CMU alumnus and best friend write time travel book together

Authoring a book is not what one thinks of as a typical best friend activity.

Yet that's what Central Michigan University graduate Phil Hornshaw and Michigan State University graduate Nick Hurwitch did. Their book, "So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel," is being published by Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin, and will come out April 3.

"It's an idea we came up with a few years ago after watching some really bad time-travel movies," Hornshaw said.

The two, originally from Novi, have been friends since third grade, Hornshaw said. They were editors-in-chief of their high-school newspaper together and have been writing together for a long time. Their first attempt at a novel was when they were 13 or 14, but Hornshaw said it was mostly ripped off from the video game "Final Fantasy VII."

"We're long-time nerds," Hurwitch said.

Hornshaw is a former Central Michigan Life managing editor and graduated in December 2008.

"We conceived of it in, like, October 2009," Hurwitch said. "Phil was still in Michigan, and I had been in Los Angeles for under a year, and we were just talking about all the mistakes made in time-travel movies, and how no one gets it right."

Once Hornshaw moved to Los Angeles, the writing began. Hornshaw said there was plenty of research done about how to write a non-fiction book. They wrote a sample chapter and made a proposal before finding an agent and getting a contract with a publisher.

The actual writing, Hornshaw said, started in November and ended in April of last year.

"Basically it’s divided into two halves. The first half is like a textbook that puts into lay terms the science of time-travel movies; think of "Back to the Future" and the "Terminator" and stuff like that, and we sort of explain things like relativity and quantum mechanics as best we can. And then the back half is sort of an era-by-era survival guide. So we do ancient Egypt and the future robot uprising and stuff like that," Hornshaw said.

The book is humorous and is considered a pop-culture book, rather than a hard sciences book, Hurwitch said.

"Even though it’s written for a time traveler, as though time travel is real, it doesn’t take itself seriously. In the sciences, it’s loose at best," Hurwitch said.

After six months of hard writing and an even longer period of revisions and looking at layouts and illustrations, Hornshaw said it was great to see an actual printed copy of the book.

"It made my fiancé cry," he said.