Need to check some internal logic.

DAgent

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I'm at a point in my WIP where my main character has returned from a time travel trip, and has found things are rather different, and I need to check if my logic works or not.

He's about 50 and accidentally travels back in time to when he's 20, this method of time travel means he is physically in possession of his own 20 year old body and in total control. His 20 year old self is effectively asleep and has no role to play in the story. Somewhat similar to "Quantum Leap" when Sam is in control of a complete strangers body.

While in the past, he accidentally prevents a rather nasty event that would have left him seriously injured, which is what did happen in the original timeline. There's a couple of different ways he might prevent this, which I'm not settled on as yet. But when he wakes up once his time travel trip is over, I'm faced with two possibilities.

1: He wakes up in his present day as a 50 year old again, minus the lifelong injuries as they never happened.

2: He wakes up as a 25 year old, on the day the injuries were meant to happen, and realises he can life his life over from that point, free of the injuries.

I'm not sure which outcome I'm going to go with, but I am thinking if he's had such a major effect on his own life in either case, what would be the end result for those he's closest to? For example, if he calls his best friend, who is the same person in either situation who he has known since childhood, should that friend remember the old timeline, or should they know the new timeline?
 

JunkMonkey

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I would have thought that he would not remember the old timeline. How can s/he remember something if it didn't happen? You could have them dream that something had happened to your protagonist, or have some 'weird feeling' that something 'wasn't right' that could fade as the new causality takes over.
 

Venusian Broon

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This is just a version of the Grandfather paradox A gedanken experiment that is posed to investigate the nature of time and perhaps give a nugget of suggestion that time travel into the past is impossible, as it floods the universe with paradoxes - paradoxes that we don't seem to observe.

When it comes to looking at the logic of time travel in reality, I'm afraid there are no real answers. It's still a deep mystery.

However. your universe is fictional, so it's up to you to determine the nature of your universe's time, and thus solve the paradox. The 'go back in time, change something, find unintended consequences' is very old trope in SF - Back to the Future for example. (Usually this is done in literature/film/tv by keeping the time traveller in some sort of 'time stasis' as they don't seem to change in unintended ways, which is, with my scientist hat on, nonsensical. But BthF is still fun to watch.)

Personally I would go with the 'solution' that gives you the biggest narrative buck for the story you are telling. How hard is the SF that you are writing, hence will winging it p*ss off readers? Is time travel integral to the plot or really something subsidiary? Are you wanting a quick fix for a narrative problem in an adventure story, or are you exploring the philosophical nature of reality in your work?
 

Bramandin

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I would say that if anyone remembers the old timeline, it would be just him. Does he have two sets of memories from this point, or would going back to being fifty mean that he doesn't remember his old life? It depends on what sort of story you want to tell.
 

DAgent

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This is just a version of the Grandfather paradox A gedanken experiment that is posed to investigate the nature of time and perhaps give a nugget of suggestion that time travel into the past is impossible, as it floods the universe with paradoxes - paradoxes that we don't seem to observe.

When it comes to looking at the logic of time travel in reality, I'm afraid there are no real answers. It's still a deep mystery.

However. your universe is fictional, so it's up to you to determine the nature of your universe's time, and thus solve the paradox. The 'go back in time, change something, find unintended consequences' is very old trope in SF - Back to the Future for example. (Usually this is done in literature/film/tv by keeping the time traveller in some sort of 'time stasis' as they don't seem to change in unintended ways, which is, with my scientist hat on, nonsensical. But BthF is still fun to watch.)

Personally I would go with the 'solution' that gives you the biggest narrative buck for the story you are telling. How hard is the SF that you are writing, hence will winging it p*ss off readers? Is time travel integral to the plot or really something subsidiary? Are you wanting a quick fix for a narrative problem in an adventure story, or are you exploring the philosophical nature of reality in your work?
I've always looked at the Grandfather paradox in the more limited context of going back in time and killing your own grandfather, but now I can certainly see the wider aspects of it all.

The story isn't particularly hard Sci Fi, the time travel aspect pretty much all the Sci Fi the tale has, it's far more paranormal in nature and the adventure leans more into the fantastic. But the time travel is what gets the ball rolling, albeit totally by accident. Whichever of the two outcomes I go with, the MC will remember the original time line regardless. I'm just curious as to what other people think the effect on others should be.
 

DAgent

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I would say that if anyone remembers the old timeline, it would be just him. Does he have two sets of memories from this point, or would going back to being fifty mean that he doesn't remember his old life? It depends on what sort of story you want to tell.
In both cases he would always remember the original timeline, but would have no idea anything has changed until he saw he no longer had the old injuries he had sustained in that original timeline, but he would never have any memory of the new timeline.

