Realistic Time Travel

In the quantum mechanics or statistical mechanics sense a forbidden event is never completely impossible.  Rather it is extremely improbable based upon some symmetry, entropy, or energy constraint.  I propose that in most situations time travel into the past is extremely improbable. Theorem:   Time travel into the past has an exponentially increasing improbability as changes to the timeline become observable.

Corollary 1:  Time travel into the past is allowed if and only if it does not disrupt the timeline.

Corollary 2:  The butterfly effect is included in timeline disruptions.

Corollary 3:  The butterfly effect does not apply below the level of Heisenberg uncertainty.

Sending a human backwards in time to Earth would create a sudden pressure wave as the air (or water) at that location is displaced.  The butterfly effect implies this will always be a forbidden transition.

But a human could be sent to a height where the air pressure is essentially zero then gradually move downward.  However it is unlikely that a human could move around and do anything useful without causing sufficient changes to prevent the trip in the first place.

Sending a tiny robot back in time is much more likely to result in no disruptions to the timeline, especially if that robot does little more than float around on air currents and observe.

A time machine will attempt to send a tiny robot back in time hundreds or millions of times per second.  Attempt after attempt is rejected by the timeline, but there is a statistical chance of success.  After millions or trillions of attempts a delivery vector is found resulting in an identical timeline and the robot is successfully transferred.

Would insertion of a tiny robot into a hurricane result in any changes to the timeline?  The minute changes to the air currents at the arrival point could be quickly washed out by the extreme winds in a hurricane.  Perhaps the target location with the highest chance of success is the Atlantic ocean during hurricane season.

And how would that robot return to our time?  The same way rocks travel forward in time.  The robot would find a quiet place and sit there until it is found.  It doesn't even need power for that part of its mission.  Success only requires non-volatile memory and perhaps a long lived radioisotope to make it easier to find under the detritus of the centuries.

This might mean that a careful search would reveal some of these robots sitting around important places like Jerusalem or Dealey Plaza.  But if we found one and decoded the stored media that would change the timeline and wouldn't the trip have been forbidden in the first place?

An excellent time travel movie: Timecrimes

I watched Timecrimes on Netflix streaming video.  It was excellent. It met many of my criteria for a good time travel movie:  It had a time machine and they used it several times, there was a time loop and the protagonistic had to work hard to eliminate and prevent any paradoxes.

The middle of the movie was really slow but presented a lot of details which were critical to the ending.

The movie is in Spanish, looks like there will be a new English version in 2011.

Have physicists discovered alien life?

Work published in 2008 from Israel claims detection of element #122.  If true the implications are stunning.  The only possible method of generating element 122 is by artificial nucleosynthesis, a technical feat beyond the capability of modern day humans. While subsequent study may have disproven the theory this opens up a new method of proving the existence of aliens.  Even a single atom of element 122 (or higher) would be an artifact proving the existence of alien life...

Or time travel, it's always possible that in the future human will make the element and then send back in time either coincidentally or as an actual component of the time machine.

Regular readers of my blog know that I propose there are no aliens anywhere and never have been.  So if element 122 is really discovered I claim it's proof of time travel, not aliens.

Joe Haldeman's Accidental Time Machine

Just finished listening to Joe Haldeman's "The Accidental Time Machine" from Audible.

As a time travel story it was excellent, there was a time machine, multiple uses of that machine, time travel was a key element of the story, and there was even a time loop. The overall story dragged at many points, especially when he fell into the trap of anti-Christian ranting.  Then it rushed far too quickly through the climax.

Why is it that smart scifi writers can't imagine a world where Christians are heroes and live respectable lives? At least the anti-Christian stuff was relatively tame and the rest of the book was good enough to overcome it.  The narrator was well casted, he sounded about 23 and exactly like a physics graduate student.

