Dieselpunks

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

The idea of time travel always thrilled me - ever since early 1970s when I read HG Wells' Time Machine, Jack Finney's Time and Again and Robert Heinlein's The Door into Summer. Does it thrill YOU?

And if does, do you want to travel in time? Where and when to, what for? Probably to fix / destroy something / somebody? To alter present and future? To change something related to your family story? Or probably just to take a walk around some World Fair pavilions, to come aboard Graf Zeppelin or Mauretania, to invite Norma Jean for a Martini, to travel in a real Orient Express, to use an elevator that will take you to the top of Singer Building, to enter first BBC television studio in the Crystal Palace?

And if the idea doesn't appeal to you, may I ask why?

Tell me. I'm eager to hear. Share your dreams, dream of something new, ask questions. And don't forget that this network is travelling in time, too.

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I think about the concept sometimes, then the reality of it all bursts my bubble.

Let's put aside the complexities of actually traveling back in time for a second. Once you're there, then what?

As much as I love the style, the pieces I'm truly in love with can be reproduced, or still seen today. Past that, I think I would miss the lifestyle and conveniences I've grown accustomed to in today's age. Simple things like reliable transportation, instantaneous world-wide communication, advanced health care, and other little technological blips always pull me back.

I'm a product of today, and I wouldn't trade that for any age.

Now, if you're a romantic, and you love the idea of the past, then that's another story.

Me, I would probably die of smallpox 15 minutes after arriving in 1905.
And to die from Spanish flu in 1919 was much easier than to be killed at war a year before.
I'm perfectly well with "past as past", and if I don't like a lot of present-day things, it's not because some decades ago it was better.
But to take a glimpse of something that ceased to exist, to learn about something that wasn't documented or perished without trace - this idea somehow fascinates me even now, when I'm forty-eight years old and have a considerable amount of my own past.
Time travel would be great. You could listen to the great theologians of history and see how great they really were... or weren't.

Listen to Gandhi, Socrates, Jesus, or Muhammad. Ask Methuselah if he really did live to be almost a thousand years old. Witness the Gettysburg address or Dr. King's dream speech.

So, ultimately, I'd make history my personal classroom and historical figures my teachers. For this purpose, the past is more important than the future, and the people more important than the places.
As much as I've given this subject thought, which is quite a bit, in the end, my fantasies often see it as a shopping spree. If I could bring back a '33 Ford 3-window coupe to the present to enjoy, or that Breitling Slide Rule watch from another post, or some original aviator boots, jacket and helmet from the '40s, then that would be awesome. I'm not even asking for one-of-a-kind or impossibly rare items, just items that were plentiful then, and are rare now. This seems odd now that I'm actually typing it out, but indeed, other than a little bit of history sight-seeing, as Myke suggested, the main component of my time-travel fantasies involve what I bring back, whether it be small or large object, or person [i.e., woman ;)], and not so much the adventure of actually being there. To walk the streets of 1934 Chicago would be wonderful. To chat with Michael Faraday or Robert Hooke of science in England in the early 1800s and late 1600s would be stimulating. But in the end, I would miss today's amenities, and besides, yesterday's scientists would drive me crazy with their beliefs in Aether, or Phlogiston, or some other failed theory.

In the end, as shallow as it may sound, it'd be all about the shopping.

Shopping in the past? Er... on the second thought, I'm afraid I'll indulge myself in ale and altbier and miss that airship to Chicago. Seriously, sometimes I want to feel the taste of old-fashioned food. If you had a chance to read Time and Again, you should remember how Si Morley tried 1880s-styled meal, long before his journey to the past.

Deven Science said:
In the end, as shallow as it may sound, it'd be all about the shopping.
Time-travelling to the past would be too dangerous for my taste - Butterfly-Effect and all that; I would only be able to watch without having a chance to interact because of the fear for the consequences of even the tiniest action I take.
Time-travelling to the future, now that's a different story. I really would like to know if that constant struggle of mankind on every level will be worth it in the end, somehow, or if we simply cease to exist, unnoticed by the rest of the universe.

Your last phrase sounds definitely Wellsian. That's exactly what HGW thought writing his Time Machine.
Dreddhead said:
I really would like to know if that constant struggle of mankind on every level will be worth it in the end, somehow, or if we simply cease to exist, unnoticed by the rest of the universe.
It comes down to this: will you be remembered or will you be forgotten - and do you care about it? ;-)
I don't subscribe to the Butterfly Effect view of time travel. If you decided to go to 1950 and kill somebody, then it changes nothing, because you were there already in 1950, before you were born, and you already killed him. As far as the world is concerned, that's when you first appeared, not the date you were born. You can't kill Hitler, because you already tried and failed. Any influence you would make in the past you already made when you were there.

This allows one to embrace his time travelling with more abandon, and it makes more logical sense to me, doing away with most paradoxes.

Dreddhead said:
Time-travelling to the past would be too dangerous for my taste - Butterfly-Effect and all that; I would only be able to watch without having a chance to interact because of the fear for the consequences of even the tiniest action I take.
Time-travelling to the future, now that's a different story. I really would like to know if that constant struggle of mankind on every level will be worth it in the end, somehow, or if we simply cease to exist, unnoticed by the rest of the universe.

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