#369: Toward a Time Travel Book

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #369, on the subject of Toward a Time Travel Book.

As many of you know, Dimensionfold Publishing, who recently published my long-awaited book Why I Believe, has asked me to compose a book about time travel and temporal anomalies.  It is in the works.

I will not be doing a “behind the writings” series of the sort that I have done for the novels.  However, I will be asking for feedback along the way–indeed, I have already done so, via my Patreon and Facebook accounts.  As of yesterday I have a rough draft–a very rough draft, the sort of draft which includes single sentences in places to remind me that I have to write a section of text on a specific point there.  However, there is enough of it, written from beginning to end, that I am here going to publish the contents page.  It is presently set up very like that previously named book, with an opening page outlining all the major and minor sections, something like a table of contents but without page numbers.  (This is in large part because I submitted the document in a format that was not going to go to print without repagination, and it made no sense to attempt to give page numbers that were going to change.  There’s probably a way to make a Table of Contents that adjusts its page numbers when the page size is changed, but it’s probably beyond me.)

In publishing this I hope that fans of the Temporal Anomalies in Popular Time Travel Movies site and other time travel fans will make constructive comments on changes that need to be made to the broad outline, any important points I didn’t include (which I might have included in the text but not in the contents page), or anything you would have liked to have seen that seems to be absent.  Of course, I am incidentally hoping to whet your appetite for the book, but that’s not going to be shelf-ready for a while yet.

So here is the contents page; you can comment below or on my social media sites.

Temporal Anomalies and the Replacement Theory of Time Travel

M. Joseph Young

Preface:  how this book came to be
List of Movies Cited:  so the reader can avoid spoilers
The Core Theories:  fundamental ways time travel is handled

    Fixed Time Theory:  that the past cannot be changed.
    Multiple Dimension Theory:  parallel and divergent universes.
    Replacement Theory:  the ability to alter history.

Fixed Time Theory Examined:  details and problems of the theory

    The Predestination Paradox:  loops with uncaused causes.
    Becoming Your Own Grandfather:  a particular predestination paradox problem.
    The Grandfather Paradox:  the reverse problem, preventing your existence.
    The Novikov Self-Consistency Principle:  a mathematical argument for fixed time.
    Clarifying Fixed Time:  immutable means immutable.

Multiple Dimension Theories Examined:  more than one history of everything

    Types of Parallel Dimensions:  what we might expect.
    Types of Divergent Dimensions:  a different way to the same outcome.
    Unparalleled:  how time travel unravels the theory.
    The Two Brothers in Multiple Dimension Theory:  a simple logic problem that complicates things
    The Temporal Duplicate Problem with Divergent Dimensions:  if the traveler repeats the same trip.
    Other Problems with Divergent Dimensions:  including thermodynamics.

Replacement Theory Examined:  real time travel with free will.

    The N-Jump:  the preferred outcome of time travel.
    The Infinity Loop:  the ultimate temporal disaster.
    Sawtooth Snaps and Cycling Causalities:  repeatedly changing timelines.
    Where the People Go:  explaining what happens to everyone when time ends.
    Niven’s Law:  uncreating time travel.
    Temporal Duplicates and Replacement Theory:  objects and people doubled by time travel.
    Rate of Change:  when does the change in the past alter the future.
    The Spreadsheet Illustration:  demonstrating the anomalies mathematically.
    The Butterfly Effect:  small changes can have big impacts.
    The Genetic Problem:  how the entire population of the world can be changed.

Analyzing Examples:  applying temporal theory to time travel stories.
Analyzing Back to the Future:  showing a film that got most of it right.

    The Beginning:  reconstructing the original history.
    Changing History:  how Marty altered his own past.
    Quibbles:  all the little problems.
    Another Change:  the other version of Marty.
    An Alternate Explanation:  applying alternative theories.

Analyzing Terminator:  reconstructing the analysis of the first film studied.

    A Fixed Time Solution:  looking at the story if time is immutable.
    Other Dimensions:  a consideration of whether Multiple Dimension Theory works here.
    Rewind, Replace:  the Replacement Theory solution.
    Ratcheting:  a sawtooth snap.

Analyzing Los Cronocrimines a.k.a. TimeCrimes:  studying a cleverly complicated story.
Analyzing Predestination:  unraveling a challenging paradox by popular demand.
Meeting Yourself:  what happens when the time traveler encounters himself.
Jumping Into Bodies:  a specific trope of some time travel stories.
How to Change the Past:  a workable method of using time travel to alter recent events.
Toward Two-Dimensional Time:  discussion of an undeveloped model for time travel.
The Perpetual Barbecue:  a short story built on Replacement Theory.

So that’s the outline.  It strikes me as I write this that in the editing process I might decide to create more subsections, particularly in the film analyses of Los Cronocrimines and Predestination, but that’s more a matter of dividing the text into manageable portions and would have the undesired effect of pushing the contents to two pages.  I look forward to your feedback.  The present draft is ninety-eight pages and fifty-six-point-five thousand words, but as I say there are sections that still need to be written, so it will be longer.  (For comparison, the similarly formatted text of Why I Believe is one hundred two pages but only forty-three-point-six thousand words.)

I look forward to your feedback.

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