Time Travel Websites

There are a lot of other websites out there which offer a great sample of scifi. The most popular according to Google are SF Site, An useful one is at with the Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide. The interesting thing is that this site has not been updated in 4 years yet it's still #9 on a Google search for "science fiction". Gawker Media has the 800 pound gorilla with io9. The sheer quantity of searches and material on this site is overwhelming. Yet I must wonder why they won't let me post a comment.

For help with writing Science Fiction try Jeffrey Carver at or try his blog.

I'm most interested in time travel at sites like crystalinks, or, and there's even a site for time-travelling investors!

Time Travel - Galilee 4

All Chapters in the Galilee Stories The next morning Frank opened my bandage and studied the cut. Using his goggles to magnify the image he gasped "What are those?" He made a short movie then shot it to my wire. I saw hundreds of nearly invisible dots, moving in and out of the wound.

"How small are they?" I asked.

"About 10 microns in length. They look almost like maggots although they're way too small."

"Can you take a sample?"

"Didn't work. Looks like they evaporate as soon as I remove them."


"They're just gone, it's too quick for my camera to resolve."

"What are they, nanotechnology, bioengineered parasites, alien bugs?"

"I've never seen anything like it. My guess is they won't stick around long enough for you to return home to a real lab. As soon as your wound heals sufficiently they'll be gone. So did he say anything to you? This guy isn't just a rabbi doctor."

I was torn. The memories were a little blurred almost as if I had been drugged. "Well he did speak English to me."

Frank said nothing, he just stared.

I continued "I know it sounds crazy but I'm sure it happened. He speaks fluent English."

Frank shook his head. "No Jim he didn't. Get that hallucination out of your head. You must have been dreaming. That's a deep cut, you were bleeding to death, in shock, your mind was making it up."

"So you can explain these parasites?"

"What are you saying, that Jesus is a time traveller?"

"Perhaps he's something else, perhaps he really is..."

"What, God ? Oh please, give me a break. If he's God then why does he need tiny bugs to cure your cut? Can't he just snap his fingers and heal you instantly?"

I waived my hands, dismissing the conversation. After a few hours I was able to walk, that evening the cut seemed to be healed. There was no sign of infection, and as Frank had predicted there was no sign of the bugs. We stayed one more night then left. With my wound healed our mission was unchanged. We had to visit the Temple Mount, lay down a spread of the locusts, then go home.

The walk from Caphernaum to Jerusalem would take 3 days. We stayed away from other people and saw no sign of bandits or Roman soldiers. We had too much time to talk and debate. Late on the second day I noticed Frank was slumping. I was tired too but he seemed ill. I put my hand on his shoulder and asked "You OK?"

He turned towards me with a look of sheer rage and began shouting in a garbled tongue I had never heard. He moved towards me as if to attack and I pulled back staying 5-10 meters away.

"Frank what is wrong?" I shouted. Again his reply was garbled. I pulled my wire and tried to get a translation. The analysis said "ancient variant of Sumerian, no translation available".

Suddenly he switched to Aramaic, shouting "We will kill you, we will kill you all." He picked up a sharp rock and he moved towards me this time breaking into a run.

I ran away and realized my leg was not even throbbing. Frank had not been chosen for this assignment based upon his athletic ability so I was able to pull away from him. When I was about 100 meters ahead of him I noticed a small village ahead. Frank was running directly towards it and I felt I needed to warn the villagers. As I neared the village I noticed about 20 people sitting down near the well. One man was standing speaking to them. I began yelling "Watch out, he's going to hurt someone."

About 10 meters away from the crowd I stopped. I was close enough to recognize the man standing. It was Jesus. I screamed "He's gone insane, he's going to hurt you."

Jesus began walking towards me. His calm Aramaic tone was soothing, "Do not be afraid. He cannot hurt you." He got between us and Frank ran to him screaming again in some mangled language. Jesus held out his hand and said "Stop." Frank halted but continued his rant. Again Jesus said "Stop."

Frank calmed for a few seconds then raised his rock in a vicious stance. He screamed in Aramaic "You cannot save these insects. We will kill them all. I know who you are Jesus of Nazareth. I know where you come from."

