How to move a time machine

A time machine needs to move itself in time as well as its inhabitants because otherwise it would be a portal. But how does it do that without bootstrapping?

One of the most commonly asked questions in time travel would probably be – Is time travel possible, and if so, how do you build a time machine to transport the occupants to another time?

I’ve got another question which I think should also be considered: How does a time machine move itself (in time)?

For a time machine to work it needs to move itself in time as well as its inhabitants because otherwise it would be a portal of some ilk which requires a similar device at the ‘other end’. In such a portal, a temporal field modifier (or whatever!) is generated by the device and applied to the time traveller to be. But in a ‘regular’ time machine, the force is generated internally and applied to internal occupants, moving both time traveller and machine.

how does a time machine move?
Up, up and away – with boots! Image credit: Laupo Beta

But the idea of a time machine moving itself is almost a literal example of “bootstrapping” (though paradoxically, not a paradox!). Bootstrapping is a little bit like living in the ‘cartoon world’ where Newton’s third law doesn’t exist (“For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction”).

This is where you can sit on a yacht and blow yourself along, or as the name suggests, lift your whole self up by tugging on your boot laces (or straps). Or, as it would seem here, lift a time machine into another time by using an internally generated force.

Further, if a time machine remains moves through time then it is effectively present in space through all of the intermittent time steps between the moment of departure and the time of arrival. You’d think this would increase the chances of us coming across a time traveler (or at least his time machine), though they seem to be in short supply…

But maybe there is a paradox. Saying that a time machine will take you some place else in time but not actually move itself it much like saying you’ll get into a car which will take you somewhere, but it doesn’t move itself because it has no wheels. (Come to think of it, that does sound like my own car!).

So we’ve some full circle; a time machine needs to be transported. But how?


If you enjoyed this post, you might like to visit, like or circle time2timetravel on Facebook and Google+

Sign up here to receive future posts sent direct to your email!

Time travel through genetic projection

Having children arguably takes you back to your own childhood…if not they make you feel your own age. Here I present a corollary; children are not just the future – they are our genetic projections into it!

Having children arguably takes you back to your own childhood…if not they make you feel your own age.

Here I present a corollary.

We all travel in time. We’re born young, we experience moments and age as our minds gain wisdom and our bodies reach a peak in physical condition before embarking on a downward decline terminating in our demise.

“Will Human Teleportation Ever Be Possible?”
Image credit:

Star Trek has teleporters which work by mapping a person at one end, disintegrating them, and cloning them at another point in space. All memories and experiences are preserved in the map and are therefore conserved, and even though that reconstruction is only seconds old, their memories and experiences are exactly the same as the version of them that had had disintegrated. It’s therefore purported that they are essentially the same person.

Teleportation – a projection of a person through the spatial dimension.

Image credit: Cécile Graat (
Image credit: Cécile Graat (

I wonder whether parents can in part say a similar kind of thing…that by creating a child with a similar (though admittedly not identical) genetic makeup, and raising them with shared experiences, and similar (though again, admittedly not identical – due to those genetic differences) moral values…can we say that our children are a projection of ourselves into the future?

If this is the case, parents are time travelers in a different sense than non-parents.

This time travel capacity of our children makes sense; each time my daughter topples over I yell out “Hey be careful there!” after the event!


If you enjoyed this post, you might like to visit, like or circle time2timetravel on Facebook and Google+

Sign up here to receive future posts sent direct to your email!

Review: The Chronothon by Nathan Van Coops

Nathan Van Coops masterfully creates a universe with scientifically viable time travel in The Chronothon. Brilliantly written with a splash of humour!

Thrust into a deadly race across the ages, Ben becomes an unwilling pawn in the machinations of forces seeking to destroy parallel universes. Time travelers, a dog, an alien and an organism gun (yes, that’s spelled correctly…) play intelligently thought out roles in a “chronothon”.

The Chronothon by Nathan Van Coops

The Chronothon is an exciting time travel novel brought to us by Nathan Van Coops.

