In my opinion, most creatives are doing time travelling “wrong”. Allow me to explain:
In essence, there is only two ways in which time traveling can really work:
- Fixed timeline time traveling
- This is the kind of time travel you get in the books “Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”, or movie “Twelve monkeys”.
- Basically, you can’t really change anything in the timeline, even if you could travel back in time. The simple reason for this is the fact that, whatever you would change in the past, has already been changed in the future, which is why the future is the way it is. So you can’t really change anything, because you already have.
- Parallel universe time travel
- This is the kind of time travel you get in the movie “Source code”.
- The premise with this is that, you can’t change anything, because the timeline is fixed. So, if you were to travel back in time, and change something, you create a whole new timeline, but the other remains in tact.
- So if you travel back in time, you seize to exist in your own timeline, but you are now part of a new timeline (in the past), and the two will now go their separate ways.
The arguments for or against the different “possible” time travel outcomes are endless, so I am not going to go into all of them now, we can do that on Reddit or somewhere (if you wish). But to me, if logic were to dictate what the possible outcomes could be – if time travel were possible – then these are the only two valid outcomes.
Which brings us to my rant. Why is everyone doing it wrong? Why are almost all the time travel creative works a complete jumble of failed logic, am I the only one being frustrated by this? I have reached a point where I loathe to watch time travel movies, because whenever the logic doesn’t make any sense, I get slightly angry.
Here are some examples:
- Déjà Vu (movie):
The timeline is supposed to be fixed. The character sends signals, notes, and finally even himself back in time. Every thing that was sent back influences the future, and you can see everything that he did. But then, he is able to stop the terrorist from blowing up the boat… and this does NOT reflect in the future. In the future, the character then arrives on the scene of the almost horrible attack, stopped by himself.
See what I am saying? The movie was “fixed timeline” right unto the end, then all of a sudden it’s, well… something else.
- The butterfly effect (movie):
The dude grows up and gets blackouts at different stages in his life. He doesn’t know what happened in those times, but only finds himself in a situation after the blackouts. He later figures out he can travel back in time to those blackout spots. He then does that in an attempt to make his girlfriend happy.
Every time he travels back, he does something to change the future. In some of those cases, he ends up with the situation that he remembers coming out of the blackout – in other words, it is supposed to be a fixed timeline. But in other cases, it does not turn out the way he remembered, so it is not a fixed timeline? Well… what is it then?
- The Flash (comics, TV series)
There are no words for what goes on in the universe of the scarlet speedster. I don’t even know where to begin. The dude keeps traversing different timelines, changing stuff, setting things right, breaking things. My head hurts.
You can take almost all time travel movies, and you will find the flaws in the time travel system. Now I am no theoretical physicist, and I don’t believe time travel is possible, but when it comes to SciFi, I just want it to make logical sense. SciFi has less space for murkiness than Fantasy I would say. So if you want to do time travel, do it right.