Time Travelers Averting Recent Events

I’ve seen many SF books/movies/TV shows that feature time travelers going back to major historical events and attempting to avert or alter them. Preventing the Kennedy assassination is a very popular trope, as is altering the U.S. Civil War, WWII/Hitler, and others.

Have there been any time travel works that depict attempts to alter more recent events than the Kennedy assassination? Something like 9/11, invasion of Kuwait, invasion of Iraq, breakup of the USSR, Bosnian War, Kosovo, either invasion of Afghanistan, OKC bombing, Chernobyl, Shuttles Challenger or Columbia, Three Mile Island, Florida 2000, etc. Come up with your own list of relatively recent things a time traveler from somewhere near our time or the far future might want to alter or prevent.

Or are all of those kinds of things just too soon, too raw in the public psyche that no writer or producer has given them a go? Just wondering. Excepting a couple amateur online stories, I haven’t seen anything else post-JFK.

*** Ponder

Asimov’s The Dead Past.

The “past” includes 1/00th of a second ago, in effect the present.

The new season of Fringe seems to be heading in this direction (re: 9/11). I admit that I’m a pretty casual watcher of the show and I think that it may be some kind of “parallel universe” rather than time travel, though.

In Thrice Upon a Time by James P. Hogan (1980), a new type of atomic reactor accidentally creates kazillions of micro black holes which threaten to tear the Earth apart. The plucky heroes must race back in time to thwart the disaster–well, maybe not race, exactly…

It’s a fictional event, of course, and not perfectly analogous to some people’s fears about the Large Hadron Collider, but it’s the best I’ve got.

Seven Days.

Déjà Vu

(Although both of these focus on the very recent past rather than the last 1-10 years).

“The Dead Past” was about being able to view the past, not change it. And it was written in 1956, well before the JFK assassination.

Thrice Upon a Time, Seven Days, and Deja Vu are all about averting fictional events, when I’m more interested in (fictional, of course) attempts to alter actual RL historical events.

You are correct, Fringe has a parallel universe, not time travel. (Though the discovery of the parallel universe may have been as the result of a failed attempt at time travel.)

Quantum Leap, maybe? I don’t know if Sam altered any real-world historical events post JFK, but he was there for that one preventing Jackie from getting killed too I seem to recall he had make sure things went right for one guy so his kids could be Gulf War heroes or something. I don’t know if that fits the criteria for you.

The original Star Trek had the Enterprise go back in time to the present (late 1960s) – once by accident and once deliberately.

In the episode where the Enterprise went back accidentally, Kirk beamed abaord a fighter pilot whose yet-to-be-born son would eventually become a big shot space explorer. In the other episode, the journey in time inadvertantly triggered a series of events that put the timeline back on the right course.

The problem with time-traveling to the too-recent past is the difficulty in figuring out where the revised timeline will take you. A time traveler could go back and prevent 9/11, thus avoiding the war in Iraq, but where do we go from there?

The time machines in Primercan ONLY send you back to the near past. You switch one on, let it run for a while, then get in and switch it off. As it powers down it moves you backwards in time to the point where you switched it on. And it takes you just as long to go backward as it did to go forward.

The Time Traveler’s Wife involves time travel within a narrow range covering the recent past and a bit of the future; essentially, only within the lifetimes of one person and those he loves. The traveler can have some limited effect on the course of things but doesn’t try to go after big events. (September 11 is mentioned). He doesn’t control the time travel so he isn’t really ‘going back’ to try and change things. But since he’s traveled to the future and spent time there he’s clearly aware of what will happen.

You know, I’ve always wanted to write a short story where, basically, the hero finds a group of time travelers. He asks them why they don’t do more to avert disasters such as 9/11 and the shuttle explosion; why they don’t do everything they can to make this world as perfect as possible. They explain that they do- this *is *the best possible world. Averting those disasters would’ve resulted in an even worse situation.

IIRC, Replay features Watergate, among other things.

This was possibly one of the earliest devices of using a black hole for time travel, although in this ep, I think it was referred to as a “black star.”

Several years later, “Space: 1999” would try to avert disast by trying not to fall into a “black sun.” Guess the phrase “black hole” wasn’t a part of the lexicon at that time.

And I’ve done nothing to advance the thread.:o