Time Travel discussion

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Just for Fun > Time Travel Stories Should be Messy (article)

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message 1: by Scott (new)

Scott (ArtRobot) | 63 comments "Why Time Travel Stories Should be Messy"

Fun read, though I have enjoyed "everything fits together" stories. I suppose the messier stories like Back to the Future and Terminator are my favorite head scratches that have spurred plenty of interesting conversation.


message 2: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (BrendaClough) | 223 comments So glad to hear this. I am writing one and it -is- going to be messy. There is just no way to completely work in all the ends.


message 3: by Mike (new)

Mike Miller (MikeEMiller) | 12 comments Very cool article, although I'm a bit surprised that my book doesn't fit neatly into his categories. It's somewhere in between #3 and #4.

But, then again, I have a hard time seeing how #3 and #4 are all that different from one another. In Doctor Who, the Doctor avoids jacking with his own timeline. It makes you wonder what would happen if that wasn't the case. Would it become just like #3?


message 4: by Scott (last edited Sep 26, 2012 11:37AM) (new)

Scott (ArtRobot) | 63 comments I've never had the impression Doctor Who was overly strict about time travel 'rules'

I could see how a true #4 would be especially messy if in creating a new time line you also create a duplicate of yourself. Go back, prevent yourself from being able to time travel (for example) and come back to the present in the new time line to find your twin never left.

...or because matter can not be created from nothing, do you simply Quantum 'Leap' into your other self or vise versa as your time machine wouldn't cease to exist? Then it's back to #3, isn't it? Very messy.


message 5: by Scott (new)

Scott (ArtRobot) | 63 comments Maybe, the matter from/to nothing problem might be 'solved' with the infinite universe theory that suggests anything that could exist does exist and this time traveler would simply be leapfrogging to that universe that already existed.


message 6: by Heather(Gibby) (new)

Heather(Gibby) (Heather-Gibby) | 404 comments Great article Scott! I like my time travel stories to be messy as well. I don't like stories that get bogged down in explaining all the science, and tying up loose ends. For me it is the people who matter.


message 7: by Scott (last edited Sep 26, 2012 08:12PM) (new)

Scott (ArtRobot) | 63 comments I agree, I prefer the storyteller to not get bogged down in technical detail. Loose ends are where audience imagination can flourish. I've read stories that get bogged down in nonessential character backstory too, though. I think author explanation (or lack of) is part of the artistry.


message 8: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (BrendaClough) | 223 comments I began writing a TT novel because I am a sucker for new experiences, and I had never really written one before. (The previous one, REVISE THE WORLD, wasn't really time travel so much as a one-way jump from 1912 to 2055, with attendant hijinks.) But now I feel like a cat with a ball of yarn, tangled up and distracted by all the interesting possibilities in my claws. I have to figure out a way to wind everything up, as it were.


message 9: by Andy (new)

Andy Taylor (SooGuy) | 88 comments I like messy time travel as well. Will have to take a moment and read the article. Thanks for the heads up.

One of the reasons I think most movies/books only ever have ONE time traveller is to avoid making things messy. We always assume there is only ONE person messing with the time line at any given time.


message 10: by Tej (new)

Tej (TheyCallMeMrGlass) | 1675 comments Mod
I liked the article, good find. I dont favour any time travel rule to another, as long as each one serves the story well, that's what matters to me. For instance the Loop serves films like 12 Monkeys and Prizoner of Azkhaban brilliantly. They entertained but that concept would not have served Back to the Future well, the rules needed to be more fluxtuating (or messy as per the article) and that provided the fun for the trilogy. So it depends on the story being served, all can be equally entertaining, it all depends how well they are executed. That's my take.

As for Doctor Who, I gave up on that as a proper time travel series, its just nonsensical, beyond messy. However, I love it for its energy and entertainment factor but NOT for its time travel.


message 11: by Frances (new)

Frances Clark (throughtime) | 88 comments My favourite theme to write about is time travel. I love the idea of travelling to other planets way off in the future and meeting beings from other galaxies. One is only limited by one's imagination.


message 12: by Frances (new)

Frances Clark (throughtime) | 88 comments I try not to make my stories too messy. The reader would get lost and so would I.


message 13: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments Scott, I take a different slant; my books aren’t 'messy' per se, but mystifying.

Just ask Tej, he was pretty mystified.

They’re simple & in terms of TT they’re easy to follow & this thrust has wide-open implications beyond the genre or SiFi in general.

This is what I’m trying to do at any rate, good storytelling but with a purpose & TT is just my vehicle.

I write what I call Epic Fables & in Feb. I’ve been asked to speak to the elements of Myth used in them, by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a continuing education organization at Clemson University, in upstate SC.

My Time Machine is currently broken, so naturally, I didn’t see that one coming.

And who knows what the Future will bring?


message 14: by Paul (new)

Paul (PaulLev) | 730 comments My time travel stories have so many loose ends it's amazing I haven't tripped and broken my neck when I leave my laptop ...


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