Some time ago, there was a funny story about the Chinese banning time travel movies and books because “…many stories are totally made-up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty. The producers and writers are treating serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and agree that 99% of the books and movies are totally made-up. I reserve that 1% because of my own research into time travel (and my personal preference for time travel by machine) lead me to this book:
Plans for Time Travel Machines That Really Work – Revised and Updated Edition: How to Move through Time and Space by Patricia C. Ress and Steven Gibbs (I had an old edition of this on my wish list and checked it out and was delighted to find this updated edition available again – at least until the Men in Black suppress it again…) The original edition had some reviews that didn’t make it to this edition, which is sad, so here’s the link to that one.
If you compare the reviews between the two editions, it is clear that the Men in Black are seeking to suppress this book with bad reviews.
So other than the obvious risks of trying out untested time machines, there are, IMHO, both better reasons not to time travel. And some good reasons TO time travel.
Let’s start with the reasons not to jump into that time machine (learned from serious study of these “frivolous” books and movies):
- Becoming your own grandpa (Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann)
- Losing your job and possibly your life (No Experience Necessary)
- Age 40 years overnight AND lose your dog (Final Countdown)
- Get your head lopped off because you speak French (Timeline)
- Have to die to get back to your lost love, which may or may not actually work… (Somewhere in Time)
- Get trapped in a time bubble with a huge bug (Lost in Space)
- Accidentally help Jack the Ripper escape into the future (Time After Time)
- Open yourself up to someone else messing with your timeline (Time and Again)
- Mess up your own timeline so you have to go back and do it AGAIN (Out of Time)
But there are also good reasons to time travel. Probably. How about:
- Defeating bad guys (just about every time travel movie and book out there)
- Getting the girl/guy (Somewhere in Time, Kate & Leopold, Out of Time)
- Resetting a franchise (Star Trek)
- To make sure you get born (Time Rider)
- To make a better life for yourself and your parents (Back to the Future)
- To save whales and your future (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
- Because you can. (Doctor Who)
- Learning that what you left was not as bad as you thought it was (any book/show/movie/TV show where time travel is accidental!)
- Fixing something you messed up the last time you time traveled (Out of Time)
So what are the Chinese right? Is time travel a bad idea? What are your favorite reasons TO or NOT TO time travel? If you could, would you?