Archive for the ‘Time Travel’ Category

Of The Year – 2014

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

For once I’m writing this at a not too unreasonable point after the end of the year in question, so no need for a backdated post inserted via time travel…

1. LILILIL — Benji Hughes
I can’t think of another album in the last decade — if not ever — that leaves me with such a big grin every time I listen to it. LILILIL is concept album Benji wrote for his daughter. The story is a time travel rock opera set in outer space and narrated by Jeff Bridges.  Various characters leave “space messages” that are basically introductions to “space jams” by Benji.  Plus the whole thing starts off with a repeated chant of “I am from the future…I am from the future…I am from the future.”  You had me at hello…

2. OXOXOXOX / Songs in the Key of Animals / XXOXOXX – Benji Hughes
Yes, I really am saying my 4 favorite albums of 2014 are by the same artist. And it was pretty much a no brainer.  Since they are only available for purchase as a set I’ll go Nielsen-style and group them together under a single number.  (This also gets me off the hook from needing to rank them individually.)  Can you say infallible band?

3. Supernova – Ray LaMontagne
Ray’s best record since his debut. Taking chances with vocal arrangements and cool stuttery noises that paid off big. Any other year this would have been number one with a bullet.

4. The Voyager – Jenny Lewis
Breezy, poppy, snarky, confident and fun.

5. V for Vaselines – The Vaselines
Kurt Cobain’s fandom and Nirvana’s 3 famous covers sent me seeking out the Vaselines 20 years ago. Some songs I have always loved (“The Day I Was a Horse,” “Teenage Superstars” and “Dying For It”), but mostly I respected them and found the other songs more interesting than good. The same was mostly true about their 2010 comeback record — but V for Vaselines is easily the best album in their catalog. I hope they do another one.

Enumerating the Top Time Travel Stories

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Timely Persuasion was recently named third favorite time travel story on the Enumeration Podcast!

Enumeration - Time Travel Stories

It was an honor to be named here amongst several other great time travel tales. The three hosts came up with quite a set of stories altogether. Their complete lists are covered below – but check out the full episode for some cool discussion about each set of three:

Paul (novels):

1. Replay
2. Branch Point
3. Timely Persuasion

Honorable Mentions:

Time And Again, Time On My Hands, A Christmas Carol, The Man Who Folded Himself, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Island in the Sea of Time, The Trinity Paradox

Ben:

1. Back to the Future Trilogy
2. Groundhog Day
3. The Langoliers

Honorable Mentions:

“A Sound of Thunder”, The Time Machine, Slaughterhouse-Five, Time Bandits, Star Trek (4, 7, 8, & 11), 12 Monkeys, Donnie Darko, The Terminator, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Primer, Star Trek The Next Generation: “All Good Things”, TMNT – Turtles in Time, Time Changer

Alex:

1. Back to the Future
2. The End of Eternity
3. Chrono Trigger

Honorable Mentions:

The Lords of the Sands of Time, X-Men: Days of Future Past

Lots of excellent picks!

The only surprising omission in my mind would be Quantum Leap, though to be fair they did give have a passing “put right what once went wrong” reference during the podcast.

For me, the holy trinity of time travel will always be Replay, Back to the Future, and Quantum Leap in a three way tie for first. Breaking it out by category, my personal favorites would be:

Books:

1. Replay
2. Expiration Date
3. Up the Line

Movies:

1. Back to the Future
2. Timecrimes (Los Cronocrímenes)
3. Primer

Television:

1. Quantum Leap
2. “The Constant” (Episode of Lost)
3. Journeyman

Honorable Mentions: (excluding works already referenced)

Books: 11/22/63, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Too Many Time MachinesMan in the Empty Suit

Movies: Deja Vu, Happy Accidents, Shuffle, Always Will, Source Code, Safety Not Guaranteed, About Time

TelevisionTru CallingVoyagers!Misfits (Season 1 Episode 4), “Back There” (Twilight Zone Episode)

Video Games: Back to the Future: The Game, Chronotron, The Silent Age, Day of the Tentacle, Mushroom Age, Braid

Remember Remember the 5th of November

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

November 5th continues to be one of my favorite pseudo-holidays for obvious time travel geekery reasons.

In honor of that great red-letter date, here are a few BTTF tidbits found in Timely Persuasion.

Chapter 3:

After a year of constantly playing the Back to the Future soundtrack, my uncle took me to see Huey Lewis and the News.

Chapter 9:

I didn’t even need or want a DeLorean. Just a time bicycle would have made me a happy camper.

