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  1. #31

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    I love a good time travel story. I quite dislike a sloppy time travel story, even more than I dislike most sloppy stories.

    I think that, if you're going to write time travel stories - especially in a shared-universe setting - you need a model to time travel to go by, some rules. Can you change the past? Does doing so split off a new universe, or actually change the existing universe? If you change history, who remembers the old history? Who remembers the new history? Who remembers both. That sort of thing.

    Please note that I'm not dictating the answers. I'm just saying that these are some questions that need to be answered in the universe.

    In some of my favorite time-travel stories, history is not changed - the actions of the characters turn out to be a part of history all along, in ways they didn't expect or understand. (The movie TIME AFTER TIME is one of the best examples of this.)

    I also think that, for almost all characters, time travel should be difficult, dangerous, and unpredictable. Their ability to go back to a specific time and place, and know that they're in the right universe, should be in question. Otherwise you just wind up with "well, if they can go back in time, why don't they just...?" (Superman wonders where the Parasite took Lois after kidnapping her. Well, just go back in time to the point of the kidnapping. Stay a mile up in the air where no one will notice you. Use your telescoping vision, and watch where he takes her. Return to the present and go get her! Easy-peasy, and you don't even have to change history.)

    Time-travel stories in comic books too often use a lot a vagueness and hand-waving to avoid any difficult questions, and have deus ex machina endings - or are just deus ex machina stories from start to finish. Can't say I'm too fond of those.
    Doctor Bifrost

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  2. #32
    Spectacular Member W8IN4KAL-EL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Bifrost View Post
    I love a good time travel story. I quite dislike a sloppy time travel story, even more than I dislike most sloppy stories.

    I think that, if you're going to write time travel stories - especially in a shared-universe setting - you need a model to time travel to go by, some rules. Can you change the past? Does doing so split off a new universe, or actually change the existing universe? If you change history, who remembers the old history? Who remembers the new history? Who remembers both. That sort of thing.

    Please note that I'm not dictating the answers. I'm just saying that these are some questions that need to be answered in the universe.

    In some of my favorite time-travel stories, history is not changed - the actions of the characters turn out to be a part of history all along, in ways they didn't expect or understand. (The movie TIME AFTER TIME is one of the best examples of this.)

    I also think that, for almost all characters, time travel should be difficult, dangerous, and unpredictable. Their ability to go back to a specific time and place, and know that they're in the right universe, should be in question. Otherwise you just wind up with "well, if they can go back in time, why don't they just...?" (Superman wonders where the Parasite took Lois after kidnapping her. Well, just go back in time to the point of the kidnapping. Stay a mile up in the air where no one will notice you. Use your telescoping vision, and watch where he takes her. Return to the present and go get her! Easy-peasy, and you don't even have to change history.)

    Time-travel stories in comic books too often use a lot a vagueness and hand-waving to avoid any difficult questions, and have deus ex machina endings - or are just deus ex machina stories from start to finish. Can't say I'm too fond of those.
    I agree with everything you said..Most times it's just an 'easy-peasy' way to fix things..I just think that no one should be able to travel back in time let alone change it.

  3. #33
    Spectacular Member W8IN4KAL-EL's Avatar
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdACpDDpIUs

    This is a movie I just remembered..I like it a lot and it's about time travel.

  4. #34
    Astonishing Member dancj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Darknight Detective View Post
    It's that and also the idea that Chuck would have been able to duplicate the song perfectly just by hearing it once through the telephone.
    He'd have to though really.

    If he'd misheard a bit and written the song differently, then that would have become the song and that would have been what Marty sang - therefore making the one Chuck writes exactly the same thing that Marty sang.

    It couldn't not wind up being the same.

  5. #35
    DC Comics Forum Mod The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dancj View Post
    He'd have to though really.

    If he'd misheard a bit and written the song differently, then that would have become the song and that would have been what Marty sang - therefore making the one Chuck writes exactly the same thing that Marty sang.

