All posts by Bruce Macfarlane

The Time Travel Diaries Trilogy


I will be publishing on Amazon shortly The Time Travel Diaries Trilogy

This volume will contain the first three books, Out of Time, A Drift Out of Time and A House Out of Time which originally appeared together in the Time Travel Diaries Omnibus.

As usual it will be narrated by Professor Rolleston, and recounts the humorous and sometimes romantic adventures of James Urquhart, minor science lecturer living in 2015 and Elizabeth Bicester, whom he stumbled upon at a cricket match at Hamgreen in 1873.


In trying to get a coherent idea of time travel in my SF books of the Time Travel Diaries, I had not originally thought of using H. G. Wells, however, when I realised he had lived in Midhurst after he left Upark, the opportunity to use him was too good to miss. How to use him though was a different matter. Then while researching his life and trying to get something that would fit in with James Maxwell, I came across an intriguing article on how H. G. Wells got his ideas on time dimension by Stephen Baxter of Imperial College.

I have extracted from Baxter’s notes the parts which gave me some ideas for time travel. In my book, Wells is able to ‘see’ the future through ‘out of body’ experiences and his books such as The Time Machine, War of the World’s and The Shape of Things to Come are actually his records of the futures he has seen. But unlike the time traveller in his book The Time Machine he cannot travel through time.

H. G. Wells’ Science Romance, The Time Machine, was published in 1895. This was about 10 years before Einstein published his first papers on Relativity and four dimensional space in which time was proposed as the fourth dimension yet Wells shows in his book that he is well versed in the theories of four dimensional space of his time. This is not surprising as he passed examinations in astrophysics and came into contact or read the papers of scientists who were researching multi dimensional universes.

At the time Wells, the concept of four dimensional space was still being developed and there was much discussion on what the fourth dimension was. Some thought it was a spatial dimension and others possibly a time dimension. Wells was of the opinion it was a time dimension as he has his time traveller actually argue against a prominent scientist (Newcomb) who) had proposed the fourth dimension was spatial.

“foolish people [who] have got hold of the wrong side of the idea.” He then actually mentions a Professor Newcomb, who was “expounding this to the New York Mathematical Society only a month or so ago”.

His Time Traveller says, “Any body must have extension in four directions: it must have Length, Breadth, Thickness, and – Duration… There are really four dimensions, three which we call the three planes of Space, and a fourth, Time…”

Newcomb had been publishing papers on the topic of four dimensions since the 1870’s and saw the fourth dimension as a spatial rather than a time dimension. As an example he talked about escaping from an enclosed sphere by a four-dimensional transfer.

The most prominent thinker in Wells’s day who proposed time as a fourth dimension was probably Charles Howard Hinton, who published a paper on “What is the Fourth Dimension?” – the answer being “time” – in 1880. Apparently Hinton speculated widely on higher dimensions. He used the fourth dimension to justify ghosts, God and an afterlife.

In 1885 Hinton produced a paper in Nature on his ideas of spacetime as a rigid four-dimensional geometry, with movement being generated as an illusion, by an object passing through a three- dimensional surface.

“Each part of the ampler existence which passed through our space would seem perfectly limited to us. We should have no indication of the permanence of its existence… Change and movement seem as if they were all that existed. But the appearance of them would be due merely to the momentary passing through our consciousness of ever-existing realities.”


2018-24-04-15-59-13The house exists throughout time but inside it’s usually 1895. Unless it changes its mind of course.

The problem is Time has been fractured back in the 6th century and it seems only our intrepid Time Travellers can fix it.
If only they knew what they were doing. Luckily Elizabeth is quite good at driving a Martian Spaceship.

A House Out of Time.
FREE on Amazon Kindle TODAY 24th April.
From The Time Travel Diaries of James Urquhart and Elizabeth Bicester


Mars and the Time Travel Diaries

Mars mapThis is where the Martians live of course.
I have always been fascinated by Mars and have enjoyed reading about how our view of Mars has changed over the last hundred years. When I was a child it was just a small red ball, half the size of the Earth, with what looked like ice caps on the poles made of water or dry ice which expanded and contracted with the seasons and the surface covered in strange ever-changing markings.