Chronothon book cover

Synopsis: Thrust into a deadly race across the ages, Ben becomes an unwilling pawn in the machinations of forces seeking to destroy parallel universes. Time travelers, a dog, an alien and an organism gun (yes, that’s spelled correctly…) play intelligently thought out roles in a chronothon – a race in which Ben and other time travelers race to different periods in history, in the future and on other worlds to collect “objectives” and go on to the next level.

As the chronothon progresses it becomes clear that winning the race itself is not the ultimate goal.

The Chronothon: a deadly race across time that sets your own heart racing!

Second Place?

The Chronothon is the second novel in a series of three written by Nathan Van Coops.

Each has been written so that it can be read independently from the others. Having not read the first (silly me…) I can safely confirm this claim is valid! (Actually there’s a glossary at the back of The Chronothon to help ‘dive in’ readers such as myself with names of organisations and instrumentation nomenclature that were presumably introduced in the first book (In Times Like These). It’s interesting to read through, but I don’t think it’s necessary).

As you’d expect in any novel which isn’t the first in a series, there are references to important events which I guess were in the previous book. They made me feel as though I had missed out on something; like coming into a conversation half way through and being brought up to date but without actually sharing and experiencing that ‘history’.

Whilst not key to The Chronothon my personal curiosity drives me to want to know more about these events in the past!

The Chronothon gets straight into things though, with no huge long-winded introduction and pages and pages of scene setting. Perhaps this was done in Book 1, but I was pleased to start reading juicy stuff from the outset. Given that we’re talking about a page count of nearly 500 pages, be assured that these pages are full of relevant writing and not tap-happy typing!

The Novel

(Jump forward to time travel)

The writing style is fluent and Nathan writes with an excellent eye for detail and consistency. Characters have depth and are well developed, and there are many insightful details on societal and cultural aspects. It’s brilliantly written, with a splash of humour.

The plot revolves around Ben who moves from one chronothon level to another, collecting objectives before moving to the next level. It would have been relatively easy to create a new chapter for each level with each chapter being a story more or less in in its own right and connected to others, perhaps like Flight of the Horse by Larry Niven…but it would have been an incredibly tedious read.

Instead I was really pleased that the novel reads fluently with chapter breaks coming at natural points in the novel, and not at each level of the chronothon race; it puts emphasis not on the race itself but on Ben and on what and who he’s dealing with, and why.

The chronothon is of course a key element of the novel, and is ultimately responsible for Ben’s travels through time which take him to geographically different places too. In this way one might confuse the chronothon with a regular race in the spatial dimension, although frequent musings from Ben bring the reader ‘back’ to temporal thinking. For example, Ben notes that he can’t leave litter for 4,000 years, or questions the paradoxes of live streaming through linear time.

Ben’s travels to periods into the past call on Nathan’s extensive research into those eras and events. It adds to the fullness of the plot and inspires a sense of realism. Equally, journeys into the future see Ben and his competitors / companions enter into times, worlds and cultures vastly different from their (our) own…and yet thanks to an incredible imagination Nathan has crafted a credible and full future with both an exciting and an ominous outlook with social and scientific ideas.

Walking (or jumping, or running and screaming…) through one time gate to another reminded me of a British children’s program from the seventies called (funnily enough…) Mr Ben. In each episode Mr Ben frequented a fancy dress shop where he tried on a costume in a dressing room in which he found a door which would lead to a different time and place commensurate with his outfit and where he would have an adventure before coming back to the dressing room, often with an object which reminded him of his travels.

The Chronothon is written in the first person through Ben’s eyes. Unlike many characters in first person novels, I really like Ben! He’s intelligent, dextrous, polite (e.g. he feels he should say “please” to a computer) and full of integrity. Ben injects a level of humour into the novel, but not in a distracting way.

I was impressed with Ben’s inquisitiveness. He stops to learn how a chronometer works, or to study the workings of a Roman aqueduct, for example. But he possess his own intellect too and is able to use time travel ‘tricks’ to help him and others, impressing even his experienced race guide. I’m not sure whether I should ascribe these imaginative uses of time travel to Ben or to Nathan!

