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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.
Well when it comes to story telling the past and the future definitely do exist: You can always go back in the story to reread something or go forward in the story to read ahead. Time travel is really something that only can really make sense on if we assume history is somehow recorded in an absolute way. It's kind of a metanarrative trick that only really works in stories, but honestly, does that actually matter? After all what you are doing is telling stories, everyone knows you are telling a story, so why not let it be a story and use fun tricks like time travel even if they don't really make that much sense outside a story?
But in story telling, bad troupes and gimmicks definitely do exist. IN good writing you definitely want to avoid these whenever possible.
Think of the classic time travel troupe. Man (or woman) comes back from ruined, apocalyptic future with charred remains of child's toy. He (or she) helps members of the yet to be ruined present, prepare for and stop the impending apocalypse. Now as proof that the scary-bad future he (or she) came back from was actually changed, the charred teddy bear either becomes undamaged again, or disappears from his (or her) hands before he (or she) uses their time tech to return home after thanking our present day heroes.
You're probably thinking most time travel plots aren't so dumb, but that was literally Cable's arc in Deadpool II.
Problems with this nonsense?
- It's nonsense.
- If the future in question was changed, he or she) would never have come back at all.
- more realistic and accepted temporal mechanics in fiction tells us a new timeline would have been created when the catalyst event was prevented, creating a new and decidedly un-apocalyptic future.
No matter how you tackle time travel, it never holds up to questioning. You couldn't even go back without theoretically making a new timeline the second you arrive in the past or future. (Problem being there is only 1 timeline because, again, "time" doesn't exist)
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