Like many children I painstakingly made drawings of the ‘canali’ of Mars, first described by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli in 1877, which everyone knows was apparently mistranslated into English as “canals” and put a lot of SF writers on the gravy train.
Despite the paucity of data, there was much discussion on whether Mars was habitable with the general conclusion that Mars was a barren place, could not support life, and mars canalsdevoid of water and the marking were just the effect of erosion caused by the Martian winds.
Personally I always thought the redness of Mars was due to rust formed by the reaction of iron, water and air and this suggested that the Mars once had oxygen and there had been vast quantities of water at or near the surface. Which just goes to show how easy it is to form an opinion on a matter with no credible knowledge or evidence of the subject what so ever.
However, when Mariner 4 went to Mars in the 1960’s its analysis seemed to confirm the majority opinion that the place was quite uninhabitable for the likes of us. With a surface pressure of only a few thousandths of earth’s our bodily fluids would rapidly boil when they were not being frozen by temperatures down to -100C.
There was one optimistic note for life though which I clung on to. The temperature at the equator could rise up 20C.
All this gloom, I was glad to see, was transformed by Mars Orbiter and the NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor amazing maps of Mars and the surface analysis carried out by Spirit and Opportunity which gave conclusive evidence that vast quantities of liquid water existed at some time in the past and was still present at or near the surface.
To get an idea of what the topology and geology of Mars looks like go to the Google’s Map of Mars and Wikipedia’s Geology of Mars

For my novels on Mars I have selected the northern area around the Tharis Volcanoes and the Mariner Valley as my main locations. I was particularly fascinated by the Tharis volcanoes by their almost artificial looking alignment and the massive Mons Olympus, the tallest volcano in the solar system, rising behind it.
I postulated that the northern hemisphere, most of which is a smooth depression, was once the Martian Sea and the Mariner Valley was a great river fed from underground lakes in the region of the Tharis and Olympus volcanoes which flowed down to the bay of the Chryse Planitia. This apparently wasn’t too far from the truth as results from the Global Survey suggest that the immense equatorial Mariner Valley, almost 4000 km long, was actually formed by a catastrophic release of underground water!
To meet the Martians in my novels I had to find a way to get under the surface of Mars. I thought of entering via the volcano summits or imagined caves in the cliffs of the valleys. But then I found that NASA’s Odyssey spacecraft had spotted seven almost perfectly circular pits or cave on the flanks of the Tharis Arsia Mons volcanos. mars cavern1The entrances to these pits were 100 to 250 metres wide and were thought to be up to 100 metres deep. My view is that we will eventually find a vast cavern network beneath them left by the massive lakes of water that erupted and flowed across the plain to form the Mariner valley complex. The holes I think are just puncture marks in the cavern roofs caused by meteorites.
Anyway these gave me a ‘credible’ entrances into the Martian world I was looking for. I would not be surprised if whatever form the Martians might exist this is where we will find them.

A description of what they look like can be found here.

A House Out of Time FREE today 24th April on Amazon Kindle

2018-13-01-12-11-40The house exists throughout time but inside it’s usually 1895. Unless it changes its mind of course.
The problem is Time has been fractured back in the 6th century and it seems only our intrepid Time Travellers can fix it.
If only they knew what they were doing. Luckily Elizabeth is quite good at driving a Martian Spaceship.

A House Out of Time.
FREE on Amazon Kindle TODAY 24th April.
From The Time Travel Diaries of James Urquhart and Elizabeth Bicester

4 Books FREE – Sunday 25th Feb from the Time Travel Diaries on Kindle


The 4 volumes of the humorous and sometimes romantic Time Travel Diaries of James Urquhart and his Victorian companion Elizabeth Bicester are FREE next Sunday 25th February on Amazon Kindle

If you want to know about my time travelling adventurers I’ve put plenty of information in my Blog.

I hope you enjoy the stories.


Bruce Macfarlane