Monday, May 07, 2012

Going Backward to Meet the Future

All smart people know that you must go backward to move forward.

No one really knows why.

It's enough to acknowledge it.

Art Bell and his successor George Noorey (of Coast to Coast A.M. fame) are both fascinated by time travel.  As a sophisticate of the Inner Lodge of Wowness, I confess that Time Travel is cool stuff.  Shadow People are a major yawn next to Time Travel.  Rod creatures and Chupacabras don't even compare.

Why is time travel so cool?

It's easy enough to understand.  As Immanuel Kant or his third cousin pointed out on more than one occasion, "Oh to go back to where I could wear a hat like that and get away with it."

As a writer, I find it very interesting.

It is the key to all human relationships, I believe.  The need to go back.  The need to restore things to the way they were.  To go forward is to know that you are making a choice that could be wrong.  Ending up with someone that may not be right.

To go forward is to get old.

Grim but true.

And if it's true that fashions cycle back into popularity, think of the trouble we'll all be in before too long.

To be able to travel back into the past means that the past is still there.  That it's not gone forever, that we always have options to change what we did and start fresh.

But it's confusing, so I'm asking you, as a writer, do you use time travel in your stories?  If not, would you?

If you don't know the answer, I'll have to ask the  kid in the picture.

Imagine the answer I'll get.


Bonnee Crawford said...

I'm pretty sure I haven't used time travel in a story yet, but I totally would. The closest thing I've used personally is flashback and flashforward, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count as time travel.

Rick said...

I'd be interested to know if you do end up using time travel in a story, Bonnee. I've looked around for an anthology of time travel stories, but haven't seen one I like yet, so maybe we'll do one.

Charles Gramlich said...

Since I'll be off this summer, I plan to solve the time travel problem in my spare time. I'll come back to this day and tell you about it on this post when I do.

Rick said...

That would be the very definition of cool, Charles.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've never used it, but going back in time begs the question - will it change the future or create another timeline?

Rick said...

Hi Alex- I hired a technical consultant to address the question you raised. The answer, according to her, is the square root of time.

Truthfully, I didn't pay her very much.

So I asked the kid in the picture. He made me pony up more money, and when I did, he gave me the answer.

The thing is, according to the boy genius, that there is no such thing as time. It is a referential construct that has pretty well exhausted its limited utility.

It's not, he explained, that past, present and future are one. There just is no such thing as time.

I was forced to make a donation to the little dictator's college fund for him to spring loose this next point: time is our attempt to use visual logic to break constant change into non-existent discrete units to increase our sense of personal power.

What is visual logic? I'm glad you asked. It is when we use what we see as our basis of thinking about the world around us. Almost all science is predicated (incorrectly, the boy genius says) on visual logic.

We see objects as having beginnings and ends.

Try this, cut an orange in two then place both halves on a table and step back five feet. You can smell the orange. Does the orange begin and end on the table or does it extend further. According to your nose, it does. Visual logic says no. Your nose says yes. Because our primary sensory mode is visual, we almost always defer to visual stimuli.

Our world view is based on vision. Even when we think it isn't, it is. I would explain how this is, but I ran out of cash and the kid won't take credit cards so anything else I tell you I'd just have to make up.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I've never used time travel. I think I'd find too many issues - I still tie myself in knots watching Back to the Future!

Rick said...

Hello Annalisa!

I think you're right about the whole thing- it's so complicated it could tie both us and our readers in knots. Then we'd all go hang out on Facebook and quit writing and reading. Then we would forget the alphabet and couldn't read or write at all.

We would therefore become primitives. Maybe the robots could save us, but I doubt they would want to have anything to do with illiterate humans.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Time travel is a tough story idea for me because it's been handled so terrifically in the past. Although I'm not obsessed with the word unique, I've seen and read so many aspects of it from Ray Bradbury's time traveler running off the path to step on a butterfly to movies like Terminator, Time After Time, and Butterfly Effect, I'd have to really have an idea crop up on me out of left field to take on time travel. Maybe like Charles it will happen this summer. :)

Rick said...

I love Bradbury's version of time travel stories the best, although Terminator is by far the coolest.

Travis Cody said...

I haven't used time travel... paradox is too confusing for my brain.