There are many different modes and methods of time travel used in the SF world, but which is the best? Would you rather fly around in the Tardis with the Dr. zoom back to the future in Doc Brown’s Delorian, or have spontaneous adventures and travel like Henry in the Time Traveler’s Wife.
While these all have their own appeal, they also have some very serious complications. Most of these stories address the issues involved with their specific mode of Time Travel, I would just like to take a minute to explore some of the pros and cons.
I feel the superior modes of time travel are the Tardis and the Delorean; however that is not to say they don’t have their disadvantages.
Both the Tardis and the Delorean have the advantage of added protection if you wind up somewhere you didn’t intend to be or if you end up under attack. They both provide a quick escape or shelter while making a plan.While both offer protection the Tardis is considerably larger, it is “bigger on the outside” and has tons of room for all his companions and anything else they might bring along.
Unlike the Tardis the Delorean relies on fuel, the early model ended in Doc Brown being stranded in the Old West because he ran out of fuel and it handed been invented yet, urging him to modify the Delorean in the later film to run on compostable items. This early version of the Delorean poses a significant problem if issues arise and you are stranded without fuel.
Probably the most obvious disadvantage to flying around in the Tardis is that it is a large, blue police box, and the Delorean is a car that can be out of place in many areas. These are not the most subtle modes of time travel and would be fairly noticeable if they just randomly appeared in certain places. As far as I know this has never been specifically addressed in regards to the Tardis, the only thing I can think of is one theory that has been brought up in relation to this and that is that the Tardis has a perception filter, that it is perceived as something ordinary and non threatening so we ignore it. Doc Brown however admits that the Delorean obviously doesn’t fit in and needs to stay hidden.
Finally we have Henry DeTamble’s genetic anomaly that gives him the ability to spontaneously time travel. While this may sound like a great adventure, it is extremely problematic. First off Henry’s clothes don’t travel with him, which leaves him naked wherever he ends up. In addition to that his spontaneous travel makes it very difficult to put down roots and keep a family, all of these issues and more are highlighted in the story but I’m sure we can all come up with many more on our own. So while the idea of spontaneously travelling in time may be appealing, it is definitely not for me.
If I had a choice I would definitely choose the Tardis. To have all of time and space at your fingertips, to travel around in the comfort of a seemingly endless spaceship with a witty and always surprising Dr., who could say no to that?