    It couldn't not wind up being the same.
    Oh, he had to have done it in the film, but how many of us in reality (including the real Chuck Berry) would have been able to pick it up perfectly?
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  6. #36
    Incredible Member Dr Quinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor-Ul View Post
    The problem of the origin, a tipical trope insci-fi. I remember a book about a guy who wanted to know if Shakespeare really wrote all his dramas, but he get lost in time and to survive in the past he had to wrote the books from his archives, leaving the question about who really wrote the books in the first.
    Mostly used for comedic purposes.
    I seem to recall a New Twilight Zone episode with a similar premise, except that it was about Elvis...

    Yep, I've just checked Wikipedia and it was apparently called "The Once and Future King" and co-written by George R.R. Martin.

  7. #37
    Incredible Member Dr Quinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Darknight Detective View Post
    Oh, he had to have done it in the film, but how many of us in reality (including the real Chuck Berry) would have been able to pick it up perfectly?
    I think the point that Dancj was making was that even if Chuck had gotten the song wrong, he'd still have gotten it right.

    This is why time travel makes my head hurt.

  8. #38
    DC Comics Forum Mod The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Quinch View Post
    I think the point that Dancj was making was that even if Chuck had gotten the song wrong, he'd still have gotten it right.

    This is why time travel makes my head hurt.
    I understand his point, but I don't believe it would work that way in "reality." If Chuck transcribed the lyrics and music incorrectly, then we wouldn't have "Johnny B. Goode" in the same way it was originally by the time Marty McFly does it (and so on and so on and...).

    Damn, my head is hurting now!
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  9. #39
    Astonishing Member dancj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Darknight Detective View Post
    I understand his point, but I don't believe it would work that way in "reality." If Chuck transcribed the lyrics and music incorrectly, then we wouldn't have "Johnny B. Goode" in the same way it was originally by the time Marty McFly does it (and so on and so on and...).
    Yeah we would.

    If Chuck misheard it then it would have changed the song. If the song changed then Marty would have sung the new version. If Chuck misheard it again then the song would have changed again and Marty would have sung yet another version. This can loop around as many times as it needs to, but eventually you'd have wound up with the two songs being the same.

  10. #40
    DC Comics Forum Mod The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dancj View Post
    Yeah we would.

    If Chuck misheard it then it would have changed the song. If the song changed then Marty would have sung the new version. If Chuck misheard it again then the song would have changed again and Marty would have sung yet another version. This can loop around as many times as it needs to, but eventually you'd have wound up with the two songs being the same.
    Maybe. I don't see it as an eventuality, however, since there's no way Chuck could have even heard Marty doing the entire song in the first place! At any rate, none of can prove it one way or the other.
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  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero Hunter View Post
    Time travel is fine when it is used the right way. The Booster Gold series showed how to use it right. They even took the "fixed point" thing from Doctor Who making it so some events just could not be changed no matter how hard you tired which I like. Even when Superboy would go to the future with the Legion they latter said that Saturn Girl took away any memories that might affect his future before sending him home.
    As a Legion fan, one of my pet peeves about how time travel has been handled at DC is that the Legion seems unable to time travel, so much as hop back exactly 1000 years. So, for instance, there's a Manhunter crossover event 1000 years in the past, and suddenly, it happens in 30th century, too. Or Crisis happens, and Supergirl dies, and Brainy freaks out that she's dead, despite the fact that he has a time machine. She didn't 'just' die. She's been dead for 1000 years. Brainy and the Legion can continue having adventures with the Kara from a year, a month, a day before she died, *for the rest of their lives*, sending her back to meet her eventual fate each time. It's not like it's 'taking time' out of her busy life, since they've always been able to send Superboy back to the exact second he left from, so that he can not miss school the next day despite spending a week adventuring with his future pals. They could have done the same with Kara, just not bothered to tell her that, *like everyone*, she's going to die eventually. But they have her entire pre-Crisis life to access (and if the nonsense about her retroactively never existing was actually a thing, Brainy would never have remembered dating her in the first place, and the entire Crisis would have never happened in the first place, which makes the entire notion of 'retroactively didn't happen' a bit silly).

    There was cake. They could have cake (Supergirl still active in the 30th century) and eat cake (killing her off in Crisis) at the same time, thanks to time travel, but they seemed to fail to understand how it works, and decided that since she'd died in 1985, that people who lived in 2985 suddenly couldn't go back to 1984 anymore...

