17-42 Segment 2: The Appeal of Time Travel Stories


Have you ever fantasized about going back in time and changing world history? How about your own personal past? If we could travel eternally through space and time, how would this power affect us, psychologically and emotionally? We talk about the appeal of time travel fiction with author Travis Langley who examines these questions in his book Doctor Who Psychology: A Madman with a Box, through an analysis of the longest-running sci-fi TV series of all time.

Dr. Langley says that time travel fiction provides a safe space to explore the emotions and consequences of all kinds of “what if” questions we all have, teaches us lessons that can we can apply to everyday life.


  • Dr. Travis Langley, author of Doctor Who Psychology: A Madman with a Box

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17-01 Segment 2: What we love about time travel

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We see it everywhere: time travel. The concept has dominated our books, movies, and television for decades. We even saw a time travel ethics question dominate our primary election coverage. So what is it about these stories that we find so irresistible? We talk to Dr. Travis Langley, a pop culture psychologist, to uncover what lies underneath the fantasy we’ve all indulged from time to time: traveling backwards and forwards through time.

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