1. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    Smoothing Out Wrinkles in Time

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Milady, Dec 16, 2008.

    I'll get right to the point: My MC is kidnapped and taken to a post-apocalyptic future, where, through a rather suspect series of events, she ends up killing her evil-overlord future self.

    Makes a lot of sense, right? So I'm trying to find a way to make it seem... plausible. I know reading SF entails suspension of disbelief, but I'd rather not alienate any readers here.

    So, how might I go about this? One of my main problems would be explaining why Evil Overlord Future-Self didn't just disappear when MC popped out of time. My characters assume it's because somehow, some way, MC is going to end up going back to her native time, but even when MC makes an honest, earnest decision not to return, Evil Future Self doesn't disappear. So that's why she has to kill herself. (By the way, would that be considered homicide or suicide?)


    So... any thoughts as to why the kidnapping idea didn't work?

    And anyone know the plural of Paradox?
     
  2. Magpie_Tendencies
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    Magpie_Tendencies New Member

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    Sorry I don't think I can help with smoothing out the plot problems.

    The plural of 'paradox' is 'paradoxes'.

    I think the most obvious solution would be that FutureSelf has already been kidnapped in her past and still chose to become evil in the future, possibly because of some event between the two times. And having lived it before, FutureSelf knows they're going to try kill her and believes she can outsmart PastSelf. However, because the actions are not set in stone, things don't happen as FutureSelf remembers them and she is killed anyway.

    I would consider the killing a homicide, unless your MC realises that she's going to become the Evil Overlord in her future and accepts that she's essentially putting a death warrent on her own future. In which case I would see it as a suicide.

    But it's not necessary because, as was said before, the events are not set in concrete and she can change her future. Especially if she plans to stay in the fture and fix the danage that FutureSelf has done.
     
  3. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    There are generally two approches to time travel.
    the same thing will always happen indefinatly. no matter what happens past self will be affected by future self who in turns repeats the process and does it to new past.
    Then theres the idea that there are an indefinate number of possible future outcomes and its anyones guess as to whether the future will come back to the past and which past they will comeback too.

    it would be homicide; the future self is killing a past self who, since their actions split themselfs off constantly, is a different person.
     
  4. jwilder
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    jwilder Member

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    Assuming that prior to your character's assassination of himself the present (from which he came) remains unchanged, it is very plausible that your character can travel forward in time and come into contact with himself. While killing his future self won't change the past, the character can return to the present with the knowledge of the future, and that is essentially the purpose of future time travel (as opposed to past, which is to correct a previous action or gain past knowledge for the understanding of the present.) Killing his future self and choosing to remain in the future is fine, but the present self will then have no knowledge of the time from when he left to the time of his arrival into the presence of future self, and will have no memories of that lapsed time. There are a host of plot issues this can cause if not treated carefully, so tread lightly at first until you get a grip on the time wrinkles.

    Now, should the future self kill the present self, then the character would effectively be eliminated. The present self cannot go back to the present and live, and therefore the future self cannot come into being.
     
  5. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Homicide; I'll explain why. Time travel, as you put it, wouldn't really be time travel in the same line, as in time is a straight line, you can't go back, you can only go forward OR sideways, and then go back (to avoid paradox):

    Let me explain:

    Events in Timeline A: Your MC becomes an evil overlord.

    Something/someone goes back into the past, bringing them to Timeline B, and brings young MC to present timeline A.

    Events in Timeline B: Your MC dissapears from the world after being taken to Timeline A.

    The self in Timeline B and Timeline A are not the same person, they are just parallel versions of the same person from parallel timelines.
    There is no way to travel to the past of your own timeline, as that would be paradox and by definition impossible.
    Paradoxes.
     
  6. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    Thanks, guys.

    I especially like Acglaphotis's idea of the multiple timelines--I'd been playing with something like this for a while, but no one's laid it out as clearly as you.

    Yeah, the FutureSelf killing PresentSelf would cause a whole lot of problems, which have been thoroughly explored in other works. If, at the end of my book, PresentSelf decides to stay in the future, she will obviously be a different person than the Self who returned to/never left the past and turned evil, and thus she won't remember FutureSelf's experiences--at least not firsthand.
     

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