Screenwriting : How to do new time travel? by Adam Pachter

Adam Pachter

How to do new time travel?

Howdy fellow sci-fi screenwriters, I recently read an article about the sort of scripts you should and shouldn't write. One of the shoulds was a time travel movie, and it got me thinking about the ways in which time travel has been done and how it can be done freshly (Looper) and whether other fresh approaches are out there, or whether the whole sub genre is getting a little tired. My future self says I might have been able to phrase this better, but am hopeful it will spark a discussion among fellow sci-fi writers and fans. Thanks, Adam

Don Thomas

This is a decent example of a low budget Independent film where the time travel aspect was fairly well thought out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNfxDFbQY10

Adam Pachter

Thanks Don!

Don Thomas

I've got an idea for a story which focuses on two fundamental ideas when it comes to time travel. One if such means was somehow scientifically possible along the lines of traveling from point A to point B, then to establish the ability to manually adjust the destination point more than likely with so many variables being involved the first trip could theoretically go anywhere chronologically speaking. One could go five minutes or 5,000 years, there's just simply no way of exactly pinpointing such a thing, especially the very first time. And of course the other thing is that once time travel is invented, considering the immense resources such an undertaking would require, said entity whether a nation or uber-corporation would by that very nature be obligated to insuring that past events play out in exactly the manner which creates the present where they could achieve their creation.

Adam Pachter

Hi Don, Those are interesting ideas. I like the randomness of the first time travel. As for your second thought, I'd suggest reading "The Red Queen's Race" by Azimov for an interesting take on that.

Robert Evan Howard

Time travel is fun to think about, but it is not a possibility. All things exist in the present indivisible moment. I only say this so people don’t wind up mislead. If you have an interest is more about the universe, please go to http://www.aclepd.com/universe

Adam Pachter

Hi Robert, Movies aren't real either -- my post had nothing to do with the possibility of time travel; it was about how time travel has been depicted on screen. If science fiction films had stuck to what was actually (or even theoretically) possible, we would have been deprived of many great ones. Thanks, Adam

John Ward

As Don already pointed out - I think Primer does it well. You can also check out Time Crimes by Nacho Vigalondo for another take on it.

Michael Joseph DeRosa

I disagree with Robert. Time travel it theoretically possible. Einstein's theory of relativity has been substantiated, so if you could travel fast enough, time would slow down for you and when you returned to earth you would have essentially traveled into the future. There are also many accounts of people who have traveled into the past, (however unsubstantiated they might be), by means of "spontaneous teleportation", which is a real and unexplained phenomenon. For hardcore skeptics check out this U.S. Air Force commissioned study on on teleportation, which also covers time travel. The link for the PDF of that serious study also appears in the appendix of my novel "Gateway of the Sun: A Novel". Here's that link: http://www.esmhome.org/library/teleportation/teleportationphysicsstudy.pdf I've spent years of private research on spontaneous teleportation and used it for my fictional adventure, but the phenomenon is in fact an unexplained force of nature. As far as fictional time travel stories, there have been quite a few, and I think the topic has been explored quite a bit. My favorite is still H.G. Wells, the time machine of course. :)

Adam Pachter

Thanks, Jim. I agree.

Michael Joseph DeRosa

Good characters are essential to any story regardless of the genre. But time travel scenarios fire the imagination of the "what if" possibilities. for instance "what if" Jack the Ripper could travel to present day America gave us "Time After Time". And "what if you could use real historical characters in your high school history report?" gave us "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure". Or "what would it be like to be in Camelot?" gave us "A Connecticut Yankee In King Author's Court." I think time travel is still a viable theme, if you can come up with a good "what if" question. I think "Looper" and "The Butterfly Effect" are really more about "alternate time lines" than they are about purely time travel. Those plots focus on trying to change the future by alternating the past and the paradoxes that creates.

Eoin O'Sullivan

Time travel is not and will never be possible. Energy cannot be created, nor destroyed, simply changed from one form into another. If Etotal is all the energy in the universe at any point in space/time, you cannot insert another form of energy, e, a person, into that Etotal universe. In sci-fi, you ask your audience to suspend disbelief. If the world you create and the rules you set up are plausible, then the sci-fi element works. If we have to suspend too much disbelief, then things start to come apart very quickly. Suspending the disbelief of time travel, I can do, I do however have a huge problem with an older and younger version of the same character meeting - the older character meeting the younger self, has a multi resonant effect, altering both their realities exponentially. But, that's my take on it. What ever you do, make it unique, original, inventive, plausible and entertaining.