Jesus yelled sharply "Silence." Frank hesitated but did not lower his weapon. They stood there at odds for minutes eyes locked, feet apart, ready for battle.

The sun was setting on a cloudy day and darkness rushed upon us. I realized there was a faint blue glow in the space between them. My eyes widened and I rubbed them. "What?" I muttered as the haze did not disappear. Frank dropped his rock, slowly cupped his hands and appeared to be kneading something.

Jesus rolled his eyes upwards and the electric blue haze began to pulse around him. Frank opened his hands with palms pointed at Jesus. A faint yellow gush suddenly shot from Frank's hands crashing against Jesus who stood motionless. The rest of us however were blown off our feet as if by a violent wind. Dates fell from the trees and dust rose from the ground clouding our view.

Jesus raised his palm and yelled "Enough." Frank was blown backwards 5 meters. He crashed and rolled to the ground. Jesus ran to him and held him down with one hand, he raised the other hand in the air and then chopped sharply at Frank's chest.

The most terrible scream I could imagine came from Frank's mouth but then came from a point above him and rose into the air. The noise was like a thousand brutally tortured men. I looked up and again saw some type of blue haze accelerating towards the sky. The scream intensified for a few seconds. I covered my ears and dropped to the ground in pain. The sound faded to a loud roar and I watched the sky as the scream flew to the heavens.

I looked down at Frank who was unconscious, then up at Jesus who said to me in English "Go home, now, tonight." It was not a request.

Time Travel - Galilee 3

All chapters in the Galilee Stories As I walked out from town a few days later I smiled. It amazed me that such a simple person could become the most important leader in human history. We had only spoken for a few hours but I felt that I had seen into his heart. He had radiated simplicity and caring. Our discussions of resurrection and salvation had rekindled a faith which I thought would never return.

My path now lay towards Jerusalem. We had identified this as the riskiest part of the assignment. Powerful forces focused on the Temple Mount and that was my final destination. I needed to leave behind a few bugs to capture some of the most important events in history.

As I meandered down the road my daydreaming distracted me to the point where a passing gang of bandits caught me by surprise. I fought them off but not before one of them had given me a deep knife wound. Even before the blood started gushing I knew I was in trouble. Before blacking out I was able to swallow a nanoprobe, a coagulant, and send a distress signal.

I woke up back in Yeshua’s house. One of his friends had found me on the road and dragged me back to town. I looked into his eyes and saw the fear. He knew I might die. He spoke in whispered tones “You must try to survive the night. The Healer is coming tomorrow, if you still live he will heal you.”

The drugs and pain were clouding my mind or else I might have realized why this was confusing. I survived the night and saw a note on my wire that help would arrive in a few more hours. I sat quietly, conserving my strength. Something was bothering me and after a while I realized that Yeshua was supposed to be a healer, why did he need someone else’s help? Who was “the healer”?

I heard the commotion outside the window. Shouting and cheering, a few women sobbed with joy as the noisy crowd drew closer. I wanted to stand, peek out the window to watch, but soon I did not need to. The Healer entered my room.

Instantly I felt a wave of joy and calm. I looked into his eyes and nearly cried. A feeling of electricity passed between us. He opened the dressing on my wounds, closed his eyes, then sent everyone away to search for some medicinal native plants. There was now no doubt in my mind, Yeshua was just a rabbi, a wonderful and prayerful man. It was the Healer who had been eluding me these past few weeks. Somehow I had not asked the right questions, I had forgotten about the miracles, focusing on the theology. But my revelation paled to what happened next.

As soon as everyone had left the house The Healer turned to me and in perfect English said “You should not be here.”

Thinking I was hallucinating I said in Aramaic “I don’t understand.”

Again he spoke in English “Of course you understand. You must leave, you must return home. There are forces here beyond your comprehension. This world stands on a precipice, your interference could destroy it.”

