Popular/Logical Time Travel Desinations?


#1

So this was sort of inspired by the Super Power thread and also my general love of time travel stuff - I might still well try and do a solid Time Travel based Interactive Fiction game on Choicescript or Twine some day - I thought I would ask the question of logical places you think you’d want to visit if you either had a time machine or the power to time travel, and also whether you’d think you’d be more of an observer (non-interference) or a meddler (changing stuff in the past for kicks or hopeful benefit to the world). Here’s a few of mine…

Victorian London

This is actually two in one since I’d be interested in seeing Early Victorian London (1840’s) with Charles Dickens basically inventing modern Christmas and Later Victorian London (1880/90’s) with Arthur Conan Doyle creating the arguably most famed Detective. Not that I expect the place to be just like Christmas Carol or Study in Scarlet but it would be interesting to see a time where the heart of the British Empire was run, for better or worse. A time of great change with steam power and innovation, and great cruelty and sadism too, especially with Jack the Ripper, which I guess if I could change anything I’d arrange Inspector Aberline to solve that thing, assuming one couldn’t save those girls altogether. But Charles Dickens, Conan Doyle, Charles Darwin, Queen Victoria of course, zipping about the place in a taxi cab and taking in a Music Hall stage show… just a time I would be interested seeing,

Ancient Rome

Bit of a wide period to choose from but I suspect I would try to visit around Julius Ceasar’s time (54-44 BC) or one of the more civil Emperors (basically not Nero then). There’s a weird sense of advancement coupled with barbarism with the Roman Empire, given you have relatively clean water, great thinking built on the Greek form and a well thought out military force, but also slavery in the arenas, terrible treatment to early Christians and political corruption House of Cards would be proud of. Yet I think it would be seeing all the grand buildings and landscape of Rome which would be most interesting. So I guess I’d have mixed feelings about it.

‘Wild West’

I think we’ve all got some interest in seeing the world of cowboys and pioneers at some point in our lives, even if we have insanely romanticized it (but then we probably do that with just about every historical era right?) and exploring an old west town with its assortment of characters like the Gold Prospector, sultry barmaid and the expert gunslingers like Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill would be fun… Probably difficult to stay out of trouble in the west but I would still enjoy a chance to enjoy the atmosphere.

65 Million BC

T-Rex. Nuff said. (This would probably end badly.)

So what time periods or historical figures would you be interested in? I only suggested past ones but feel free to suggest a future time too! (I would probably want to know how the Mars stuff goes on.)


#2

Great post!

I’d for sure want to visit the under-appreciated figures in history and encourage them. Vincent Van Gough, you have my heart.

Whether or not our actions change the course of history is pretty important… I don’t really want to cause the destruction of the world or accidentally stop people from existing but if I can get away with putting a post-it note saying ‘I love your work and one day you’ll get the recognition you deserve. Keep going, you wonderful person.’ on Vincent’s desk then I’d do it.


#3

I feel like you’d REALLY enjoy the Doctor Who episode with Vincent Van Gogh in, because that really captured the man’s lack of acceptance and mental issues extremely well. So kudos to you. I fear my personal hero Winston Churchill knew pretty much he was appreciated by his end, but I’d like to meet an author like Jane Austen and let her know her work is still beloved.


#4

Tbh if I could travel in time I might just go mad. I’m an history geek so the opportunities would just be too numerous.

If I had to DO something though, I would try to go back in time and save a few peoples. Joan of arc, John Brown and Amelia Earhart in particular comes to mind.


#5

I’d visit Bronze Age Europe, I think.


#6

Wooh for history geeks! I just worry that if I had my own time machine that the past might not not match up to our hopes, or worse that I’d catch the Black Death or get torn to pieces in No Man’s Land during the Great War or something.

I think since I mentioned it I would probably try and change the 20th Century by trying to prevent the First World War, and thus the Second World War and Cold War. Or if nothing else try and get wee Hitler in a better environment so he doesn’t turn into a hate filled fella. Though that would probably mean the Soviets would have started WW2 instead… bah.


#7

So many wonderful possibilities with this one, and i find it the best setting of the three, or at least the most entertaining… I’m tired of anything related to Rome after so many strategic games and movies. Wild West is another concept that bores me to the point of sleeping.
And about T-Rex, i don’t know how you would be able to pull this one out. Without society and people helping, plus dinosaurs, i don’t think MC would survive more than two hours…

Of course, you could always advance a little further to Neolithic. Engaging in the starting point of politics and commerce gives me so many ideas…


#8

In that case saving Lenin and getting rid of Stalin before he got in the movement would take care of that. If anything the war would be led by more humane people. At least on the communist side.


#9

Victorian London has so many significant figures to meet, plus I guess I am a massive Sherlock Holmes fan and Doyle (and Dickens for the early Victorian era) did a great job in recreating that world for us to read still today. And you have Steampunk for a nice alternative era jump.

I do worry as an Englishman that it would be very tempting to try and extend the Victorian period as a time traveller and so prevent the British Empire from ever falling. Chalk it up to patriotism I guess?

I love dinosaurs, so assuming I can ensure my safety I would totally love to see one of history’s greatest natural predators. Walking With Dinosaurs is the closest I have to that for now. As for Neolithic, I’d be worried about running into angry cannibal cave dwellers, though seeing how Stonehenge got built would be cool.


