(Roughly) Daily

Pardon me, but do you have the time?…

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Image via Wikipedia

M. Joseph Young is a writer and game designer who shares your correspondent’s affection for time travel movies.  The disciplined Mr. Young has created a site– Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies–  that systematically critiques the (sub-)genre.

Time travel has been a staple in Science Fiction since H.G. Wells.  Unfortunately, much of what passes for intelligence in this area is poorly considered…  For example, it is not possible to return to the past without changing the past in some way; nor is it possible to change the future based on information from the future.  Doctor Who realized early on that changes to history were hazardous, and avoided them assiduously. Movies built on a time travel theme frequently become dissatisfying when the thread of time is closely examined.  In Millennium, once the era in which the time machine exists is destroyed, aren’t all of those rescued survivors returned to their own times?  In The Twelve Monkeys, doesn’t it appear that the disaster which the main character was to prevent would not have happened had he not interfered?  In Timecop, would any of that have happened had it not happened?  Even the venerable StarTrek has created numerous anomalies which it has failed to resolve.  Pasts which are dependent upon futures dependent upon those pasts should make us cringe.  However, from time to time something works…

Readers will doubtless be as relieved as your correspondent was to learn that Mr. Young counts Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure among the (relatively) successful…  after all, “would any of that had happened if it had not happened?”

As we reset our watches, we might spare a celebratory thought for Andrew Warhola, born on this date in 1928 in Pittsburgh, PA.  Better known as Andy Warhol, he was a role model for a generation of post-modernist artists; he provoked us think more clearly about the relationship of reference and referent… and he made us (well, most of us anyway) smile.

Self-Portrait, 1986  source: National Gallery of Art

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