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Historical Fiction with Time Travel - The Outlander Series

Updated on October 2, 2014

Diana Gabaldon THE OUTLANDERS SERIES

My favorite genre is historical fiction, which must have a well-researched basis in order for the history and the characters to come to life on the page. Diana Gabaldon has done just that. She has done extensive research on Scotland, North Carolina, Barbadoes, and Paris during the 1740's through current day. She has woven her characters into a real history without destroying the historical significance of each place and time.

Time travel in historical fiction... I know, maybe I should have said my favorite genre is fantasy or science fiction. The way Gabaldon weaves time travel into the saga she makes it seem so natural. No, it is mainly historical fiction with elements of fantasy, sci-fy, mystery, suspense, and romance.

The Outlander Series

The Outlander Series
The Outlander Series

Diana Gabaldon's The Outlander Series

The Outlander

Diana Gabaldon started writing THE OUTLANDER series more than 20 years ago. I will call it historical fiction, but it encompasses so much more: fantasy, science fiction, mystery, military history, Scottish history, Revolutionary War history... The list goes on because she weaves her story through the history of two worlds.

It begins after WWII. Claire Beauchamp Randall and her husband Frank Randall are taking a second honeymoon in Invernes, Scotland, after being separated for six years because of WWII. Claire was a nurse in the army and Frank served in the army during WWII. They go to Scotland to rekindle their young marriage.

Frank is a historian and is extremely interested in researching his sixth great grandfather, Jack Randall, a decorated, heroic British soldier. He talks about his historical ancestor with great admiration, but Claire pays little attention. She is more interested in collecting flowers and herbs.

One day, Claire goes to a stone circle, which are common all over Great Britain. She is not interested in the superstitions surrounding the stones, just a pretty flower that might have medicinal powers. She has a very scientific, logical way of thinking about things.

This is actually my picture of Stonehenge
This is actually my picture of Stonehenge

The Plot Thickens

Frank is off doing genealogical research while Claire is exploring the stones for the flower she wants to add to her collection. Imagine her surprise when she walks between the stones in 1946 and lands in the same spot in 1743. As she gathers her thoughts, the first person she runs into is Jack Randall who looks exactly like Frank with long hair. She wonders if Frank has signed up for some sort of re-enactment for the Scottish battle at Culloden.

She soon finds out that "Black Jack" Randall is a cruel man who would rather kill her than look at her. Realizing she is not dealing with Frank, she escapes her husband's "heroic" ancestor who turns out to be a misogynistic, perverted, bisexual sadist. During her escape, she is found by a group of Highlanders who are also trying to hide from Randall and his troupes. She runs right into Jamie Fraser's arms. Sounds romantic, huh? It is anything but.

She spends much time trying to escape from Jamie, who is trying to protect her from Jack Randall. All Claire wants to do is to get back to Frank. But the Scottish Clansmen don't trust this woman with a refined British accent. She is required to marry one of the clansmen in order to keep her from being turned over to the horrible "Black Jack" Randall for questioning.

The clansman is Jamie Fraser.

The Latest in The Outlander Series

Historical Aspects

Gabaldon created a story that weaves through history.

I could not put the book down, nor any that were in the series. With great accuracy, we see Claire and Jamie going through Scottish, French, and American history.

We see Claire walk through the Stones from the end of WWII to 18th Century Scotland where the Clans have to decide whether they are going to fight to place Bonny Prince Charles on the British Throne. Saying more would be saying too much.

I hate to reveal too much because the novels are page turners.

But know that you will not only be entertained, but you will learn a great deal about the history of the 18th and 20th Centuries.

Gabaldon's research is impeccable.

Her imagination with her story is genius, which is why this series cannot be placed into one genre, which I love.

Men and women alike love these books.

Gabaldon definitely knew how to create an audience with her first novel and proceeding novels in the series.

Spoiler Alert: Do Not Read If You Want to Be Surprised

Of course, the Outlander Series is compiled of seven, and recently to be eight, books.

During the Battle of Culloden, Jamie fears for Claire's life and sends her back through the stones - an extremely dramatic scene.

Claire is carrying their child and does not want to leave him. They had hoped with her knowledge of Culloden that they could prevent it, but they could not.

None of her knowledge seems to be able to prevent any of the atrocities, either historical or personal, but Gabaldon has a few tricks up her sleeve.

Later in the series, we see Claire in the 1960's as a doctor in Boston. She and Frank stayed married, but it was rough.

She ends up taking her daughter, Brianna, to Scotland. A new generation becomes involved in the story. The twists and turns are magnificent.

At the time I wrote this article, I was anxiously awaiting the next, possibly the last book in the series, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, due out in fall of 2013. I am thrilled to say it will not be the last book in the series.

Gabaldon has also written many short stories and novellas that are like the "behind the scenes" of the series.

She has also written another great series: THE LORD JOHN Series, which is a branch off of the OUTLANDER SERIES.

