1. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Time Travel

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Tessie, Mar 26, 2011.

    All right, yada yada, getting through the long intro to the bottom line - I'm looking for research material on time traveling. I would appreciate any books or suggestions on current theories. The concept has always been a fascination of mine. I'd love to go back and see certain people and events of American history, and I want my current novel to be portrayed as accurately as possible to the technology and forensics scientists believe make time travel possible. I'm really a beginner at this, so I'm looking for the basics to start with.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love time travel stories. My favourite is Dr. Futurity by Philip K. Dick. Another fun one is Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny.

    Here's something pretty cool that I think someone should adapt into a screenplay: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Titor

    I hear Primer is pretty much the best time travel movie ever. I still haven't seen it, though.
     
  3. JMTweedie
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    JMTweedie Senior Member

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    If you want a few factual basics then I recommend having a look at howstuffworks.com, it's got a great section on time travel in there. Stephen Hawking books are also useful.

    Unfortunately they all theorise that backwards time travel is not possible but as time slows down the faster you get to the speed of light,then you may be able to come up with a form of travel that is faster than light and therefore theoretically time would go in reverse.
     
  4. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sidewinder, that is a very interesting story about John Titor. Obviously there is still a lot to investigate. Maybe somebody will put it into a screenplay, though. Anything is going nowadays.

    JMTweddie, you've gutted me. What? Time travel backwards is not possible?
     
  5. JMTweedie
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    JMTweedie Senior Member

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    Sorry about that.

    You don't need to base it on fact though. Fiction can still bend the rules of physics even if we can't.
     
  6. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you, I know I could bend the rules. I just like to think my novel would be believable to a younger audience and the geeky (scientific) audience.
     
  7. JMTweedie
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    JMTweedie Senior Member

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    I am your geeky scientific audience (maths, physics and geology) and I still watch and read sci-fi with impossible time travel plots, I love them.
     
  8. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    haha then I will have to tell you my wacky plot sometime. I'm really trying to read up on the basics. Aside from movies and documentaries on the Bermuda Triangle and the Dragon's Triangle, I have no clue about time travel and space. I think I should at least have some knowledge on the subject since I'm writing about it.
     
  9. JMTweedie
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    JMTweedie Senior Member

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    Start with Einstein's theory of general relativity. There's quite a lot of material out there on the internet but it's mostly similar stuff. Good luck.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you haven't read it The Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury.
     
  11. Bartleby
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    Bartleby Member

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    Time Traveling : First of all, machines don't use them, they are mostly stationary and forget the simple rule. the earth moves through space orbiting the sun, you would have to enter in calculations to predict where the earth would be in the year you wanted to go to or else your machine and you would be floating in space 1000 years ago dieing.

    Another interesting thing, people always say you need to hit the speed of light, the only way I see doing this is somehow becoming light ourselves, if you can manage that in your story you can probably manage time travel :)

    those are my inputs :D
     
  12. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks JMTweedie. I do need some luck.

    Thanks Bartleby. I've already known that I won't use a time machine. I need something portable and lightweight.

    And that sounds great Charlotte. I've heard of Ray Bradbury. I'll definitely check that book.
     
  13. abelsaywell
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    abelsaywell Member

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    If you want the accepted science aspects of "Time Dilation" then that is a good place to start. Google the following, I'd guess wikipedia has layman readable stuff on:
    1. Time Dilation and the Lorentz factor (has implications regarding the energy required
    2. The Twin Paradox
    3. That simultaneity is in fact relative (!)
    4. duality of multiple quantum states existing

    They will get you on the way to a subject, having traveled at massive[sic kind of] velocities, having experienced time more slowly and hence traveled into the future relative to the universe that has not been traveling at velocities near the speed of light. Kind of... It's hard to explain without maths.

