Blast from the Past: The Time Tunnel

Dave

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THE TIME MACHINE <snip> though that guy's machine worked fine, it never moved from it starting point, except in the 4th dimension.
And right there you have hit upon another problem with fictional Time Travel machines...

Any point on the Earth rotates at over 1000 miles per hour, taking 24 hours, our day, to make one rotation. The Earth also "wobbles" on its polar axis.

The Earth revolves around the Sun, taking one year to make one revolution. This orbit is both eccentric and elliptical.

Our solar system is moving towards the constellation Hercules, and it is also currently moving upwards, at 90 degrees to the plane of the Milky Way.

At he same time our solar system revolves around the Milky Way taking 225 million years to make one rotation around the galaxy.

Space itself is expanding and our region of Space has been moving outwards since the Big Bang.

Even if you could calculate all of this accurately, you still have the problem of pin pointing a reference point.

The TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) somehow manages to do all of this, for which it is due some little respect. ;)

Gregory Benfold used the idea of the Earth moving in space in time best in the novel Timescape, but to say more would be spoiling it.

Edit: And I forgot to calculate for Continental Drift - now I've accidently re-materialised 2ft out inside a wall!
 
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Metryq

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The dynamic movement of Earth, Solar system, galaxy, etc. has been brought up in many sci-fi stories, and the writer always comes up with a creative solution. For example, saying that the time machine, or displaced object, would appear out in the vacuum of space where the Earth had been ignores conservation of momentum. So perhaps the object would still be in space, but shooting off at a tangent to its last contact with Earth, Solar system, etc. However, that assumes an absolute vantage point in space, which Einsteinian Relativity denies. So maybe time travelers would stay attached to their reference frame after all...

Karl Alexander's novel Time After Time differs from the 1979 movie in a few details. In the novel, the time machine was an ugly, metal box, not the frilly, Victorian steam-punk bauble seen in the movie. Wells is confused to find the machine in San Francisco when he arrives in 1979. He is even more surprised (and distressed) to find the machine a rusted hulk. Then he realizes the machine actually aged the 90-or-so years of his trip, while he remained in some sort of attenuated state inside the machine, even as it was carried overseas on exhibit. If he had gone any farther, the machine would have fallen apart around him, dumping him who knows where. So somehow Wells' body followed the world-line of the machine.

The problem with the time machine as it appeared in Wells' novel and the 1960 and 2002 movies is that it invokes a second dimension of time nested within the first. That is, while the machine is rocketing over the years, the Time Traveler experiences a second, subjective dimension of time. This is why some sci-fi writers prefer "temporal displacement" to "time travel"—the first term suggests a teleportation-like discontinuity taking no time at all. But there are problems with that idea as well.
 

Jeffbert

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:D Too much! :eek: I just watched the G. Pal film the other day, & it depicted the time machine in a, for the lack of a better term, PROTECTIVE BUBBLE, while around him, a solid wall of clay or earth piled up. He even stated that he would have been killed by the war if he had stopped moving through time. All too convenient, if you ask me.

But then, if he had been truly able to move to any arbitrary time, he could have returned to the same time as when he had left, rather than a week later. :D
 

Metryq

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But then, if he had been truly able to move to any arbitrary time, he could have returned to the same time as when he had left, rather than a week later. :D

True, but for some reason, Wells didn't think of that when writing the novel. Some time travel stories maintain a 1:1 relationship between two time periods once a bridge is made. Some authors explain it, some don't.

As for the "protective bubble," that's your interpretation of the limited visuals of the movie. The Time Traveler's voice-over states, "Only my speed through time saved me from being roasted alive and encased in stone forever." The book is more detailed:

And so my mind came around to the business of stopping.

The peculiar risk lay in the possibility of my finding some substance in the space which I, or the machine, occupied. So long as I traveled at a high velocity through time, this scarcely mattered: I was, so to speak, attenuated—was slipping like a vapor through the interstices of intervening substances! But to come to a stop involved the jamming of myself, molecule by molecule, into whatever lay in my way: meant bringing my atoms into such intimate contact with those of the obstacle that a profound chemical reaction—possibly a far-reaching explosion—would result, and blow myself and my apparatus out of all possible dimensions—into the Unknown.