Adam Pachter

Like that last line, Eoin. Words for every screenwriter to live by!

Adam Pachter

I agree with you Michael -- it's those what if scenarios that really get people excited about sci-fi in general and certainly time travel films in particular -- in fact, that's how I describe my screenwriting to my older daughter -- I write "what if" movies.

Michael Joseph DeRosa

I too like that phrase. In fact I use it in my short pitch. Instead of "its X meets Y" or it's like "Die Hard on a Cruise ship".. I use the "What if you could...." Posing a question gets people thinking and opening up to possibilities. Personally I have no trouble believing in the real possibility of time travel. Truth is always a lot stranger than fiction. And the fictions of the past have become the science of our present. All of Jules Verne's fictional stories became science facts save one: Journey to the Center of the Earth. And I for one am not convinced that our science has it right. Legend says otherwise, and no one really knows for sure what's so far below us.

Adam Pachter

Yeah, it's a great phrase. BTW, to all those posting in this thread, I tweeted my time travel question to Jon Spaihts and this was his reply: "Time-travel stories rarely pass the logic test. There've been few good ones. But there's always something new." Do folks agree with him that there have been few good time travel movies?

Michael Joseph DeRosa

With all due respect to Jon Spaihts, I don't agree with his perspective. Of course "good" is very subjective, but opinions aside, there have been many "profitable" time travel stories. We could even count the new "Star Trek" reboot as a "time travel" story, (without which the creation of an alternate time line, the entire reboot would be impossible.) Certainly it was "good" enough to spawn one sequel and one in the works. And there's a story in which the older Spock meets the younger Spock, and apparently the "Trekies" aren't just "buying" it, but loving it! But I do agree with Nate, in that out of the whole SiFi genre, "time travel" themes probably IS the hardest to pull off. As to "holding up to close scrutiny", I guess that's more about the "realism" of time travel actually being possible. And keep in mind that the physics you learned in high school & college is yesterday's news. What physicists are currently observing on the sub atomic level are particles disappearing and reappearing, and the current theory is that they are traveling into the past or future. :)

Chester Davis

Well, here is a new seed idea for time travel stories: Time travel happened but the scientist who claims to have done it turns up dead in the same fire that destroyed his lab.

Lily E. Medaries

I have two time travel type of ideas and one I know could be a hit. I am actually full of ideas that I haven't seen done yet. Great post btw.

Cory Wess

Time travel is not a story. Like all sci-fi, it is just a device that allows a certain setting. Thus there are an infinite number of possibilities to use it to tell a good story. Dr. Who has become recently popular again not because of time travel but because of the characters and story. The logistics of it are irrelevant. What is relevant is consistently following your own rules that you setup. If you feel it's getting tired, that's just because you are not using your creativity.

Cory Wess

My point is that a contextual plot device is not a story. Sci fi is not a story; it is a device or framework or genre or housing for your story. A boy who leaves home to join the rebellion against the empire is a story. However it could be a romantic comedy, or sci fi, or fantasy, because those are not stories, they are flavors. So I maintain my statement that if the framework or genre is tired for you, its because your story is flat and tired. Fix the story!

Adam Pachter

Thanks for all the provocative comments -- I'm really enjoying the discussion thread. Am working on a time travel feature idea myself, one that I'm pretty sure hasn't been done before, but gotta figure some more things out before sharing it publicly. Agree that when time travel stuff works well, it can really work well, but without good compelling characters involved, the time travel device itself isn't enough to make your script succeed -- though I think a new angle well pitched might be enough to get your script read. According to the writer/director, the core of Looper, which was originally a short film from years ago, was "man chases future self through the streets of a city," and that is a cool hook for a story!

Michael Joseph DeRosa

Those are all great points Cory and Nate, and I agree with you Adam, it is a very interesting discussion! The genre, no matter how new and fresh the concept, is more about the setting than the key elements of a good story: namely the characters and the plot. That's why my all-time favorite pitch, (the one for Alien), works: "It's Jaws in Outer Space". The Si-Fi part of that is really the setting. Today's audience is more sophisticated now than it ever was. Simple cardboard cut out characters don't work as well. Take "Superman" for instance. They had to reinvent his character because the old "boy scout" persona of Christopher Reeves doesn't work anymore. Now he's a tortured hero torn between his alien heritage and his allegiance to his new world. And the plots for today's audiences need to involve more than just good vs. evil. Now we need to feel sorry for the villain, and understand what has driven him to such desperation. So writing a new fresh take on a tried and true story arc is harder than ever to achieve, ( and that includes time travel scenarios regardless of how "hot" the concept is.) :)

Adam Pachter

I wish the best of success to all the sci-fi writers out there cooking up some flavorful new stories!

