Time Travel: Take half a critical mass of plutonium back to meet itself.
February 27, 2005 6:39 PM   Subscribe

A Guide to Science Fiction Chronophysics, a serious look at some of the hard questions ignored in soft-science fiction and fantasy. While we wish some time lines had never come to pass, or would go back in time and shake hands with themselves, there are circumstances that can lend themselves to great deal of fun.
posted by Jerub (14 comments total)

Well, he better get out, then.
posted by yhbc at 6:42 PM on February 27, 2005

In almost all time-travel tales, what is actually happening is that the time-traveller travels backwards through Time but then once they actually ariive, they then travel forward in time again (to interact with the historical figures etc.)

Has anyone seen a treatment of time-travel where you can *only* travel backwards through time? Perhaps the time travelers are already here but they are watching with telescopes from a low orbit because backwards-traveling matter cannot interact with forwards traveling matter.
posted by vacapinta at 6:58 PM on February 27, 2005

Oh, and the other additon to my sci-fi idea was that since they are going backwards they absorb photons rather than emit them. And they have brought with them entire galaxies which is what our dark matter is. Gravitation still works because Gravity has no "negative" counterpart.
posted by vacapinta at 7:01 PM on February 27, 2005

Good post.
posted by wendell at 7:06 PM on February 27, 2005

I'd like to read this, but I don't have the time.

On preview, I guess I did.
posted by wendell at 7:08 PM on February 27, 2005

very clever, wendell :)
posted by dhruva at 7:18 PM on February 27, 2005

See also: Temporal Anomalies in SF Movies (thread).

I suspect that the cosmos we're living in is a Type Zero Travelproof (aka Recalcitrant) Time Line - the sort (excluded from consideration here as no fun) where it's just not possible to build a Time Machine.

Brill. Anyway, he name-checks Niven, and implicitly debunks the assertion that Niven's essay "The Theory and Practice of Time Travel" is in fact definitive, although at the time he presented it (a speech at an early 70s WorldCon, IIRC), it was pretty much unprecedented: effectively Niven was saying that all those "hard sf" writers engaging in time travel stories were writing fantasy, unless they subscribed to a set of universal laws (he looked at most of them, including the contradictory ones). And if you followed a universal lawset to its inevitable conclusion, you very often found out that your story was impossible. Vive la différance.

Another essay: Time Travel: The Possibility of Global Causality Violation draws heavily on Niven's work.
posted by dhartung at 7:29 PM on February 27, 2005

[this will be good]
posted by painquale at 9:21 PM on February 27, 2005

[this willen haven be good]

c.f. Dr. Dan Streetmentioner's Time Traveller's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations.
posted by kindall at 10:06 PM on February 27, 2005

Cool, thanks!
posted by carter at 7:35 AM on February 28, 2005

I already posted this next week.
posted by Slagman at 9:26 AM on February 28, 2005

I know of two stories in which time travellers are stuck travelling exclusively backwards in time. Cordwainer Smith's "Himself in Anachron", first published posthumously in The Rediscovery of Man, and I think the other was a James Tiptree, Jr. story, but I don't remember the title.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:18 PM on February 28, 2005

What? No references to the "SDRAWKCAB" episode of Red Dwarf?
posted by wendell at 12:27 PM on February 28, 2005

This is good (and I immediately thought of Niven, too). I particularly like the snarkage.

People caught in freak Time Travel accidents will be left older (I wonder - does an egg turn into a rotten egg, a chicken, or a KFC Bargain Bucket?), or occasionally younger (just as the victims of stepladder accidents end up two feet tall, no doubt).
posted by squidlarkin at 1:26 PM on February 28, 2005

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