“What are you saying, how can you speak English?”

“I am the Incarnate Word, I can speak all languages.”

“What, what are you? This is impossible.”

At the sound of footsteps outside he switched to Aramaic. “Your wound is deep but you will not die. It will be a few more days before you can walk from here. Then you must go home.” His eyes made it clear this was an order.

As he stood to leave I begged “Please, may I speak with him alone?” The women immediately understood and left. The men had to be asked again, but finally they did leave.

Returning to English I asked “What forces are you talking about? What is going on?”

He replied “You have the scriptures, you need nothing more. The forces of darkness led by the Fallen Angel wage war against this planet. Only through me can humanity survive and live forever.”

“But those are just myths, they aren’t real.”

“Of course they are real.”

“So where are the forces of darkness in my time, nobody on Earth is possessed, or attacked by demons in the 22nd century.”

“Nobody on Earth”, he said.

“You mean Satan wages war in outer space? Against whom?”

“Your world need not be concerned with this. You are safe for awhile longer, until they return. My death will drive them from this planet.”

“This is a fantasy, where is the proof?”

“I’m speaking English, a language which will not exist for another 1000 years. I know you were born in Albequerque, New Mexico. What other proof do you want?”

I hung my head in fear. None of my training, none of our contingency plans had allowed that core Christian teachings about Jesus might actually be true. I had never wanted to argue with him, never have substantive conversations. I just wanted to say hello, set loose the bugs, and go home to watch the video we would dig up 2100 years later.

I felt his hand on my shoulder. “James, great things are in store for you back home. Go there, stay there. A year from now you will have a son. Teach him about me. Prepare him for hardship, for everyone in his generation will suffer greatly.”

I showed him the locusts. “Will you allow me to complete my mission?”

He smiled and said “Yes, but I’ll have to make sure my cousin John doesn’t see them. He says they taste great with honey.”

I couldn’t help the laughter, it poured out of me. My wound was throbbing, my entire worldview was collapsing, but here I was laughing hysterically at a joke told by Christ himself.

That afternoon my relief arrived. Frank was surprise to see me healthy. “After that emergency call we didn’t expect to find you alive.” I briefly explained that Jesus himself had healed me. But I kept most of the encounter private. I wasn’t sure if he or anyone else would believe me.

The next day Jesus left the village. He was trailed by a small army of followers. I was strong enough to stand and wave. I have no doubts he saw me.

Time Travel - Galilee 2

All chapters in the Galilee Stories Nazareth. What am I doing here? I wanted to stay out of sight in the backwaters, now I'm at the center of the universe. There are 2 main trade routes in this world: Baghdad to Rome and Cairo to Damascus. Those 2 paths intersect right here in Nazareth. Thousands of travellers pass through this city every year. Hundreds of caravans. At least nobody will wonder where I'm from. Half the people in Nazareth are just visiting from somewhere else.

I tried a few carpenter shops asking about some farming instruments. The prices were all over the map, there certainly isn't any price fixing here. Unfortunately none of the carpenters were very friendly, and none of them knew a carpenter named Yeshua.

I found an inn on the outskirts of the city and rented a room. It had a straw mattress on a wooden frame, a chamber pot, and a window with a woven curtain. The air was stale and the lighting poor. But I had privacy which was been rare since I arrived.

I sat against the door and opened my pack. I reviewed my 15 bugs, a wireless receiving station and lamented that I had no place to put any of them. "If I can't make any progress in Nazareth I'll start bugging the synagogues and then return home" I muttered. I reviewed some of the pictures and video on my shoulder cam. What a wild place. Camels and donkeys everywhere, children running in packs laughing and scrounging. A few Roman patrols can be seen on major streets, but Nazareth appears to be a calm and peaceful marketplace.

Not trusting the "lock" on the door and not trusting the bedframe to be sturdy enough I lie down in front of the door, wedge my back against it, and let myself nap. I dreamed that I was crying while standing on a beach watching fishing boats. My best friend is gone and he's never coming back.

