- Outlander -11 Questions About Outlander Time Travel, Answered By Diana Gabaldon
Spoilers ahead for Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.
With Brianna and Roger's homecoming to Fraser's Ridge after three years away from Claire and Jamie, the time travelers stayed in place (time-wise at least) in the ninth Outlander book. But there's bound to be more time travel after Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone. The topic of time travel — how it works and who can do it — was big in Bees, especially as a potential new time traveler was revealed and a family member seemingly without the time-traveling gene was introduced. Below, author Diana Gabaldon answers questions about the family's powers and how the revelations in Bees could impact future time-traveling endeavors.
Do the MacKenzies have any plans to time travel again?
Well, they don't have any intention. That doesn't mean they won't do it.
Assuming Mandy's right about Davy being unable to time travel, it would seemingly take some extreme circumstances for Brianna and Roger to leave that time period?
Yeah. [But] you don't want to repeat your effects. ... As in, having a child be desperately ill and have to go back to the future in order to have surgery or whatever. Yeah, we're not going to do that again.
But that does not mean that there might not be the conflict of, 'We need to go back to our time, but Davy can't'?
Yeah, that's possible. Not saying that it would. I don't at the moment see any circumstances under which that would be necessary, but then, it's way early. There's a lot I don't see, and I can easily change my mind about what I think I do see.
Is Mandy correct that Davy can't time travel?
I think so. Yeah. She has been so far about being able to see Jem. She led Brianna to where Jemmy was in the tunnel because she could see him, and in fact, Brianna has tested her ability to detect her brother, so there's no reason why she couldn't say what the other brother is like.
Could Mandy possibly detect other time travelers?
I'd say she could. ... The thing is, to Mandy, people just have auras or colors or something like that, and everybody has colors. It's just not the same color, and it probably doesn't occur to her specifically that there's anything unusual about having this particular kind of color or not. She wouldn't notice or connect that with time travel.
Are all time travelers related?
I have no idea. We may find out.
Is the Comte St. Germain Fergus's father?
That is a distinct possibility, but I can't say for sure whether it's the truth or not. ... There's at least a decent possibility of it. If he was, what are the odds that Fergus hasn't inherited something from him? Which Fergus, of course, would have no clue about. In fact, neither would anybody else in the story. We know that because of The Space Between, but nobody in the main story knows that. Ezekiel Richardson may know that. ... [Richardson's] very interested in time travel, which might possibly be the real reason that he's interested in Fergus Fraser.
Is Claire totally off base to wonder if Fanny's mom could be their daughter Faith?
Well, it might be just there for speculation, or the speculation might trigger something else that is important later on. Or you know, it might just be a red herring.
Do you think that Brianna's hypotheses about time travel are usually correct?
No. No, they're not. One of the things that we look at through the books, without outside commentary but by demonstration, is the differences between science and religion, and where they overlap and where they definitely don't. One of the points to be made about science is that science is not about finding answers. Science is about asking questions. ... Unfortunately, people are very inclined to [presume they know the answers].
Bree theorizes that time travelers temporarily die when they pass through the stones. Because there's the question of how many lives Jamie has left, are there any parallels to Jamie's nine lives and the lives of his time-traveling family?
Not as far as I know. I mean, none that's occurred to me. I'm not saying that it might not happen, but at the moment, I can say I know very little about Book 10. A lot of this stuff happens when I'm writing, and not what I know ahead of time.
Should readers be worried about Brianna's heart?
I don't know that either. Atrial fibrillation is one of those conditions, like so many, that can be either aggravated by pregnancy or relieved by it. Sometimes if you're pregnant, something like that just stops. It goes away and never bothers you again. Other times, being pregnant can aggravate it and it gets worse. Then you have to really worry. But we've not seen her having aggravated symptoms of it during her pregnancy... which, we didn't see her pregnancy to speak of. So we'll just have to wait and see.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.