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Time machines make for quite intriguing science fiction.

Before questioning why that may be so, it may be appropriate to first define what science fiction constitutes. Apart from being one of the least respectable literary genres, (fortunately for its fans, romance novels and dirty limericks still exist, which helps SF claim a somewhat higher profile in comparison) SF translates into writing and reading about the unknown. Civilizations from the past, from the future, from faraway planets, from faraway dimensions, as well as unheard-of creatures, people, abilities and inventions form the fuel upon which the fire of SF passion burns. This definition may be less than satisfactory, however, in that the qualities just offered could conceivably apply to certain other genres, such as fantasy, or fairy tales. How, then, can we resolve this ambiguity?

Science fiction fans form a pretty unique group of individuals. Although they may come from highly diverse backgrounds, almost all of them are characterized by unusual curiosity and adaptability. No exotic planet, no multidimensional vortex, no five-headed aardvark would turn them off if they feel that the narrative deserves their attention. Although some would go so far as to claim that such clichÈd settings, characters and gadgets define the sole content that SF fans demand, one final trait which characterizes SF-loving folk proves this opinion wrong. SF fans are, above and beyond being curious and adaptable individuals, extremely sensible people. Just like Leonardo da Vinci who pursued the hidden order within Mother Nature, they believe and revel in the conviction that any imaginable universe should be self-consistent if it deserves to exist in the first place. The details seem irrelevant to these readers, who would be more than willing to take silicon-based life forms or telepathic Internet connections for granted. In the vein of da Vinci's mentality, the details of individual nodes mean less to them than the essence of the connections between the nodes. In conclusion, any story that does not 'make sense' does not deserve their time, either.

How, then, does time travel fit into all this?