Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ah'll Be Bach (or will I?)


If you think it through, time travel in movies/television never really works. Yes, I watched The Sarah Connor Chronicles (I just couldn’t turn away) – Sunday night, but I missed last night’s episode. I have to admit that it wasn’t as cheesy as I thought it might be (and wouldn’t a teenage boy prefer a pretty teenage girl terminator to Ah-nold anyway?)But here’s my time travel conundrum. If the Terminators come back from the future to kill young John Connor, thus preventing him from doing whatever heroic thing he’s going to do as an adult, then they never would have existed anyway, right? Like, let’s say my parents beat me when I was a child. So I think, “I’ll fix them”, and I build a time machine and go back to the 1960’s and keep them from ever meeting each other, that way they won’t beat me when I’m born. But wait, I will never BE born, so I won’t be able to go back and keep myself from being beaten. Are you still with me?

It works in the other direction too. If I could jump forward to, say 2027, to find myself eating breakfast at the house I built, I couldn’t meet myself, since I wouldn’t have been there during the time I missed (I couldn’t have built the house, etc.). Does anyone remember the movie Timecop (starring Jean Claude Van Damme)? Oh right. Of course not. I had the same problem with that movie. He went back 10 years to prevent his wife’s murder. And some politician went ahead into time and met himself (their bodies touched and he blew up or something). And then when Timecop went back to the present and mentioned the Senator, people looked at him strangely and said, “The Senator disappeared 10 years ago, never to be seen again” (or something like that, my memory is fuzzy).

The math never works. It’s an endless cycle. If you could travel to the past to meet yourself, you'd probably just end up erasing your future you, which would be your current you. And once you do travel back in time, the present becomes the future that has not yet happened.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Soren. Now I wish I could go back two minutes and tell myself not to read that...

just kidding!!

johndobbs said...

Now THAT was a funny comment! lol

I was in World of Wings in New Orleans awaiting a dozen polynesian style chicken wings and on the big screen in front of me was the show you're talking about. I didn't know what it was ... but ... it looked pretty good.

Isn't the movie The Butterfly Effect about the conundrum you have presented? I haven't seen it but I think it is.

I liked Time After Time. That was a good time traveling movie.

Joe said...

First of all...never admit in public to watching a Jean Claude Van Damme movie
Second...it could work out, but only once and once it was done that would be it. Once they kill Johny Boy, they would be gone and their would be no cycle, just...nothing. At least that's how my pee-brain figures it.

Frank Weller said...

Michael Crichton explains all this pretty well in his exceptionally good novel Timeline. The movie sucked, but the book - a must read. In fact, I'm thinking of going back and reading it again or did I already do that . . .

Keith Wood said...

I was feeling perfectly fine until I read your post. Now I have a headache.