In my world, there is a character who can space-time travel (he creates an alternate reality each time he travels).

He doesn't have a good control over his power but he can still think where and when he wants to go and have a good chance to travel there, he just can't do it every time he wants.

One of his friends have been shot : Do you think that I can justify the fact that he can't save him no matter how many times he tries ?

Thank you in advance :)


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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Stephen Hawking's chronology protection conjecture comes to mind. $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 22 '18 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ So this is a Basic Causality Paradox, AKA go back and cause the situation that got you there in the first place because you can't travel if you don't have a reason to, see The Time Machine and any number of of other time travel movies and TV series. $\endgroup$ – Ash May 22 '18 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ Even allowing for an alternative reality being formed (and presumably leaving the original intact and following its own continuum), how would you then deal with the curious paradox of subsequently having two of you co-existing in the same universe - where will you live? $\endgroup$ – Lee Leon May 22 '18 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ This plot sounds very similar to Steins Gate. $\endgroup$ – Anonymous Jun 16 '18 at 4:26

TLDR: alternate realities are unpredictable

Have you ever heard of butterfly effect? the smallest change can have some really big impact. By doing time travel, you become the butterfly.

That means that once you travel, the past is the same, but the future can be really different.

You want to prevent your friend to be shot. So you go back in time, and install bulletproof glass in his car. Bad luck, the butterfly effect have changed the hitman hired to kill your friend, and this hitman use poison instead of guns. Sadly for your friend, bulletproof glass is useless against arsenic.

repeat as many time as you want. As "he just can't do it every time he wants", the attempts are limited



sisyphus https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/sisyphus/bb56eb47-052f-4e15-8e46-75a3f18b13ad

The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

As for this myth, one sees merely the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone, to roll it and push it up a slope a hundred times over; one sees the face screwed up, the cheek tight against the stone, the shoulder bracing the clay-covered mass, the foot wedging it, the fresh start with arms outstretched, the wholly human security of two earth-clotted hands. At the very end of his long effort measured by skyless space and time without depth, the purpose is achieved. Then Sisyphus watches the stone rush down in a few moments toward that lower world whence he will have to push it up again toward the summit. He goes back down to the plain. It is during that return, that pause, that Sisyphus interests me. A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself! I see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end.

You do not need to justify your hero's failure with metaphysics. You are telling a fable - the myth of Sisyphus, couched in a science fiction setting. Eternal failure, which is torture because somehow it comes with the eternal hope of success.

Mythologic themes are stellar material for high science fiction. Remember for your story - what is the reason that Sisyphus was punished with this particular punishment? I found it interesting that one version has him punished for his levity - with eternal lifting being a suitable punishment!

I see the story - the wedding guest encounters the time traveler after his latest failure. The traveler is intrigued to this time meet the wedding guest, whom he has never met before, and he recounts his tale of failure after failure. But the traveler's eyes sparkle - the levity is still there, and he can see a path forward to success with the next effort. That is his fate.


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