It's time to vote for your favourite story and author in this year's clitoridesawards. [ X Dismiss ]
Home « Forum « Story Ideas

Forum: Story Ideas

Time Travel Story

REP

I was thinking of Time Travel the other day. When we think of our Timeline, we view it as a continuous series of unchanged events and each event leads to subsequent events.

There is a commonly accepted premise that if a Time Traveler were to be inserted into our Timeline at some point in our past, then they might do something to change the events that have led to our current point on the Timeline. The general conclusion is, changing an event would lead to a different future. While I agree with that conclusion, my question is how would we ever know that our Timeline had changed and how would it change. Would our former history be wiped out, or would the Timeline split into two branches. I think it would branch and the way I see it is, making the decision to send or not send a Time Traveler into our past would cause the Time Line to split and the split would occur at the point where the Time Traveler is inserted.

On the branch of the Timeline where the decision was to not send a Time Traveler back in time, no one was sent into the past. Looking back along that branch of the Timeline from a point after the decision is made, what one would see are the events that were always seen before the decision was made. No Time Traveler being inserted and the past events unchanged.

On the branch of the Timeline where the decision was to send a Time Traveler back in time, someone was sent back. Looking back along that branch of the Timeline from a point after the decision is made, one would see the events that were always seen before the decision was made. A Time Traveler being inserted and the past events unchanged.

The only way someone on either branch of the Timeline would know that events had changed would be if they were aware of the events that occurred on both branches of the Timeline. The conclusion would likely be that inserting a Time Traveler does not change the past.

I wonder if this could be built into a story. Perhaps a Timeline Control substation where people from different branches of the original Timeline meet each other. Is there a temporal limit on how far into the past a Time Traveler can be sent? Is there a restriction on Timeline insertions to minimize the number of Timelines? What sort of conversation might the John Smiths from Timelines 1 through 5 have with each other? The bad guys might be Time Travelers trying to split Timelines to create social conditions where they are in power and can do what they want.

Ernest Bywater

What you mention has been covered many times by various authors in print books and on Sol and other independent publishing places.

However, I believe there are four options of what happens with Time Travellers:

1. The make no changes that affect history in any way.

2. They make changes that affect history but only temporarily and history reasserts itself.

3. They make changes and history changes and the new history knows nothing of the old.

4. They make changes and a new branch in time is created.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Ernest Bywater

What you mention has been covered many times


True, and I read quite a few. Maybe someone has a different take on the common theme. Maybe the bad guys are running Timeline Control.

Dominions Son

@REP

There is a commonly accepted premise that if a Time Traveler were to be inserted into our Timeline at some point in our past, then they might do something to change the events that have led to our current point on the Timeline.


I take to a view expressed in X-Men Days of Future Past:

Think of time like a river. You can throw a stone in it and it will make some ripples, maybe disrupt the flow of the river for a moment, but the ripples will fade and the river will resume it's original course unhindered.

It would take a massive stone (a large change to a major historical event) to permanently alter the river's course.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Zom

I take the view that time is an artificial construct imagined by humans as a way to quantify the rate of change. Because it is artificial, it does not exist as a universal dimension, and therefore cannot be travelled.

If we did not invent it, time would not exist, only change would exist. If you are tempted to say the rate of change has time as a component, then consider that it is only so because that is how we artificially measure it.

My view isn't popular, but I haven't yet heard a compelling rebuttal.

Sorry to dampen the time travel thing ...

Ernest Bywater

@Zom

I take the view that time is an artificial construct imagined by humans as a way to quantify the rate of change.


If you only regard time as the mechanical device to measure spaces less than sunrise to sunrise you'd have a good case. However, nature has time aspects built into her with the very cyclic nature of the day night cycle, seasons, years etc. Since those all occur on the natural cycles as per their time cycle, all man is doing is trying to keep in sync with them and to note them well enough to predict when they'll appear again so they can be ready for them.

Replies:   Zom
Geek of Ages

@Zom

My view isn't popular, but I haven't yet heard a compelling rebuttal.


Relativity would like to have a word with you...

Replies:   Zom
Capt. Zapp

@REP

The only way someone on either branch of the Timeline would know that events had changed would be if they were aware of the events that occurred on both branches of the Timeline.


Another way would be if there was some 'bleed over' between the original timeline and the altered one and someone had access to the awareness of their counterpart. This could be in the form of Deja vu or something similar. In many TT stories, the person who traveled sees the differences even if nobody else does. In other stories, the traveler has physical or mental problems while their memories are 'rewritten' to the new timeline. If I remember correctly, there is a story on here about a man named Sam(?) that traveled back in time and his consciousness began interacting with all the other Sams.