Ben’s social skills allow him to bond easily with other competitors and characters within levels. His conversations with them, and what he discovers through his curiosity is a natural way to communicate setting details, background, or information about other characters to the reader.

Supporting characters are of course mostly seen through Ben’s eyes. They’re a well mixed group of people mostly from the future with different cultures and backgrounds, and also an alien with an inborn ability to time travel. Actually the alien had an elegant solution to preserve love between a couple at the right times – it seemed like a sideline whilst reading, but it comes back. And I should say here that I think this is typical of most things in The Chronothon – that Nathan leaves no loose ends!


This could be a romance with heavy complications, an action novel, or a science fiction / time travel novel.

The love component doesn’t dominate the story line is not handled in a cheesy or crassy way. There’s no love at first sight, no predictable arguments and make-ups, and no gratuitous sex scenes. The romance is simple, and gently weaves its way through the other story lines.

I don’t usually read ‘action novels’ so for me The Chronothon might be considered as a gentle introduction to the genre. And it’s good! As I mentioned in my review of Bonnie Rozanski’s The Mindtraveler it’s all very well and good doing a spot of time travel, but once you’re in a different time you may as well do something once you’re there and meet different people – even if they are trying to eat you…

Personally, I see The Chronothon as a science fiction / time travel novel. Whether this is really true, or if it’s because of the brilliance in how the time travel element has been integrated, or the clarity of a future time, I can’t say!

That said, the closing chapters of the novel introduce many new ideas, and bring together other ideas which have circulated in the novel. This brings a satisfying sense of completeness – the novel isn’t simply a race through time, but also something greater and encompassing.

Time travel element

It is the time travel aspect in particular which really strikes me as pure excellence and sets The Chronothon apart from many other time travel novels – it has without doubt one of the best and most self consistent systems of time travel I’ve seen in time travel fiction.

Nathan has masterfully created a universe with scientifically viable time travel and never lets go of his sight of the rules of time travel which he’s developed. There’s a history (and future) behind the development of time travel, with variations and derivations, and of its methodology as well as its use and misuse.

Method of time travel

The method of time travel is beautiful. An object is infused with gravitites – particles which “…displace matter from the flow of time by creating anchor based wormholes.” To travel in time, the traveler touches an anchor in one time and uses a chronometer to activate the gravitites (note that a “chronometer” isn’t a jumped up word for an expensive watch but a time machine!). That person then arrives at the same location of the anchor but in a time as preset on the chronometer.

The use of the anchor means that the time traveler remains fixed to the Earth as it courses through space – an aspect of time travel which is often over-looked. It also means that the time traveler can travel in the spatial dimension if the location of the anchor changes whilst the time traveler is traveling.

Development of the chronometer

The instrumentation behind time travel has developed in time – even time progresses in the timeless world of time travel!

The first chronometers were “analogue” – relatively simple devices as compared to the later digital “temprovibes” which lock into a grid system which tracks time travelers and ensures that they don’t fuse with other time travelers (including themselves) or end up in the “neverwhere” – a space outside time if a time traveler isn’t anchored properly during transit.

Analogue time travelers keep logbooks to mark their times and locations to avoid the above problems.

Time travel ‘trinkets’

The Chronothon has a myriad of wonderful time travel ‘trinkets’ – plays with time travel. Funerals for time travelers, time streams, legal issues (self love – a nod to “The Man Who Folded Himself“), naturally occurring gravitites (“gravitans”) and the moral issue this provokes (if time travel is natural, then is the founder of gravitites responsible for the multiple universes, split time streams and atrocities committed with time travel?).

There are philosophical ideas (how old is a time traveler?), time loops and ontological paradoxes – knowledge of presence in the future provides confidence of survival in the present…and another where this is turned in reverse; Ben sees himself in the future looking confident. When Ben gets there he doesn’t feel confident bit knows he needs to look it to tally with what he saw in the past.

This is a juicy, juicy time travel novel with many fascinating and thoughtfully played out applications of time travel!


