In the future concert promoters use time travel to troll the past for very famous acts when they were just starting out. Grab Little Stevie Wonder for a one night show every five years, and the kid really builds up his chops! When they return they are better than ever, having had extra practice. This begs the question, would they have been as good if they didn’t get the experience? Was it the act of practicing in the future that made them so famous they were drawn forward to the future?
I think this might work better as a movie, but you never know. A group of researchers are attempting to send objects back into the past to look for changes in the timeline. As the readers/audience we are able to see the world change around the researchers. But they are completely oblivious to the changes. They finally conclude time travel doesn’t work. As a question, is this a new twist on a time-travel story? Do you need to be an oberserver outside of the internal timeline of the story to observe changes within a timeline?
The biggest problem time-travelers have is interference from those farther in the future. Those buttinskis have better technology, better history, and are always able to get there before you. Usually just enough before you so that when you show up, there they are, thumbing their noses, drinking a pina colada and sitting on YOUR pile of treasure. Of course they have the same problem. At some point the people farthest up the future are so good you realize they are manipulating everything, and only getting the scraps of what they allow you. Then you get depressed.
At first tIme travelers only went back to “lost” civilizations. The nations of ancient Africa, Pre-Bronze-Age China, the cities drowned when the Black Sea flooded, the civilizations that lived on Ice-Age continental shelves. (Not Atlantis. Never existed. Duh.) But then someone got greedy, and convinced the Spanish monks to burn all the Mayan records. Suddenly they were fair game to exploit. Those criminals were caught, but it was too late to change things back. One day someone in the future noticed that Early 21st century humans had transferred most of their records to easily destroyable server farms…