I'm back, and I'm not going to bore you with the inconsequential details of my existence; see the Twitter feed to the right if such things interest you (poor, poor you if so). No, no, I have to talk about something much deeper. You guessed it: time travel.
It seems like every book, show, movie I've come across lately has involved time travel. I don't generally find this to be a compelling subject; usually it is lazily used as a plot device and seems stale. And yet, here it is, time travel time travel timetravel, like I've come back from 2014 and given myself all this material on the subject to make myself think in circles about why it's suddenly of interest. If that is the case, I'm a real dick in the future and should get a better hobby. Leaving clues for yourself has been done, dude (See: Bill & ted's Excellent Adventure and also the Bad Wolf storyline in Doctor Who).
Writers all seem to have a different take on the subject: how it would be accomplished, what it would feel like, how much you could change or potentially screw up by even doing it in the first place. ("Oh I wish I wish I hadn't killed that fish" - Homer Simpson in the time travel Halloween episode of the Simpsons (based on a Bradbury story, I think.)
So here is a not-at-all complete list of "Things I Have Encountered Involving Time Travel (that may or may not be of my own doing or may or may not be a total coincidence but probably are a coincidence unless they aren't, in which case I want a hoverboard, dammit)."
Time Traveling Protagonist: Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser
Antagonist: Her husband's great great great .... great uncle, and everyone who wants to kill her as a witch
Mode of Transport: standing stones (funny, she doesn't look Druish)
Time travel is: Excrucuating and disorienting, kills many
Amount of time traveled: 200 years
Ultimate reason for travel: Hot kilted lovin' from Jamie Fraser
The Future is: not really something you can change. Except for the potato famine thing.
"Oh come on" moments: Meets the loch ness monster, invents penicillin, kills a buffalo with a surgical saw, pick one.
Best Quote: ""No wonder he was so good with horses, I thought blearily, feeling his fingers rubbing gently behind my ears, listening to the soothing, incomprehensible speech. If I were a horse, I’d let him ride me anywhere."
Time Traveling Protagonist: Marty McFly (and Einstein the dog)
Antagonist: Bif Tannen
Setting: Hill Valley, California
Mode of Transport: A tricked-out Delorean
Time Travel is: made possible by the never-explained but always fluxxing flux capacitor. Whoa Doc, that's heavy.
Amount of time traveled: 30 years
Ultimate reason for travel: to make his own father not such a weenie
The Future is: completely malleable, right down to musical influence
"Oh come on" moments: Chuck Berry's cousin happens to get hurt and Marty has to play the "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance
Best Quote: "If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit."
*How the hell did Marty and Doc Brown meet anyway? That is hardly a normal friendship.
Time Traveling Protagonist: The Doctor (11 versions, 10 regenerations)
Antagonist: the adorably destructive daleks, and assorted cybermen, aliens, vampires, etc etc etc (hey, it's been on since the 60s)
Setting: All over, but generally ends up in London somehow
Mode of Transportation: The TARDIS, a 60s british police box (named before the currently accepted definition of "tard" was in use, stands for "Time and Relative Dimension in Space")
Time travel is: wheee!
Amount of Time traveled: all of it
Ultimate reason for travel: To save the world while having zany British adventures and spewing earnest yet hilarious dialogue. (everything I know from my childhood about England I learned from Doctor Who, Monty Python and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. I will be really disappointed if I ever visit, I'm afraid)
The Future is: there for the changing. Where's a barely-legal chick I can take with me, even though I'm 900 or so? Oh there's one...
"Oh come on" moments: Look, DOC-TOR, stop looking so shocked when the damn daleks show up. The show has been on for over 30 years, those bumpy little bastards are coming to ineffectively attempt to EX-TER-MIN-ATE your ass at least twice a season. (*we were big fans of the 4th regeneration "longass scarf" doctor growing up - none of us can walk past a fan without talking into it like a dalek)
Best Quote: "The thing is, time travel is like visiting Paris. You can't just read the guidebook, you've got to throw yourself in. Eat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double and end up kissing complete strangers. Or is that just me?"
* I haven't watched Torchwood yet, it's in queue.
Time Traveling Protagonist(s): Bill S. Preston, esq., and Ted "Theodore" Logan III
Antagonist: Mr. Ryan, the history professor
Setting: San Dimas, whose high school football team is, by all accounts, very good.
Mode of Transportation: A phone booth (probably a Doctor Who reference there)
Amount of Time Traveled: varied
Time Travel is: Whoa.
