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and Time loops in stories. Time, Time travel

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I've never liked the 'time paradox' idea, and time loops are ridiculous, mostly because my idea of time is a little different.

Time is not linear. There is not one track of history moving back and forward from this particular point in time. Instead, time is a great branching complexity, with each branch representing a choice, and two (or more) timelines moving away from that choice. So, for instance, in this timeline Hitler was killed in a drunken brawl when he was still a hack painter. In it's other half, he lived and went on to create the third Reich, but in this third one he actually had some talent as a painter and pursued a career in the arts and never became a dictator...you see what I mean. There are multiple focii or determinate events, each with many branching possibilities. So, when Homer sneezed on that T-rex, nothing actually happened in the timeline that we happen to inhabit, but another was created where the outcome was different.

Therefor, when I see an episode of star trek where someone is damaging the timeline, I generally scoff if I'm thinking about it, or I just keep munching my popcorn if i'm in an "I don't care, this is a good story' frame of mind.

cheers!

aj

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I tend to think of it much like AJ does, except that I carry it to the ridiculous but logical extreme, that each and every action and non action has an opposite action or non action, and therefore produces another line of 'possibility'. Your own timeline could be travelled in reverse, like going from the most remote branchlet on a tree right back down to the very base of the trunk, but going the other way offers so many possibilities that even finding your original starting point would be well nigh impossible. Each micro second, for each sub atomic particle, throughout the universe, there are new branches being created.

On the other hand, I'm the only one who counts in my own universe, and everything in it is purely for my own entertainment and pleasure. There is only one timeline, mine, and you others are all figments of my imagination and have no real substance whatsoever. Just because you think you do, doesn't mean squat, since it is my generosity in giving you this ability to think that lets you experience your imaginary lives.

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Also, read The Langoliers by Stephen King. He plays with this same idea, except his characters get left behind in the past.

Ah, that's a rare reader who remembers that one! Yeah, the story with the people stuck in a plane, and half the passengers have disappeared -- leaving only their fillings or other non-organic metal objects behind. Very scary story, very much a Twilight Zone thing.

I think that was one of those ideas where they were stuck "inbetween the ticks of the second-hand of a clock" stories, which was also done on the 1980s CBS Twilight Zone referb that I worked on for awhile. Fascinating idea. Not exactly time travel per se -- more like, "a stuck in time" story.

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Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, is a strange choice to use to illustrate, no use of sound in space, as most of the space sequences have a 100 Piece orchestra playing in them, creating one of the most exhilarating, mystical and philosophically meaningful experiences of mankind's' relationship to the Universe as well as a thrilling cinematic experience.

Naaa, you misunderstand me. I don't think anybody has a problem with music in film. If you see John Wayne and 200 cavalry riders storming out on the Arizona desert, accompanied by the 20th Century-Fox orchestra, nobody complains about that. You don't expect an orchestra to pop up in the sand (as they did, hilariously, in Blazing Saddles).

But I do recall scientists at the time knocking Star Wars and Star Trek because of their use of sound effects in space, which strikes me as petty and pedantic. There are actually a few sound effects in 2001, mostly Keir Dullea's breathing inside his spacesuit (actually performed by Stanley Kubrick, BTW), along with the quiet hiss of the oxygen tanks, so the scenes aren't entirely silent.

My point was, don't let absolute logic stand in the way of letting you enjoy a good story. Just because a writer chooses to use the term "multiple universes," you can't dismiss it out of hand. To me, it's a small technical point that's forgivable.

What this tells me is that they do not understand that on small TV screen the stars do move, but it was never meant to seen on such a small screen.

Actually, no, most of the stars didn't move in 2001 because their budget was so low, and the technology was so limited, many of the spaceships and backgrounds you saw were all photographs. The stars were just pinholes in black velvet. Some of the effects techniques on the film were incredibly crude, and it's amazing they pulled it all off so well.