Michael Joseph DeRosa

Nate, you must be at least part Italian, LOL. My family is constantly teasing me about my flagrant overuse of analogies that pertain to food! But I love your perspective on story telling. Yes! The genre is indeed a "flavor", and good cooking always involves blending just the right amount of ingredients. Writing is exactly the same thing. Take a good Romeo and Juliette "stock" plot and substitute the Montague-Capulet feud with a dash of time travel and just a pinch of self-hypnosis and an old photograph and you've got "Somewhere in Time" with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. (Another "classic" time travel story!). That analogy is perfect, Nate. So Adam, pick some fresh ingredients and Bon Appetite! Here's to cooking up a new "classic". :)

Pamela Jaye Smith

Jacqueline, you are so right about the "creepiness" in the Weeping Angels episode. It still gives me the creeps. Are you also a Torchwood fan?

Randall Roffe

I wonder who has actually read Einstein. Turns out, according to recent research, that e does not equal mc2 (sorry can't figure out how to write this here). All atomic tests show that it is only approximately mc2. e=MH (Limiting mass times Hubble Number). Time travel is boring. It can be done mentally (akashic records) but NOT physically. "Red shift" is also not accurate. "String theory" is pure BS. I knew guys who worked on the "Philadelphia Experiment"... yeah, you can make objects teleport, but that is not TIME that is space. And no one can survive the experience well. I have worked on a team that has demonstrated acceleration of time flow, including accelerated decay of radioactive isotopes, and my quartz crystal watch accelerated its rate by 90 minutes or so, and I aged quite a bit due to being to near our special chamber. We have tried to make things go back but they always spring forward no matter what we do. And all of us who have worked around the device have aged...

Randall Roffe

Also, the speed of light is not the maximum speed. If it were so, gravitation would be propagated at that speed or more slowly.

Tom Evans

By changing the speed and phase of consciousness, time jumping is possible - I've been both exploring and writing about this

Nicolas Vargas Medina

Well time travel is already in the collective mind of the audience... what they did in looper was just.. ignoring the sci-fi explanation, its just there... like robots, spaceships or force shields on recent movies like elysium...you just asume they exist...

David Joyner

Explaining how a character can go back in time is easier than traveling forward. How do you have two people travel forward in time, at different present-day times, and meet in the future? IMHO, that is the one that is the trickest to explain.

Öystein Thorsen

Totally agree with earlier posts about time traveling being a device, and characters and plot is the important part. And I guess that is normally the case as well, perhaps with the exception of Back To The Future where the time machine was the centre of attention and all the obstacles in the film was created from the challenges caused by time travel. When it comes to a new take I guess we can separate the concept in two categories: 1) time travel is invented in our current time and 2) time travel is invented in the future for some reason. In The Terminator I think it made more sense than in Looper, because the machines created time travel in order to turn the table in the war, and basically change their present. A huge plan that makes sense. But it is sort of silly that time travel was apparently used only for disposal of bodies in Looper. So I'm saying there should be a proper reason in for someone to invent a thing like that, the purpose should be pretty meaningful. Back to the question: what's a new take? That depends on what rules we create. Can the characters move both in time and space? In The Terminator I believe they ended up at rather random places, but in BTTF they ended up in the same place as they left. That can make a difference. in BTTF they could travel to an exact time, but what if you don't know exactly where you end up? You just go for the kick of it, hoping you're sufficiently prepared and equipped. But can you bring stuff? Can you alter the past (kill Hitler and stuff like that)? In order to come up with a new take, you need interesting limitations and opportunities. A new take (which I came up with just now) could be that stuff that has happened in our recent past is in fact alterations carried out by a bad-guy from the future. Find the guy, prevent him from "planting" Hitler, apartheid or economic turmoil and see what happens :) It could be fun to make the audience ponder the fact that their very present is a product of a future sadist, hehe. Sorry for the long post, the subject is very interesting!

James Madara

There were people saying not to write time travel stories BEFORE Looper came out. My opinion is if you have a compelling story then genre really doesn't matter. A good story is a good story. That being said if you write another vampire love story or giant monster movie, you better bring something remarkable to the table.

Adrian Havens

I'd take a look at Space.Com. Some interesting theories there. The main reason time travel is usually a bad call is that it adds to the budget. And I totally agree with Oystein and James' comments prior to mine. Waiting for J. J. Abrams to use it in the new "Star Trek" franchise. Trek always seems to have to have time travel in it somewhere.