    If you want something believable that involves going back then you are probably better off looking into the likes of infinite multiple universes. If you hypothetically accept that backwards time travel is possible then it has already happened and there is an instance of yourself everywhere at every time.... at everything in some instance and its a matter of jumping onto that universe's plane.
     
  14. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haha -- or just go on Wikipedia. I dunno how much you want to get into the hard science of things, but in my experience most good stories about time travel deal more with the weird narrative paradoxes that can arise than the theory of time travel.
     
  15. JMTweedie
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    JMTweedie Senior Member

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    Agreed that it's hard to explain without the maths and most people would not get it if you did.

    If you start going into the details of quantum mechanics in a novel you will likely lose 99.9% of your readers. :D

    Having studied it though, it can put you in a good position if you are writing a sci-fi tech novel.

    I like the idea of using infinite multiple Universes so that all time periods exist at the same time, just a question of jumping from one to another. You would need a quantum dimension field generator for that :D I think I have one of those stored away in the back of my garden shed.
     
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  16. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unfortunately the arrow of time only appears to run one way, so travel into the past does appear to be an impossibility, but so much of science fiction/fantasy literature requires the reader to temporarily suspend disbelief anyway, so maybe it isn't worth worrying about such a small detail. ;)

    If time travel into the past was ever to become possible, then theoretically our present day would be full of people from the future travelling back to visit us. Stephen Hawking famously organised and publicised a party at his house specifically for such time travellers to attend, but disappointingly nobody showed up, even although their own history books would have shown the date, time and location of the event.

    Contrary to what an earlier poster said, you don't have to be light in order to travel at something close to light speed. Cosmologists estimate that the furthest galaxies, at the outer reach of the observable universe, are moving away from us at something approaching this rate, although technically it isn't the galaxies themselves that are flying away from us through space; it's actually the very fabric of space-time that is being stretched at this rate, increasing the distance between galaxies.

    If science-fact doesn't bother you, then just go for it. However, if you care about using credible scientific theory, then having your subject travel at near light-speed will drastically slow down time to the extent that your character could spend a matter of days travelling through space at that speed only to return to Earth and find that years have gone by. That, however, is more akin to travelling into the future rather than the past.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. :)
     
  17. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ooh, send me a picture of the generator. :p

    I definitely want to portray a techy side to it. I'm thinking about a hand-held device. I knew a time machine wouldn't be practicable for my plot since it involves travelers riding horseback amid war and skirmishes.

    Thanks Halcyon. Yes, I plan the impossible: My plot is directly centered on a jump to the 18th century. And really the book is mostly placed in the past. I'm still reading up on the current theories. I do want a scientific/technical side (it has to be credible to myself), but it will probably be looser, because of the impossibility of traveling to the past.
     
  18. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you ever played the video games, Soul Reaver 1&2, and Legacy of Kain: Defiance? Their story deals a lot with time travel. The scripting and storyline are written very well, as far as dealing with time travel and consequences.

    It's just a pity the story is spread over so many games. The scripts are easily found online though. The voice acting is awesome. :)
     
  19. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    Awesome to the max, and anyone who claims to understand what's going on it an out-right liar. :) Trouble in this instance is that time travel seems to work on magic.


    However, my own wild-mass-guessing assumes there is only one time machine in the form of a mountain-sized generator and all other devices are simply remote controls for the main unit.
     
  20. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    It may be possible, just very very awkward. In my prime project right now, backwards time travel is pretty much the core element.

    Ok, I put my first reply to that very badly. 2nd try follows: ALL ways of time travel deeply involve general relativity. Whether you want to study the actual theory or not really depends on whether you want to be a theoretical physicist or not. If you don't know what g mu nu is, and would rather not find out, don't bother. ;) There is lay literature available, but most time travel proposals focus on forward time travel (which is very simple, in principle it happens all the time, except it does so on timescales so short as not to be noticed) and very little of backwards time travel.