Replies:   AmigaClone  REP
Capt. Zapp

@Dominions Son

It would take a massive stone (a large change to a major historical event) to permanently alter the river's course.


If the change were massive enough, it would be more like digging a new channel or using some other method to redirect the river. This was done to the Kissimmee River in Florida back in the 1960's. Of course, they are now working to 're-curve' the river because it created an ecological disaster. http://www.npr.org/2014/10/19/356647396/the-kissimmee-a-river-recurved

AmigaClone

@Capt. Zapp

If I remember correctly, there is a story on here about a man named Sam(?) that traveled back in time and his consciousness began interacting with all the other Sams.


I think you are referring to a two part series by Sea-Life named Echoes in Time.

http://storiesonline.net/series/639/echoes-in-time

http://storiesonline.net/s/55343/echoes
http://storiesonline.net/s/59423/columbia

http://storiesonline.net/a/SeaLife

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Zom

@Geek of Ages

Relativity would like to have a word with you...

I am all ears…

Zom

@Ernest Bywater

nature has time aspects built into her

I know it seems that way, but ask yourself 'If there is no change does time exist?'. Time is an artefact of the observer, not the universe.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Zom

Erwin Schrödinger wishes you to call him to discuss the whereabouts of his cat.

Replies:   Zom
Geek of Ages

@Zom

Start here: https://www.amazon.com/Relativity-Special-General-Albert-Einstein/dp/0517884410

Replies:   Zom
REP
Updated:

@Zom


Sorry to dampen the time travel thing ...


You haven't dampened it. Your view is interesting. The problem I perceive with you view is 'change' implies something different from what was before. The concept of 'before' and 'after' require the passage of 'Time'.

There for if there is no 'Time', there can be no 'Before' and 'After', which means there can be no 'Change' because 'Change' requires the passage of time.

Replies:   Zom
REP

@Capt. Zapp

Another way would be if there was some 'bleed over' between the original timeline and the altered one and someone had access to the awareness of their counterpart.


That would be a person on one timeline being aware of what happened on another timeline. It doesn't matter how they become aware of what happens.

richardshagrin

@Zom

I am all ears…

Most people and animals only have two.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Most people and animals only have two.


While the nearby corn field has thousands.

richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

Perhaps we specialize in corny jokes.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Zom
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Perhaps we specialize in corny jokes.


you only just realising that, after all the serial cereal jokes we make? Talk about slow!

richardshagrin

Not all serial jokes involve corn. Some are rice, or wheat, or even from acorns. Not acorn flakes but oakmeal.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

While the nearby corn field has thousands.


That joke was a maizeing

awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

I am all ears…
Most people and animals only have two.


Trekkies have a final front ear.

(There, saved someone the bother)

AJ

Capt. Zapp

@AmigaClone

I think you are referring to a two part series by Sea-Life named Echoes in Time.


Yep, that was the one.

Zom

@Ernest Bywater

Erwin Schrödinger wishes you to call him

Got his number? Although finding somebody else's pussy is not high on my skills list. Seriously, time doesn't have a lot of meaning at the quantum level. There are a pair of slots that would show you that.

Replies:   Joe Long
Zom

@Geek of Ages

Start here:

And here I was, thinking you were offering a conversation with Relativity, not a reading of its dogma.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Zom

@REP

Your view is interesting.

Thank you. This conversation creates many lively discussions (arguments) over after dinner drinks :-)

Your explanation is the common view, that somehow time causes change, whereas I maintain that time is an artefact of change, and only if it is measured. If we didn't measure change it would still happen, but if we do measure it we need to create a means of quantifying it, which results in time.

'Before' and 'after' requires some form of memory. Change doesn't need the concepts of before and after to happen. They are constructed by observers to understand the change.

Replies:   REP
Zom

@richardshagrin

Most people and animals only have two.

Ah ... the trials of dissimilitude.

Zom

@richardshagrin

Perhaps we specialize in corny jokes.

There is a grain of truth in that ...

shinerdrinker

I wonder if there is a story here in SOL, that describes a scenario where someone goes into the past to deliberately change the future only to come back to a future changed in a way he didn't expect.

If only...

robberhands

@shinerdrinker

I wonder if there is a story here in SOL, that describes a scenario where someone goes into the past to deliberately change the future only to come back to a future changed in a way he didn't expect.

Well, it's not on SoL, but it sounds pretty much like the plot of 'The Terminator'.

