the set dictates of MYTH, and again I’ll deal with these various aspects on another occasion.
The point is that successfully engaging MYTH inherently enhances the plot instead of impeding it, ensuring an appealing and satisfying tale, and this enriching protocol is always generously applied to all of my EPIC FABLES on the ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME.
Literature has jargon, the specialized language of any Discipline.
Therefore Literature, as a Discipline, holds its own terminology:
A Fable is a simple story with a moral, or a moral lesson.
An Epic is a bigger story with a greater point.
My Epic Fables on the ELASTIC LIMIT OF TIME are both.
A Short Story is just that, a contained episode, while a Novel has a deeper plot plus character development.
Conversely, in an Epic the plot itself is secondary, and the real storyline is how the characters themselves change, for it's not what they do exactly, but who they become as a result of what they do that’s the paramount point of the endeavor, jargon wise, at least.
The circumstances depicted may be different, but in any Epic, the situation itself is always transferable, and so always recognizable.
And Epics by definition do relate such universal, human transformations, for every reader, no matter who they are can successfully relate to them, and ever in ways that will be easily understood.
Given we all experience these same conditions it's inevitable, humanity wise, and always has been.
After all, everyone has felt distress, has lost at love, faced daunting obstacles or held the onerous view that they were defeated and looking at the proverbial end of the rope.
Equally, almost everyone has been happy, felt joy, experienced love, had no qualms of the future or sadness in the present.
As such, in my Time Traveling books, I find no need to overly describe such personal circumstance when everyone is aware of them already, by virtue of an inner, empathic connection.
So, my EPIC FABLES are simply written, but soon unfold to explore and encompass these larger complex issues.
And speaking more jargon, all of my Epic Fables are also Redemptive Tales, dealing with basic philosophical concepts such as truth and justice, good and evil, “Might makes Right vs. Right makes Might” or if a bad thing can ever be used for a good purpose.
As in any Epic Mythology, flawed characters are forced to evolve as a result of their quests, gleaning insight into these universal human constructs to which everyone can relate.
Each must grapple with difficult personal choices, and hard decisions forced by dire circumstances always yield unforeseen consequences, challenges that must be met and overcome, and all contained within a page-turning adventure often utilizing true history.
Yet, as in any Fable, the narrative style is simplistic, with the action being layered with fast-paced sequences often presented through flashbacks and proceeding from different points of view.
But in the end, each major character learns a moral lesson, and develops a personal morality, again universal conditions which are explored through a simply written narrative.
And still more Literary Jargon:
The novel, BEYOND THE ELASTIC LIMIT: AN EPIC FABLE employs classically defined Myth, a story dealing with real or imagined ancient gods who hold dominion over human activities.
Also employing Myth, the novel, PIERCING THE ELASTIC LIMIT: AN EPIC FABLE can also be defined more properly as Folklore, fiction based on real characters, as well as Legend, traditionally considered stylized portrayals of actual historic events.
TALES OF THE ELASTIC LIMIT: EPIC FABLES contains twelve Short Stories, again employing Myth, Folklore and Legend.
These Time Traveling books can be read in any order, all being stand-alone Historical Fiction, Adventure, Mystery, Detective Tale, Saga and Love Story, yet all of them relate and explain the others, therefore the reading sequence chosen determines the order in which the hidden backstory connections are revealed.
Of course, despite any jargon employed, the ultimate proof of good storytelling always rests in the believability of the final product, and whether the attempt is an enjoyable experience as opposed to a heavily laden, burdensome narrative requiring firm effort to complete.
So, as both Epics and Fables, my Time Traveling yarns on the ELASTIC LIMIT are by nature easy reading, and cover interesting and eclectic subject matter unique to the established genre specifically, as well as Literature generally.
At least Jargon wise, that is.
TIME TRAVEL involves History, it can’t be avoided; sometimes it’s concocted in order to fit the story line, but I take a different approach.
My EPIC FABLES on the ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME, two Novels and a compilation of Short Stories, employ true HISTORY placed within an authentic context, and the situations described therein are all accurately portrayed.
The best response I've gotten from using this protocol are from those who don't, as a rule read HISTORY, and are thereby un-expectantly pleased by this aspect, which after all, is only secondary to the overall TIME TRAVELING plot.
