The Time Travel "Zipper Theory"
This was my original comment to a blog post on this forum, but the scope of what I had to say deserves more than a comment. To expand on the concept of time travel, something I may very well incorporate into a sci-fi book, I'd like to make a few examples of why and how this theory of why we haven't seen time travel is possible.
One of the most notable ones I'd hope everyone would recognize is the long-running tales of Doctor Who. We all know the famous TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) that he uses, and just looking at its name we can see that the idea of a zipper fits perfectly. "Time and relative Dimension" refers to a time and its current path, "Parallel Universe" in Layamon terms. Each Dimension they travel to has its own path in time, and with it infinite number of branches for possible futures. This is why The Doctor's trips to the future almost always end up with "That's not supposed to happen;" his entrance to the setting, or any prior alterations since his last visit, had changed the outcome of some event, and thus sent him to a different line in the future. So, maybe in this sense, more of a tree-branch visual could be used.
Should someone invent time-travel in the near or distant future, they would need to be able to travel back in time and keep everything unaltered. A famous scientist once said that the mere observation of an experiment can change its outcome, so merely viewing an incident can alter the time-traveler's intended course. It'd be nearly impossible to go to the past and remain on the original course, being our own course, when infinite changes are possible and all the more probable.
As for the manner of how to travel in time, to go back would be fairly simple in theory. All it would require is the compression of time into the larger branches passed along the way. Of course that requires finding the forces that affect time itself, but that will come in the future. Going forward, though, means traveling down a single path until one reaches a single point a predetermined point further on. Beyond that, it means literally unraveling time before you, and unless if our technology allows us to pick which path we take, there's no guarantee that said time-traveler will ever return.
Food for Thought by J.P. Griffin
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