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The DeLorean DMC-12 that appeared as a time machine in the film Back to the Future (1985), on display at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2011. In science fiction, time travel is sometimes said to occur through a timescape.


time +‎ -scape, probably by analogy with landscape.



timescape (plural timescapes)

  1. A perspective over a period (particularly a long period) of time.
    • 1996, Graeme Donald Snooks, “Players in the Game”, in The Dynamic Society: Exploring the Sources of Global Change, London; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN, page 43:
      Our timescape of life is really a picture showing the fluctuating diversity of life over the past 700 million years. There was little diversity before that time owing to the dominance of blue-green algae. What our timescape shows is, as expected, a number of surges in the diversity of life: []
    • 1998, Barbara Adam, “Nature Re/Constituted and Re/Conceptualised: Mapping the Scope of Industrial Traditions of Thought”, in Timescapes of Modernity: The Environment and Invisible Hazards (Global Environmental Change Series), London; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN, pages 54–55:
      With the idea of the timescape, I seek to achieve an extension of the landscape perspective, that is, to develop an analogous receptiveness to temporal interdependencies and absences, and to grasp environmental phenomena as complex temporal, contextually specific wholes. This involves a shift in emphasis not just from space to time but, more importantly, to that which is invisible and outside the capacity of our senses.
    • 2003, Paul Crowther, Philosophy after Postmodernism: Civilized Values and the Scope of Knowledge (Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Philosophy; 16), London; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN, page 112:
      [Albert] Einstein [] believed in a ‘block’ conception of time – or ‘timescape’, as it is more popularly known – where all events in the temporal series are, as it were, laid out alongside one another tenselessly. On these terms, the flow of time from past to future, in particular the notion of the presentness of the Now, should at best be seen as functions of a finite subject’s limited perspective on the timescape.
    • 2004, Gabriele Morello, “Spacing and Timing in Leisure Activities”, in Klaus Weiermair and Christine Mathies, editors, The Tourism and Leisure Industry: Shaping the Future, Binghamton, N.Y.: The Haworth Hospitality Press, →ISBN, page 73:
      The painter's term landscape refers to a picture representing a given scenery, as distinct from a portrait or a still life depicting objects. A timescape is made of recognizable time areas, with permeable borders—private and public time, past, present and future time, home time and work time, etc.—all of which exist within a geography of space.
    • 2006, Maike Oergel, “Historicity as Identity: The German Myth of Modernity in Goethe’s Faust I”, in Culture and Identity: Historicity in German Literature and Thought 1770–1815, Berlin; New York, N.Y.: Walter de Gruyter, →ISBN, page 225:
      Faust I grew from the basis of a Sturm-und-Drang text concerned with addressing contemporary problems through culturally original and relevant materials into a fully-fledged representation of the cultural historicity of modernity. This development was driven by the desire to approach universals by integrating historical particulars into a temporally progressive and cumulative structure. It produced a complex mythic timescape, which stretches throughout modernity, but frequently also alludes to pre-modern elements, both classical-ancient and Northern-archaic. Contained in this timescape [Johann Wolfgang von] Goethe presents complex constellations within modernity between the "original" and the "advanced", and between ancient and modern.
    • 2010, David Rollison, “What Came Before: Antecedent Structures and Emergent Themes”, in A Commonwealth of the People: Popular Politics and England's Long Social Revolution, 1066–1649, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 33:
      The entire human and most of the animal and vegetable genetic stock now found in Britain and Ireland arrived (and continues to arrive) over the last 12,000 years. That fact alone, it is suggested, offers a new longue duree (or ‘timescape’) for population history.
    • 2012, Emily Keightley, “Conclusion”, in Emily Keightley, editor, Time, Media and Modernity, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, →ISBN, page 209:
      When these three dimensions of temporal meaning [historicity, domestic time, and familial time] are considered as part of [Barbara] Adam's timescapes which combine the other times of social experience, we can begin to see how media and communications technologies contribute to our social experiences of time in complex ways. The simultaneity of communications technology might contribute to a particular timescape, but this may well be in tension with the temporality of its communicative content or social application. It is through their interpenetration in any given moment or context that temporal meaning is produced.
    • 2012, Jan-Hinrik Meyer-Sahling; Klaus H. Goetz, “The EU Timescape: From Notion to Research Agenda”, in Klaus H. Goetz and Jan-Hinrik Meyer-Sahling, editors, The EU Timescape (Journal of European Public Policy Series), Abingdon, Oxon.; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN, pages 147–148:
      We have borrowed the notion of a timescape from the sociologist Barbara Adam (1998, 2004, 2008), who defines a timescape as a ‘cluster of temporal features, each implicated in all the others, but not necessarily of equal importance in each instance’ (Adam 2004: 143). Its key elements include time-frames, temporality, timing, tempo, duration, sequence and temporal modalities (past, present, future) (Adam 2008). [] [A]s Adam (2009; 1; emphasis in the original) notes, ‘the “scape” part of the concept acknowledges that we cannot embrace time without simultaneously encompassing space and matter … a timescape’s perspective acknowledges this spatiality, materiality and contextuality but foregrounds the temporal side of the interdependency.’ [] [T]he timescape concept invites a focus on the linkages and interdependencies between different dimensions of the temporal constitution of a political system.
  2. (science fiction) A multi-dimensional view of time, especially one in which time travel occurs.
    • [2007, “timescape”, in Jeff Prucher, editor, Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 241:
      timescape n. time conceived of, or perceived as, possessing multiple dimensions.]
    • 2008 April 17, Jefferson R. Weekley, “The Pool of Blood”, in Red Earth, Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, →ISBN, page 214:
      My awareness extended beyond human memory and I drifted, lost in the crevices of the now visible Timescape. Then a point of light beckoned me and I strove for it. The light became the memory of my personality and I dove into it. I swirled in an ever-tightening spiral. I was all eight of my great-grand parents, I was both of my grandfathers and both of my grandmothers, I was my mother and my father and, finally, I was Jonathan Crowe again and I could now reflect upon what had been done to me.
    • 2011, Travis Harmon; Jonathan Shockley, “Introduction”, in Let There Be Facebook: Status Updates from God, Gaga, and Everyone in between, New York, N.Y.: Touchstone Books, →ISBN, page vii, footnote 2:
      [Mark] Zuckerberg is pursued throughout the timescape by the litigious Winklevoss twins, who operate a time machine bought for them by their daddy. Zuckerberg must constantly leap to and fro throughout the centuries in order to duck summonses.