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Star Trek

Rules for Time Travel

After years of reading and watching science fiction, fantasy, and other time-travelling fiction it’s nice to know that someone has had a serious think about some rules.  Discover magazine, propelled by the latest Star Trek movie, has published a list of 10+1 time travel rules [^] that should be followed to maintain current scientific accuracy. 

The first, and probably most telling rule is the rebuttal of the fiction favourite: the time travel paradox. Reality simply doesn’t allow for paradoxes. Two contradictory, mutually exclusive outcomes from one event (like the Grandfather Paradox [^]) cannot exist simultaneously.

What is really interesting is the amount of serious discussion that this article has provoked. Especially as the article notes that this is an area that is still in it’s infancy in the highly theoretical realm.

Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine as Spock and Kirk

There is one thing that I am sure of, and that is that writers will never let some new theory get in the way of a good plot!

As for Star Trek [^], well it is one of the better Star Trek movies. It’s big, noisy, and enjoyable. And it doesn’t always take itself too seriously, quite a bit of which is down to “Bones” McCoy and Simon Pegg’s “Scotty”.

The one gripe that I have about the film is the completely unexplained “Red Matter”. Come on guys couldn’t you explain that a bit – it’s like there’s five minutes of tape missing. We don’t know what it is or where it comes from even at the end of the movie, and this is a key part of the story!

The 2009 Star Trek movie seem to be a good entry point for non-Trekkies/-Trekkers, and a fantastic excuse for a spot of revision. Oh, yes there is a time-travel twist in the movie, but it might not be as good as Discover’s:

“Spock travels to the past and gets a sex change and becomes Kirk’s grandfather lover”.