Donnie Harold Harris

Move Time instead of the traveler.

Bob Jordan

This subject is quite timely. I just released a book on Time Travel. It's available here if you would like to take a look: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BDCESAC

Michael Joseph DeRosa

Wow, so many interesting comments! Everyone keep in mind that Adam's original post is about science fiction not science fact, and I think we can all agree that whether time travel is "scientifically" possible, it IS a well established theme in Si-Fi, (just as Nicholas stated). That being said, and being a "science" buff as well as a Si-Fi buff, history has constantly proven that what is "scientifically impossible" one day, becomes possible. It was once thought that it was impossible to make heavier than air crafts fly or to exceed 30 miles an hour, LOL. So Randall, (and I'm totally fascinated that you "knew guys who worked on the Philadelphia Experiment"), it would seem that your device kind of proves that time travel is possible. and what I think that science and the "scientific method" blindly ignores are the seven "precepts" of Hermes, or "Hermes laws" by which all things can be understood. And one of those "rules" is that there is always an opposite, (something that Newton knew well). So if you can go forward in time, it's only logical that you must be able to go back in time. And E may not "exactly" equal MC squared, but it has been established that time does slow down as we approach the speed of light. Sting theory may be BS, but doesn't Quantum Mechanics postulate that many alternate universes are possible? And that idea, (of alternate universes), leads to the idea of alternate "time lines". If you go back in time and change absolutely anything, (So Oystein if you "kill Hitler and stuff like that), then you have created an alternate time line, and you haven't changed the future of the time line you came from, (which is exactly the plot of the new Star Trek reboot. What you have done is change the future of that alternate time line, and from there it may not be possible to return to the time line you came from, or if you did, nothing will have changed there. And so David, that notion may help to explain how to go into the "future" from two different present day times and arrive at the same point, because you have both arrived at an "alternate future time line", and not necessarily the one that you came from. I think what is so great about time travel Si-Fi scenarios is the paradoxes it can create. I think those very same paradoxes are what can fire the imagination, boggle the mind, and create such entertaining and thought provoking stories. That is why Jacqueline and Pamela, I love both Dr. Who and Touchwood and what makes them appealing. You are all so interesting, so not to leave anyone out: Tom, I think "changing the speed of consciousness" is exactly what "Somewhere is Time" was about. And James to vampire love stories and giant monsters, I would add Super Heroes, which I am so sick of seeing, but I know we will be seeing more or that. Great Blog Adam!!! Keep 'um comin'.

Dustin Bowcott

I tried to write a time travel short story about twenty years ago. Unfortunately for me I got bogged down in the science and convinced myself it couldn't be done. I never finished the story. I wrote it as a challenge, and I failed it. Maybe I'll give it another go one day.

Bill Shannon

Time Travel movies are very hard to make due to the laws of Time Travel that don't actually exist. I LOVE the entire BTTF Trilogy, but I can't keep myself from pointing out all the inaccuracies. Some they even mention in the movie, but ignore elsewhere. The worst part is, since Time Travel doesn't exist, neither do Time Travel Laws that one must follow to make a movie that makes sense.... If that makes any at all

Bill Shannon

Butterfly Effect (the 1st one) is the one movie I can honestly say, put in some serious thought about the repercussions of traveling back in time.

Michael Joseph DeRosa

The laws of space travel were unknown at the time that Jules Verne wrote "From Earth To the Moon", and that is full of "inaccuracies" as to the laws of science as we now know. But that didn't keep Jules Verne from writing what is not only a Science Fiction classic, but a prophetic tale of what was destined to occur. If we don't dream and write about things that are impossible now, then we fail to inspire the imagination of future scientists who endeavor to make those dreams a reality. For without placing the thought of what "could" be possible, we don't dare to try to make it possible. Man dreamed to fly thousands of years before he achieved it. Far too many people have dreamed of being able to time travel for it to be something that will never happen. All things are possible however improbable. Where we fail is when we don't dare to imagine.

Michael Wilde

When interviewed about The Time Machine and The Invisible Man, HG Wells said he used emotion to bring about a metaphor that became the subject of his books. Regarding The Invisible man, he looked the subgenre of fear; the shy, the wallflower, the nerd. Those that seem to be invisible or want to be invisible (what you want to be after doing something really embarrassing in public). Regarding The Time Machine, he said "Regret is the only way an individual can go back in time. The protagonist, an English scientist and gentleman inventor living in Richmond, Surrey regrets the death of his wife and wishes he could go back in time to prevent the illness that lead to her untimely death". A Superman movie also used this device when Lois Lane was crushed in her car, killing her. As her death was cause by his actions, he instantly regretted his actions and attempted to reverse the damage by flying around the Earth anti-clockwise so fast that it reversed the earth's rotation, thereby reversing time.