The Movie and Novel that Peaked My Interest in Historical Fiction with Time Travel

Movie Cult Classic: Somewhere in Time

As a teenager, I saw the first previews for SOMEWHERE IN TIME starring Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour. I was enchanted and had to see it. I am glad I did. It was only in theaters for 1, maybe 2, weeks. It was a box office bomb. I loved it! Later, it came out on VHS, and I had to have it. Its video sales soared. (It was about time that it was recognized for its quality story line).

The movie is based off of Richard Matheson's BID TIME RETURN. Because the setting in the book, the Coronado Hotel in San Diego, had so many problems as far as the technical side of creating the film, it was moved to Michigan's Grand Hotel. The movie follows the novel closely, but of course, the novel is much richer in plot and description.

Anyway, every since then, I have been overwhelmingly interested in traveling back in time. I also love the Michael J. Fox BACK TO THE FUTURE TRILOGY. Can you imagine going back in time and meeting your parents and ancestors or going into the future to see yourself and your children? These movies capture it all and are extremely entertaining.

THE OUTLANDER Series, BID TIME RETURN, SOMEWHERE IN TIME, and BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy all receive 5 stars.

Somewhere In Time

The Somewhere In Time Soundtrack is outstanding. Once you have seen the movie, you will want this beautiful soundtrack with the music that will carry you back to the turn of the 20th Century.

Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson

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    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @mrsm54321: I wish I had Starz! I may have to order it.

    • mrsm54321 profile image

      mrsm54321 4 years ago

      I can't wait to see Sam Heughan playing Jamie in the TV Series! So excited!

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @kellywilson1: Kelly, if you haven't read them or listened to them, you are in for a treat!! ENJOY!! :-)

    • profile image

      kellywilson1 4 years ago

      Thank you for introducing me to the Outlander Series. I loved Somewhere In Time. It is one of my favorite movies.

    • profile image

      kellywilson1 4 years ago

      Thank you for introducing me to the Outlander Series. I loved Somewhere In Time. It is one of my favorite movies.

    • lisln profile image

      LorLinda 4 years ago from Denver Colorado

      Hi Diane it is your cousin from facebook perhaps cousin hehehe :) not following you just saw you on the book club quest. Congratulations once again. (A Gabaldon to a Gabaldon). BTW your picture looks so different you look so pretty being a blonde!

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @BarbaraCasey: I know, Barbara, they are such special characters, and Gabaldon has written such a high quality story. She is a real talent. Thanks so much for commenting. :-)

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @SandyDell: Thank you, GiftRepSandy! I was discussing the tv series with someone earlier. It is so exciting if they stay true to Gabaldon's wonderful characters. Thanks so much for the SquidLike and Blessings!! :-)

    • SandyDell profile image

      Sandy Dell 4 years ago from Lenore, Idaho

      Love all of them! The Outlander Series (by the way, I hear they are thinking about making this into a TV mini-series! http://www.dianagabaldon.com/) And 'Somewhere in Time' is one of my very favorite movies .... along with 'Back to the Future' too!

      So great subject and great lens!!

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 4 years ago

      The Jamie-Claire affair/marriage is one of the best-told love stories in fiction. The last (perhaps) book has been a long time coming.

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      nell-rose-9 4 years ago

      Hi, I love the Jamie and Clare series, totally addicted! it feels so real when you read it, and you get totally engrossed in the stories. The lord john ones are great too. I noticed you love Somewhere in Time, yep me too! lol!

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @kabbalah lm: I hope you do. You will not be disappointed. I promise. :-) Thanks so much for the comment and the SqidLike!! :-)

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @PCRoger LM: Thanks for the comment. SOMEWHERE IN TIME is a cult classic now. Funny how if flopped in the box office. I loved it then and I love it now. I am glad we share this in common. :-)

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 4 years ago

      I'll put it on my reading list. Thanks

    • PCRoger LM profile image

      PCRoger LM 4 years ago

      Love the movie "Somewhere in time". I think it's one most have never heard of but would like if they watched. Reeve was great in it.

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @CoolFool83: Thanks! I believe you will like it. :-)

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @Thamisgith: Thanks, Thamisgith! I am sure you would enjoy it if you like history, time travel, and a good story! :-)

    • profile image

      Thamisgith 4 years ago

      Sounds like an interesting series. Might give it a try later.

    • CoolFool83 profile image

      CoolFool83 4 years ago

      I'll have to take a look at the outlander series. Great lense!

    • susanholland10 profile image
      Author

      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @kristalulabelle: Krista, they are awesome, aren't they? I can't wait for the new one. I will have to check your lens out. I hope I did the series justice. It is so good, and I was afraid I was giving away too much. Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • kristalulabelle profile image

      Kristen 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      I absolutely adore the Outlander Series, great lens! (Great minds think alike! I did an Outlander related book club lens too!) :)

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you, Susan! I appreciate you dropping by, SquidLiking, and SquidBlessings! :-)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I know this is a really popular series. Thanks for the great review!