Modes of Time Travel

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?




6 thoughts on “Modes of Time Travel”

  1. I agree the never ending vehicle called the Tardis would be the way to go. With comfort and food travelling through the dimensions under some control.
    Another show that used time travel was called Time Tunnel from 1968. This was obviously a tunnel which was monitored in the present day. This was unprotected and unable to control where the travelers ended up or could get back to their own time.
    The appeal of these shows is the danger that can come from a either changing events or getting yourself killed.
    This goes to the unpredictability of time travel, where it is not an exact science as in the Delorean where it ran out of fuel.
    Most of these shows entertain a dystopian view of life with possible doom and gloom either there or on the horizon.
    Would personally love to try it atleast once.

  2. While I do agree with Roger that the Tardis would be the ideal transportaion vehicle, who can deny the awesomeness of a DeLorean, I mean with its wing doors and super heavy chasis, the brushed steel look and the 130 horses not to mention the flux capacitor you’ll be travelling in style. The one hitch with the Delorean that I see being a problem is that according to BTTF physics the vehicle needs to get up to 88 MpH which is an impossibility on Earth for that vehicle as it tops out at a little over 85 MPH so i suppose if you were time travelling on the moon that car is the way to go.

    Totally off topic I would like to point out that the time stamp for Rogers post was 9:39PM which is impressive as the clock on the computer I am writing this on reads 5:55 PM right now.

  3. Personally, I like the idea of being able to time travel on my own, without the need for any machine or structure. To just be able to think about it and go. Obviously I would prefer to have my clothes with me, and to control when I travel and where (when?) I travel to. I feel like having a machine just sets you up for a Time Machine-esque problem where someone steals the machine and you have to get it back or be stuck in that time.

    1. But at least you’d have a chance to fix it if it were to break down. That is, if you had thought to bring enough greased quartz rods with you.

  4. Although I think a time travel machine would be cool to travel through time with, I agree that it would just be easier to go whenever you felt like it. I feel like technology is great when it works but when it breaks down it can cause some serious headaches. Therefore, time travel would just be made easier without having to rely on some sort of technology that may or may not work when you want or need it to.

  5. People want to change the past, for guilt has made itself permanent in memory often questioning everything while our inner conflict contests, so time travel, mind or matter, is mortifyingly bounded by its fictious vulnerability. We can only go forward, sorry Doc Brown reality is heavy. Reason is delicate, as is human nature. Although, physical laws have been broken before.

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