I'm jolted awake when my wire buzzes. I answer it in a soft voice, hoping nobody can hear my English.

"Agent Jensen, what is your status?"

"I'd rather ask you for your status. Has the bug in Caphernaum been recovered?"

"Not yet, the signal is so weak we are having trouble locating it. It appears to be buried roughly 2 meters beneath the old synagogue ruins. The Israeli authorities are none to keen to let us randomly dig in the hopes we'll find it. We'll need more precise coordinates before we can retrieve it."


"Probably 2 more days our time, that's 6 hours your time. Where are you?"



"I know I know, but there was no place else to go. I tried Cana and Mt Tabor and several fishing villages on the Kinnaret. Nobody knows a carpenter or rabbi named Yeshua."

"How many people have seen you in Nazareth?"

"A few hundred, but nobody cares. This place is like a major airport. Thousands of people travel through here every week. I'm just another stranger."

"But you are still changing hundreds of lives. That's just a lot more energy we'll need to refocus the timeline. When can you get out of there?"

"I guess a few more hours won't make much difference. Unless there's a secret rabbi carpenter around here".

A few hours later I was walking south a few hundred yards behind a caravan. They were strewing garbage as if they needed to unload ballast. "What a waste, this is such a beautiful place." I pulled off the road at the town of . This time it was worth it. A poor family outside of town offered a crust of bread. Chatting with them I learned of a carpenter up the road named Yeshua. He had finished rabbinical training and was on the verge of moving to Caphernaum. His mother's named was Mary and his father had died long ago. When I took my leave I left behind a gold coin, probably enough to feed them for a year. And I accidentally left a second in an obvious spot.

Whistling as I neared town I found my heart beating wildly. It was really him. In preparation I loaded 2 of the locusts and attached them to the edge of my cloak. They should last 5 years before they burrowed into the dirt for their 2000 year nap. I would release them near Jesus and walk away and go home and wait for them to be dug up.

The Best Time Travel Movies

A recent post on TopTenz offered the Top 10 time travel movies. With all due respect it's not clear that "time travel" was an important concept in this list. For example, in the Terminator movies there is a single time travel event at the very beginning of the movie and then nothing more. While the characters attempt to change the future there is no evidence they succeed. There is no foreknowledge or time loop or time machine. I would not call this a time travel movie because time travel is not possible for anyone after the beginning of the movie. As for Star Trek movies, they just aren't serious enough. The time machine is their spaceship, and apparently they can travel in time whenever they like. I think a time travel movie should have

1 A time machine or time travel mechanism right there in full view

2 Multiple instances of time travel

3 A time loop or paradox

4 Tension associated with the time-travel, a chance of temporal disaster.

So here is my own list of the Top 10 Time Travel Movies (free of Amazon links)


1 Primer

2 12 Monkeys

3 Back to the Future I, II, and III

4 Timecop

5 The Time Machine (new and old versions)

6 Time Bandits

7 Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

8 Frequency

9 Timeline

10 Butterfly Effect I ( II was not good enough for this list)

Unfortunately there is a dramatic difference in quality towards the end of the list. I think Hollywood should look at this an opportunity.

Self-Aware Blog

I'm worried my blog is on the verge of achieving sentience. I've noticed that some of my time travel stories have achieved a life of their own. What would it mean for a blog to be self-aware? Would it take comments personally? Would it seize control of the entire Internet and retaliate for poor digg rankings? Would it attempt to manipulate the US Presidential election? Or would it humbly accept its role as an aspiring science fiction blog and generate outstanding content? My personal preference would be for it to send time travel email 24 hours into the past with the names of 2-3 top performing stocks from each trading day! Now that would be a useful AI.

