Sunday, 6 May 2018

The Laws of Time Travel

Up until now my greatest achievement with my time machine was going to the Patent Office in Bern in 1904 and handing the lowly Patent Clerk with the bad hair an explanation of the Special Theory Of Relativity although i had to go back a further time to tell him it's E=mc2 and not E=mcmc, dummkopf.
Anyway, that turned out okay in the end but as another academic year draws to a close, an elite group of scientists and i plan to spend August putting right things that once went wrong as i explained next June.  
The biggest problem with time travel is that things can go horribly wrong when we travel backwards, forwards, or sideways in time so as HG Wells is the most notable authority on Time Travel i could think of, i invited him to come up with the Laws of Time Travel to provide a helpful guide for anyone who finds themselves travelling in time.

Law 1) Don't Kill Anyone
Since half the humans who have ever lived are alive today, most of the people in the past are related to people in the present in some way and you will have no way of knowing who is a descendant of yours so you could find yourself either blinking out of existence or even worse stuck in a paradox loop if the person you killed turns out to be an ancestor of someone who helped invent your time machine so to stay safe, don't kill anyone.

Law 2) Don't Change The Long-Ago
Changing the past too far back in the past is generally held to not be a good idea as you don't know what the repercussions could be. What if you go back to Prehistoric times and somehow prevented the first fish that crawled onto the land or turn up at the Great Fire of London and helped put out the fire before it burned down all the buildings which stopped the Black Death which rather then ending there would in turn flourish and kill more people, one of which could be a descendant of yours or someone who helped invent your time machine and Law 1 is back in the game. 

Law 3) Avoid Meeting Yourself
Go back 25 years and as far as the younger you is concerned, they are meeting your older self for the first time and hearing what will happen in the next 25 years. The danger is the younger you will assume that their future is predetermined and may not do the future things that bought you to the situation where you could go back 25 years to tell them in which case the meeting wouldn't happen and your past would change and you wouldn't have a time machine and you are once again stuck in the Law 1 paradox loop and even worse, stuck 25 years in the past with your younger, whinier self.

Law 4) Don't Say Anything
Since every action has an equal and unintended reaction, it is best not to say anything when you're in the past or the future.
If you let slip something that changes the course of future events then the consequences could be terrible. Imagine letting slip the words 'World War 2' just after World War 1 had ended or discussed 'Climate Change' before the inventions that the Industrial Revolution gave us such as the internal combustion engine or the components for your time machine and yep, hello Law 1 and that damned
paradox loop again.

Law 5) Travel Forward Rather Than Backwards
As doing anything in the past may very well have unintended consequences on the present and that frustrating Law 1, you can mess about with the future as much as you like as it hasn't happened yet and if you mess up, you can just come back to the present and not do the thing that messed up the future.

I don't know if Mr Wells had any more time travel laws but it was at this point that i congratulated him on the Invisible Man book and asked him where he got such a brilliant idea of a scientist who invents a way to change the way the body reflects light so that he becomes invisible and after successfully carrying out this procedure on himself, fails in his attempt to reverse it. 
It was when he grabbed his notepad and said: 'That would make a brilliant novel' that i realised i has said too much and made my excuses and left.
Oops, at least there was no paradox loop implications even if i must apologise to Bram Stoker who was meant to write that book, sorry.

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