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Time travel sucks

Generally speaking, I don't like time travel movies and TV shows. I just find them painful to watch. There's this uncomfortable intensity of "ERMAGERD WE CAN'T RISK CHANGING THE TIMELINE OR WE'LL BE ERASED" and so often the people involved don't really know what they're doing, or they behave in cringey ways about their historical heroes and slip up around those people by mentioning things that haven't happened yet. I just... there's SO very many reasons I hate time travel shows. And time travel episodes of shows like Star Trek.

I can't stand reading time travel stories, either, beyond the original H. G. Wells "The Time Machine" book. (Though that was a condensed version of the book.) I hate the whole concept of time travel, honestly; it's only good when the characters are going to the future. I loathed "Back to the Future," but the second one was okay. The third one was the worst of the lot.

The only real exception to this hatred of time travel is Dr. Who, because generally speaking that show doesn't get angsty about preserving the timeline, because pretty much anything can happen and it never seriously affects the timeline. Also, the Doctor is usually too egotistical or experienced or whatever to gush much over historical figures, and s/he usually reigns in the companions when they try to be too gushy. In other words, it lacks most of the worst aspects of time travel shows.

Though the time travel in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban wasn't too bad. It was a deus ex machina and Rowling could have saved both Buckbeak and Sirius without resorting to time travel if she were a better writer, but I liked the twist wherein time travel doesn't really change the past so much as it lets you be in two places at once, sort of.

But yeah, mostly I loathe time travel stories. The only time I've ever used time travel in my own writing was for one short story that was very weird, and the time travel in it wasn't really time travel in the traditional sense. The character travelling to the story's present from "the" future only came from *a* future, not *the* future. Their doing so didn't change their own timeline, they were still able to return to that one despite getting up to all sorts of madcap zaniness and making no attempt to undo the "damage." And whether it changed the narrating character's timeline or not doesn't really matter.

In other words, it was multiverse stuff that resembled time travel, rather than true time travel. More like "Rick and Morty" than "Back To The Future."

EDIT: Almost forgot why I made this post to begin with. It's because Dr. Who recently had a standard time travel story episode. I'm speaking of the episode where someone is trying to derail Rosa Parks's famous protest against segregation. Which is a good episode, insofar as its message that racism hasn't gone away and might take a very long time to go away, as well as having good information about the event and how Rosa Parks was working with other civil rights leaders. They forgot to mention the fact it was a planned protest, but whatever. Mostly pretty good, as standard time travel stories go. But it had all the uncomfortable angst and intensity of your standard time travel story, as well as the gushing and the slip-ups, and so it was intensely painful to watch because of that.

I forced myself to watch the whole thing, taking lots of little breaks when it got to be too much, because I felt it was too good an episode to skip completely. But ye gods, was it ever painful to watch. Worse even than the usual time travel stories, because the segregated South of that era was just so fucking horrible... honestly, I would sooner shove rusty nails up my asshole than go to even the modern-day South, but I'd cut off my own legs and eat them before I ever went back in time to the segregated South, which made the episode 1000 times more painful to watch than it would have been if they'd had a similar "must prevent history being changed" story in a less contentious time and place. It was SOOOOO hard to resist the temptation to skip that episode. I think they captured the energy of the segregated South perfectly, because honestly that energy was so toxic I felt like I'd get sick just watching it. I can't even imagine how much worse it would be to actually live in that time and place.

Seriously, if an afterlife Hell were real, for me I think it would be the segregated South. Yes I'm white, but I'm also bi, trans, and pagan; also, if I had to watch people of color being treated like that live and in person, I know it would be torture for me because I'd be too afraid to try to help, and yet looking the other way would kill my soul by degrees. (Though I'd probably one day say "to hell with it" and act anyway. It'd get me killed, but by that point I'd be like "I welcome death as a lover.")

This was cross-posted from https://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1411438.html
You can comment either here or there.


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