On the one hand, time travel stories revolving around attempts to preserve history as we know it saves writers from having to make up believable counterfactuals, which is hard even for people who know their stuff.

On the other hand, it helped cement into the popular imagination the idea that we live in the best possible world.

On a related note, it occurs to me that modern post-apocalyptic fiction basically says, "if we can't have civilization as we know it, then we can't have anything at all". Which amounts to the same.

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