I am saddened by a news report from China about two 5th grade girls who committed suicide because they thought that they could travel back in time after death. As someone who has often wished to travel back in time to meet Charlotte Bronte, Shakespeare, and George Washington, for example, I understand the urge to somehow make the impossible possible.
The Chinese government blames the deaths on popular television shows that are about time travelers. Unlike the majority of fictional shows about time travel in the U.S. and Britain, the Chinese shows frequently have characters who must die in order to be able to achieve time travel. In the U.S., there is usually a time machine or a magic object that transports the living character to another time. Shows such as Quantum Leap, My Favorite Martian, and Dr. Who have been extremely popular and do not mislead viewers into thinking they can travel in time like the characters.
I wish I had the comfort of believing that these two young girls are actually traveling about in time, living out their fantasies. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that this is so. Dead is dead, and all I really know for sure is that these girls will never grow up to be mothers, business women, authors, or doctors. It's a shame that their parents and teachers weren't aware of the girls' plan until it was too late. Heartrending story.