It's a bit of a Back To The Future situation like Venusian Broon noted, with Marty waking up in his family home and finding his entire family, while still the same people, have had very different lives
 

Swank

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1: He wakes up in his present day as a 50 year old again, minus the lifelong injuries as they never happened.

2: He wakes up as a 25 year old, on the day the injuries were meant to happen, and realises he can life his life over from that point, free of the injuries.
Those aren't just different outcomes in a scenario, those are different books. Which one do you want to write?
 

Bramandin

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I'm just curious as to what other people think the effect on others should be.

I think that anyone not involved in the time-travel should not notice anything amiss. Or maybe you could have Mandela Effects where bits of the old timeline bleed through, but it's easily-dismissed.

If the character is only remembering the original timeline, then someone could think that his personality suddenly changed. In Back to the Future, we didn't see more than a hint that Marty is still messed-up (as in his personal past wasn't much different) while the rest of them are successful.

Edit: sorry, didn't see your other post until I hit post.
 

DAgent

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Those aren't just different outcomes in a scenario, those are different books. Which one do you want to write?
These are different possible endings, the rest of the story is already written and could go with either of these as it's ending. I'm not try to check which would make for the better starting point, just to check if the internal logic so to speak works for everyone else.
 

Wayne Mack

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I am assuming that this is the conclusion of the story, otherwise, there would be tow entirely different plot lines moving forward. Either one would work; the first would be better if the main character mainly feels concerned about his future due to his injuries and the second would be better if the main character is consumed with past regrets due to limitations or decisions imposed upon him because of the injury. It is highly dependent upon what was specified early in the story.

Typo in original post? At first the main character is a 20 year old. In option two, the character is a 25 year old.
 

DAgent

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I am assuming that this is the conclusion of the story, otherwise, there would be tow entirely different plot lines moving forward. Either one would work; the first would be better if the main character mainly feels concerned about his future due to his injuries and the second would be better if the main character is consumed with past regrets due to limitations or decisions imposed upon him because of the injury. It is highly dependent upon what was specified early in the story.

Typo in original post? At first the main character is a 20 year old. In option two, the character is a 25 year old.
No typo, the story has him travel back to when he was 20, 5 years before he suffered his injuries. The two possible outcomes see him travel forward to either back to being 50 and never having had the injuries, or back to when he was 25 on the day he was supposed to be injured.
 

Elckerlyc

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I'm at a point in my WIP where my main character has returned from a time travel trip, and has found things are rather different, and I need to check if my logic works or not.

He's about 50 and accidentally travels back in time to when he's 20, this method of time travel means he is physically in possession of his own 20 year old body and in total control. His 20 year old self is effectively asleep and has no role to play in the story.

While in the past, he accidentally prevents a rather nasty event that would have left him seriously injured, which is what did happen in the original timeline. There's a couple of different ways he might prevent this, which I'm not settled on as yet. But when he wakes up once his time travel trip is over, I'm faced with two possibilities.

1: He wakes up in his present day as a 50 year old again, minus the lifelong injuries as they never happened.

2: He wakes up as a 25 year old, on the day the injuries were meant to happen, and realises he can life his life over from that point, free of the injuries.

I'm not sure which outcome I'm going to go with, but I am thinking if he's had such a major effect on his own life in either case, what would be the end result for those he's closest to? For example, if he calls his best friend, who is the same person in either situation who he has known since childhood, should that friend remember the old timeline, or should they know the new timeline?
What would cause possibility 2 to happen? Either he would stay in his 20-year old self or travel back to where he came from, his 50 aged self. If I understand you correctly option 2 will have him make a second jump from 20 to 25 self?
What about his younger self, asleep while the older version takes (permanently?) over? Will this suppressed identity remain there indefinitely?
And, if MC takes over his younger self, what happened with the 50 year old body?
 

sknox

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>These are different possible endings, the rest of the story is already written and could go with either of these as it's ending.
With all respect to the work you've already done, if either ending works, then neither works because neither is dependent upon the story. An ending is only an ending if it feels inevitable, feels conclusive.

To put it another way, either works for internal logic because it's all made up anyway and you can have whatever consequences you want when it comes to time travel. But you have to *want* it. It has to matter.

If it truly doesn't matter and isn't going to matter, then try writing both endings and just pick one.
 

msstice

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I'm at a point in my WIP where my main character has returned from a time travel trip, and has found things are rather different, and I need to check if my logic works or not.