Martin Straarup

Well the anime Steins Gate have kind of a funny concept, with sending sms's through a microwave to the past :)

Michael Wilde

Martin, I can see the logic behind it. Our phones use microwaves when we send an SMS. I would need to check with Nell Scoville regarding her use of the toaster for messages in Sabrina The Teenage Witch... maybe it's a microwave toaster? LOL

Patrick Hampton

Well to bad I already have 2 in the works! Love time travel! If Doctor Who taught me one thing. It's nothing is off limits! TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!

Michael David Lies

In our feature screenplay, TIME SHIFTERS, we have created a unique way to allow our hero and partner to travel thru time. We here at Alcyone Pictures are putting the final touches on the rewrite for the October availability...

Michael Wilde

Jacqueline, it doesn't need to be explained. With screenwriting, it's "show, don't tell". But it has to comply with whatever science theory fad is popular at the time, such as folding the timeline in half like a sheet of paper and moving into the past through a wormhole. What many scientists (especially theoretical physicists) forget, but Quantum Physicists know, is that time is linear - like a train. You can't fold railway tracks. Imagine the present is Grand Central Station and a point in the past you want to go is a suburban train station. These "train stations" can be a year, a decade, or even a life in the past. But it does mean you have to reverse your religious thinking. Instead of thinking you are a body with a soul on loan from God and you think with one of your body's organs, think of yourself as a spirit that has a body in the physical universe and thinks with a mind (lots more space than a brain). YOU go back in time, but your body doesn't. The audience watches you go back in time. The TV series Quantum Leap used this idea since it was a workable theory from Quantum Physics.

Virginia Shine

Since science only has theories you can create whatever world and theories that make that world function as you wish. Create the world and use whatever logic makes sense. If it doesn't make sense to you it won't to an audience. I like what Michael W. said above! I think time is linear to organic matter. I don't think we are completely bound by our organic bodies here on Earth .

Michael Joseph DeRosa

Right on Virginia, and I've seen all the theories that I learned as a kid thrown out and totally replaced. (i.e. geology's steady state theory dis guarded and replaced by tectonic plate theory, both theories of the origin of the moon dis-guarded & replaced, atoms being the smallest particles, and all the chemistry I was taught is all wrong now. I could go on, but you get the point.)

Lina Jones

Adam, I personally never been 2 big on time travel movies but there are a few I did enjoy. Jurassic Park time traveled back and the original Star Trek. But Looper had a good twist I actually had to watch it twice to understand it, but the concept was great! If you can find a way to combine some of the old great ones with the new great ones, you might be on to something. Good Luck!

Michael Wilde

Then, Jacqueline, get writing. A History Channel Jurassic-based documentary series used a portal, as did a TV drama series that had the premise that portals were popping up everywhere - some to the past, others to the future. One lead to the Jurassic period.

Adam Pachter

One of the things that's interesting to me as I try to work out my own time travel script is the way that people in different time periods would feel about each other. Sure, if a terminator from the future is trying to kill you, then you're probably not feeling too great about that, but what about more ordinary interactions. Would one welcome travellers from the future and/or the past? Or would a sort of NIMBYism apply?

Michael Joseph DeRosa

Well I learned a new word today, thanks Adam, LOL NIMBYism is actually in the online dictionary, LOL. I think you need to apply the specifics to that question, however. Just like Michael J Fox in that 1950ies diner, you might be looked at as odd or out of place. You'd need a change of clothes to try to fit in. Depending on just how "out of your time period" you go, I would think you would be looked as as stranger the further you time traveled.

Virginia Shine

Traveling back would be like a retro trip. "How quaint " Future seekers may be met with a hostile neighbor NIMBY indeed...maybe they would have a return to sender button to zap them back!

