March 21st, 2016


Déjà vu all over again

I remember asking this once here before, but it was in passing in a long and rambling post about something else, so I wasn't surprised that no one answered. Anyway, I'm still wondering what was the very first story (book, film, whatever) that used the device of someone going back in time (probably multiple times) to correct some misdeed, make good some omission, prevent some accident, etc.

The earliest example I can think of is Groundhog Day - but I really find it hard to believe that no enterprising SF writer had tried something similar before 1993. It seems a kind of obvious device - but maybe only in retrospect?

Anime seems particularly rich in examples: off the top of my head, there's Madoka Magica, Steins;Gate, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and now (which is what put it in my head again) the recent series Erased (aka Boku Dake Ga Nai Machi) - which I'm about halfway through and very much enjoying.

Anyway, I feel sure I'm missing some obvious earlier examples, or simply showing my lamentable ignorance of them. Feel free to put me right!