1. PlsSenpai
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    PlsSenpai New Member

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    Opinions on Time Travel?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by PlsSenpai, May 29, 2015.

    I want your honest opinions, not just 'yes' or 'no' to time travel,
    but why do you not like it or do like it.

    What's a good book, show, game, etc. that displays time travel right?
    Or wrong even.

    //

    I personally love time travel, but not when it's used cheaply to just
    ignore a huge plot bump or bring a character back to life.

    I hate how DBZ constantly brings back characters, death is a joke
    to them at this point. Fire Emblem did time traveling good I'd say,
    but it got messy. Facts and time travel overlap badly.

    >Your Morgan is 90% a different Morgan from another time line.
     
  2. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I love time travel, but only because I like to see changes and the result of actions far down the line.

    On the more logical side, I avoid time travel because it really is not possible to travel forward or backward, and it causes far more trouble than it is worth. I do not bother criticizing time travel when I see it, however, because it is not a certain science. You cannot really say that they are doing it wrong when it is not like we have practical references for which to compare.
     
  3. Blighters
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    Blighters Member

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    I too am a big fan of time travel, but as you say it has to be used correctly. Cheap plot twists aside, I like it when it brings a sense of mystery or an unsolved dilemma with it.

    Not sure if you're into sci-fi at all but I've just finished Dan Simmons Hyperion Cantos and Endymion series (and absolutely loved them(. Both have elements of time travel in them, in fact it's used to skip the series on 200ish years, but in my opinion it's used very well!
     
  4. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    I think time travel is interesting, though it can cause a headache.

    "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon uses time travel as not the main plot, but as a device to further the plot and it's actually really fascinating. I love it. :D (It's one of the many reasons Diana is my favorite author)
     
  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I like time travel - haven't really seen anything lately concerning it. My loves are completely old fogy - The Time Machine ( the old 60's version ) with Yvette Mimieux and blue morlocks, Back to the Future and an old movie with Jeff Daniels called Timescape based on a Henry Kuttner novel - that had a nice twist.

    Sometimes though, I think people take time travel too seriously. I would be jaunting back and forth just to get a Tab cola and hamburger flavored Hostess chips and to bargain shop, and maybe bug the town bully.
    Or maybe that's just me. I think I'd be slightly irreverent if I was to ever do a time travel story.
     
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  6. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    I've been reading time travel stories since I started reading back around 1960. There are some themes/devices/whatnot that have been used a lot. There are some I would stop reading immediately were I to encounter one of them again.

    H. G. Wells used his story as a vehicle to espouse political and other beliefs he held, while not losing sight of the fact that his story had to be entertaining.

    One of my least favorite and one that I don't see lately is the story where somebody goes back in time to kill Hitler or some such, and is always thwarted, the message being that you can't change history. Another terrible example was a movie I saw years ago with Kirk Douglas called "The Final Countdown," where a modern aircraft carrier gets whooshed back in time to right before Pearl Harbor, and just before the attack, and the jets have been scrambled etc., the ship and everybody gets whooshed right back to the future.

    There are some very obvious and well worn subjects regarding paradoxes that would be created by some sorts of time travel. The most cliched one is someone going back in time and killing his grandfather (before the grandfather had sired any children). The more broad problem is that even seemingly inconsequential changes have far reaching effects. A moment's delay can amount to life or death of someone, and so on and so on as it ripples into the future.

    One popular way of dealing with the paradox is to use the "multi-dimensional" device, based usually on some speculation about quantum physics, but basically boils down to there are infinite universes that split from each other at every instant. So there can be, for example, a universe where Justin Bieber broke his nose and wasn't adorable to teenyboppers, or Napoleon's grandparents never met. Whatever.

