What are some non-hokey results of time travel?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Simple, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. Simple

    Simple New Member

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    I don't mean any methods. I don't care if it's a time machine or magic. That's not my question.

    If a guys goes back in time, how does he not materialize inside solid rock or a tree, or some building.

    Here's another scenario. Let's say there are two guys, good guy, bad guy. They both know about a certain method of time travel. The bad guy goes through first and for some reason the good guy has to wait. The good guy goes outside and his entire world is different, maybe some dystopia.

    How could the good guy even exist? How would his lineage have been present? How could he even have been in the same place. As soon as the bad guy went back in time and changed everything (assuming traditional linear timelines), wouldn't the good guy just cease to exist?

    I ask this because I was writing a story about it so the good guy can chase the bad guy through time. But if they don't go through at the exact same time then it seems the whole idea breaks down.

    It isn't like hard sci-fi, it's more of a magical kind of reason for the time travel, so there's no science. The sci-fi part is time travel...or is that fantasy

    I hope this made sense. Thanks for any comments.
     
  2. Pennarin

    Pennarin Registered User

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    Time travel can be to the past or future of parallel timelines, protecting the integrity of your own. Many stories have such an explanation; on TV the latest to use this method is Spielberg's Terra Nova. This is based on a possible solution to problems encountered by real scientists in their - hypothetical - exploration of the mechanics of time travel.

    If you want to be less scientific, but still rational, you may imagine that the bad guy has translated to the past right now, but it will take him five minutes to find and kill the good guy. Until he does so, the good guy is still alive in the future, meaning that the future as is known does not collapse until the deed is done in the past. Five minutes is all it takes for the good guy to realize he hasn't been erased from the timeline yet and take the opportunity to travel back and attempt to stop the bad guy. In fact, being alive in the future is proof that a) you will go back in the past, and b) you will succeed in stopping the bad guy before he kills you. Otherwise it would be a paradox. If the bad guy is bound to succeed, as soon as he leaves for the past all of your timeline is erased.
     
  3. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    The planet is moving 1000 miles per minute and the entire galaxy is rotating and moving.

    The question is: "why they don't come out in outer space?"

    psik
     
  4. Seli

    Seli Registered User

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    Ignoring the spatial component, one solution is having a change in history need time to propagate through the timeline.

    One example is found in back to the future. Another in Cowl by Neal Asher, I believe he also had a 'mechanism' that limited the possible changes in the timeline.
     
  5. Simple

    Simple New Member

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    I am more interested in the effects of time travel than any method used to get there (unless it's totally stupid like someone saying hocus pocus.) City on the Edge of Forever's Guardian, no science (that we could understand), just that it existed in a Trek sci-fi universe, but I still liked it because of the effects and characters.

    I was thinking of a guy that went back six years before an event he wanted to change. He, the bad guy, then ages six years, learns the environment and so on. The good guy goes back around time of the event, maybe a month, and he's six years younger (that is, his current age at the time of their conflict). As long as the bad guy hasn't introduces some major innovation in the past that would change the future, the focal point in time is the only thing that matters. The timeline would stay in tact.
     
  6. Simple

    Simple New Member

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    But in not so super extreme hard sci-fi, does anyone care?
     
  7. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    The title of the thread said "non-hokey".

    I don't know what his limits are on non-hokey.

    I vaguely recall reading some time travel story where the time machine could only work effectively because it was on a spaceship and they had to compensate for planetary motion.

    psik
     
  8. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ Registered User

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    My favorite is the self-perpetuating loop, a/k/a Fallen Dragon by Peter Hamilton and A Door into Summer by Heinlein and others. Not because self-perpetuating loops arent listed in the definition of hokey -- pretty sure they are -- but rather because if self-perpetuating loops are possible then its possible I will be giving myself a time machine shortly. I promise to use it to give to past self when I get to the future -- honest.

    Note to Future Self: Please bring lottery ticket numbers.

    Oh, Ok, if you **really* want non-hokey -- how about a good old parallel universe or splitting timestream story? They achieve plausibility with a hand wave, pretty solid if you accept the premise. No books of this type are ocurring to me at this moment, but there are many.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  9. Lazerus

    Lazerus Way Too Human

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    Most time travelling stories irk me. The past cannot be changed.....ever. Only the future can be changed.

