Here you come again

One of the better features in the present-day bereft-of-local-listings TV Guide is Rochell D. Thomas’ column “Is It Just Me?” You’ll find it around the middle of the book, and it contains a sidebar, too small a photo, and several WTF?-type questions, one of which I’m throwing open here because I’m not quite sure how to answer it myself. From the February 11-17 issue:

Are all those time-traveler issues a trip? First Journeyman warped back to his past and borrowed clothes from his old self. Now Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has got a robot from 2007 going back to 1999 to save future rebel leader John Connor’s life, then taking the 15-year-old and his mother, Sarah, eight years into the future to 2007. Having leapt into ’07, they find themselves trying to stop the “rise of the machines” two years after Sarah dies of cancer and four years before a nuclear war, slated for 2011. Confusing? I think so. Either John and his mother ceased to exist from 2000 to 2006, or John’s living in the same city as his 23-year-old self. And what happens if, when he’s not trying to save suicidal classmates, 1999 Connor tuns into 2007 Connor? Isn’t there some sci-fi law that states a person can’t exist in the same place with their future (or past) self? I can’t wrap my head around it.

I don’t think John and Sarah winked out of existence for those six years. Further, I don’t see a reason why John at 15 can’t live in the same town as John at 23, provided the two Johns don’t interact. But then again, I have even less of a clue about how this is supposed to work than Ms Thomas does. Suggestions are welcomed.


  1. Dan B »

    5 February 2008 · 9:08 am

    On the Terminator time-travel issue, John-at-15 cannot meet John-at-23 until John-at-15 returns to the past. From our viewpoint, John and Sarah did not exist in the interval from 1999 to 2007, only to reappear in 2007 without aging a minute from whence they left in 1999.

    Don’t worry about it, quantum mechanics messes with everyone’s head.

  2. McGehee »

    5 February 2008 · 10:35 am

    Dan B is right. There wouldn’t be a John-at-23 in 2007 L.A. unless John-at-15 is first returned to 1999 to resume his previously intended life. Which, depending how long he was in his own future, he might be 16 when he resumes being 15.

    I’ve seen some treatments of time travel that have allowed for some very messy past-future interactions, and somehow the universe didn’t implode in those stories, suggesting the writers had more confidence in the timeline to absorb a little turbulence.

    I think, when you’ve already got 6 billion people stirring up the waters even without time travel, a few people bouncing between past and future probably won’t cause too much trouble. And if their purpose is to prevent Armageddon, the definition of “too much” becomes very flexible indeed.

  3. Dwayne "the canoe guy" »

    5 February 2008 · 4:17 pm

    For time travel theory I always turn to DC comics (the folks that gave us Nazi-killing gorillas). Years ago, when Superman went into his own past, Superbaby would appear in the present, BUT all of those stories took place on Earth-2.

    What about on Earth-1? Well, if I remember correctly, Superman & Superbaby could co-exist, just as long as they didn’t touch.

    But what about here on our Earth? I think we’re safe just as long as John Conner doesn’t try to mate with himself. Let’s hope nobody tells him to “F*&% yourself!”

  4. Ron »

    6 February 2008 · 12:52 pm

    Good thing the timeline cops (Temporal Directorate I believe its called?) of Startrek fame are monitoring the timeline. They’ll have it all fixed in no time … “And I would have pulled if off if it wasnt for those meddlin kids” (I just figured Scooby Doo figured in there somewhere:)

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