The Chronothon by Nathan Van Coops is due to be released on 2 February 2015, and is currently available for pre-order on

I’ve ordered the first in the series (“In Times Like These“) and eagerly await the final installment. Maybe I should set my chronometer so I won’t need to wait…

Rating *****

5* ! 🙂

The Chronothon: An incredible science fiction / time travel novel with a brilliant and consistent system of time travel


If you enjoyed this post, you might like to visit, like or circle time2timetravel on Facebook and Google+

Sign up here to receive future posts sent direct to your email!

Disclaimer: An Advance Reader Copy of “The Chronothon” was sent to me free of charge so that I could read and write my honest thoughts and opinions. These are they!

Star ratings:
| 5* Excellent! | 4* Good | 3* OK | 2* Not good | 1* Crud |

Time Travel: People Finally "Catch Up" With Machines

Time travel is not just about theory and science fiction stories anymore. It has been “out there” for at least 60 years and there are several “smoking guns”, indicative of people actually time traveling!

If there are people time traveling out there via machine, does that mean that people might also be able to time travel “on foot”? Every once in a while the thought crosses someone’s mind about being able to time travel through thought or intention. People already time travel in the astral or dream state, but what about physical time travel in the waking state? Enter “quantum jumping”.

Time Travel: People Finally “Catch Up” With Machines

Time travel is not just about theory and science fiction stories anymore. It has been “out there” for at least 60 years and there are several “smoking guns”, indicative of people actually time traveling! The evidence can be seen in such things as the modern aircraft on temple carvings at Abydos and Karnak in Egypt and even includes one that looks like a Blackhawk helicopter (slightly modded, probably because of Heisenberg); as well as other “out of place” objects. There is also evidence that has come out of Courtney Brown’s Farsight Institute, not to mention the whistleblower testimony of people like Andy Basagio and others.

So what about people? If there are people time traveling out there via machine, does that mean that people might also be able to time travel “on foot”? Every once in a while the thought crosses someone’s mind about being able to time travel through thought or intention. People already time travel in the astral or dream state, but what about physical time travel in the waking state? Enter “quantum jumping”.

So what is “quantum jumping” and what does it have to do with time travel?

Quantum jumping

Quantum jumping is sometimes also referred to as quantum time travel, reality shifting, altering reality, or even “jumping the time lines”. Contrary to any “New Age woo woo” you might have heard, quantum jumping is a real phenomena that people experience that may involve things like objects mysteriously appearing and disappearing, changing forms or places; and sometimes accompanied by temporal distortions such as retrocausality (events out of sequence), time appearing to pass more quickly or slowly, and even downright “jumps” in time, usually in the order of a few minutes. Sometimes the temporal distortions occur by themselves, indicating that this is most likely a “temporal phenomenon”.

These phenomena have been experienced literally by hundreds of people, who have gone public – calling into radio shows, providing material for books, blogging, and sometimes even posting videos to YouTube. If you’ve ever had one of these experiences, pat yourself on the back. You’ve been time traveling!

So what do I think might be going on here? 100 or more years ago, people began to experience phenomena like telekinesis, electrokinesis, pyrokinesis and others. At the time, they were all baffled and it was a mystery. Today, people are developing these skills via specific methods and posting legitimate videos on YouTube demonstrating their accomplishments! I believe quantum jumping is now, where these other abilities were 100 years ago, and that we are in the beginning stages of being able to time travel through intention. All we have to do is learn how to do it. Humans are developing much more rapidly now, than they were before; so I suspect it will be a lot less than 100 years before people really master these time traveling skills to the level that psionic abilities like telekinesis etc…are now.

I state on my website that there are currently at least 10 different “machine type” time travel technologies being developed out there by researchers in labs and others. Some of those people may be “strolling by this website” and reading this blog post as they develop one or more of those machine technologies. If you happen to be one of those people, I only have one thing to say: Watch out for pedestrians!

quantum jumping

The author is the founder of the the Quantum Time Travel Institute, the world’s first school of human powered time travel.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to visit, like or circle time2timetravel on Facebook and Google+

Sign up to receive future posts sent direct to your email here:

A game of patience

Patience isn’t something for time travellers.