He's about 50 and accidentally travels back in time to when he's 20, this method of time travel means he is physically in possession of his own 20 year old body and in total control. His 20 year old self is effectively asleep and has no role to play in the story. Somewhat similar to "Quantum Leap" when Sam is in control of a complete strangers body.

While in the past, he accidentally prevents a rather nasty event that would have left him seriously injured, which is what did happen in the original timeline. There's a couple of different ways he might prevent this, which I'm not settled on as yet. But when he wakes up once his time travel trip is over, I'm faced with two possibilities.

1: He wakes up in his present day as a 50 year old again, minus the lifelong injuries as they never happened.

2: He wakes up as a 25 year old, on the day the injuries were meant to happen, and realises he can life his life over from that point, free of the injuries.

I'm not sure which outcome I'm going to go with, but I am thinking if he's had such a major effect on his own life in either case, what would be the end result for those he's closest to? For example, if he calls his best friend, who is the same person in either situation who he has known since childhood, should that friend remember the old timeline, or should they know the new timeline?
Rubs hands: time travel paradoxes! The very best paradoxes.

Version 1: If the lifelong injuries did not happen, why would he go back to the past to change them?

Version 2: I prefer this one. He's starting a "new timeline" (Yes, I say that like I know something about physics). There is no guarantee that this new timeline will play out like the old one. Even if we bend all sorts of rules to say he has a memory of the timeline he came from, there is no guarantee than any events - local or global or universal will repeat.

Now we come to the question of how much things are predictable given initial conditions. On Earth, for example, will the stock market behave the same way? Will the same horses win the races? Will things diverge more as time goes on, or will they diverge right away?

I think all these make for an interesting story.
 

DAgent

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What would cause possibility 2 to happen? Either he would stay in his 20-year old self or travel back to where he came from, his 50 aged self. If I understand you correctly option 2 will have him make a second jump from 20 to 25 self?
What about his younger self, asleep while the older version takes (permanently?) over? Will this suppressed identity remain there indefinitely?
And, if MC takes over his younger self, what happened with the 50 year old body?
Please bare in mind, he has no control over the time travel, the journey is essentially an accident.

He's not choosing to go back to his 20 year old body, or which time period he would go to after that, he is simply sent to these time periods with no reason that he can think of.

That's why he might be able to return to his 25 year old body on the day his original injuries were supposed to happen, which would allow himself to live his life over from that point, or go back to his present day as a 50 year old.

As for your other questions, as they wouldn't feature in the plot they wouldn't be investigated in any way. So absolutely anything might happen, but the MC would never see those situations. At best he's creating (by accident) a whole new alternate time line where he gets to live out his life again, either at 50 again with no injuries going forward, or at 25 which was when the injuries were supposed to happen but he's managed to prevent ever getting them.
 

Bramandin

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At best he's creating (by accident) a whole new alternate time line where he gets to live out his life again, either at 50 again with no injuries going forward, or at 25 which was when the injuries were supposed to happen but he's managed to prevent ever getting them.

I say to write a paragraph-story or outline of each of those and see which story interests you more.

Also, look at the Star Trek episode Tapestry. Picard is in the situation where he prevents an injury that later cuts his life short. When he goes back to being 50-ish in the new timeline,
it's intolerable and he'd rather die than live in that timeline.
Maybe that's one way your story could go.
 

Daysman

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If you switch to the viewpoint of the 25 year-old, saved from an accident and well aware they'd been highjacked by some benign entity, you could have them wonder (or preternaturally know) if this ghostly actor was destroyed in preventing the accident, returned to some world where they had to live with the accidents unfortunate outcome, or that they were still present, an older alt version of themselves, without executive control — at least for the moment.

Fun.
 

Bramandin

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If you switch to the viewpoint of the 25 year-old, saved from an accident and well aware they'd been highjacked by some benign entity, you could have them wonder (or preternaturally know) if this ghostly actor was destroyed in preventing the accident, returned to some world where they had to live with the accidents unfortunate outcome, or that they were still present, an older alt version of themselves, without executive control — at least for the moment.

Fun.

I thought that the mind of the 25-year-old transposed into the body of the 50-year-old who was injured while the injured 50-year-old got to live his life uninjured from 25-on might have been a fun thing to completely ignore in the context of the actual story. :p
 

DAgent

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If you switch to the viewpoint of the 25 year-old, saved from an accident and well aware they'd been highjacked by some benign entity, you could have them wonder (or preternaturally know) if this ghostly actor was destroyed in preventing the accident, returned to some world where they had to live with the accidents unfortunate outcome, or that they were still present, an older alt version of themselves, without executive control — at least for the moment.

Fun.
That was something I'd considered but decided not to go down that path.
 

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