Read these books:

The Making of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stephanie Schwam

Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey: New Essays by Robert Kolker

The Making of Kubrick's 2001 by Jerome Agel

and

Stanley Kubrick, the 2001 biography by Michel Ciment, which answers a lot of questions.

If you're a fan, each of these which will give you a huge amount of information. I also have a copy of the original script, with the (unfilmed) ending that revealed the aliens, if you'd ever like to read it.

2001 was a movie that changed my life, because I think it's what convinced me to go into filmmaking (even at my borderline involvement as an overpaid technician). I think Star Trek started it, but 2001 finally cemented it, 40 years ago.

BTW: lotta logic problems in 2001, when you sit down and analyze them. But still a tremendously entertaining film. Ciment's book above reveals that Kubrick knew that the ending of the film would confuse people, and thought that was hilarious. He figured, "eh, we'll let the audience come up with their own explanation," and never revealed that the ending was never shot because they couldn't get their alien makeup effects to work.

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There are multiple focii or determinate events, each with many branching possibilities. So, when Homer sneezed on that T-rex, nothing actually happened in the timeline that we happen to inhabit, but another was created where the outcome was different.

Suppose someone was to go to the past then return to the future via a different branching timeline. Does that mean there are now *2* of him in the present of that branch and *0* of him in the timeline he originally inhabited?

===============

Continuing on with overdone ideas in time travel stories...

I find the Roman, WW2, Camelot/medieval and Civil War eras overbooked. I'd like to see more time travel to Greece. Maybe I've missed it, but Greece seems far too underrepresented in time travel ficiton considering its impact on civilization. Same with ancient Egypt.

Places outside the Western world would be nice too: Has anyone time traveled to ancient Japan, (besides the Ninja turtles)? The pre-hindu civilizations of India? Pre-muslim Arabia?

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"Suppose someone was to go to the past then return to the future via a different branching timeline. Does that mean there are now *2* of him in the present of that branch and *0* of him in the timeline he originally inhabited?"

Well, actually, in his original timeline, one branch had him going back, and the other had him not going back. He cannot really return at all, except MAYBE to exactly the same time/place he left from, and thereby never having left at all. Ugly shit, this.

As for going back in time to other places, I'm sure that people from those places go back their in their own fiction. It just gets soo messy going to a culture that is far removed from one's own. It just wouldn't make good fiction. Okay, maybe it would be good, but not particularly entertaining.

I've read some time travel stories set in Africa. If you get a chance to read the Time Scout books, by Evans and Asprin, they are quite fun and offer another viewpoint.

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[quote name='The Pecman' date='Oct 14 2007, 04:27 AM' post='14357']

Naaa, you misunderstand me. I don't think anybody has a problem with music in film. If you see John Wayne and 200 cavalry riders storming out on the Arizona desert, accompanied by the 20th Century-Fox orchestra, nobody complains about that. You don't expect an orchestra to pop up in the sand (as they did, hilariously, in Blazing Saddles).

(Love that scene in Blazing Saddles), but the orchestral music in movies IS one of the things that I hear complained about from many of the "alternative" movie connoisseurs. (Yeah, they don't get it.)

[i have a local lecturer in film studies at a local University who regards Kubrick and 2001 in particular as boring. I have at least been able to get him to reconsider his standpoint.]

But I do recall scientists at the time knocking Star Wars and Star Trek because of their use of sound effects in space, which strikes me as petty and pedantic.

I agree Pecman. They might just as well complain that the cinema didn't actually put them in orbit around Jupiter. They probably don't like musicals or opera either, because people don't go around singing in real life, (more's the pity.)

There are actually a few sound effects in 2001, mostly Keir Dullea's breathing inside his spacesuit (actually performed by Stanley Kubrick, BTW), along with the quiet hiss of the oxygen tanks, so the scenes aren't entirely silent.