    I read a novel recently by Frederick Pohl that used this premise, and he had parallel universes intersecting and causing all sorts of ... stuff. The problem I had with it was that the same characters existed in all the universes, albeit in different stations in life. I found it hard to believe that so many of the came characters would exist in worlds so different. One world was run by an Arab oil cartel, another by a military dictatorship, another was very technologically backward, and yet nothing that happened that caused those very different universes to develop seemed to prevent all the main characters' parents from reproducing exactly the same offspring. Pohl had a sort of explanation for that but it still took considerable suspension of disbelief to buy the result even if one bought the premise.

    Well, that's enough from me for now.
     
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  7. Caeben
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    Caeben Member

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    That sounds almost exactly like the old sci-fi show Sliders.


    @OP: if you want mind-bendy time travel, check out the movie Primer, which is directed by Shane Carruth. Not sure where you can find it now, as it used to be on Netflix but no longer is.

    Personally, I dislike time travel as its too gimmicky and my brain can't really suspend disbelief to accept what I'm reading/watching. Primer is one of the few time travel pieces that is excellent in its execution with plenty of added WTF moments.
     
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  8. Aaron DC
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    Love Dr Who.

    Enjoyed the Continuum TV series.

    As a concept I like the different types of time travel effect - whether it's a closed loop or multiverse, etc. Has to be done well to make sense on screen, but the concept itself is enjoyable for me to contemplate or read.
     
  9. Bryan Romer
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    Time travel can be a very interesting story element as long as it not used simply to create silly logic puzzles or excuses for poor plot creation. I like it when it is shown to have far reaching effects across the world or worlds rather than simply a tool for a hero or heroes to jump back and forth solving crimes or even love affairs.

    Julian May's "Exiles" series handled time travel very well.

    Although many view the "Time Wars" series by Simon Hawke as being pulp adventure/fantasy, taken as a whole the series portrays an interesting and steadily worsening situation caused by repeated efforts to "fix" problems caused by time travellers, ultimately leading to a full scale war between to different time lines.

    Poul Anderson's classic Time Patrol dealt not with using time travel as a tool, but how to prevent the world as we know it from going to hell once the time travel genie is out of the bottle. The temptation to "fix" things on an individual level is simply too tempting, leading to chaos in the wider scale.
     
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  10. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Look, I love time travel. ALL time travel. Serious, reality-is-at-stake time travel, goofy time travel, irreverent time travel, romantic time travel, mind bending time travel, it doesn't matter. It's pretty much the ultimate plot type in my opinion. With that being said, I've never attempted a time travel story, myself.
     
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  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    There's a lot of great fiction involving time travel: Simmons' Hyperion series, Well's Time Machine, to name two.

    What I find interesting in the real universe are the mysteries of time itself that we've not solved: Why does it only flow in one direction? How is it not a fixed thing (the rate differs depending on the speed you are traveling)? It began with the Big Bang as far as we can currently tell, how does that work? Is there a view of the time dimension where we can see it from end to end (in other words see your whole life at the same time)?

    The latter is interesting to contemplate. When we look out into the Universe, we can see that there is light from billions of years away that is just now reaching us. But that light existed before and after it got to us. It didn't materialize when it reached the Earth and vanish after it left. Does time travel with that Universe light or is time an illusion of something else?
     
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  12. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Time flows? ~_~
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You didn't know? :confused:

    Or am I missing the joke which I admit is very likely?
     
  14. tonguetied
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    Not sure if the term is time dilation or something else but the concept of time slowing down for something moving extremely fast makes me wonder just how old those photons are from a galaxy far, far away? The photon might have been created a billion years ago, but could it only be a few years old when it reaches us?

    I like to watch movies about time travel but don't typically read the stories about it. I understand the concept of time travel as people generally portray it, but as was pointed out by Jack Asher on another thread since the Earth and everything is moving, a jump in time would result in you being in outer space or maybe in the middle of a star; kind of toasty at this time isn't it? I also am puzzled why people don't think we can travel in time? We just don't control our travel through time, it is always in one direction and one speed as we understand it. If actual time travel, as this thread is suggesting, is possible then there is an implication that all time coexists just like the space one foot to your right exists right now. What makes our particular moment in time significant compared to any other moment in that type scenario?
     