#10

That would make for an interesting what if where someone like Trotsky was running the USSR during WW2? Not sure how in the long run things might have gone though if Russia was still ultimately a dictatorship.


#11

Well look up lenin and trotsky history and you would see that their dictatorship was by convenience unlike stalin who just used the movement. One of the first thing they did was to de-criminalise homosexuality and enforce gender equality but then Stalin got rid of that when he took over and just freaking killed trotsky.

So basicaly the world would be free but not so free versus opressed but not so opressed.

That would be one hell of a grey war.


#12

Would future Australia and Spain count, even more fabulously sexy guys. :yum: Of course if I were to travel to either right now I would in fact be travelling into the (near) future before I arrived there, just not giant-leap style, like futurama.

That said as for the near past the 80’s party scene in some parts of the US might be fun I guess.
But in general it would probably best to not travel to the past, even if I could, and stick to the present date in parallel timelines or the future, but again only of parallel universes, cause I wouldn’t want to know the shit that’s inevitably going to happen in my future.

Didn’t I talk with @Cataphrak about this not too long ago? Anyway the conclusion of that was that it is best to avoid messing with time travel, certainly to the past, though I don’t know if I could resist the temptation of parallel futures if i had the power.
Ah, yes, here it is:

So even if I ever do develop a practical wormhole device it’s probably going to end up as a garage ornament at @Cataphrak’s relatively soon after.


#13

Bah, i’d rather use my historical knowledge to become a tribe leader and conquer a great deal of land. In fact, imagine if my time travel and conquering later culminates in a whole country? It would be funny to see everyone’s faces on the current days when someone discovers my name in the oldest historical document to ever be found, and that in fact i was the one who began a small ethnical group, then that i was the one that created the strategy the Russians beat the @#*@# out of Napoleon’s Army and…
Well, i could go rambling all day about how i would change small facts in history just to blow people’s minds, while staying relatively safe of any paradox and dangerous time issues…
But if i had the opportunity, i’d probably go straight to Jesus and see his deeds by myself, i could see if the christian god and Jesus’ miracles were real and shove my discoverings in everyone’s faces…
And did i mention about saving people from the witch hunts? I would love to see the faces of the ignorant and hypocritical people who burns the innocent for status and lands when a guy appears from nowhere, saves a “witch” from drowning and then disappears… (Even though that might instigate them further.)


#14

There does seem to be a general theme with time travel that trying to change the past to make the future better either creates a worse world (there was a book where a man travels back to the village of Hitler’s parents and poisons the well to make Hitler’s father infertile, only to wake up in a world where someone way more competent created a Nazi style party in Germany instead and won a very different WW2) or you were never born (which creates a big paradox).


#15
Captain Excabier uploaded this image to

More thought-provoking than funny. http://www.viruscomix.com/page585.html


#16

I thought that Paradox Factor did a fantastic job of the sort of time travel stories that I love. Where the time travel is so innately personal, and has an emotional impact. It’s not the grand adventures into the past, becoming a hero, it’s the small, personal things.

If I would go back in time, I’d go back so I could see my dad again. And again, and again. And all the history of the world just doesn’t appeal to me as much as a chance of getting to see him one more time. I miss him so very much.

The time travel stories I like are like the start of the time machine, when he’s trying to save his girlfriend’s life, and each time he tries he can’t. Or the likes of The Butterfly Effect. Or The City on the Edge of Forever. Or Predestination.

12 Monkeys, where he has a definite goal to achieve. But hey, I liked Terminator (the very first one) as well.

And sometimes time travel can be fun. Lots and lots of fun. Not all gloom and misery. Like Bill and Ted!

Personally, I’d say, all those historical events are fixed points. You cannot alter history by going back. Maybe you are just an observer! You cannot be seen! You cannot interact! But it would be so absolutely fascinating to see what the past was actually like, what we have right, what we have wrong. What was propaganda, what was truth, all the knowledge that has been lost.


#17

I do love Paradox Factor too and it did a great job of handling a more personal story around time travel and how it’s impossible to change everything. Doctor Who did that in a lovely and very sorrowful way with Rose’s dad in Father’s Day, where Pete realizes that he was meant to be hit by that car and with the world breaking down around them as a result of the paradox, purposely walks outside so he can be hit and restore history.

But yeah, even if I knew I couldn’t change history I would still like to see it unfold, though I’m not sure if I’d be comfortable seeing the tragic stuff. Really seeing the world around those important events is easier. If I do write a time travel game it’ll be about exploring those sorts of environments and trying to give the player more flexible where and when they could go.


#18

Or you just create a possibly infinite amount of parallel timelines without affecting the original one.


#19

I remember having the GURPS Time Travel book and it gave a list of all the possible results of changing history, whether it was total flexibility (and the likely chaos of it), hard to change (fixed events will happen, even if the minor circumstances change) or the parallel universe effect.

Would totally explore alternate timelines though (minus the Nazis win WW2 or Confederates win American Civil War ones. Or the nuclear wastes of a reality where the Cuban Missile Crisis ended pretty differently).


#20

I agree that you don’t know how changing the pass will impact the future and it’s really not too safe for minorities or certain people to go back too far in time. If I could go back, I would write down the lottery numbers to a huge jackpot, go back to the not so distant future and buy the ticket. I would slide the ticket under my door while past me is out with a note telling past me to not be a lazy butt and check the lotto numbers tonight, and then I would return to my future dog palace.