Chapter 17:

That was it. He confirmed that the future mother of his children actually existed, gave Nelson’s Mom the Heisman, renamed the album Quits, played one final show, and abruptly left the music business behind to seek out his density—I mean destiny—with my real mother.

Chapter 17: 

Still groggy, aching, and starving, I woke up on the couch with a figure hovering above me.

“Mom? Mom is that you?”

Acknowledgments:

Jeff Winston, Pamela Phillips, Henry DeTamble, Jud Elliott, Billy Pilgrim, Sam Deed, James Cole, John Titor, Dan Vasser, Livia Beale, Tru Davies, Daniel Eakins, Sam Beckett, Al Calavicci, Marty McFly, Emmett Brown, Bill S. Preston, Ted “Theodore” Logan, Hiro Nakamura, Eckels, Aaron, Abe, Will, Sherman, Mr. Peabody, and anyone else who has walked in their shoes.

It’s been so long there are probably a few more I can’t remember or readily find.  Check them out for yourself via Amazon, Apple, and/or online.

A Parallelogram

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

“Purple parallelogram I got in Amsterdam, made me dream a dream I didn’t understand.” — The Lemonheads

Checked out time-travel play A Parallelogram this weekend and really dug it. Warning: Spoilers Below…

The play focuses on Bee, a thirty-something woman who recently met her time traveler future self that — ala Quantum Leap and/or Timely Persuasion — only she can see or hear. The first act intersperses an argument with Bee’s boyfriend Jay between musings by the two Bees on the future and why it can’t be changed, sprinkling in some fun replaying of the Bee & Jay scenes via a time travel inducing remote control. Older Bee eventually lets it slip that Jay is going to leave Bee because he thinks she’s crazy.

That leads us into the second act, where Jay visits Bee in the hospital. Older Bee is also here. To Jay she’s the doctor, but to young Bee she’s still older Bee and converses as such in a brilliantly clever bit of three-way dialogue. The big reveal here is that Bee may have a brain tumor, which calls into question whether or not the future Bee is real or a hallucination. This becomes the central idea for the rest of the play.

Some random thoughts, observations and ponderings:

(Again — heavy on the spoilers, so stop here if you don’t want anything else given away.)

  • The time travel bits during act one were a lot of fun and handled very well in a live setting.  Loved it every time Jay would walk into the bathroom and re-enter through the bedroom door replaying his previous scene.
  • At one point Bee reveals a tattoo of a blue jay on her arm for Jay, and future Bee simultaneously reveals the same tattoo to the audience.  Since Bee later ends up dating J.J., it would have been cool if future Bee had two blue jays tattooed on her arm. (It’s possible she did and I missed it, but that’s what I would have done.)
  • Older Bee’s monologue to the audience about the bird virus epidemic comes shortly after J.J.’s theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs and will one day regain their slot at the top of the food chain. Under the hallucination scenario, the timing works out that young Bee is making up the epidemic as older Bee is addressing the audience. This could be further supported by the way she tells the story, especially the “you’ll think I’m making this part up…” in the middle.
  • Related: At one point when older Bee is giving her monologue she talks with her hands a lot — and in the background young Bee is on the bed having a muted conversation mirroring the hand motions exactly. Brilliantly done.
  • Under the time travel scenario, you could argue that the presence of older Bee caused the chain of events that plays out in acts two and three in either classic “whatever happened, happened” style or the equally common “your solution was actually the cause…”
  • The bit with the missing TV remote control that young Bee later mistakes for the time travel remote was a nice touch that feeds both sides of the debate.

Though I always get giddy over time travel, I’m equally a fan of a well done mindf**k so this play delighted me from both angles.

Tying it back to my opening song lyric quote, “Purple Parallelogram” was a song allegedly co-written by Evan Dando of the Lemonheads and Noel Gallagher of Oasis. It was slated to appear on the Lemonheads Car Button Cloth album, but was dropped at the last minute due to a request by Noel Gallagher.

Did it really happen, or did Evan Dando hallucinate the whole thing? Hmmm…

More Red Letter Dates

Monday, November 5th, 2012

The most famous red letter date in the history of time travel is November 5, 1955 from Back to the Future.

