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  1. #1

    What are some non-hokey results of time travel?

    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. #2
    Registered User Pennarin's Avatar
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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. #3
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simple View Post
    If a guys goes back in time, how does he not materialize inside solid rock or a tree, or some building.
    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. #4
    Registered User Seli's Avatar
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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. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Pennarin View Post
    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.
    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. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    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
    But in not so super extreme hard sci-fi, does anyone care?

  7. #7
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simple View Post
    But in not so super extreme hard sci-fi, does anyone care?
    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. #8
    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 by ArtNJ; October 31st, 2011 at 11:39 AM.

  9. #9
    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. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ArtNJ View Post
    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.
    What is a self-perpetuating loop?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Lazerus View Post
    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.
    Why can't the past be changed? (noob question, just asking)

  12. #12

    Question

    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. #13
    Science-Fantasy Zealot symbolhunter's Avatar
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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. #14
    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. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Simple View Post
    What is a self-perpetuating loop?
    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.

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