Perhaps George Pal and his VFX artists considered a double-exposure, but rejected the idea as looking too much like a cheap camera effect.

If you've seen the 2002 "remake," you wouldn't be complaining about the 1960 production. The 2002 version shows a definite "bubble," and on two occasions solid matter passes that boundary as easily as an object projecting into water. On one occasion, the offending object is the übermorlock clinging to the machine while the indicator dials race by in a blur—meaning that the morlock survived for many thousands of years, instead of vanishing beyond the bubble in a flash. (But this was hardly the only thing wrong with that movie.)

It is possible that the "bubble" would be unbreachable. In one Doctor Who episode ("The Face of Evil" with Tom Baker) an impenetrable "wall" was created by shifting a volume of space slightly out of sync with the rest of the world around it—maybe advancing it a fraction of a second ahead in time. Only a time traveling device would be able to breach such a wall.

Doc Brown's time machines in the Back to the Future movies had no protective bubble because they "displaced" instantly from one time to another, blowing any obstacles out of the way with an explosive shockwave.
 

Jeffbert

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Thanks, Metryq; I did see the 2002 version, but the details have escaped me. But, even the air itself should be disruptive to his molecules whether he was time traveling, or teleporting. :D Hmm, this editor's spell check fails to recognize teleport. :confused::D
 

tangaloomababe

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Very vague memories of this one, I can recall the start quite well. There was an hour glass but actual episodes are forgotten, Was it any good?

I guess many of these old shows stand a chance of being remade, It would have been from the same era as Twilight Zone, Lost in Space and Land of the Giants. Some probably should not be resurrected.
 

Jeffbert

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That is a question of personal taste. I myself think that it comes off as rather silly (see my previous posts), but I still enjoy it. I am in the midst of watching the series on HULU.COM; though only about 1 episode per month. :cool:
 

Metryq

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Thanks, Metryq; I did see the 2002 version, but the details have escaped me.

(I know I replied to this one already. But I either fell asleep over my keyboard before clicking the "Submit" button, or the Chrons server is trying to throw me into a Monty Python "deja vu" skit.)

I guess this shows how memorable the 2002 movie was. The biggest mistake was killing off Sienna Guillory in the first act. The movie went downhill rapidly after that. For example, the writers confused paradox with fate.

But, even the air itself should be disruptive to his molecules whether he was time traveling, or teleporting.

I've run into several stories where a lone explorer—without the proper facilities to record and study his adventures—has worried about "merging" with air while teleporting or time traveling. After multiple jumps without any ill effects, such as the "bends," the adventurer brushed the matter aside and stopped worrying about it.

Since no one has ever time traveled or teleported, writers are free to make up anything they wish. Some explanation can help with suspension of disbelief, but saying "too much" can also be a problem. Does the teleporter/time traveler exchange places with any obstructing matter, or does the offending matter get pushed aside, thus making teleporting/time traveling similar to more conventional movement? Doc Brown's time machine in the Back to the Future movies pushed obstacles out of the way with a blast wave. I've also read stories where a teleporter/time traveler bounces off an obstacle either through elaborate safety circuits, or like any solid objects colliding.
 

Dave

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I've also read stories where a teleporter/time traveler bounces off an obstacle either through elaborate safety circuits, or like any solid objects colliding.
Which might explain why (in The Time Tunnel) Doug and Tony always seemed to arrive as if they had been propelled there - or were they meant to be falling into the particular era? (Falling does give more of a sense of it being an uncontrolled journey.)
 

Jeffbert

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I think that their falling or tumbling as though they had materialized in mid-air was used rather than simply appearing just as they suddenly vanish, or being faded-in, because that would add to production costs. They materialize off-screen simply to save money, & if they had merely walked on-screen, it just would seem rather unconvincing, so, they tumble.
 

Snowdog

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I used to dislike Land Of The Giants but loved Time Tunnel. After a while, though, it got a bit boring because whatever they did, they couldn't alter the past, so you knew how it was going to end in each episode, if not how they'd get there.
 

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