Ernest Bywater

@shinerdrinker

I wonder if there is a story here in SOL, that describes a scenario where someone goes into the past to deliberately change the future only to come back to a future changed in a way he didn't expect.


SPirit Quest may suit your wishes

http://storiesonline.net/s/15868/spirit-quest

Geek of Ages

@Zom

a reading of its dogma.


I am immensely dismayed that you would consider a physics theory that has been thoroughly tested and confirmed many, many times over the past hundred years to be "dogma".

Also remember, to deny relativity is to deny that GPS works.

Einstein's treatment of it is incredibly accessible (I read it first in high school), and he spends a great deal of time going over the various observations and experiments that formed the groundwork, and then the basis for relativity (viz. the observation that light (more properly, electromagnetic radiation) is the same speed regardless of reference frame) and then works through the implications and conclusions. The difficult math (viz. working through the Lorentz transforms) is in an appendix in the back, so the math presented in the text itself is quite accessible.

It's the text I recommend to anyone who wants (or needs) a gentle introduction into it. Certainly, our knowledge has expanded since then, but Einstein's work was uncannily prescient in its ability to predict natural phenomena. I have heard it called the most successful scientific theory yet, because we keep doing experiments to test different parts of it, and it keeps being right.

So either you are immensely unaware of how the universe works, or you are trolling. Either way, you should read a text on relativity and stop spewing that hogwash.

Replies:   Zom
richardshagrin

Time is a magazine, it is published weekly. Life used to be a magazine published by the same corporation, I think it is/was Time-Life (something, maybe corporation). Life only comes out irregularly, sometimes to highlight a particular event. So Time goes on but Life ends.

REP

@Zom

that somehow time causes change


That may be the common view, but it is not what I am saying.

We all know that one object cannot be in two different states simultaneously. We know that an object like water can be in a gaseous, liquid, or solid state; but not simultaneously. We also know that it is the amount of heat energy that causes these changes in the water's state; not time. In changing from one state to another, there is an earlier state and a later state, and earlier and later indicate a passage of time.

Interesting that you mention memory. There are a clique of people who believe Memories are not stored in our minds. They believe we recreate past occurrences instead of pulling a stored memory from our mind.

You concept of the perception of time is like the belief that there are no stored memories. In the no stored memory concept, something is stored in the mind. In recalling memory, the mind uses that something. To me it is just semantics as to what gets stored; something is stored and that is what we call a memory. Your definition of time is the same thing.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages
Updated:

@REP


We know that an object like water can be in a gaseous, liquid, or solid state; but not simultaneously.


The scientist in me would like to point out that this is not exactly true. At places like the triple point or along phase transition boundaries for a substance, you can have phase coexistence; and there are things like mesophases...

(The real world is complicated)

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Geek of Ages

Order some drinks there can be liquids, solids (ice) and gas, if the mixer is carbonated. Think rum and coke, on ice.

Zom

@Geek of Ages

I am immensely dismayed

Please don't be. I am not really as ignorant as I apparently seem, nor am I trolling, exactly. I am certainly not denying relativity. All I am doing is postulating another view of time. But I will stop now so I don't offend anyone else.

Just let me say that if C is constant, and time varies depending on the framework that C is observed in, the time is derived from C and the framework. Time is our construct to enable measurement. That's all.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Zom

Time is our construct to enable measurement.


Not exactly. The actual units that we use - seconds, minutes, hours, etc., are the constructs we've made to measure the FLOW of time. But time itself is not a construct.

The Final Front Ear, in TOS (The Original Series, for you poor bastards who have no taste in science fiction), did major time travel stories five times. And of course, many other times in the rest of the shows.

In 'The Naked Time' the Enterprise has experiences, travels backwards in time three days, and changes course so they don't experience the same three days - but as a closed universe, the crew that were killed remain dead.

In 'Tomorrow is Yesterday', while the crew of the Enterprise interacted with people in the past, by returning them to their locations BEFORE they met the Enterprise crew, they were able to erase the memories of the Earth pilot and guard, while the Enterprise still kept that knowledge.

'The City on the Edge of Forever' was the big time travel episode, but other than the mechanical rice picker joke, really sort of wasn't in the flow with the rest of the series.

'Assignment Earth' was actually a pilot for another series, but the actions of the Enterprise appear to have actually been a part of the recorded timeline in their own future.

It's interesting to note that in 'All Our Yesterdays', since the Enterprise was so far in the past that Vulcan wasn't civilized, that Spock was reverting to a more primitive way of behavior. At the same time, the humans in the past didn't - which may be an indication we're still the same savages now (and in the future) that we've always been.

