December 14, 2014 2 Comments
Apart from aliens and spaceships, the science fiction sub-genre of time travel is very popular. Who hasn’t thought about going back in time and changing the past? It’s a tantalizing thought, fuelled on by the fact that science does take the theory seriously. According to some news articles, scientist have simulated time travel with photons.
Starting in the 18th and 19th centuries, time travel stories became popular with Mark Twain’s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and H.G. Well’s novel The Time Machine. The notion of travelling through time, to fix the past or gain insight into the future, holds its own warnings. What would the world be like now if Hitler were assassinated prior to him becoming a powerful political figure? What future calamities could we avoid? Stories like these are complicated even more so by the Grandfather Paradox that states any action that eliminates the cause or means of traveling back in time. In other words, if you go back in time to kill Hitler and succeed, then the reason to kill him never happens, therefore removing the reason to go back in time in the first place.
Don’t think too hard on that…
Since those first two novels, time-travel stories have only increased in popularity. As long as man continues to be curious, he will always wonder what the future hold for him, or how he could change the past. The bigger question is; should he? The consequences for knowing the future have never boded well for characters, ultimately sending them to their death, or despair as they become a witness to the problem they wanted to stop. Time travel stories also show us our humanity, and that we have much to learn.