As time travellers we don’t want to wait for a moment or an event to reach us at the ambient rate of 1 second per second. We want it now.

When I show frustration born from impatience, there’s always some idiot telling me it’s “…a lesson in patience”.

How the hell is that? All I’ve learnt is that I’m still impatient, and it’s usually the patient people trying to make me more like them; to be more patient whilst I wait for them to just get on with it.

The cure for impatience

Apparently help is available in dealing with impatience. Not that impatience is a disease…more like patience is a resignation to the idea that we can’t change (speed up, in this case) the rate of time. And I don’t like that!

The suggestion comes in two forms: either we either hold tight, or that we let go completely.

Here’s the thinking:

  • Holding on tight
  • This means keeping focused on the end goal, and working hard to achieve it.

  • Letting go of the end goal
  • Read here…forget it. Que sera sera (whatever will be, will be), and presumably, whenever whatever it is, will be ready. Do something else. Take your mind off it. Stick your head in the sand. Pretend like you don’t care.

    I reckon that sounds like giving up doesn’t it!

    Or…could we consider it more as parallel time line jumping? Fill your waiting time with another activity, i.e. instead of waiting on the same time line, jump to another parallel one and bypass the wait by doing something else. Then return to your original time line where the perceived time will seem shorter, like starting a chapter in a book which returns to a story line dropped a few pages ago.

    Time compression
    Apparent time compression through parallel jumping

    It’s ironic that the time will then seem to pass quicker when you don’t concentrate on it. Like a kettle boils quicker if you don’t wait for it. Friction works harder against you the more you try to overcome it (by pushing harder or going faster).

    The more you earn the more you’re taxed. Love comes to you when you don’t look for it. Yeah I know – it’s all messed up…so forget all about it! Besides, it’s not fair that this form of ‘apparent time travel’ comes quicker to those who don’t want it!

    The best things don’t come to those who wait. Those who wait are inefficient with their time and kid themselves that whatever they want to be doing now can wait till later.

    So should we hold on? I don’t think so. Carpe diem. Seize the day. Seize it by the neck and then strangle it and tell it to get a b***dy move on!

    Just make the most of it…or do something else!


    Dancing back in time

    If you’ve been following my blog (under “Timely Thoughts”) you’ll be aware that I have a couple of young daughters who spent just as much time in educating me as I try to teach them. (For example, see Direction on direction or A Picture Paints a Thousand Seconds.)

    At least, this is my cover story for watching “Dora the Explorer’s Ballet Adventure” last night !;) (This post isn’t a plug by the way!)

    The main ‘plot’ is that the delivery duck delivered the wrong package to Dora and her friends just before they were about to perform a dance show; he delivered scuba flippers instead of dance slippers.

    Dora’s mission was to leave her friends to go to the dance school, collect the dance slippers and bring them back in time so that the dance show could go ahead.

    I know that the DVD is aimed towards young children, but I must admit that I was hoping it was also aimed for their parents who might be interested in time travel!


    Time travel train: moment of proof!

    So here it is!

    All of my seemingly endless journeys and musings about time travel on my daily train commute – has it all pointed towards this moment of proof?

    The moment

    I’m on the train which is slowing down for the next stop. I glance at the information monitor on the wall in front of me…

    The proof

    proof for a time travel train?
    Current time 18:03…expected arrival 18:02

    The irony

    The train was delayed! I’m confused though…was time lost, or made up?


    Is time travel really impossible?

    Maybe some don’t dare to believe that time travel is possible, but this view is changing! The understanding of the science behind time travel is improving

    Is it or isn’t it…who really knows?

    Most of us probably don’t dare to believe that time travel is possible, but I think this is changing! The understanding of the science behind time travel is getting better understood, and an increasing number of scientists are now finding ways which one day might unlock the mystery of the time machine blueprint. The hard study and the calculations continue.

    But even if we don’t know how to travel in time now…that doesn’t mean it’s impossible…does it?