Perv Otaku

Watch and read enough scifi/superhero stuff and every iteration of time travel rules has been done.

The cleanest is when you can't change history, and anything a time traveler does was ALWAYS part of the timeline.

Some try to reconcile paradoxes by saying all time travel creates a parallel universe with the "altered" timeline but leaves the original timeline intact also.

What you usually see is the time traveler makes changes to the past but only remembers the "original" timeline, which leads to often unexplored questions like what happened to the version of him from the "new" timeline, especially if the "new" timeline is significantly different and that version of him never got access to time travel. Some do skirt this by having memories of the "new" timeline coexist with or start to overwrite the memories of the "original" timeline.

The worst offenders are things like the Star Trek Voyager episode "Time and Again" where they investigate an accident, end up getting pulled back in time, try to prevent the accident, and realize at the last minute that their efforts are what actually cause it in the first place. That's all fine and good as a stable cause-effect-cause loop/self-fulfilling prophecy, except then they STOP trying to help and poof the whole thing never happened. Well how the hell did it happen in the first place, then?

Even things like "Yesterday's Enterprise" turn odd when you realize that since the Enterprise C jumped forward in time of its own accord, the "alternate" timeline actually ought to be the ORIGINAL timeline, which messes up the plot point that they only send the Enterprise C back and create the "normal" timeline because Guinan remembers the "normal" timeline.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Perv Otaku

Your remarks sound a lot like an observation my MC makes in the Introduction to The Ark Part 1, the time loop mentioned will appear in Part 2.

The MC has copies of stories he wrote, but he never wrote the stories. His advisors see it as a time loop and tell him he has to write the stories to close the time loop. He is about ready to send the stories back in time and in thinking about the time loop, he says:

Why did the stories need to exist?

No, I wasn't thinking about my creating the stories to close the time loop. What I mean is someone or something determined that the existence of the stories was necessary for some reason. It seems to me that someone is using me as a puppet for a reason that I cannot determine. Obviously, someone created the open-ended time loop to force me into writing the stories. I can think of no other reason for the stories' existence. Since the stories are of no importance to the past, the existence of the stories and time loop suggests that it is important for the future. So I asked myself, why are stories describing the history of the Ark for a period of two hundred and fifty-three years important? I find it extremely disturbing to be trying to find an answer to a question that should not even exist. Namely, why was the time loop created and what does the answer mean for my future, the future of my family, and the future of humanity?

helmut_meukel
Updated:

@REP

I've read many time travel stories.

There are two distinct sets:

1.) travel into the past or future. (only few stories of travel into the future).

Three different concepts:

a) Time is unchangeable, your interactions just causes small ripples with no consequences to the flow of time.

There is a variant to this: You can't change observed history, anything that's known to the future you came from is unchangable. (Example: Steve White's Jason Thanou series)

b) Any action of the time traveller might change the future, the future he came from will then never come true. (Example: Poul Anderson's Time Patrol stories)

c) The very insertion of the time traveller into the past creates a branch in time, and s/he will further exist only in this new branch.(Example: ?)

Eric Flint's 1632 series is probably c) (guessing from some hints).

S.M. Sterlings "Island in the Sea of Time" trilogy could be b) or c).

2.) Time branches at some critical points in history, creating hundreds, thousands, millions or billions of parallel time lines. You can't travel into your past or future, but you can travel sideways in time. Many authors used this concept. (Examples: H. Beam Piper's Paratime stories; S.M. Sterling's Conquistador; Keith Laumer's "The Other Side of Time" and Harry Turledove's six Crosstime Traffic novels).

A variant of this concept is an involuntary transfer as in H. Beam Piper's "He Walked Around the Horses".

HM.

Dominions Son

@helmut_meukel

Time is unchangeable, your interactions just causes small ripples with no consequences to the flow of time.


There is another variant to this other than the one you mention.

You can't change history because the history you know already accounts for whatever you will do after time traveling to the past.

Small things that aren't captured in the history known the future, you can't know if you changed them or not.

Replies:   helmut_meukel  Joe Long
AmigaClone

@helmut_meukel

I suspect that many of the do-over type time travel stories would be considered type b or c.

Granted, in it would be hard to tell the difference between those two types, and in fact there easily could be stories that include both situations.

helmut_meukel
Updated:

@Dominions Son


Small things that aren't captured in the history known the future, you can't know if you changed them or not.


In history there are large gaps where the reports of events glance over many things. Often the writer giving report over some historical event ignores facts because they were common knowledge then, a knowledge got lost over the centuries.

