Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rules for Time Travelers

From Discover Magazine courtesy of the Daily Kos:

Not that we expect these rules to be obeyed; the dramatic demands of a work of fiction will always trump the desire to get things scientifically accurate, and Star Trek all by itself has foisted half a dozen mutually-inconsistent theories of time travel on us. But time travel isn’t magic; it may or may not be allowed by the laws of physics — we don’t know them well enough to be sure — but we do know enough to say that if time travel were possible, certain rules would have to be obeyed. And sometimes it’s more interesting to play by the rules. So if you wanted to create a fictional world involving travel through time, here are 10+1 rules by which you should try to play.

More here.

No real commentary on this. I mean, you know, I'm not a physicist. But this shit is damned fascinating. Even though Star Trek's soft sci-fi approach to time travel is rightfully dismissed by actual scientists as silly poppycock, one has to admit that the show has made millions, myself included, want to know more about the concept in the real world. And knowing more about real prospects for time travel makes hard science fiction, that is, sci-fi strongly grounded in contemporary science, all the more enjoyable. Like with David Gerrold's landmark time travel tale from the early 70s, The Man Who Folded Himself. Damned fine book.

Anyway, go read the rules. Wild stuff.