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Problems with time travel in story telling? It never holds up to even elementary questioning, because it's physically impossible. Time doesn't actually exist. The observable phenomenon we have dubbed time is a side effect of the degree with which space has been curved by the mass of an object suspended in it, or gravity. Nothing more. That's what relativity really is, not how gravity modifies the setting of how time passes by each celestial object. Not some time-space fabric or energy storing the memory of the past and computing the possibilities of the future. The only thing that has ever, or will ever exist, anywhere in the universe, is the present.
Problems with these problems? I simply LOVE time travel in story telling. I mean it is so romantic, so adventurous, wonderous, mysterious. I can't leave it alone. I can't stop trying to make it work.
Most recently it's forced me to take a long hard look at the nature of the Time Stream in my FF tribute lore, as well as the involvement of time travel and temporal mechanics within that canon.
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Well you said yourself, time travel "is so romantic, so adventurous, wonderous, mysterious". Obviously there is something about it you like even if it is nonsensical in any serious sense. Believe me I know exactly what you are talking about, but sometimes you just need to let a story be a story and tell you how something works and try and follow it as best as you can. I mean bad troupes and gimmicks may exist, but you can still have good stories written using them.
Also, you seem awfully convinced about the "one timeline" thing. I am not so sure myself, but I also don't think it really matters.
There's something about it we all like. My poison isn't so much the person from a boring, mundane present returns to a beloved historic era to mingle among the subjects of their scholastic obsession, but more the mysterious figure returns to present from future. I love a good bootstrap paradox. Ugh. I just peed a lil typing it out.
And in terms of multiple timelines, I admit that when it comes the nature of our "universe" we know virtually nothing. Negative nothing. Most likely never will. We know nothing about what our universe is. Where it exists, how it exists, etc. So in that regard, there may be some sort of multiple timeline thing going on in multiple universes. However. to suggest that our universe is capable of producing multiple timelines depending on variations in occurrences and major catalyst events, suggests that time is more than a side effect of the relationship between mass and space, or what we know as gravity. Being in a stronger curvature makes time appear to move slower. Key word appear. It's all relative to the observer. A planet with 10X gravity with the exact same axis and orbit as Earth, would experience a calendar year at the exact same pace. Theoretically it wouldn't "feel" or "seem" any longer.
Time was a way for humans to measure increments of motion around the sun. There is no force to create timelines, because there really is no timeline at all. There's just the universe, the energy and mass within. Energy, matter, motion.
Peed a lil? That's a interesting reaction...
The whole multiple timeline thing has more to do with quantum wave functions and how they collapse or more like how they don't (like described in this video) but really it hardly could be thought of as "timelines", just multible "nows". The past and future still aren't meaningfully real. Though it could also be that quantum wave functions act as a pilot wave (as described in this video) which cuts out all the multible reality stuff, so yeah.
Here is a thought: What if time travel was not possible, but it was possible to travel to a 'now' that just happened to resemble what the past might have been. I can imagine a story where someone tries to time travel but they realize at the end they can't actually, they just hop to a different universe that resembles the past or future.