Michael Joseph DeRosa

Thank you Chris for helping to keep me current. Now I am appraised of the Nolan's upcoming "Interstellar" movie and Kip Thorne and his theories on worm holes and time travel, (which btw all you scientific skeptics is a perfectly acceptable theory, and as good as any other until proven wrong.) Much of our science fiction, (including time travel), is based on "cutting edge" theories and the latest developments in science. So I guess "Interstellar" is all about "What if Kip Thorne's theory on Wormholes and time travel are correct". It's so great to converse with creative intelligent people, and then have the internet at my fingertips with a world of information, just a click away, to keep up with what the hell you're talking about, LOL. At 65 I'm still a kid trying to learn more about life. :)

Michael Joseph DeRosa

So true, Chris when you said, " Nothing ages quite like a vision of the future" Immediately George Orwell's 1984 comes to mind. Then again, with traffic surveillance cameras and shows like "Person Of Interest" maybe Orwell was only wrong about the date. On first thought updating the science of an older Sce-Fi novel sounds like a good idea. But upon delving into it deeper, I think your question needs some qualification. If we're updating Vernes's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and it turns into "The Core", then maybe not. Almost roasting to death in a subterranean mole machine, just wasn't as much fun as finding giant mushrooms and dinosaurs, LOL. However, super crystals that morphed into the Fortress of Solitude and a virtual computer generated Jor-el worked well in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Updating Lois Lane as having "moved on" to married with a kid, didn't seem to work too well for "Superman Returns" though. The 2002 remake of "The Time Machine" with Guy Pearce paled in comparison to the original 1960 version with Rod Taylor, (or the terrible remake in 1978.) So I think your question needs to be taken on a case by case basis. Ultimately I think the deciding factor is not should the science of a Si-Fi novel be updated, (to make it more current and believeable for today's audiences.) but will it improve the story?

Dustin Bowcott

Yes, I read that a long time ago. Orwell was actually making a satirical reference to 1948. Which would have been a weird sort of time after battling with the germans for world domination... and having to split victory with the russians. Seems there were a lot of changing sides back in the early pre-war days and there would have been huge amounts of propaganda heaped upon the British people. Especially right after the war, with the cleaning up of our own messes and highlighting those of the losing side. What would he think today? I imagine it would be similar to what we do when we think of N. Korea.

Michael Joseph DeRosa

Being that I was BORN in 1948, that creeps me out to no end, LOL

Bill Shannon

Don't forget though, recent theory is that nature will NOT allow you to travel back in time because 'Nature' defends itself from being caught in a paradox. Everything is perfect in nature. (Or so I hear on the H2 Channel)

Michael Wilde

Nature isn't perfect. That's why, as writers, we have to disagree with the physical universe. No one has yet been arrested for violating the laws of Physics, though Einstein came close. If we went totally in agreement with the physical universe, Superman couldn't fly or repel bullets, Wonder Woman couldn't use a rope to make people tell the truth, No Ordinary Family would be An Ordinary Family, Charles Xavier would live alone in his mansion and Paracelsus would be an accountant.

Michael Joseph DeRosa

Science and "rational" thinking aside, I'm a firm believer in "where there's smoke, there's fire." Science discounts a bevy of things that it has no plausible explanation for, (i.e. Ghosts, UFOs, "little people", etc). But there have been too many accounts of people who see things over centuries of observations for me to totally discount them. One of them is "spontaneous teleportation" and some of those involve time travel. There's a great instance of two women in Italy who were walking down a road and passed through a white fog and found themselves in the village they lived in only they were back in the "Dark Ages", where all the people were sick and dying of a disease. Frightened, they retraced their steps and walked back through the fog to find themselves back in their correct time. Only later they got sick and were diagnosed by physicians as having contracted bubonic plague. So if that story is true, then perhaps we can go back in time. Perhaps that's what's happened to many of the people who disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, only they couldn't return? Personally I've heard far to many incredible tales of spontaneous time displacement to believe that the physical laws of the universe prevents us from doing that. I am however inclined to believe that if we change anything significant, we would create an alternate reality and would then be "trapped" in that alternate reality, unable to return to our original "time line." I think the Star Trek reboot has it right. :)

Michael Wilde

Then the fog becomes the "rabbit hole" device. Assume they returned to the past on their own time lines. In a past life, they may have both been there. Let's assume that something or some things in their environment triggered an instant memory of the past (a great flashback device). Entering that memory could be seen by them as fog (the rabbit hole). They may have been victims of the plague when they lived in that time. Coming back to the present, after reliving the past, they may have created the plague in their bodies, continuing the past life in the present. The mind can do remarkable things because it is not connected to the brain, but you. A kid feigning sickness to get out of going to school will actually become ill by the end of the day.

Michael Joseph DeRosa

Good one, Michael. Kind of what "Somewhere In Time" does with "time travel" but with a "past lives" twist. I like it! That's also a good "psychological" explanation of what might actually be occurring in these accounts of spontaneous space/time differentiation. However there are so many other accounts of this kind of time travel, (all unsubstantiated of course, but still "where's there's smoke... kind of a thing, in my estimation.) How about this "tale?" A reported archeological dig in South America unearthed a US coin with a date that is still many years in the future from now. How would the power of the mind explain that one? These kind of accounts are "shoved under the rug" so to speak and never officially filed by scientists because of ridicule and the potential of ruining careers and potential loss of income.