    Hypertime, on the other hand, from the Superboy series (IIRC) was pretty awesome. I love alternate takes on characters, or alternate universes, like the Age of Apocalypse over at Marvel, or the Earth 3 Crime Syndicate, here at DC, so hypertime was right on target for me!

  12. #42
    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sutekh View Post
    As a Legion fan, one of my pet peeves about how time travel has been handled at DC is that the Legion seems unable to time travel, so much as hop back exactly 1000 years. So, for instance, there's a Manhunter crossover event 1000 years in the past, and suddenly, it happens in 30th century, too. Or Crisis happens, and Supergirl dies, and Brainy freaks out that she's dead, despite the fact that he has a time machine. She didn't 'just' die. She's been dead for 1000 years. Brainy and the Legion can continue having adventures with the Kara from a year, a month, a day before she died, *for the rest of their lives*, sending her back to meet her eventual fate each time. It's not like it's 'taking time' out of her busy life, since they've always been able to send Superboy back to the exact second he left from, so that he can not miss school the next day despite spending a week adventuring with his future pals. They could have done the same with Kara, just not bothered to tell her that, *like everyone*, she's going to die eventually. But they have her entire pre-Crisis life to access (and if the nonsense about her retroactively never existing was actually a thing, Brainy would never have remembered dating her in the first place, and the entire Crisis would have never happened in the first place, which makes the entire notion of 'retroactively didn't happen' a bit silly).

    There was cake. They could have cake (Supergirl still active in the 30th century) and eat cake (killing her off in Crisis) at the same time, thanks to time travel, but they seemed to fail to understand how it works, and decided that since she'd died in 1985, that people who lived in 2985 suddenly couldn't go back to 1984 anymore...

    Hypertime, on the other hand, from the Superboy series (IIRC) was pretty awesome. I love alternate takes on characters, or alternate universes, like the Age of Apocalypse over at Marvel, or the Earth 3 Crime Syndicate, here at DC, so hypertime was right on target for me!
    True...
    Nothing was so jarring as the Laurel Kent fiasco happening at the same time as Millennium...
    Or the characters talking about Flashpoint at the same time it's happening.
    Or Zero Hour.

    I would love to see the Legion used either to foreshadow events that are still a year away in the modern day DCU or even cross-over with events from five or ten years ago.
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  13. #43
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    I like time travel stories, but this interconnectedness of two things far apart in time is one of my pet peeves.

    If it's explained by some device such as the Time Trapper, God, interconnected time portals--then okay. But it really bugs me that, for example, in TIMELESS, last week, they had to hurriedly assemble a team to go back in time to stop events in the past from being altered. Why--why couldn't they take the time, why were they on the clock to save the past? This was never explained--maybe there is some timey-wimey reason why there's an urgency to fix history to save the present. This was sort of covered on last week's THE FLASH, but why it takes about three months for a past event to solidify in the present was left unexplained--and a different set of rules seems to govern LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, even though it's in the same fictional universe.

    The fact that everything in the Legion is a thousand years ahead of now isn't so bad, so long as one event doesn't depend on the other. But when the two moments in time are in lock step, it becomes annoying. And it wasn't always thus. Young Clark Kent used to travel from 1958 to 2973, while his cousin at the same time could travel from 1973 to 2973 and they could both meet at the clubhouse together. That actually made more sense.

    Then there are some rules that the fictions impose that seem quite arbitrary. I never understood why Dan Jurgens made up this rule for Rip Hunter that he could only use one means of time travel once. How does that work--and does it mean that different types of time machines are governed by different metaphysical laws?
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  14. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I never understood why Dan Jurgens made up this rule for Rip Hunter that he could only use one means of time travel once.
    He did it to impose difficulty on complications on his characters, since unrestricted time travel tends to lead to questions of "why don't they just...?" and deus ex machina endings. But I think this particular restriction was a very poorly chosen one.

    How does that work--and does it mean that different types of time machines are governed by different metaphysical laws?
    Not just different kinds of time machines, but different stories with the same kind of time machine, or with different writers, or whatever. In Legends of Tomorrow, they'll contradict themselves on how time travel works within the same episode. More than once. (Flash, too.)

    And then some fans will make up excuses for it. Sometimes I wish the writers would be willing to put as much thought into the mechanics of time travel as some members of the audience/readership do.
    Doctor Bifrost

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