This is not from my new book, “I Hate Your Time Machine“, although it’s certainly inspired by my painstaking (and painful) month examining some of the worst science fiction/fantasy tropes in the Multiverse.
No, this is its own special, personal brand of hatred.
13. Time travel makes things unpredictable. And not necessarily the interesting kind of unpredictable. If one’s going to stay true to at least some of the possibilities of temporal journeying, one has to realize that every act of chrononautology makes the world different.
11. Weird things happen when you monkey with time. For example, I bet most of you come from a Universe where “12” comes after “13”. But you’re wrong. Somebody stepped on a butterfly while doing a quick jaunt to the Triassic, and now numbers are strange.
12. We’d like to think that authors will use time-travel in an interesting, logical way, one which leaves the reader interested; but too often, it just seems to lead to peculiar changes which aren’t necessarily explained in any way the reader understands. BANG! You’re now an otter. There. Was that fun?
10. It is illegal to accidentally end up in a timeline that isn’t run by cats. If this happens to you, turn yourself in immediately.
9. Okay, so you can change the past. That’s great. That’s just great. So you’ve fixed something, made some mistake better? Wonderful. So tell me, genius: how do you know if you’ve ever done anything right? How does any of us know? What if it’s always just been us screwing up, and then – because we’re lucky enough to have time travel – we go back and fix it, which is not a big deal, since it’s not like we had to make good choices or guesses, we just had go travel backwards until we cleaned up the mess?
8. Nope, sorry, there’s nothing here. Why bother? I’m just gonna take a nap and let Future Me travel backwards and fix it.
7. And don’t even get me STARTED on what happens when you go FORWARDS in time. WAIT, IT’S TOO LATE, I’VE ALREADY GONE FORWARD SINCE I STARTED WRITING THIS, IT’S LIKE TEN MINUTES LATER, what did you do?
6. Seriously, the future? I mean, there you are, trying to get through all the stuff you DIDN’T do in the past because you knew you’d do it in the future by travelling TO the past, when all of a sudden, who’s knocking on your door and bothering you? YOU are, of course.
5. Really, though, it’s most likely that you CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST. Because that would change the future. (Unless, again, we’re running into “futility” – you MUST change the past in order for the present to work – AND Destiny – “You MUST HAVE changed the past, because otherwise we wouldn’t HAVE this future.” In which case, why are you telling a story if the point of the story is that the whole story is pointless? Unless you’re a Dadaist, in which case, I expect some top-quality surrealism; but all I ever get are plucky teens Doing The Difficult Thing at the Very Last Possible Second and Saving The Day. Blech.)
4. Rocks fall FROM THE FUTURE and everybody dies. IN THE PAST. Which means there’s NO FUTURE. And therefore NO ROCKS. So there was NO POINT to THIS ENTIRE POINT, and I HATE THAT.
12. Twelve? TWELVE? Twelve is here suddenly? WHAT THE HELL? Why? WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?
2. Honestly, all I want is, not necessarily something with good physics (I’m not a physicist) or even flawless history (is there such a thing?) – just something where the time travel makes some sort of sense and isn’t just thrown into the mix like when people put cocktail onions into perfectly-good vodka which wasn’t doing them any harm whatsoever.
- …you were all just eaten by Dinosaurs, and I take it back: time travel is awesome.
My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities, put on events, and make stories come into being. I also tweet a lot over @darklordjournal.