Friday, December 17, 2004

[sf] Time Travel list

An acquaintence of mine is about to start working on a time-travel feature film. So it occured to me, what are the list of references you'd need for such a project:

By his Bootstraps, short story by Robert Heinlein. Essential.
Primer, low budget movie (2003)
Back to the Future trilogy.
The Time Machine, H.G. Wells.
The Time Ships, the sequel by Stephen Baxter.
Terminator 1 (for exposition).
Terminator 3 (for subtle time paradoxes).
Event 16, a local NZ T-T movie, as yet unreleased.
'The Man Who Folded Himself' by David Gerrold, for my money the best t-t book ever written.
Timescape, Gregory Benford - which is about how the scientific process might work behind an academic t-t project.
There's a short story by Ian Watson, either The Very Slow Time Machine or
The Very Long Time Machine, which is a weirdly different look at how t-t might work.
A Sound of Thunder (with Ben Affleck) is about to come out. Based on the Ray Bradbury short story and lampooned in the Simpsons with the t-t toaster Halloween episode.

* Just thought of an idea for a t-t - someone travels forward in time and discovers they've been murdered. Actually that's a situation. There's no structure or character there yet, but there would be a compulsion to act.

Time Cop (that Van Damme movie).

And some ideas from Amazon's lists:

12 Monkeys
Time after Time
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
Star Trek IV
There's a movie starring Jeff Daniels which I think is called Grand Tour, which is nice and low-key with a nasty nasty ending.
Lots and lots of Star Trek episodes, from this list.

Hmm, nothing else coming to mind. Will post this now, and get back to my real work.


Anonymous said...

Another book of interest is "Across Realtime" by Vernor Vinge, though in that case you only get to travel forward. Or for another case of one-way travel, the "Island in the Sea of Time" series by S.M. Stirling has the island of Nantucket transported back in time three thousand years. (This has lead to a bunch of "Sea of Time" speculations in the soc.history.what-if newsgroup.)

Oh, and I think "The Man in the High Castle", by Philip K. Dick, may be a time-travel story, though it's been a while since I read it.

The key question to ask is whether you want the timeline to be changable. (Oh, and what you want to have happen to "orphans". :)

There are a number of time-travel roleplaying games, but for my money the one to look at would be Continuum: Roleplaying in the Yet. Here's a review, and I happen to have a copy.

It comes from the point of view that you have the timeline, and a personal "Yet", and if you fail to do stuff that it has been established has been done, you hurt yourself, and can eventually write yourself out of existence. So there are "rules" about interacting with your older twin, like only speaking when you're spoken to, since you don't want to put to have too much stuff hanging around in your Yet (if you don't know your Yet, you *can't* hurt yourself with paradox). But a Bill & Ted "get future us to set things up"-style plans are perfectly feasible. And it's actually a lot more flexible than you think - just because you've talked to a you who says they're from 40 years in the future, doesn't mean that you won't die tomorrow (though if you do, someone has a bunch of plastic surgery somewhere in their timeline).

I haven't run a game, because it hurts my brain too much. But in principle, it looks pretty cool. :) How good an acquaintence it is will dictate whether I actually lend my book out. ;)


Now, if you were actually interested in the Philosophy of Time, I think I might still have papers around from a course I did, including a copy of the seminal paper that proves that time doesn't exist at all. ;)

hix said...

Heh, I am extremely familiar with Across Realtime - esp. Marooned in Realtime (the second book). Hopefully, in a couple of years if things go to plan, you'll see the smirky side of that suggestion.

Continuum, I think there's been some discussion about that at The Forge recently. Yessum, I'd love to look at it.