Virginia Shine

Anyone in this feed ever listen to Art Bell on the radio? He is my muse, bringing up mind expanding issues like time travel and other science related "what ifs". He has a new show on Sirius starting Monday...can't wait.

Bill Shannon

Just watch out for the Paradox and unraveling of space and time. As writers it doesn't matter as much, just just think.... If you went Marty McFly on your 17 year old mother and she never met your father. You wouldn't exist in 2013 to be able to go back in time to prevent her from meeting him like you are now, which means she would meet him either way. Time travel is a mind boggling discussion and thought, in all honesty. No matter what you do as a writer, there will ALWAYS be a few "What about" thoughts floating through people's heads. I'm one of those people- clearly Sci-Fi will NEVER be my area of scripting lol

Michael Joseph DeRosa

LOL, Bill. Time paradoxes are mind boggling, but that's exactly why I think that niche of Si-Fi is still a hot topic if you can just put a new spin on it. But if you go along with the idea of alternate universes and different time lines, then Marty McFly from the future could prevent his mom from meeting his father, and will have changed the future for that alternative time line but not from the one he came from. Here's another wild thought however. Randall Roffe mentioned earlier in this "feed" that he knew people that had worked on The Philadelphia Experiment, (which is of course something else that is totally unverifiable.) I've read a ton about that event, but the most incredible part of that story isn't touched on in the movie or what's commonly known about it. They attempted to achieve radar invisibility by surrounding the ship with the most powerful electromagnets ever built, (built by GE who I worked for, and I know for a fact that those designs were in a locked cabinet that I wasn't allowed to view, even though I was looking at nuclear designs). The ship was displaced in time and space and when it returned after the magnets were shut off the crew was permanently "damaged". But the more incredible part of the story happened immediately following the experiment . Supposedly UFOs landed, and I guess what you might call the "Intergalactic police" arrived and basically communicated, "What the hell are you doing? Are your crazy? You're screwing up time and space! You could destroy the entire universe! If you don't stop doing this we'll blow your planet to into dust!" LOL. And supposedly the U.S. NAVY has been in contact with these aliens ever since then, (I know... wouldn't it really be the Air Force... Why the Navy?). So Bill your previous comment "recent theory is that nature will NOT allow you to travel back in time because 'Nature' defends itself from being caught in a paradox", may or may not be true. But perhaps there are more evolved beings that are monitoring things like paradoxes that could disrupt the space time continuum. Maybe there are "Time Bandits" and "Time Cops". LOL :).

Michael Wilde

Michael, There was a bit of Einstein science behind the premise of The Philadelphia Experiment and why it went horribly wrong. Albert Einstein tried to explain that the world is just a world in which energy moves at the speed of light. Outside the physical universe, energy moves infinitely faster than light, which is why it's dark. As we enter the physical universe, we experience light as we go down into the slower-moving particles. Our bodies are made of energy, nothing more - same with battleships. Think of the transition as jumping from a high diving board, through the air, and landing into a swimming pool full of thick chocolate. So how do we get the effect as shown in The Philadelphia Experiment? Stand on the diving board and throw (cooked, chopped noodles (representing the boat) and Kellogg's Rice Bubbles at the same time. Have a friend take a photo from below as the rice bubbles and noodles fall about half way down. You'll see at a point, part of each mix.

Michael Joseph DeRosa

I do understand your point Michael Wilde. My own "pet" project, is quite related to "The Philadelphia Experiment", in that it's about "spontaneous teleportation", (and not time travel). I've spent years, (more like a lifetime for some), researching everything related to to it, and my screenplay really is the result of that research and not vice versa. Einstein, Tesla, and Edison (who was at the time the Secretary of the Navy), were all reportedly in on the Philadelphia Experiment. But I don't think anyone involved was prepared for what happened. I think Einstein's Unified Field and Gravity theory was in part the result of what happened there. According to the dark figure "Carlos Allende" Einstein DID finish his theory, but refused to share it with the world after he saw what they had done with his theories that spawned the atomic bomb.