November 5, 1955

Lesser known BTTF dates include:

  • January 1, 1885 (Doc’s trip to the Old West)
  • September 2, 1885 (Marty’s trip to the Old West)
  • November 12, 1955 (Enchantment Under The Sea / Lighting vs the Clock Tower / Biff gives himself the Sports Almanac)
  • October 26, 1985 (The day it all started)
  • October 21, 2015 (Marty & Jennifer’s trip to the future)
  • October 26, 2015 (Doc’s first trip to the future, assuming “30 is a nice round number”)

In Timely Persuasion many of the actual time travel dates are vague — but there are some key red letter dates based on the narrator’s memories or bits of musical trivia:

  • October 12, 1969 (WKNR DJ Russ Gibb starts the “Paul is Dead” rumor)
  • September 18, 1970 (Jimi Hendrix found dead)
  • April 7, 1994 (Eve of discovery of Kurt Cobain’s body; Tom Grant & Dylan Carlson search house)
  • April 12, 2000 (Napster/Metallica copyright suit)
  • September 10, 2001 (Trying to save sister)

As long as we’re on the subject, let’s extend the red letter dates to include some of my other favorite time travel tales:

  • September 13, 1956 (Sam Beckett’s first Quantum Leap)
  • September 9, 1958 (Destination of the time portal in 11/22/63)
  • February 22, 1972 (Mickey Wade’s pills bring him here in Expiration Date)
  • September 23, 1977 (Clare first meets Henry in The Time Traveler’s Wife)
  • October 2, 1988 (Jet Engine & Frank the Rabbit travel back to this date in Donnie Darko)
  • October 18, 1988 (Jeff Winston dies and starts replaying in Replay)
  • October 26, 1991 (Henry first meets Clare in The Time Traveler’s Wife)
  • December 12, 1996 (James Cole witnesses the death of his future self at the airport in 12 Monkeys)
  • November 5, 1999 (Jacob travels back to visit Peter at the cafe in Trickshot)
  • March 16, 2005 (Uncle Jim visits Danny Deakins in The Man Who Folded Himself)
  • October 23, 2030 (The date of the future visions seen in the novel Flashforward)
I’ve never noticed this before, but time travelers sure like the fall.  17 of the 23 dates listed above are in Sept/Oct/Nov!

Looper

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Feels like I’ve been waiting forever for Looper to come out. Finally got to see it last night.

Funny pre-amble:  As I was buying tickets, the previous show was letting out. I’ve gone out of my way for months to not watch trailers, not read interviews, and otherwise not be spoiled at all before seeing the film. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by a mob who just saw it and are discussing what happened. I promptly put my fingers in my ears and started humming.

(Warning — To make sure I don’t do the same to you, stop reading now if you haven’t seen the movie…)

Overall I mostly dug Looper, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype in my head. To be fair, with Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rian Johnson, and consultation by Shane Carruth (of Primer fame) my expectation was “greatest time travel movie ever” which was probably setting the bar a touch high.

Likes:

  • The diner scene with future and past selves meeting is an instant classic. Some of the explanations of how memories work echoed Timely Persuasion to a degree, and how Bruce Willis decides to NOT talk about time travel is awesome.
  • JGL totally sells that he’s a younger Bruce Willis.
  • Jeff Daniels is awesome as Abe.  Love his “I’m from the future. You should go to China” line.
  • The flashback/forward 30 year montage was very well done.
  • Without giving too much away, the whole general conundrum of the loop was one of the more thought provoking takes I’ve seen — especially how it starts to play with whether the older self is actually older & wiser or not (again mirroring TP a bit).
  • What is probably the iPhone 21 (assuming every other year for a # jump) looks awesome!

(Nitpicky) Dislikes:

  • Even though it was a good piece of subtle foreshadowing done well – and pretty crucial to the endgame – I didn’t really like the TK bits. Probably due to the fact that I tend to love time travel, but not really like other sci-fi all that much.
  • I wanted a little more out of the Abe/Kid Blue/Rainmaker story. Maybe some sort of overlap or reveal (for awhile I thought Kid Blue was Abe — though I’m not sure if I still think that, or if it would be good or bad if he was). Didn’t need to be overt or overly explainy, but struck me as a missing piece.
  • When Bruce Willis is holding his watch and talking about his wife at the diner, I thought the fact that they didn’t actually show the photo meant it was already gone.  Would have been cool to take that further, indicating he still remembered her though the signs of her existence were fading — ala BTTF
  • I also wished we got just a little bit more from the ending. Maybe a very brief scene in 2074 that hints at whether or not the mission was successful. Not a Hollywood ending, but some sort of open-ended twist about how the Rainmaker turns out.

I suspect some of these dislikes will change over time — and the alleged 45 minutes of deleted scenes on the DVD may help.

Probably need to revise my list at some point, but after one viewing I’d put Looper behind BTTF, Timecrimes, 12 Monkeys, and Primer. Probably ranks right around the under-rated Deja Vu in my book — maybe a few clicks ahead.