    Why isn’t time travel impossible?

    There are so many paradoxes associated with time travel that you could well be forgiven for thinking that time travel is not possible. The “grandfather paradox” – where you go back in time and kill your grandfather (why would you do that?!) thus preventing your own existence to go back and kill him in the first place is perhaps the most famous of these paradoxes.

    Or if time travel was possible, surely we would have met time travelers who have come to our time from another time by now?

    Grandfather paradox? It’s all relative!

    So on the face of it, it would seem that the idea of time travel is just that…an idea. It has certainly captured the attention of many science fiction authors, and even poets. And recently…scientists. Yes, there have already been many eminent scientists who have gained funding for looking into the possibility of time travel – and to find a way to make it happen. They do this by turning to Einstein’s theory of relativity.

    Einstein’s theory of relativity is used to describe our understanding of time and space. Actually, time and space are so heavily intertwined that they are referred to collectively as “timespace” as one affects the other. By studying the theory of relativity, scientists hope to discover a solution to its equations which permit time travel. So has there been any success?

    Interestingly, success has been found in the opposite sense…that is to say that nothing has been found which forbids time travel. So that is good news for those of us who would like to travel in time – though we are still no closer in finding out how we can do this. Or are we?

    Time dilation

    The theory of relativity describes “time dilation”. Time dilation refers to how a second of time can take longer in some situations than in others. This is slightly different to the perception of time which Einstein himself has been quoted as saying “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”

    Here’s an example of time dilation. There are 2 identical clocks. Let’s call then clock A and clock B. Clock A is put on a jet plane, whilst clock B stays on the ground at the airport. The jet plane takes off, travels at high velocity around the world and lands back at the airport. The times on the two clocks are compared…clock A (the clock which was on the plane) shows that less time has elapsed than shown by clock B at the airport. Why? Because travelling at speed causes time to slow down. That is time dilation.

    Another example of time dilation is seen in the satellites used in GPS navigation. In this case, there are two causes of time dilation. The first is the high speed relative to the Earth at which the satellites travel, and the second is the decrease in gravitational potential the satellites experience in orbit. The clocks on board the GPS satellites actually need to be corrected for the effect of time dilation!

    The existence and reproducibility of time dilation is a good step towards realising the possibility of time travel. But are we any closer to making our time machine?

    Faster than light

    Perhaps. Experiments have been conducted which have shown that faster than light speed travel might be possible with some sub atomic particles and arguably this is a step in the right direction for moving on towards building a time machine. However, the energy input required is astronomical, and to reiterate…this was only a sub atomic particle! Perhaps the understanding of an alternative theory of timespace would show a solution to time travel where the energy requirement is not a practical limitation.

    Conclusion: the answer is…

    Having said that the subject of time travel is now receiving more attention from scientists, that is not to say that all scientists are in support of the existence of time travel. Many scientists have discredited the idea entirely, and it is clear that the question of whether time travel exists or not is still a topic of hot discussion.

    So is time travel possible?

    I think that presently, it is not possible in the way that we would like it to be – the days of the fabled time machine are far away. I do hope that one day in the future we will be able to travel back to the past, or into the future and experience other times just as we can experience and enjoy the present, though at the same time I am cautious about the possible dangers. Many of us are still not able to navigate safely through space (just think of all of those road accidents…) and I’m sure that navigating through time is a much more complex issue.

    And we still don’t know about those time travel paradoxes…

    Thankfully, even if real life time travel doesn’t exist, we can still read about it in science fiction!

    For a more detailed look on the possibility of time travel (and how), take a look at my time travel 101 main page. If you have time! 😉

    What is the role of the speed of light in time travel?

    You’ve probably found that there are many references to the speed of light when reading about time travel. This brief articles hopes to explain the relationship between the two.

    The speed of light is not just the speed that light travels – in some ways that can be considered to be a coincidence. The speed of light is the speed limit of the known physical universe, and is just shy of 300 million meters per second. This speed limit relates to everything, including the transfer of information. This might be counter-intuitive, but there is no such thing as “instant”! (And I’m not one to argue with Einstein!)

