Archive for December 23rd, 2021

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A Superheroic Theory of Time Travel

23 December, 2021

prague-astronomical-clock-112917440026rDOr Time Travel on Earth-H!

The best works of time travel fiction generally have a clear and compelling structure for time travel, perhaps it is:

Linear Time, time moves in a straight line and where changing the past will change the future (such as in Poul Anderson’s Time Patrol stories or, mostly, in the Terminator movies).

Branched Time, where changing the past causes an entire new timeline to appear following the branch, but the events (and timeline) of the original version still exist as the original starting point for the time traveler who changed the past.

Parallel Timelines, infinite or limited, usually this means that travel in “time” is just traveling to a different timeline that seems identical to the past of the person traveling.  With enough Branched Time and you get close to the sme effect.

Immutable Time, the past is fixed, either you cannot change the flow of history or anything you did is alreadt accounted for in your present.  A variant of this is, you change the past but someone/thing steps into that hole and make the the future turn out pretty much the same.  Immutable time can be good for fiction but not much fun for roleplaying games.

There is also what might be termed “Monkey Paw” Time, which has been showing up in time travel stories recently.  Where any change to the past will cause increasingly disaterous alterations to the time traveler’s present (“the darkest timeline”) and further attempts to fix the timeline will just accelerate that downward trend.    Again, good for fiction, not so much for roleplaying games.

So, setting aside those last two, which form of time travel do the comics usually use?  Read the rest of this entry ?

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