Remember the faked report of pharaohs great victory on this egyptian stele?

More than 2000 years after the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest where Rome was totally defeated and lost three legions and auxiliaries we still don't know where the battle was exactly, from which direction the Romans came. This is probably due to no known survivers on roman side. If a few Romans came back they were probably executed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Teutoburg_Forest

It's obvious you never read Steve White's Jason Thanou series.

e.g. "Ghosts of Time":


The transhumanists are attempting to use the chaos of the American Civil War to escape the Observer Effect: the immutable law that recorded history cannot be changed. If any should attempt it, time has a way of dealing with those transgressors in a very brutal, very final fashion.


http://www.baen.com/ghosts-of-time.html

You don't have to purchase it, the first 8 Chapters can be read on-line.

HM.

Joe Long

@Dominions Son

You can't change history because the history you know already accounts for whatever you will do after time traveling to the past.


In the global time line, your actions are already known in the past, but in your personal time line it's 'future' because you haven't done them yet, as you follow the loop backwards.

In other words, you've already done it even though you haven't experienced yet. So you're not changing anything.

Replies:   Dominions Son  REP
Dominions Son

@Joe Long

In other words, you've already done it even though you haven't experienced yet. So you're not changing anything.


Exactly.

REP

@Joe Long


In other words, you've already done it even though you haven't experienced yet. So you're not changing anything.


The paradox is, if you went back in time and changed the problem that caused you to go back into the past, then your past will reflect that change and you will have no reason to go back into the past.

helmut_meukel
Updated:

@REP


The paradox is, if you went back in time and changed the problem that caused you to go back into the past, then your past will reflect that change and you will have no reason to go back into the past.


Hmmm, one way out of this: you changed the past so the original problem is solved but created a new problem which can only be solved by going back in time. Obviously your second incarnation is unaware of the first change and his interaction recreates the original problem. Depending on the cirumstances, multiple "You"s are gathering at the very same place and time trying to enact their specific solution. Finally one of those "You"s will see what happens and hopefully find a solution which will not trigger another trip into the past.

HM.

Replies:   helmut_meukel  REP
helmut_meukel

@helmut_meukel

In my previous post I suggested 2 alternating problems, but the solution to the second problem may create a third problem, then a fourth until the first pops-up again.
To muddle the situation further, those multible "You"s may not get what really happens but seeing doppelgangers may try to eliminate the obstacles.

HM.

Replies:   Joe Long
Dominions Son

@REP

The paradox is, if you went back in time and changed the problem that caused you to go back into the past, then your past will reflect that change and you will have no reason to go back into the past.


Or, you go back in time to fix some problem only to discover (after it's too late) that your meddling to try and prevent the problem is what caused the problem in the first place. :)

Replies:   REP
Joe Long

@Zom

Although finding somebody else's pussy is not high on my skills list.


I made it all the way through my teen years without finding any pussy.

Joe Long

@helmut_meukel

In my previous post I suggested 2 alternating problems, but the solution to the second problem may create a third problem, then a fourth until the first pops-up again.


That sounds similar to The Flashpoint Paradox

Joe Long

On the TV show Timeless which debuted on NBC last year, going to the past creates a new timeline, so that when they return to the present the time travelers are the only ones that have any knowledge of the previous timelines. The changes tend to be localized but can be larger in scope.

This was hit on after their first trip. Lucy returned to find her mother no longer gravely ill with lung cancer; she no longer had an adult sister; and she was engaged to a man who knew her intimately for years but who she had never met.

Similarly, on Flash, Cisco learns that in a previous timeline that only Barry knows about Cisco's brother was alive but in the one he knows his brother is dead - so he blames Barry for the death because Barry had created this new timeline, even if it's the only one that this Cisco had ever known.

REP
Updated:

@helmut_meukel


but created a new problem which can only be solved by going back in time.


And when you go back in time and correct that second problem, you end up with the same paradox - not seeing a problem that would result in the second trip back in time.

REP

@Dominions Son

And who knows, you might run into yourself fixing the first problem. :)

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@REP

And who knows, you might run into yourself fixing the first problem. :)


Nope, In my version, there is only one problem, never fixed because the time traveler in trying to prevent the problem caused it in the first place.

The time traveler's own actions caused the original problem that motivated him to travel back in time in the first instance.

redthumb

@shinerdrinker

I have been reading a story (can't remember the name) where the MC does what he calls "time diving". His future self (FS) 'time dives' to his current self (CF) and informs the CF that the FS just did. When the CF goes to the location, things have been changed.

Back to Top