Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Nuts & Bolts #42 - Time and Again Part 5 - Temporal Stimulus

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On the odd chance that you are finding this new without having read earlier entries you can find Parts OneTwo, Three, or Four by clicking through.  We've reached the terminus (for now) of my ranting about time, but before I go I wanted to share my sources, and ask for your suggestions. Time travel is one of my favorite subjects and new movies and TV shows on the subject are always welcome, and given the spare few books dealing with time travel I have read I'm more than happy to entertain suggestions from my readers.
Histories that are, were, and might have been ...

This is a little "bibliography" of sorts, or perhaps more of an Appendix of whens, wases, and could have beens ...

Note: this is by no means an exhaustive list but these represent my favorites and inspirations...


  • Back to the Future (series)
    • The first of these is the best, but the second gets in good with me because it dabbles more into the timey wimey of time travel. The third I enjoy because who doesn't like a little western steampunk with their sci-fi?
  • Terminator (series) 
    • Of the four I have thus far seen the first two are the best, but even the 3rd and 4th make decent action films. Only the first three have any time travel elements in them however.
  • Timecrimes
    • If you haven't seen this, go find it and watch it, it's an a amazingly convoluted time travel tale that somehow managed to be (at least as far as I can tell) completely consistent and 100% close looped without leaving anything dangling. Really very well done.
  • Predestination
    • Another lesser known movie, this one is as much a character study as it is an object lesson in time travel mechanics.
  • Primer
    • This is very much a character piece, but it is also noteworthy for its more unique take on the methods of time travel.
  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (and Bogus Journey)
    • These are comedies, and the treatment of time travel is pretty light, but they are pretty fun regardless. Look at the interesting time travel solution to a locked door problem late in the first movie as an example of how time traveling characters can get really creative.
  • Timecop
    • Van Damme-it this one is a real mixed bag of early '90s action-sci-fi. Notable for the paradox that occurs when the same person from two points in time intersect (it's messy).
  • 12 Monkeys
    • In my opinion Terry Gilliam's best film that doesn't include Monty Python. Predestination, bootstrapped information, and a delightful sense of paranoia (plus a young Brad Pitt being amazing). This one is so good it managed to spawn a TV series that even SyFy couldn't screw up.
  • Frequency
    • Another unique look at time "travel" (more like communication) that gets into the consequences of altering past events. The way that the main character starts to assimilate the new timeline's memories is nicely done.
  • Looper
    • Predestination and paradox (sort of). I really love the idea of characters having to outwit their earlier selves, or trying to off their own future selves. 
  • Project Almanac
    • Of note for the interesting paradox the results from a person encountering a copy of themselves and the chaos theory/butterfly effect of changes as the hero tries to fix things.
TV Series
  • 12 Monkeys
    • Considering how much I love the film that this is based on, and that it was going to be produced and aired on SyFy I went into it with a great deal of trepidation.  Thankfully the end result was not only good, but shockingly good, excellent even. They managed to take the concepts and ideas of the movie and expand them, alter them, and yet stay true to them in such a way that the end result is a rather amazing product all on its own. This one dives deep into the time travel aspects of paradox and predestination, but also starts to introduce the wild card of free will into the mix. I can't wait for season 2.
  • Doctor Who
    • Do I really need to explain myself here?
  • Quantum Leap
    • Another non-traditional take on time travel. The series ender confounds some people, but it's hardly enough to detract from the series as a whole.
  • Lost
    • Gripe all you want about the ending, but during its run Lost was a show that had the bravery to the kitchen sink of weird at the viewers. The time travel elements were surprisingly well put together too.
  • Flash Forward
    • It's a shame that this series never got past season one as it was looking at predestination versus free will in a very unique way that I found really interesting. 
  • Continuum
    • Along with 12 Monkeys above this one has some great looks at temporal mechanics. In this case alternate and multiple timelines, bootstrap paradox, and the consequences of changing the past. 
  • The Time Machine
    • Arguably the grand-daddy of all time travel fiction. Far flung futures, human evolutionary offshoots, and the troubling nature of things beyond our control. 
  • A Sound of Thunder
    • I haven't actually read this yet but it's so well known as an early use of the "butterfly effect" to show the effects of unintended consequences. It's also spawned any number of other fictions...
  • Shockingly that is all I can think of for written fiction, which means that I am more than open to suggestions from my readers for good books or short fiction about time travel. Hit the comments below and let me know.

I unabashedly love time travel, and one of the things I didn't do with this series that I wanted to was to go into details on time travel continuums.  It's likely I will return to this series again in the future (sadly the past isn't possible) and explore the subject more, but for now I thank you for bearing with me and sincerely hope that if you actually read all of this you enjoyed it and got something useful out of my efforts. 

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