Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Speaking of Time Travel

Having read Bailey's post about time travel, I decided to elaborate just a little in my own post.

Time travel seems to be a popular topic in the sci fi I've been exposed to (and consequently, the sci fi that I enjoy the most). There have been all sorts of popular movies and tv shows recently that have dealt with the possibilities and complexities of time travel.

1. Dr. Who- we will be watching two episodes of this show later on with Andy (which I'm very excited about as they are two very good episodes!). Dr. Who is essentially a Time Lord who travels around in his TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) which is disguised as a 1950's blue Police Box. The Doctor goes around in his TARDIS with a companion and experiences the universe at varying stages- anywhere from the beginning of the universe, to the end of the Earth, and to the year 5 Billion. Everywhere the Doctor and his companion go, there is always an emphasis on how time is in flux, and the actions that they take can change the course of history, or create the history that we know. There's a really great episode where they go to Pompeii on Volcano Day, and the Doctor tells Donna, his companion of the season, that Pompeii is a fixed point in history that has to happen no matter what, whereas other things can change. It turns out that the volcano only erupts because of an alien force living in the depths of it, which the Doctor has to defeat and consequently brings about the destruction of Pompeii. (remember guys.. this is fiction). There's a large emphasis on how the smallest action can have the longest reaching effects... there's a 3 part episode that concentrates on the smallest action: turning right instead of left at a stop sign. Symbolically, this is of course a large symbol of a crossroads and choosing a path, blah blah blah. But the butterfly effect displayed in these episodes shows how diverse and far reaching the consequences of turning right instead of left can create. (in this case a parallel universe without a Doctor).

2. Fringe, the White Tulip- This episode of Fringe also deals with time travel. I just watched in for one of my other classes. The man who time travels throughout this creates a way for him to time travel by placing all sorts of mechanisms into his body surgically allowing him to "jump" backwards. However, each jump uses up a lot of energy, and drains all the energy out of the things where ever he lands- people, batteries, plant life, etc.

3. The Time Traveler's Wife- Such a great movie and a great book. The main character Henry is a time traveler who goes back in time to visit his wife when she's a little girl. One of the main issues that is raised with this book/movie in my mind is which is the chicken and which is the egg? And which one came first? For Henry, his life is a chronological order that does not match up with the chronological order of other people's lives. For instance, the first time he meets his wife is when she is 21 and he is 26 or so. But, the first time she met him she was 6 and he was 40. He keeps going back to visit her while she is growing up in the field behind her parent's house. It is stated in the movie that he keeps going back to the same places because big events act like gravity and draw him in. She was a big event. When they first meet in real time for Henry, she's already known him her whole life and is completely in love with her. He falls in love with her and they get married, blah blah blah. But which is the cause and which the effect? It's very hard to wrap your head around. I've only read the book once, but I think I may reread it again soon (in all my spare time) and see if I can get a more clear answer.

Just thought it was interesting that Bailey wrote about time travel when I had just recently been exposed to all three of these examples in modern culture within the past week.


Mark Penner said...

As a converted fan of Fringe, what class had you watch an episode? White Tulip was one of my favorites, I felt that it did a great job of combining the episodic with the ongoing storyline. While I usually dislike time travel stories as a result of the paradoxes inherent, Fringe did a great job of depicting it.

Elizabeth said...

It was a special topics English class: EN 311-004 with Heather Humann. The special topic is post-humanism.

Bailey said...

Yeah, buddy, time travel is cool. Especially if it just so happens that the clip on the website is real proof... I got some stuff I definitely want to revisit... but hopefully won't have any crazy butterfly effect moments!