Time-Travel Plot Cliche

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Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Jorpho » Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:02 am UTC

A few years ago I read Ken Grimwood's "Replay". Not a particularly good book (entirely too much sex), but a solid concept: a man one day has a heart attack and suddenly finds himself as a college student again, with a complete memory of the life he had led and everything that had happened during it. This being an older novel, one of the things he tries to do is prevent the Kennedy assassination by discretely tipping the FBI off to Oswald. This ends up not working very well, as Kennedy dies anyway, and the assassination is pinned on someone else (who is subsequently killed by Jack Ruby).

Every now and then, I find myself musing: if in 1999, I suddenly found myself with the memory of everything I've seen and done over the last ten years, could I have prevented 9/11 somehow, or even the whole Flordia voting mess and the Bush presidency as a whole? How would you do it?
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby mrbaggins » Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:07 am UTC

I wouldn't prevent 9-11, however I'd probably go and ring their fire alarm or something so that no-one was in the buildings. Then I'd go to the pentagon (Those are close together, RIGHT?) and set up a heap of cameras to shut up the conspiracy nutters, one way or the other.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Carnildo » Sun Mar 15, 2009 7:27 am UTC

mrbaggins wrote:I wouldn't prevent 9-11, however I'd probably go and ring their fire alarm or something so that no-one was in the buildings.

Evacuating something as big and as important as the World Trade Center isn't done on a whim. Based on past evidence, your best bet would be to set off a car bomb in the parking garage. If you could cut off electricity to the building, that might do it.

Then I'd go to the pentagon (Those are close together, RIGHT?) and set up a heap of cameras to shut up the conspiracy nutters, one way or the other.

Nothing can shut up conspiracy-theorists. It comes from the way their logic works: first they draw a conclusion, then they look for evidence to support it, and ignore evidence that contradicts their conclusion.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby mypsychoticself » Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:28 pm UTC

Calling in a bomb threat might work for the wtc. You'd also be less likely to be thrown in gitmo for the rest of your life.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:35 pm UTC

I bet you could stop 9-11, if you tried. Report the right person at the right time, have them arrested, and hope the whole thing falls apart...Although I've heard there were metric tons of incompetence involved here, so maybe it wouldn't help. A copy of the commission report would help.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby ameretrifle » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:34 am UTC

I don't think you could stop the whole Florida voting mess, especially if you only started in 1999. To do that, you'd have to a) get someone to notice that the machines/forms were crap and b) persuade them to care. Part "b" is the trickier one. Other than that, unless you could figure out how to bend Katherine Harris to your will, or the Supreme Court, I don't see it happening. You'd be better advised to campaign for Al Gore. Though if you just tried to tell people everything that'd happen in the next nine years, I don't think they'd believe you. It'd be liberal fear-mongering, wouldn't it? Implausible and mean-spirited. Hell, even now it's kind of hard to believe Dubya failed that hard.

As to 9/11, focusing on getting some of the hijackers arrested/deported would be the strategy I'd take, with the bomb threat plots as a last resort. It probably wouldn't be that hard to tip the police off to something they were doing-- or frame them for something they weren't. Even starting in 1999, you'd probably have time to get most of them out of the country or otherwise indisposed.

Of course, then you're stuck with the other time-travel plot cliches-- Will it all just find another way to happen? Or, if not, will it all somehow just turn out worse?
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Jorpho » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:14 am UTC

ameretrifle wrote:Other than that, unless you could figure out how to bend Katherine Harris to your will
I was thinking that something along those lines could go a long way. Perhaps we'd best not go there, though.

As to 9/11, focusing on getting some of the hijackers arrested/deported would be the strategy I'd take, with the bomb threat plots as a last resort. It probably wouldn't be that hard to tip the police off to something they were doing-- or frame them for something they weren't. Even starting in 1999, you'd probably have time to get most of them out of the country or otherwise indisposed.
Ah, but that would require advance planning. I certainly can't name the hijackers off the top of my head, let alone whatever aliases they might have been using. And United 93 is the only flight I can name, since they made that movie about it.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:17 am UTC

mrbaggins wrote:I wouldn't prevent 9-11, however I'd probably go and ring their fire alarm or something so that no-one was in the buildings. Then I'd go to the pentagon (Those are close together, RIGHT?) and set up a heap of cameras to shut up the conspiracy nutters, one way or the other.
220 miles, so.. yeah.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby lemmings » Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:37 am UTC

I’ve always wondered how the 9/11 conspiracy theories would have developed if a madman had taken control of the towers that morning. It wouldn’t have been too hard to create a mock Oklahoma City bombing to evacuate everyone, I figure that one could easily have rented a few vans and park them around the WTC buildings so that a bomb threat would been taken seriously and not be regarded as a prank.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Carnildo » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:07 am UTC

lemmings wrote:I’ve always wondered how the 9/11 conspiracy theories would have developed if a madman had taken control of the towers that morning. It wouldn’t have been too hard to create a mock Oklahoma City bombing to evacuate everyone, I figure that one could easily have rented a few vans and park them around the WTC buildings so that a bomb threat would been taken seriously and not be regarded as a prank.


They wouldn't be seen as a prank (especially if you filled them with barrels of fuel oil/fertilizer mix), but the response almost certainly wouldn't include evacuating the towers: nobody believed the towers could collapse, and you've just put dangerous objects next to the major evacuation routes, so the most likely response would be to move people to the central core of the building while the bomb squad defuses/tows away/otherwise deals with the vans.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Indon » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:13 pm UTC

You could stop one of the attacks - just get on one of the planes, smuggle in a weapon, and when the terrorists try to take over the plane, kill them.

