Tim Travola of Glasgow has been a massive fan of the novel HG Wells's The Time Machine since being eight years old. So much so, that it is the only book he has ever read, since discovering it.
"I got to the point where I had to have it playing in the car while I drove," said Travola. "Then I started to wish I could have the audio version as read by the author."
Unfortunately for Travola, HG Wells died before there was anything suitable to record him reading a novel onto. Recording equipment did exist during his lifetime, as he died in the 1940; but nothing capable of having an entire novel stored onto it.
"Such was my obsession," said Travola, "that in the end, I built a time machine, and travelled back to 1894 in the hope of having Wells read the story onto my digital recorder."
Travola had been aiming for 1896, but this being the first time machine he had ever built, the calibration was a little iffy. He did, however, build it to look exactly like he'd imagined Wells's time machine to look.
"Obviously, I wanted to go back to the year after publication," said Travola. "Instead I went back to the year it WAS written."
Apparently, according to Travola, he appeared in Wells's conservatory whilst the novelist was pacing up and down attempting to come up with an idea for his new novel.
"I told him who I was," said Travola, "and that I wanted him to read his first story out loud to me. Sadly, I'd arrived to early and only had enough plutonium for one more trip, so I had to head back, or face looking for another way to generate 1.21 gigawatts. I did have a good chat with the man though. It was very interesting, though I don't think he understood all of how I described the future. Being online for a start left him perplexed, especially when I explained it left a lot of people dull and lifeless. I told him it was a more dangerous time, with more locks than you could shake a stick at. He liked that metaphor."
Thus it was that Travola returned to his own time without his treasured recording.
"It's not going to stop me trying again," he said. "Hopefully, I'll arrive after it's published."
Travola is currently in Pentonville after attempting to break into Sellafield.