Ultimate reason for travel: To save the princesses from the royal ugly dudes, and pass history class.
The Future is: Excellent, thanks to Wyld Stallyns and Rufus (yay George Carlin)
"Oh Come on" moments: The very existence of this film.
Best Quote: "Strange things are afoot at the Circle K."
Mode of Transportation: Nothing that makes a modicum of sense at all
Amount of Time Traveled: The end of the universe, for starters. Make reservations when you return from dinner!
Time Travel is: hilariously British, and seemingly not at all un-English.
Ultimate Reason for Travel: 42.
The Future is: 42.
"Oh come on" moments: 42.
Best quote: "For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons."
Time Traveling Protagonists: Bunch of people on an airplane
Antagonist: The Langoliers
Setting: The Boston airport, a few hours ago
Mode of Transportation: big ol jet airliner through a timerip over the midwest US
Amount of Time Traveled: a few hours
Time Travel is: ghastly and the most horrifying thing imaginable, also stale. Best to just sleep through it if you can.
Ultimate Reason for Travel: to scare the shit out of the readers
The Future is: much better than this awful past
"Oh come on" moments: The blind psychic girl is the only one who can save us!
Best quote: "We know what happens to today when it becomes yesterday... It waits for them... the timekeepers of eternity!"
*This movie includes Dean Stockwell, best known for his work in:
Time Traveling Protagonist: Sam Beckett
Antagonist: Varied weekly
Setting: varied weekly
Mode of Transportation: the Accelerator
Amount of Time Traveled: Varied weekly, but thankfully always to English-speaking places
Time Travel is: I just wanna go home! I do not want to go through labor OHMYGOD IT HURTS.
Ultimate Reason for Travel: To get home, funding
The Future is: not explored, think of it as Groundhog Day for setting the past right
"Oh Come on" moments: all of it. Not only time travel, but bodily possession as well?
Best quote: "Leaping about in time, I've found that there are some things in life that I can't change, and there are some things that I can. To save a life, to change a heart, to make the right choice. I guess that's what life's about."
Time Traveling (hottie) Protagonist: Kyle Reese (see photo)
Antagonist: The T-100 Terminator
Mode of Transportation: Some pervert-a-tron that requires nakedness for time travel
Setting: LA and thereabouts
Amount of Time Traveled: 35 years
Time Travel is: necessary, naked, irreversible
Ultimate Reason for Travel (Kyle Reese version): Scare the hell out of, romance, and impregnate Sarah Connor in order to save the humans. Then die tragically. (Terminator version) Kill Sarah Connor.
The Future is: pretty farking bleak, and not much can change that, despite the attempts of the first three movies.
"Oh come on" moments: Very few. A well-thought out first installment.
Best quote: "John Connor gave me a picture of you once. I didn't know why at the time. It was very old - torn, faded. You were young like you are now. You seemed just a little sad. I used to always wonder what you were thinking at that moment. I memorized every line, every curve. I came across time for you Sarah. I love you; I always have."
Time Traveling Protagonist: Donnie Darko
Antagonist: Jet turbine
Mode of Transportation: We aren't supposed to talk about this (but it's a time tunnel thingy)
Amount of Time traveled: Not much, just enough
Time travel is: a sacrifice
Ultimate Reason for travel: to save those you love
The Future is: interrupted by a jet turbine through the abdomen
"Oh come on" moments: I didn't even understand without the director's cut that this was a movie about time travel. So there were a lot the first time I saw it.
Best quote: "Sometimes, I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!"
This movie was bad and I don't want to discuss it. I wish I could hijack the TARDIS and make myself go see something different the night we went to see it. Its existence does make me think Crispin Glover only wants to be in movies about time travel.
Ultimate Time Traveler award:
Q does whatever the hell he wants. He don't need no TARDIS/Delorean/Time Warp generator, he just snaps his fingers and OFF HE GOES to SCREW with Picard and the silly humans some more!
Except, you know, that one time when he had to be human, and he got scared to sleep because he thought he was dying, and then he ordered 10 chocolate sundays because Troi said that's she eats one when she's down in the dumps? *pushes glasses back up on nose* Yeah, that was a good episode.
*When Star Trek writers are stumped, they can always pull out the "Deus Ex Q," and make it all better by the time the credits roll.
Timeline, Timequake, Star Trek, Primer
There is also a great TMNT game where the turtles travel through time, but I'm not going to talk about that. I don't want you guys to think I'm a geek.