    Which means if you travel to the future to ensure an event occurs and you succeed, then someone from the future (relative to the event) cannot go back in time to stop you.

    However, travelling through time (forward and backward) by actually moving, or creating parallel universes does seem plausible. This is the method used in The Time Ships, by Stephen Baxter. The book is the "official" sequal to H. G. Wells', The Time Machine.
     
  10. Simple

    Simple New Member

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    What is a self-perpetuating loop?
     
  11. Simple

    Simple New Member

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    Why can't the past be changed? (noob question, just asking)
     
  12. Simple

    Simple New Member

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    Can you have a local change and not a macro change?

    If the past could be changed, could you have a local event changed that was not significant enough to change everything?

    For example, say some war was averted or one was caused. But you're lineage was still intact. You might end up in a different locale but the initial meetings of your parents could have been unaffected.

    Further, say an event in a war was averted. A battle, not the whole war. In fact the whole war wasn't even affected. But because a certain soldier was not in that battle he was sent home earlier for whatever reason. Don't know.

    He goes home and for whatever reasons procreates on the same day, hour, etc. that he would have even if he would have went home later. Conception takes place same time in both timelines.

    The baby is the same lineage as before and time can proceed with the same people.

    However, could that missing battle change places such that the world landscape is different?

    That would mean you have the same people, just in a different world.
     
  13. symbolhunter

    symbolhunter Science-Fantasy Zealot

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    There's a short story {by Kuttner?} in which the characters travel back into the past but they see individual moments only as scenes on a holographic still. It is immutable. Thus, time paradoxes simply cannot occur.
     
  14. Simple

    Simple New Member

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    I found stuff by David Lewis and others in my search. At the moment I am convinced you can only observe the past. Not change it. Not in the same timeline anyway.
     
  15. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ Registered User

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    A self-perpetuating loop is a time travel story generally along the following lines:

    X gets assistance from a time traveler, generally a future version of himself. Things work out only because of that assistance, and when X gets to the future, he goes back in time to give his prior self the time machine/assistance.

    Its a loop, and it makes no sense because there is an impossible chicken/egg problem. Its the definition of hokey.
     
  16. symbolhunter

    symbolhunter Science-Fantasy Zealot

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    "By His Bootsraps" by Heinlein plays with the self-perpetuating loop memorably and A Lamp for Medusa by William Tenn is {IMHO} probably the most brilliantly written example of that plot device in a longer format.
     
  17. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    I consider all time travel stories "hokey"... BUT, in order to participate...

    James Hogan's The Proteus Operation described a system in which the characters found a way to travel back in time, in an attempt to improve their present, but in fact they could only travel to a parallel dimension, never their own. This allowed them to influence the timestream of the parallel world they stepped into because they were an immutable part of it. But their own dimension would never change. In effect, the best they could do was to escape to a dimension that better suited them.

    Though this seems to me to be the only way time travel could actually work, I categorically do not believe in the infinite- and infinitely-multiplying parallel worlds required for this theory (it blows the notion of conservation of energy right out the window). Which is why I'm convinced time travel cannot work.
     
  18. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ Registered User

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    In addition to the alterantive universes or branching time lines theory, we also have:

    *system where the time stream is analogized to a river, and if you go back and make a change, a wave propogates forward, changing the future, either right away, or after some period of "time". Can lead to hokey results -- for example, can lead to multiple copies of the same person proceeding forward in the new timeline.

    *system where the timeline has some sort of overarching order and can "heal" or the like to maintain its overall direction. Arguably the least "plaussible" system, but still allows for a coherent/internally consistent story.

    All three systems allow for good stories. The previously mentioned self-perpetuating loop stories, are not a separate system, but rather a member of the larger class of stories that make it up as they go along and/or just dont let a system get in the way of a story. They can be great stories, but they do not withstand logical analysis.
     
  19. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    99.999% agreement.

    I avoided the Proteus Operation for years because it was a time travel story and involved WWII. But I finally broke down and read it because I usually like James P. Hogan stories and was tired of buying stuff I didn't like because it got lots of good reviews.

    It was a really enjoyable story and quite scientific beyond the time travel crap. So stories can be entertaining and thought provoking even when they have a significant hokey factor.

    psik
     
  20. Chuffalump

    Chuffalump A chuffing heffalump

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    How about Asimov's short story The Message?