Michael Wilde

I have heard the fantasy/myth version, but I have also read the unclassified files and recordings from that time. The myth version we know as The Philadelphia Experiment was written In 1877 by Edward Page Mitchell in his story called The Man Without A Body. The fabled Eldritch experiment is identical to the book down to the last detail. According to the navel files, the experiment was actually two-fold: 1) to make the ship invisible to radar. 2) to make the ship nuclear powered as a consequence but this was done on the Eldritch back in 1948. Because of the early use of microwaves, rather than radio waves for communications - a really big version of an SMS - it required a great deal of power, and therefore the creation of nuclear powered engines. Einstein was in no way involved in this. The real Philadelphia Experiment was actually the creation of the atom bomb in 1945 in which Einstein was involved and helped create. The six-year study prior to building and testing the bomb was called the Manhattan project, because the study took place in Manhattan between 1939 and 1943. As the fabled experiment would require much more power than they had at that time, it is patently impossible that they could have done it before the atom bomb (or even nuclear power) existed.

Michael Joseph DeRosa

I have never heard of the creation of the atom bomb as referred to as "The Philadelphia Experiment", Michael Wilde, although it would make a lot of sense for the military to cover their tracks on what was a total disaster of a project. However if you read "The Philadelphia Experiment: Project Invisibility" by William L. Moore and Charles Berlitz it becomes very clear that there is hard evidence of a cover up of what happened on the "fabled Eldritch". The pages from the maritime record in which Carlos Allende reportedly claims he saw the brief appearance of the U.S.S Eldridge have been torn out. All issues and microfilm of an edition of a Philadelphia newspaper in which an incident involving the crew after the experiment are gone. There is evidence of a massive coverup, so big that even the records of the ship and it's crew have been altered. Berlitz and Moore are of course unable to reveal "the smoking gun", but "something" occurred in the Philadelphia boat yards sometime around October 28, 1943. It may be a modern day "myth", but official denials and discrediting witnesses only adds to the smoke trail. I am still a firm believer of "where there's smoke, there's fire" and Troy was a myth for centuries before it was proven to exist. The Navy is not going to admit that they killed an entire crew of a ship in an experiment for centuries to come. :)

Michael Wilde

That's why audiences like science fiction - they revel in the fantastic. Case in point: dilithium is a fictional chemical element, but despite that, in a Gallup poll, Americans chose dilithium crystals as the "most likely" fuel to run future cars and power plants, with 84% of Americans choosing the crystals over other options including nuclear, hydrogen, corn ethanol, shale gas, and photovoltaic solar panels. The unclassified files speak for themselves, as does the fact that in 1943, there was absolutely no power source that could replicate the 1877 story the myth came from. Even in the movie, they had to bring the story into modern times in order to use nuclear power to power the experiment, because non existed in 1943. That's why the Movie said it was based on The Man Without A Body, because the science given in the myth didn't add up. The only way the myth could happen is if the Romulans changed their ways, joined the Federation and came back in time to 1943 to give us cloaking technology, and we had to build it using the technology of that time which caused the experiment to fail and replicate the 1877 story to the letter.

Dustin Bowcott

dilithium is very close to lithium, which is actually hailed as the new oil... and in all likelihood will be powering the cars of the future. Funnily enough we found a seam in Afghanistan worth over 20 trillion dollars right after we went to war with them. Imagine that.

Ben Felix Spencer

I'm not so interested in time travel per se, but I am very interested in the perception of time. I've recently written a short story about how someone starts to experience their own clock slow down, in that the world around them slowly starts to speed up- slowly at first, losing an hour each day, but accelerating until people around her talk so fast she can't understand, move so quickly she can't keep up, etc. The story is going to be published in an anthology on the theme of time, hopefully in December. However, I'm not sure this idea would work as a screenplay!

Michael Joseph DeRosa

That's an interesting concept, Ben. It reminds me of something that we might have seen on the old "Twilight Zone" episodes. :)

Andree Boe

Thank you Adam, for bringing up this interesting question! I'm not sure if physical time travel will be possible one day, but mental time travelin, even deep into ancient generations could be cause everything from the past is still present inside and in a way real. Maybe the question is, how to make it visible, how it can be seen and how interaction could work with mental past of others. I'm sorry because of my bad English. Best wishes to all!!

Adam Pachter

Dear fellow time travellers, I've finished a draft of the time travel script (called "The Price") that prompted this whole discussion and uploaded it to my page. I like the story, think it has a good hook and a fresh look at time travel. But. . .it's way too short! 72 pages when it should be 90 at least. I think the 2nd act needs more stuff in it, but am kinda stumped as to what that should be. Never had this problem before -- my stuff tends to come in at between 90-95 pages. So if you have any time to take a look and make suggestions, I would appreciate it! Thanks, Adam

Donnie Harold Harris

with out time

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