August 10, 2003


I can't believe it. They made a movie of Michael Crichton's Timeline.

I loved the premise. An archeology scholar is sent back through time, then something happens which causes the people who sent him to start to worry, then they send several of his students back through time to find him. That is absolutely fine with me. I think that can make a good book or movie if done correctly. I think that Michael Crichton, for the most part, wrote the plot of the book excellently.

There was one thing about the book that bothered me. I am going to try to keep it short, but it involves the explanation of time travel in the book. This may include some minor spoilers, but I honestly don't know because I am talking about the book and I haven't seen the movie. So if you plan on seeing the movie and haven't read the book, read on at your own risk.

"The ITC technology has nothing to do with time travel, at least not directly. What we have developed is a form of space travel. To be precise, we use quantum technology to manipulate an orthogonal multiverse coordinate change....It means...that we travel to another place in the multiverse." (Multiverse = infinite number of universes)

"Actually, since there are infinite in number, the universes exist at all earlier times."

Alright, I can buy these two explanations for a fictional novel. I don't believe it, but I can accept it for the book and not have a problem with it.

"We'll register them starting as early as two hours before an event. And in fact, these started about two hours ago. It means a machine is returning [to the present]."
"What machine?"
"Sue's machine."
"But she hasn't [gone back through time] yet."
"I doesn't seem to make sense. Quantum events are all counterintuitive."
"You're saying you get an indicator that she is returning before she has left?"

That makes perfect sense to me. My mind works that way, I guess. This was actually the simplest concept in the explanation to me. This next part is the problem.

"Are you saying that when you transmit, the person is being reconstituted by another universe?"
"In effect, yes. I mean, it has to be. We can't very well reconstitute them, because we're not there. We're in this universe."
"The person [who arrived in the other universe] didn't come from our universe."
"Then where?"
"They came from a universe that is almost identical to ours--identical in every respect--except that they know how to reconstitute it at the other end."
"You're joking."
"The Kate who lands there isn't the Kate who left here? She's a Kate from another universe?"

Ok, so you have an infinite number of universes. Naturally, that means there are also an infinite number of universes identical to the one you exist in. So, that would mean there are an infinite number of any person. That all makes sense to me. But, you don't know how to recreate the person after they are transmitted in the way you do it. So, everytime you send someone you are in fact destroying them and getting a different, but identical, version of the same person back? What happens to the person that is sent? Are they killed? Or are they just transmitted through the multiverse forever being unable to reform themselves? This needs to be addressed in greater detail because this doesn't make sense at all to me.

Posted by Randy at August 10, 2003 02:21 PM