Time travel wrinkles my brain. How’s that for a topic sentence?
It’s a favourite device in science fiction (and fantasy) because let’s face it, if you had the opportunity to traverse history, would you turn it down? Haven’t you always wanted to wander around your favourite past era, sit in on a world-changing event, or go the other way and see what the world will be like in 300 years when the apocalypse has hit or whether or not you get married and end up having a little Jetsons-esque family?
Time travel can create endless fun and endless stories (how do you think Doctor Who’s managed to stay on air for 50 years? All of time and space = literally endless plot possibilities) but like most super fun high-tech things it comes with a long and arduous warning label and a set of curly rules. It doesn’t help that these seem to differ depending on the method used and the story it’s used within. For example, one story world may deem travelling to the past completely fine since it’s all already happened and time is fixed in a straight line, and some may warn against it with giant flashing lights because simply by setting foot in an era you haven’t yet been born into, you’ve altered history as we know it.
When traversing the time streams one must be dutiful not to step on any butterflies, alter any significant moments in history or, say, get hit by a car and prevent one’s own parents from meeting thus erasing your own existence. This should all be fairly straight forward, but it’s surprising how often heroes manage to screw it up. What then? Well, maybe you could go back in time again and stop yourself from messing up… Continue reading