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  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My favorite time travel novel was Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.
     
  16. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is something I've always been confused about. Obviously you can use "flow of time," as a valid expression in daily conversation, but does time actually flow? Newton thought so. Personally, I'm with Brian Greene.

    "Today's scientists seeking to combine quantum mechanics with Einstein's theory of gravity (the general theory of relativity) are convinced that we are on the verge of another major upheaval, one that will pinpoint the more elemental concepts from which time and space emerge. Many believe this will involve a radically new formulation of natural law in which scientists will be compelled to trade the space-time matrix within which they have worked for centuries for a more basic ''realm'' that is itself devoid of time and space.

    This is such a perplexing idea that grasping it poses a substantial challenge, even for leading researchers. Broadly speaking, scientists envision that there will be no mention of time and space in the basic equations of the sought-for framework. And yet -- just as clear, liquid water emerges from particular combinations of an enormous number of H2 0 molecules -- time and space as we know them would emerge from particular combinations of some more basic, though still unidentified, entities. Time and space themselves, though, would be rendered secondary, derivative features, that emerge only in suitable conditions (in the aftermath of the Big Bang, for example). As outrageous as it sounds, to many researchers, including me, such a departure of time and space from the ultimate laws of the universe seems inevitable."

    The whole article is good.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/01/opinion/the-time-we-thought-we-knew.html?pagewanted=1


    edited to add: I think you pretty much brought this up yourself when you said "or is time an illusion of something else?"
     
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  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Greene's multiverse theory would be great fodder for a sci-fi novelist.

    While Hawking might have gotten his time flow construct elsewhere, I got it from his book, The Brief History of Time.

    And I have to give credit to Michelle Thaller from NASA for pondering, "is time an illusion of something else?" I just heard her yesterday say it on CSPAN on a panel discussing science denialism.
     
  18. Azhurel
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    It's over used in literature. But, if you have new take on it then go for it!
     
  19. No-Name Slob
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    I think the best depiction of time travel & multi-dimensional travel in a novel is in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. It's not at all gimmicky, and instead of using it as a cheap plot arc, he uses it to draw conclusions about the current state of society by comparing a euphoric alternate dimension to his time spent during WWII and the bombing of Dresden.

    I think the reason he's able to do it so well is because he doesn't get caught up on the little details. How it happens is not as important as why it happens.

    I think it's when writers try to become quantum physicists and make (currently) impossible theories into realities that this particular theme starts to go south. It's fiction, after all; when you try and explain it too much, the story is lost in the details.
     
  20. No-Name Slob
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    This sounds like something I desperately need in my life. Do you happen to have a link?
     
  21. jannert
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    I tend to shy away from time travel stories. As a fan of straightforward historical novels, I find them irritating. Which is (one of) the (many) reasons I cannot STAND Diana Gabaldon (sorry @Nicoel :))

    However, one recent time travel author whom I love is Kage Baker. Her stories are not presented as 'time travel' which is one of the reasons she sucked me in. And she uses time travel in a very Kage-y way.

    Basically, a large corporation of the far-distant future discovers a way to go back in time. They discover they can go back in time, grab young orphans from all eras (including the stone age), bring them back to the future where the corporation exists. The corporation transforms these children into partly bionic Operatives so they become immortal.

    These Operatives are 'grown' into adults, get trained in various disciplines and receive enhanced powers—like the power to heal themselves (sometimes slowly) from any injury. The bionic orphans basically get Google (a futuristic one) planted into their brains, so they have all knowledge available to them at any time, can speak any language, and can do their 'jobs' as efficiently as possible. Their brain implant allows them to communicate silently with each other as well, to a limited extent, and also enables them to summon the corporation to 'pick them up' whenever the time is right.

