Where does the time go? For some of us, that's a question involving time-loops and FTL drive. But for a lot of us, the explanation has more to do with massive books, bursting DVD sets and addictive games.
We asked over on our Facebook page what your biggest science fiction/fantasy time sinks were, and many of these suggestions are what you came up with. So here are the 10 greatest science fiction/fantasy time sinks in the universe. Feel free to pipe up with your own in the comments.
Note: These can be timesinks in a good way, or a bad way... there's no value judgement to saying that something can eat up a lot of time.
1. Doctor Who
Just the current version of this British time-travel epic, which began in 2005, can eat up a goodly amount of time, with its five seasons worth of mind-bending stories and heart-rending moments. (And then there's the spin-off show, Torchwood. And the unexpectedly lovely Sarah Jane Adventures.) But then you throw in the fact that the classic series ran from 1963 to 1989, plus a forgettable TV movie in 1996. There are a total of 770-odd episodes of this show, and over 200 individual stories. You can kill a whole weekend just watching the "Key to Time" season.
This is perhaps the most obvious Bermuda Triangle where your time can vanish, never to be seen again. If you're a fan of anything fantastical or speculative, and you have long unexplained time lapses, chances are you were just looking at the cleverly named, obsessively detailed listings of stock characters, plot devices and story ideas that crop up all over the place. (Image via XKCD) As Tracy says, "Sucks me in every time, and I'm in a trope-hole for, like, 45 minutes minimum. Guh." And now I want to go look up "trope-hole" on TVTropes.
This RPG allows you to go anywhere in the realm and engage in side quests, when you're not trying to stop an evil cult from opening a doorway to another realm, and find the Amulet of Kings. Several people named Oblivion as their biggest time-eating obsession, and Aaron confessed to a repeated habit of "Starting a new character in Oblivion and quitting two months later."
There are 306 episodes of this anime series so far! And this series about a young man who becomes a Soul Reaper is still going strong. Not to mention, 200 of the episodes are available on Hulu, and they post them a week after they air in Japan. (Thanks Rosie!)
5. DC's "Showcase" and Marvel's Essential" trades.
Actually, nobody mentioned this on our Facebook page, but I wanted to include it as an obvious candidate. Marvel and DC have slowed down the publication of these 500-page reprint volumes, which were printed on cheap newsprint and looked like telephone books. (Anyone actually remember telephone books?) But there are hundreds of these, and you can read, like, every classic Spider-Man comic ever, or all the Silver Age Justice League comics, for pretty cheap. And there goes the weekend.
6. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
When this series is completed, it will consume an estimated 14 books, 11,308 pages, and over 4 million words. And the collected Time-Wheelery will take up an estimated 17 and a half days on audiobook. That's a lot of epic fantasy. These books are "good for sucking your life away," says David.
7. Dungeons and Dragons
Considering you can spend a whole day on your character sheets, there's no way to underestimate just how much of your remaining hours on this planet D&D can eat up. Says Jon, "I spent my entire weekend pretty much just reading about D&D. Not even playing! Just reading up!" This game is like a gelatinous cube that swallows up your time.
8. Star Trek
Not counting the Animated Series (which really ought to count), there were five TV series and 11 movies — according to one guy, there are approximately 525 and a half hours of televised Trek, plus over 21 hours of movies. (And that doesn't even include all the DVD special features, fan-films, tie-in books, comics, and so on.) The series about people who boldly go has gone on and on, and even if you've seen every episode, you've probably forgotten the details of half of them.
9. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
With the new TV adaptation coming to HBO in a few months, many of us are either reading, or re-reading, the four books that are out so far. And they are incredibly absorbing — both in the sense that they can soak up hours, and in the sense that you won't notice because you'll be so swept up in the story. You'll hope against hope that certain people can avoid certain horrible fates, only to have your hopes crushed again and again. And then you'll keep flipping back to the earlier chapters to see just how inevitable the various calamities were. (Please, no debates in the comments over whether Martin owes you any books other than the ones you've already purchased!)
10. World of Warcraft
Or "World of Warcrack" as Jarrad calls it. This MMORPG has a way of swallowing up people's days. And nights. And weekends. The more time you invest, the more invested you are, and the more time you have to invest. Ian wins points for simultaneously playing WoW while listening to the Wheel of Time audiobooks.
Thanks to Kody, Jason, David, Mark, Jame, Sherri, Mike, Kim, Stacey, Garrett, Taryn, Dan, Scott, Ian, Joe, Mitch, Anthony, Kevin, Roy, Mildred, Aaron, Ryan, Tracy, Mike, Eric, Jarrad, Siouxzi, Rosie, Jarrad, Chadrick, David, Adam, Eiren, Adam, Angus, Geoff, Iain, Eric, Clay, Dana, Collen, Ken, John, Chris, Ken, Antoinette, Octavia, Jason, Alina, Bryan, Diane, Garth, Peter, Jose, Jaime, Mats, David, Jon, Rina, Nik, Rebecca, Jesse, and everybody else who piped in over at the Facebook page!