Time Travel - Galilee

Chapter 4 is posted ! All Chapters in the Galilee Stories

Chapter 1

Cautiously I peered over the ridge, waiting for the Roman soldiers to pass by. I was dressed in rags to intentionally look like the poorest of the poor. Not only was this my best method of avoiding the authorities it should make it easier for him to find me. Looking around for signs of life I decided to risk using my goggles. I pulled them on and adjusted the lenses. I turned my gaze upon Caphernaum. I could make out a few dark boats floating on the Kinneret and wondered if he sat in one of them. I took a few stills and put the goggles away. I began walking.

Behind me the city of Tiberius faded into the distance. Gauging my pace I estimated I would arrive near dusk. Despite the secret padding built into my sandals my feet hurt. They were also disgusting and I was actually avoiding the piles of manure which littered the path.

Suddenly hearing laughter I paused and looked for cover. Seeing none I crouched near the side of the road and began mumbling. Three men and 4 children came up behind me and didn't even pause as they passed me. I glanced at them and marveled at their indifference.

I stopped for lunch near the shore. I squeezed my canteen flat and pushed it under water. Osmotic pressure filled it with pristine water in a few minutes. I waded out into the water washing my feet and looking for a wayward fish. After a couple of fruitless minutes I walked back and chewed on a protein bar.

More voices echoed behind me, this time the reeds hid me well enough. I sat listening as the voices faded. I caught a few words but could not hear the entire conversation. As the sun began its downward journey I gauged my progress would get me to Caphernaum by dinner time. Nobody else crossed my path the remainder of the journey. When I reached the village I asked a few people for dinner and the third one agreed. He was a fisherman named Andrew but he had no brother.

I slept on a mat in Andrew's living room that night pondering his answers to my questions. No carpenters lived in Caphernaum, he knew 2 men named Yeshua but neither was a carpenter nor had a mother named Mary. He was only vaguely aware of the name of the Roman procurator, and certainly not keeping track of the number of years since the last one. In short I still had no idea exactly where I could find Jesus, or where I would go next. After everyone was asleep I pulled out goggles and read through the histories. This would be more difficult than we had planned. There were only a few hundred thousand people in this part of the world, but they were so spread out it could take weeks to find him.

Richard Morgan on Internecine SciFi Warfare

Richard Morgan has some hostile words for the battles ongoing within the science fiction community.

His comments are great, but we need more analysis. Why is there civil warfare inside our genre? Isn't there room enough for all of us?

1 First of all, more than anything else, this is about money. There are only so many euros to go around and everybody wants more. Anyone who shows some success is an immediate role model and target. Campy space-opera, hoky stories which appeal to NASCAR fans sells.

2 A long time ago somebody decided to call their story science fiction, ignoring the fact that the word science has an unambiguous meaning. This may have been a slur, a derogatory comment aimed at a teenager who appeared to be wasting his life. Or it may have been a wannabe, somebody writing a story about magic pixie dust. In the end the name stuck, and any supernatural and possible future story was branded "science fiction". How many bookstores make any effort to separate out fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction?

3 Most of us hope, anticipate, or desire that our story will eventually come true. Even sword wielding wizards usually represent a desire for reality. Faster than light travel, talking robots, and time-travelling hobbits are frequently dreams for a different reality than we have now. If I predict a post-apocalyptic wasteland where street urchins scrounge petrol for their dirt bikes then how could your story about a drug dealing robot with empathic wifi signals also come true?

4 For real science fiction there is almost always an idea which contradicts the canon of science. It's too easy to criticize fake science such as faster than light or time travel, perpetual motion, communications satellites, or a planetary network carrying video, voice, and real-time text messages. Some of these ideas come true, some are reasonable predictions, some are outlandish. But all of them are necessary to tell a story. In the end this is about telling a story, it's not about predicting the future. The fake science helps us tell a good story.

5 If scifi writers or readers were polled we would see even more hostile commentary towards Grisham, Follet and any host of popular authors. Derisive opinions and scathing hatred are there for the asking outside the genre.

Thanks to Neal Asher for pointing out Mr. Morgan's comments.