Here’s a partial list of Historically known figures and documented events I've covered, with the appropriate book title (BEYOND the ELASTIC LIMIT, PIERCING the ELASTIC LIMIT or TALES of the ELASTIC LIMIT) capitalized:
Neolithic (Ancient Humans):
BEYOND, chapters 1, 3;
TALES, Part Three (chapters 9, 10, 11, 12)
Early Human Society Forms:
BEYOND, chapter 1, 2, 4, 5;
TALES chapters 10, 11, 12
Religious Belief Codified:
BEYOND, chapters 2, 5, 10;
PIERCING, chapter 5
Rise of Agriculture:
BEYOND, chapters 2, 5;
TALES, chapter 11
BEYOND, chapters 2, 5;
TALES, chapters 9, 10, 11
Discovery of the Wheel:
TALES, chapter 10
Written Language Begins:
TALES, chapter 9
Language as Symbols:
PIERCING Part Two (chapters 4, 5, 6);
TALES, chapters 6, 9
Archimedes of Syracuse (Higher Mathematics, Scientifically Applied Warfare):
TALES, chapter 8
Julius Caesar vs. Pompey the Great (Rise of Empires):
PIERCING, Part One (chapters 1, 2, 3)
Henry VIII (Age of Modern Sailing Ships, Onset of Science):
TALES, chapter 7
Politics of Elizabethan England:
PIERCING, Part Two (chapters 4, 5, 6)
Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare (Classical Literature Established for the Masses):
PIERCING, Part Two (chapters 4, 5, 6)
Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn & others (Classical Music Rises to the Fore):
PIERCING, Part Three (chapters 7, 8, 9)
Thomas Jefferson (Age of Fossils, Modern Higher Education Established):
TALES, chapter 6
Albert Einstein (Science Accepted as an Established Discipline):
TALES, chapter 5
History of Commerce:
BEYOND, chapters 2, 4;
TALES, chapter 9, 11
EXPLORING HUMAN CONCEPTS:
Good and Evil:
Business Run Amuck:
Evolving Human Society:
TALES, Parts Two and Three (chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
TIME TRAVEL EXPLAINED:
Theory and Hardware Needed:
BEYOND, chapters 7, 8, 9;
PIERCING, chapters 9, 10, 11, 12;
TALES, chapters 2, 3, 4
TALES, chapter 2
Loops in Time:
BEYOND, chapters 10, 11, 12;
PIERCING, Part One (chapters 1, 2, 3, 4);
TALES, chapter 2
BEYOND, all chapters;
PIERCING, chapter 12;
TALES, chapters 2, 3
As a writer of TIME TRAVEL books, I employ my own, unique definition of the NATURE of TIME, one neatly couched within the parameters of what I term the ELASTIC LIMIT.
The genre of TIME TRAVEL clearly involves two separate aspects, language and usage (plainly understood terminology as opposed to skill in employing such) but beyond these components, for a basic starting point of any lucid discussion on the subject, TIME as a concept must first be defined, for doing so makes or breaks any story’s scenario and therefore its credibility.
While few think they can fully understand the minutia of TIME itself, given personal experience of TIME passing, most people do believe that they know more or less what it involves.
Yet the FOURTH DIMENSION is never one set, fixed phenomena that acts in a standard fashion, and that’s where the common confusion resides, at least in reference to the aforementioned items, that is.
For historically, the flow of TIME has been understood as existing in two distinct ways not just one, and as each example acts very differently, most problems involving TIME TRAVELING plots stem from trying to mesh these two conflicting points of view, or not being aware of any distinction between them in the first place.
I’ll adhere to this standard interpretation, simplistic but telling:
Is TIME a Loaf of Bread, or is it a River?
Or, instead of River insert Hallway with multiple doors, or a Roadmap holding many connecting routes.
So, does TIME ‘flow’ in a point to point sequence, one PRESENT after another PRESENT and so on, as the recurring pieces of sliced bread in a loaf,
Does TIME act more like a River, where any current taken then becomes the PRESENT and so leads to various other possible pathways, with unending potential PRESENT choices up for grabs depending only on the several directions you could take?
Once the NATURE of TIME is defined using this simple distinction, the listed concerns then become moot, for any apparent theoretical conflicts are no longer in play, or at least they can be explained in a rational way that enhances the plot as opposed to using plots that under scrutiny fail to pass the test of credibility.
As such, any good TIME TRAVELING story can be filtered through this lens, and the lesser examples can be as well, with the differences thereby becoming apparent and understandable, as opposed to just being confusing, or simply boring.
But using either of these two standard definitions always has inherent disadvantages, leading to pesky things like PARADOX or unworkable theory or hardware, so I take another approach to avoid such pitfalls inherent to the genre:
TIME is a Bundt Cake, circular in NATURE.
Or rather, it’s much like an unending Corkscrew, still possessing a liner flow and direction, but no longer within a single, set dimension.
As well, according to my Theory, a moment in TIME is not static but in constant, erratic flux, always expanding and contracting within an exact threshold known as the ELASTIC LIMIT, and this fact coupled with the Circular Nature of TIME permits TIME TRAVEL, given your Hardware is up and properly running.
In my books, all EPIC FABLES on the elusive ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME, many other things are of course covered, which I’ll expand on in future posts, but these different NATURE of TIME distinctions are always taken into account, and so they aren’t a distraction to the overall narrative as experienced in so many books involving this most interesting subject.