    Once the physical transformation and training is complete the corporation sends them back in time (either alone or in small groups) to periods in history where disasters happen. Places like San Francisco before the earthquake, Pompeii before the volcano, etc. The purpose? To sneak in and 'rescue' articles of value that history records as lost in the disaster. (The Operatives are sometimes sent to rescue species of plants and animals that will go extinct, as well as man-made objects.)

    These Operatives blend into the society of the time until they are able to grab the goods. In doing this, they must create as little fuss as possible, because if their actions are discovered prematurely and noted by others, this could change history. So stealth and extremely good timing on the part of the Operatives is vital.

    Once the goods are secured—immediately before the disaster occurs, if possible—the Operatives return to the corporation to dump the articles they just rescued. After each mission is completed they get a little R&R vacation and tune-up (they are very well treated in this respect, and given all of the luxuries such a setup can provide.) Then they get sent back again to another time, to rescue more stuff. The rescued stuff gets sold to collectors for humungous sums of money, and the corporation rolls on, getting more and more and more powerful.

    This works terribly well, until a sense of boredom/dissatisfaction with immortality/and awkward personal entanglements begin to sour the Operatives. As the series moves on, the Operatives (who all know and recognise each other) eventually start planning their escape from the talons of the corporation. The danger to this plan is this: if the corporation decides it doesn't like an individual Operative, the naughty Operative gets sent back to a very distant time period (like the age of dinosaurs) and simply left there. The Operative won't die, but has no way to communicate with colleagues in this scenario, and will have to live out millenia all alone. Of course they will go crazy. Scary.

    The clever thing about this little time travel scenario is that it doesn't change history. The disasters known to history still happen, the people who are supposed to die in them do die, and the things that are 'lost' remain lost, for all practical purposes ...until they are miraculously 'found' in the far distant future. The reason the corporation chooses young orphans or abandoned children to train as Operatives is because their disappearance won't be noticed by anybody from their own time period. So the impact on history is very minimal indeed.

    A writer who uses time travel as cleverly as this gets my vote—and my book money. Kage Baker's "Company" books are extremely well-written and often very funny as well. Nothing not to like. She's written other series as well, which I also love. But the Company books are the ones that got me hooked, for sure. Starting with In the Garden of Iden.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
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  22. Frankovitch
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    Me and time travel is a love-hate relationship. I really want to like time travel, but the inconsistencies involved in most stories annoy me. The movie Primer was great. The movie Deja Vu had great acting, but was a horrible mess.

    I actually wrote a story (and had it published) about time travel. It was about a young man who decided to become a "hero" after his father was killed, presumably by criminals. Before entering a holy cave, a helmeted man asks him to kill another man with the same helmet, and take his helmet. He goes in, travels back in time without knowing it and kills the other helmeted man, who turns out to be his father. He returns to the almost present, puts on the helmet, and figures out that he was the helmeted man he met before entering the caves. This means that he chose (or didn't?) to kill his own father for himself to become motivated to fight crime. No paradox, yay! If this is confusing, I'm willing to send y'all the story. It's the best thing I've ever written.
     
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  23. jannert
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    Didn't Luke Skywalker do a fairly similar thing? I seem to recall him entering a cave, battling with a helmeted man who appeared to be Darth Vader (Luke's father) but then, once he'd killed the helmeted figure, it turned out to be Luke himself?
     
  24. ladybird
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    I right there with you.

    Back to the OP

    It might be a generation preference. I used to enjoy Doctor Who when I was a younger but wouldn't bother watching it now. It would be the same for buying books of that genre but then I also feel the same about zombies. I prefer real life stories. Jetting off into the future unless you could change the past does not float my boat.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
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  25. Nicoel
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    It's okay! Everyone has their own opinion. I'm curious what else you don't like about the books though?
    Also I'm going to have to find the book series you're talking about - it sounds very interesting!
     
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