    So how is this related to time travel?

    Einstein’s theories show that time can dilate in a number of circumstances. Time dilation is where the passage of time occurs at a different rate in one situation than it does in another. For example, time passes more quickly for someone experiencing a lower gravitational acceleration than for someone who is subjected to high gravitational forces. Another example, and relevant to our discussion here, is that time passes more slowly for someone who is travelling at speed in comparison to someone who is stationary.

    This means that if someone flew in a jet engine at high speed, his watch would register a shorter time of flight that someone who remained standing in the airport waiting for his return (this might explain why planes are always late! 😉

    The greater the difference in relative velocities, the greater the effect of time dilation. For the velocities that we are easily able to acheive in everyday life, the effect of time dilation is very small (in the order of milliseconds.) However, if we could gain very high velocities, and travel at them for sufficient lengths of time to accrue the time differences, the effects can be noticeable.

    This is of significance to the time traveller. If I travelled at a sufficiently high velocity, my experience of the passage of time is slower for that of someone waiting for me to come back. In practical terms, in my point of view, I’d fly for say 1 year, but someone waiting for me would have waited for a year and a month. In effect then, I have travelled 1 month into the future.

    If then, I travel at a greater speed, the effects of time dilation are proportionally greater; I travel at twice the speed I did before for 1 year, and my expectant welcome committee would have waited for 1 year and 2 months.

    It follows that the faster I travel, the further into the future I can transport myself. It also means that my journey doesn’t need to last as long – instead of travelling at high speed for 1 year, I can travel at a faster speed for 1 month. Or an hour. Or a second. There is greater efficiency in time travel at higher speeds.

    And we know that the fastest speed we can travel is the speed of light! This is why achieving light speed is considered to be important in time travel.

    There are two important things to note here…

    The first is that in this way, time travel into the future is possible, but not the past.

    The second is a possible time travel paradox – the so called twin paradox. I mentioned that I travelled at high speed for one year, whilst someone remains stationary on Earth. But relatively speaking…who’s to say that I wasn’t stationary, and it was the Earth-bound person who moved away at speed? In real terms, each of us would find that the other person has experienced more time than themself, and this is not possible!

    Actually, the ‘solution’ to this quandary is in the means by which I gain high velocity. If my journey starts on the Earth, my velocity is zero in relation to my observer. I then accelerate to high velocity. Here then is the solution – acceleration brings about a further time dilation effect for me as the traveler (as well as time dilation by moving further away from Earth’s gravitational field). These differences would ensure that our relative experiences of time passage are different from each other.

    As a side note – what would happen if the speed of light really could be exceeded?

    I hope that this explains the relationship between the speed of light and time travel!

    What is time travel?

    There are many definitions of time travel but most compare travelling through time with travelling in space. I suppose this makes sense in a way, although there is a definite difference: we have control when we travel through space, but we all travel through time by doing nothing, and we can do nothing about it. I’d argue that time travel, then, needs some sort of control in how we move through time.

    I’ll write later on the speed of light and its importance in time travel, but the two must not be confused; for now I’ll clarify with an example:

    When you look up at the stars, it is commonly said that you are “looking into the past”. This is because the stars are so distant that the light travelling from them takes several years to reach us…so we see them as they were this many years ago. But is this a form of time travel? Are we really looking into the past?

    I don’t think so. I think this is more similar to watching a movie of say, your children, which was taken some time ago where again, we are watching past events. I suppose the difference is that you can watch those home movies again and again, whereas we can only see the stars for that one ‘real time’ moment.

    I believe that a certain level of interaction is key for time travel. If I went back in time, I could qualify that statement by describing the people and places and things that I saw that I otherwise would not have been able to see. There is a new exchange of information. With a home movie, we can’t look out of the camera view, or talk to the people on film (or hear back from them). A time traveller, on the other hand, would be able to look wherever they wanted, or interact with the people and objects in the new time.

    I hope that this has answered the question of “what is time travel?”

    Further examples of what is and isn’t time travel can be found here.