Time Change just happened last week. I am struck every time we change our clocks of the absurdity of time and the paradox of the weight and yet the un-importance it carries. Sometimes an hour seems like a week and a week can seem like a day. So why is it that we, as humans, are obsessed with immortality and living forever, breaking free of time.
Einstein spent a lot of time thinking about time. In his special relativity theory, he concluded that time could speed up or slow down relative to how objects move near each other. So, someone in space would age slower than someone on earth. This idea of becoming immortal seems to be something that science and writers of science fiction spend a lot of time thinking about. In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, some of the Peculiars in the world decided to join their powers together to create immortality. Of course it turned out horribly wrong (just as Frankenstein’s experiments with creating life go horribly wrong!) and they ended up turning themselves into monster that lived forever to hunt down and eat other Peculiar people, thereby killing off the ‘race’ they themselves came from. (I also can’t help but think of the Reevers from Fire Fly.)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is not my first time travel experience. I have read Outlander and I saw the first season of the new Doctor Who, but this is my first book that seemed to treat time travel like it was normal, like it was common place thing that happened all over the world. In Ransom Rigg’s created world, groups of children and adults all around the world live in different time loops in order to keep themselves safe from the deranged time experimenters who have become evil and live on the blood of peculiar people (people who can float, create flames, lift heavy things, become invisible, etc). Think X-Men because all the ‘Peculiars’ live together, but then think that they don’t age physically in a time loop, like Groundhog Day.
Overall, Riggs creates an interesting world on an interesting idea. Throughout the novel he includes bizarre and strange black and white photographs that he found or borrowed from friends. At times throughout the book the connections to the photographs become clunky and forced, yet the photographs were my favourite part of the book!
As I was reading this book I kept thinking back to another book that looks at time and space and immortality: Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. Lightman writes about the idea of time and becoming immortal in a mortal world: “Such is the cost of immortality. No person is whole. No person is free. Over time, some have determined that the only way to live is to die. In death, a man or woman is free of the weight of the past. These few souls, with their dear relatives looking on, dive into Lake Constance or hurl themselves from Monte Lema, ending their infinite lives. In this way, the finite has conquered the infinite, millions of autumns have yielded to no autumns, millions of snowfalls have yielded to no snowfalls, millions of admonitions have yielded to none” (94).
Throughout Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children the idea of immortality and the pain that came with never aging was apparent. So again, why do we as humans (in general) ache for an infinite life when in reality the finite life is full because it carries with it the immediacy of time. For the immortal, time has no meaning.
Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change. (2 Peter 3:7-8)