    Not necessarily. There are many way to mathematically construe situations where the "arrow" of time points into the negative direction. In fact, if my memory serves me right, I believe something as mundane as a positron can be described as an electron moving backwards in time.

    The Wikipedia article on time travel is quite enlightening. The core issue, which I would like to quote verbatim is that "it is currently unknown whether the laws of physics would allow backwards time travel." We don't know. It might be possible. It might not be. Mathematically there is no difficulty, and we don't know enough about the physics yet. The only thing that is reasonably clear is that it would probably require a lot of energy.

    In my story, I go with something akin to the rotating cylinder and the multiple universe theories, which are very convenient for backwards time travel and make it plausible, even scientifically. In my story, the time machine consumes itself and in fact the entire world, which is converted into energy, in order to achieve backwards time travel (this is still a draft, and the energy required is probably much more; will calculate some day). The multiple universe theory (which I have a suspicion may in fact be right) also eliminates many of the paradoxes. Who cares if you assassinate yourself in a parallel world? It can't have any possible effect on you in any of the other parallel worlds.

    Another, hopefully final edit: I prefer the multiple universe theory over the Novikov self-consistency principle, or that causality can be a logical block for backwards time travel. The simple reason is that I think there is no way to stop a time traveller from doing what he likes, once he is in the past. What these theories mean is that basically the time traveller loses his free will and can only operate within extremely tight walls outside his knowlegde or control. A time traveller constrained by this becomes a zombie, practically speaking. I prefer to believe in free will. :p
     
  21. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know what g mu nu is, I will read up on that, but my novel is is about the American Revolution of the 18th century. I take the portrayal of life, war, and the soldiers very seriously so I like to write accordingly to my research. But obviously, I want some enlightening aspect to the plot, and that is where the concept of time travel comes in. I understand about forward time travel. That was the first thing I understood, but backwards will be the major fundamental in my book and in the subsequent sequel. Yes, if I could work with the theories and therefore make time travel possible, if even in the imagination of my own mind, then that is what I aim for. :)

    I can't consider paradoxes in my novel, because it would be messy, and I already have a plot that arcs through the past, present, and future. Thank you for your insight, it is appreciated. I'm definitely beginning with the basics, Relativity and black holes, and I think I am leaning towards a multiple universe.

    The time traveling device itself will not be a large machine but rather smaller hand held devices. Similiar to what JMTweedie said before, qauntum dimension field generator.

    EDIT: Yes, free will. I have to have free will. Thank you so much for your thoughts. Multiple universe, backwards travel, and qauntum dimension field generator it is!
     
  22. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Don't bother, seriously. ;) It's just pure mathematics, and it won't help you, unless you are prepared to do nothing but calculations for a few months on end. By the way, I do love how that sentence itself is anti-causal, in a way. :p

    I fully understand what you mean, that is exactly what my story is about also. Bringing the past to life by looking at it through the eyes of a contemporary person whom the reader can identify with.

    I think you have a good decision there. Make it run on dark energy, that should fog the issue enough to be impossible to prove or disprove scientifically, and also solves the problem of power supply. :p
     
  23. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you I think you grasp the significance of what I think will be my first novel. I enjoy historical novels, but they lack the insight of a modern everday individual. My aim is to show war and life through the pov of a person not really connected to the culture, lifestyle, or common thought of the 18th century.
    Dark energy? You mean a black hole? Otherwise, yes, I'm not a person given to calculations! :p
     
  24. Smoke
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    Hang a lampshade over it. Pick a favorite theory, use it to argue against how time-travel should be possible, then go ahead and time travel. Just stay internally consistent.
     
  25. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Dark energy is something that we currently presume exists and makes up about 70% of the total energy of the universe. It's very hard to see (that's why we call it dark) and we are not sure what it actually is. It probably has a lot to do with the expansion of the universe. And that is (basically) all we know about it. :)

    Which is why I propose you just use it to power your time travel device. Very easy to get away with, scientifically. :p
     
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