The interesting thing about the sound of the breathing is that it is reversed as happens in some forms of meditation; out-in, not, in-out. Apart from this being one of many clues in the film to the cultural influences of man's quest for meaning, it also heightens the illusion of reality of Dave's (Dullea) physical state of anxiety.

My point was, don't let absolute logic stand in the way of letting you enjoy a good story. Just because a writer chooses to use the term "multiple universes," you can't dismiss it out of hand. To me, it's a small technical point that's forgivable.

I think we are both saying that, Pecman. My point, yet again, hopefully with more clarity, is not a criticism of the artistic use of "multiple universe" but that scientists should know better than to use it.

Actually, no, most of the stars didn't move in 2001 because their budget was so low, and the technology was so limited, many of the spaceships and backgrounds you saw were all photographs. The stars were just pinholes in black velvet. Some of the effects techniques on the film were incredibly crude, and it's amazing they pulled it all off so well.

Pecman, the point is not whether the stars move or not, but that the critics misinterpret the effect of the camera panning as being a movement of the stars. In the cinema the effect of the camera pan is to make the audience feel as if they are experiencing the panorama of being in space.

[Read these books:

The Making of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stephanie Schwam

Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey: New Essays by Robert Kolker

The Making of Kubrick's 2001 by Jerome Agel

and

Stanley Kubrick, the 2001 biography by Michel Ciment, which answers a lot of questions.

If you're a fan, each of these which will give you a huge amount of information.

I've read them all. Not one has correctly analyzed the the form of the 2001 in relation to the content as it occurs for the audience. This is a common problem for the cinematic experience today.

Movies have become an object to be looked at, rather than experienced.

Many movies depend on the form of exhibition being correct in order to understand the content of the movie. In 2001 the form and content are integral to each other in order for the audience to experience the full meaning of the film. Compare actually looking at the painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with a snapshot of it. One lets you see it, the other lets you experience it.

I also have a copy of the original script, with the (unfilmed) ending that revealed the aliens, if you'd ever like to read it.

2001 was a movie that changed my life, because I think it's what convinced me to go into filmmaking (even at my borderline involvement as an overpaid technician). I think Star Trek started it, but 2001 finally cemented it, 40 years ago.

BTW: lotta logic problems in 2001, when you sit down and analyze them. But still a tremendously entertaining film. Ciment's book above reveals that Kubrick knew that the ending of the film would confuse people, and thought that was hilarious. He figured, "eh, we'll let the audience come up with their own explanation," and never revealed that the ending was never shot because they couldn't get their alien makeup effects to work.

The interesting thing that I keep getting back to, is not what Kubrick intended, I doubt we will ever be able to substantiate whether he actually knew just what he was doing, it is that he provided a number of world cultural symbols from the whole of mankind's attempts to discover the meaning of existence.

Those symbols should bypass any attempts to criticize "logic problems" or other unimportant inaccuracies.

Those symbols are themselves only part of the clue to the revelation of the end of the film.

For many years, many people believed that Kubrick understood what he had done in the form and content of "2001." The books and script you refer to above raise a question of perhaps he wasn't quite as aware of his achievement as we want to believe. I prefer to think that he did understand, but I know it can't be proven.

What can be shown, as I have done in my live (and humble) presentation on "Evolution -The Art and Technology of Cinema" is that the collective expressions of the human race to find a meaning for existence, is part of the experience of 2001, so long as it is seen in the large curved-screen cinematic format.

What we find so often with great works of art, (of which I would maintain that 2001 is one of the greatest), is that the creator doesn't always know just how well his work succeeds, or even the area in which it succeeds.

In the case of 2001, Kubrick has used the most subjective form of motion picture exhibition, ever invented* and demanded the utmost objectivity from the audience by the nature of the content of the story.

This is itself a symbolic reference to the subjective - objective, experience of life.

That no one wants to search for the meaning of life, that the quest for philosophical understanding of the human condition and experience have become unfashionable is a sign of the intellectual/philosophical bankruptcy of the times in which we live.