But if we're talking cliches, you probably already did that, but the plane crashed and you died.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Simbera » Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:27 am UTC

September 11 is probably too large-scale to do much about, but there are a number of similar situations in which you could save lives - for example, you could probably prevent the Bali Bombings of 2002, as it's far easier to get a bar to evacuate than it is the WTC; similarly for the recent attacks in India. In addition to the places being easier to evacuate, it's a lot easier to convince people that an attack will happen in a post-9/11 world.

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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Rysto » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:00 pm UTC

It seems to me that the best way to go about this is to convince people that you actually have knowledge of the future by predicting mundane, but impossible to guess things.

For example, I could predict that the Dallas Stars would win the Stanley Cup in a 6-game series over the Buffalo Sabres, but the win would be very controversial because Brett Hull would score the Stanley Cup-winning goal in double overtime with his skate in the crease.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:03 pm UTC

A more interesting question would be: would you WANT to prevent 9/11? We're only about 7 years after the event now, so it's difficult to see if anything good has come of it. But in a similar vein, if you could go back in time and murder Hitler as a baby, would you do it? Bear in mind that without WW2, we wouldn't have rockets, thus no space travel, thus no satellites etc. Without efforts to break the enigma code, computer technology would not have advanced so much, and we would now probably be using something resembling a Commodor 64. Oh the horror. No Internet!

On the other hand, I admit I struggle to see how anything good could have come of 9/11. I think what I'd do is try to convince someone to do a mock evacuation just before the planes arrive. They'll all be grumbling about how their coffee at their desk is getting cold, then WHOOMPH, they'll be all "holy shit, I'm glad I wasn't in THERE!" Or you could take the more direct route of assassinating the hijackers on 10th September. The problem is they may have trained up some spare hijackers just in case, and would use those instead.

Yet another method would be to locate and disarm all the explosive charges that had been planted in the building /tinfoilhat
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby segmentation fault » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:06 pm UTC

if you were to stop 9-11, Obama may never become president. all the bad crap that bush did to make people angry and vote for change pretty much came about because of 9-11.

hasnt anyone played the journeyman project? we have to preserve history, not change it. getting everyone evacuated might not change things too much though.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Jorpho » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:46 pm UTC

Rysto wrote:It seems to me that the best way to go about this is to convince people that you actually have knowledge of the future by predicting mundane, but impossible to guess things.

For example, I could predict that the Dallas Stars would win the Stanley Cup in a 6-game series over the Buffalo Sabres, but the win would be very controversial because Brett Hull would score the Stanley Cup-winning goal in double overtime with his skate in the crease.
An interesting idea, provided you have enough sports trivia memorized. (I certainly don't.) Except then the government would probably kidnap you and force you to tell everything you know, and even after you don't know what's going on anymore they'd probably start drugging you and using other undesirable methodology in case you're holding something back. (That happened in the book too.)
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:07 pm UTC

segmentation fault wrote:if you were to stop 9-11, Obama may never become president. all the bad crap that bush did to make people angry and vote for change pretty much came about because of 9-11.

hasnt anyone played the journeyman project? we have to preserve history, not change it. getting everyone evacuated might not change things too much though.


That's silly. Obama can't be judged as a good/bad president yet. I mean, yeah, Bush screwed up, but I'd rather live in a world in which those screwups never happened than in a world where we need Obama to fix them all, no matter how great he may be. (And I'm quite the Obama fan.)
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Spuddly » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:21 pm UTC

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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Internetmeme » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:35 am UTC


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Also, on a side note, I'm starting a forum games area about this topic.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Asmodieus » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:15 am UTC

Internetmeme wrote:

Image

Also, on a side note, I'm starting a forum games area about this topic.

Yeah, but the thing is, no one goes to the forum games.
Jorpho wrote:A few years ago I read Ken Grimwood's "Replay". Not a particularly good book (entirely too much sex), but a solid concept: a man one day has a heart attack and suddenly finds himself as a college student again, with a complete memory of the life he had led and everything that had happened during it. This being an older novel, one of the things he tries to do is prevent the Kennedy assassination by discretely tipping the FBI off to Oswald. This ends up not working very well, as Kennedy dies anyway, and the assassination is pinned on someone else (who is subsequently killed by Jack Ruby).

Every now and then, I find myself musing: if in 1999, I suddenly found myself with the memory of everything I've seen and done over the last ten years, could I have prevented 9/11 somehow, or even the whole Flordia voting mess and the Bush presidency as a whole? How would you do it?


I think that if time-travel has been invented, we have not seen it's results. So, I think that a new universe or time-path is created when someone time travels.
(Kinda tangental, but I just wanted to get that out there.)
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Spuddly » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:18 am UTC

"Time Travel Plot Cliche"
When it comes to time travel, everything is cliche!
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Carnildo » Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:51 am UTC

segmentation fault wrote:if you were to stop 9-11, Obama may never become president. all the bad crap that bush did to make people angry and vote for change pretty much came about because of 9-11.

Without 9/11, Bush would have been yet another mediocre single-term president.
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Re: Time-Travel Plot Cliche

Postby Gears » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:10 am UTC

1. Go back to September 10th 2. Wish myself happy birthday.
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