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In your not-so-distant future of the 25th century humanity finally found a solution to one of the biggest problems: can we travel back through time?

Actually, yes we can. However, there is a big BUT: anything we change in the past will affect our present and fixing results of butterfly effect is not impossible, but it’s hard, time-consuming (no pun intended) and nobody wants to do that. This fact, proven by a countless test runs, lead to creation of Time Police who keep an eye out on everyone using time machines. And trust me, you don't want to piss these guys off, because they will make you clean up all the mess you've made (which would take millennia). But I digress.

Basically, we can go in the past for studying history or sightseeing, but any changes are prohibited. We can take things and even people from the past to (their) future, but then we have to restore everything to the condition the person/item was when we took them (both physically and mentally) and return them back.

Now, I'm a wealthy and influential man with an access to the time machine and a passion for early-www media (movies, video games, music, etc) from late 20th-early 21st century. One day an idea struck me: there are a lot of artists who strive after their magnum opus, but for whatever reason they can’t. For example, they die young from yet incurable disease (or their poor decisions) or one day their financial backer comes and tells them something like "We can't fund your dream project any longer. Roll it out, or we'll sue you." or "You can't put that in your movie/book/game/whatever, it's bad for market value of the product. Change it to something milder."

Let's take the Wachowski siblings for example. Their original vision of Matrix movie trilogy was never realised. They finished filming what they could. Then time passed, Keanu Reeves died, Laurence Fishburne died, Wachowski died and all that was left was an idea. Now, four centuries later, I have funds (which are pretty much infinite by 20th century standards) and the means to get Wachowski in 25th century, get them any actor, any studio prop, anything they need to make their project the way they envisioned it.

Here is the tricky part: I know that no one, even a passionate artist, will work for free. Some will want money, some need fame, some desire knowledge that they created a masterpiece. Problem is when they are done with their project, I have to restore their bodies and memories to the point at which they were when I "kidnapped" them, then I have to put them back. Basically, they wouldn't even know that they left. I can't change their physical condition, I can't give them any kind of information from the future and, of course, I can't give them any presents. Neither can I play the "distant relative who suddenly died and left you a big sum of money" card or anything like that. So even if I, say, bring Faruh Bulsara in the future and cure him from AIDS so he could finish ‘Made in Heaven’, I’ll have to give him AIDS back before leaving him to die in the past. Any changes are prohibited.

I really don’t want to lie to people whose work I adore. So here is the question:

What can I offer to talented people if I can't allow them to have anything? How can I convince them to finish their work and abandon it?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure asking "How can I convince talented people to finish their work and abandon it?" is about worldbuilding. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Oct 23 '17 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ Take them to the future just before they were going to die, Let them stay. (dump a plausible fake corpse in the past.) $\endgroup$ Oct 23 '17 at 16:24
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1) Kidnap Tommy Wiseau

2) Bring him to the future

3) Clone him

4) Send Tommy Wiseau back in time, reverting his memories

5) Give the clone Tommy Wiseau's memories (must be possible, based on step 4)

6) Offer Tommy Wiseau's Clone whatever he desires, to complete The Room 2.

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  • $\begingroup$ Why not send the clone back? Just copy his memories at arrival and put them in the clone. Saves one step $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Oct 23 '17 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ Sending the clone back would be breaking the rules $\endgroup$ Oct 23 '17 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ Not as far as anyone can prove ;P $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Oct 23 '17 at 13:23
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You can give them the time of their life - for some time

Why would you send them back immediately after they finished their work? Let them enjoy the wonders of the 25th century for a while. All those cars flying through the air and instant teleportation to sunny beaches on other planets.

You have near unlimited funds and obviously there are a lot of interesting things in the future. Show the people around. A little bit of sightseeing in the future and the chance to finish what they started should be enough for most people to do what you want them to do.

Living a life of luxury in the future is payment enough.

Yeah, they will have to go back. But they know that they will not remember anything. Why not just live your life right here and right now?

Teach them. Show them things they couldn't see or even dream of. Let them be part of discussions in the future and show their point of view to enrich your current society. The people you adore will surely think that you compensated them more than enough. If you like to go back sightseeing imagine what it's like to go forward for sightseeing. There are probably pictures of the past - but accurate pictures of the future? No money can buy that.

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Same thing the gods offered Achilles, undying fame, and given that you can bring them forward hundreds of years they get to see it. Even if they don't remember it later for a little while they can see the enduring impact their art has.

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Assuming that in the 25th century you have the technology to reverse aging etc and otherwise return their physical bodies back to the state they were in when they left the past then you can give them years of extra life and wondrous living - just with the caveat that they won't be able to remember it later. If you pick them up not long before their historical death this is probably going to be quite an attractive offer. Add in that if they are spending enough time in the future they will get to see their artistic endeavors being enjoyed and appreciated and I think most artists will take you up on it.

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    $\begingroup$ I can't heal them or change them in any way. They have to live their lives like they lived them in my timeline. That's why I added an example with Freddie Mercury. $\endgroup$ Oct 23 '17 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ Is that can't as in don't have the capability or won't as in down to preserving the timeline? If it's the former my idea won't work, if it's the latter you just need to make sure you have the capability to undo whatever is done to them in the future. $\endgroup$ Oct 23 '17 at 13:15
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Some things are near eternal, and if you were wanting to influence a man and you happened to be an attractive young woman, I’m sure that you could find a way of providing incentive without really doing very much. This might even be aided by telling him the simple truth of what you were about together with the administration of some form of amnesia drug.

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