2001 represents the high point, the culmination and the pinnacle of the motion picture in terms of combining artistic insight, expression and statement with the technological achievements of the motion picture in the cinema.

Try comparing hearing your favourite piece of music on a hand held mobile phone to experiencing the same music live. The difference in the experience is enormous if not revelationary. Trying to experience either the content or form of 2001 on even a large TV screen is ludicrous.

Criticisms of the content of 2001, usually occur in the minds of people who have not seen the film in the correct cinematic environment. Criticisms also occur with those who have no interest in the search for the meaning, if not the purpose of life itself. Answers are contained in 2001, but they are as they should be in an artistic work, open to interpretation and pleasant, even if passionate, discussions.

All in all Pecman, you and I have the same high regard for 2001 and the use of technology in motion pictures combined with artistic license. We probably are arriving at it all from slightly different viewpoints, but we are of similar regard for the artform itself.

*(No I haven't forgotten about the IMAX format, but it just doesn't cope with dramatic presentation yet for a number of technical and artistic reasons.)

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...On the other hand, I'm the only one who counts in my own universe, and everything in it is purely for my own entertainment and pleasure. There is only one timeline, mine, and you others are all figments of my imagination and have no real substance whatsoever. Just because you think you do, doesn't mean squat, since it is my generosity in giving you this ability to think that lets you experience your imaginary lives.

I was 10 years old and a science fiction fan, reading my dad's copies of Analog and Asimov's and Fantasy & Science Fiction as soon as they arrived in the mail. I was in the 5th grade, still going to a Catholic elementary school (not knowing then that I'd switch to the public intermediate school the next school year). I sat in class one day, daydreaming instead of paying attention. I suddenly had a revelation, that I lived in my own timeline, separate from every other timeline, and that everything and everyone around me were figments of my imagination. It was so clear when it happened! After school I rushed home and told my mom, and she said I should sit down and write it down, then expand on it. Who were the people in my timeline, where did they come from, how did I invent them, what did they do when I wasn't observing them? I did that, and with some pride in my effort I showed it to her. She said I should save it, and think about it. I told her how much fun it was to write it, almost like it was a story. She suggested that I might like to write stories, and that could be a lot of fun. So I did. That's when I started loving to write. Switching to public school exposed me to writing as a craft, and to the Creative Writing class when I got to the eighth grade.

Every once in a while I recall that moment. I've changed my mind about everyone being a figment of my imagination. Instead, they may be there through temporary intersections of separate timelines, all of which inhabit the same environment. Whether that's true or not, it's fun to think about, and to write about.

Colin :hehe:

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I have returned!

I know to all of you it seems like I am here three years after I disappeared from this thread, but that's you. I just grabbed the nearest time train and hopped down here. It's only been a few minutes for me since my last post here.

I must say that I am disappointed t to look in on this thread and find that no one has mentioned Martin Lawrence's 'Black Knight'. You people have no idea what good moviemaking is.

:shakes head in disgust and walks away weeping:

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I must say that I am disappointed t to look in on this thread and find that no one has mentioned Martin Lawrence's 'Black Knight'. You people have no idea what good moviemaking is.

I worked on all the trailers for this film when it was first released. The head of Sony Pictures publicity told me he thought it was the single worst movie they had released in many years. Bad, bad film.

Martin Lawrence can be funny, but not in that picture.

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I don't know what you're talking about. In the year 2320, which I visited on my way here, this film is considered the pinnacle of Martin Lawrence's 105-year career and is studied religiously by historians, children and artists for its nuanced and provocative look at race, science, economics and family dynamics.

The Head of Sony Publicity knows nothing. He's like that guy who gave away the Star Wars merchandise rights to Lucas: Stuck in the mercantile and artistic normality of an irrelevant past.

EDIT: Speaking of which, didn't this used to be a time travel thread? How'd your time travel story turn out?

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