Ramblings VI

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

I seem to have hit another of those lengthy posting lags while the world gets in the way.  Ramblings time:

  • Been digging the new Back To The Future Game from Telltale.  It’s essentially BTTF IV, starting off 6 months after the trilogy ends in 1986 and has Marty bouncing back and forth between 1931 and the present interacting with a teenage Doc.  Right now I’m midway through episode 4 out of 5.  It’s probably worthy of a full post once the whole thing is done.
  • Discovered yet another Ziggy iPhone app.  This one’s called Ziggy’s Time Traveler Emergency Reference and is basically a QL skinned offline Wikipedia viewer.  Pretty much right along the lines of the real Ziggy, though it won’t tell you when history changes via an edit to the wiki…
  • The Beastie Boys short film Fight For Your Right Revisited features an unexpectedly awesome time travel twist, complete with BTTF DeLorean cameo.
  • Been so busy I realize I wrote but forgot to post my annual year-end music best of list.  Wait, a minute, I got all the time I want! I got a time machine!  I could just go back early and post it…

Trickshot Finale

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

I’ve mentioned the illustrated web-based time travel serial Trickshot a couple of times previously during its work in progress days, but now that it has reached completion I decided another full-blown post was in order.

What’s the best way to tell a time travel story out of order? To tell it in order. That’s the easiest way to sum up the brilliance of Trickshot.

Most time travel tales follow the time traveler:

Marty is in 1985 –> 1955  –> 1985 –> 2015 –> Etc.

Trickshot presents a chronology from the viewpoint of a normal observer living year to year. Time travelers pop in and out from time to time, which really makes you think about the perception of time and the natural order of things.

Doc is in 1885 –> Marty is in 1885 –>  ’55 Doc meets ’85 Marty –> Etc.

Of course, we’re not talking about Marty & Doc when it comes to Trickshot. We’re talking about Jacob, Markos, Ricco, Richard & Saul plus a whole bunch of other folks. But saying much more than that would give too much away. Let’s just say that it’s epic, it’s fun, and it’s the only web serial to ever hold my attention — which is quite a feat considering the hundred episodes comprising Trickshot ran over the course of 945 days.

Not enough?  Here’s a little more with some minor spoilers:  The story spans 165,000+ years from biblical times to the year 3096, but where it starts depends on your frame of reference.  The plot has four main arcs that interconnect in a unique sort of tesseract revolving around determined time traveler Jacob Barnes, the Chronodynamics Guild, time travel inventor Richard Garrison, and time travel inventor Saul.  (Yes, references to 3 different creators and 165,000 years are not typos.)

Each section works well as a stand-alone, while uniting together to solve a larger mystery involving a mysterious historic event in the Earth’s history known only as “Jericho.”  The story also contains nods to a number of other time travel classics, much like Timely Persuasion.

Intrigued?  An eBook version is allegedly on the way.  In the meantime you can check out Trickshot at thetrickshot.com.

Someone Else is Rediscovering Pavement

Monday, September 13th, 2010

The best love letter to a band disguised as a letter to your past self (or is it vice versa?) that I have ever read:

Wait, You’ve Never Heard: Pavement – Brighten The Corners

My favorite quote:

“There’s a magic to the moment you finally love a band, and anyone who says he or she was with every band from the beginning is a lying sack of shit.”

(via Consequence of Sound)

PS: I also love the random “The Mummy” reference for reasons not intended by the author.

Expiration Date = TP Remake?

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Just finished reading an awesome novel featuring:

  • A recently unemployed journalist who goes back in time
  • A musician father in the past
  • Time travel that works by just thinking hard about a specific date
  • An inability to visit the same date twice
  • Being ghost-like and invisible to most people while back in time
  • Always traveling to the same “clock time” and location you left from
  • A mysterious doctor associated with a creepy hospital
  • Chapters named after song titles/lyrics

No, I didn’t reread Timely Persuasion again.  The above bullets also describe Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski.  But the similarities are both striking and amusing.  Not sure whether I should chalk it up to great minds thinking alike, 100% coincidence or something in between.  This quote from the book summed up my opinion and made me laugh out loud:

Two events could be a coincidence.  Not all of this.”

Apophenia aside, the two stories are very different beyond the areas where music & time travel particulars intersect.  Expiration Date plays out as a fast paced hardboiled detective novel bouncing back and forth between the 1970s and the present, with cliffhangers at the end of most chapters that leave you longing for more.  I absolutely devoured it, being sucked into the “just one more chapter before bed” trap that hasn’t happened in a long time.  Best book I’ve read in ages, with an ending that was both satisfying and clever.

Highly recommended, even if TP did nothing to inspire it.