Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Time Travel - Movies - 7 Days

Hi Guys,

Back to my time travel theme again. This time 7 Days. (Yes I know it wasn't a movie it was a tv series, but I still think it had some interesting insights into time travel and paradoxes.)

7 Days for those of you who aren't familiar with the show, was a sort of time travelling adventure series in which our hero Frank Parker was sent back in time seven days to undo the various calamities that kept destroying the world. And it did raise some interesting questions. Would Frank ever win the heart of the lovely Olga? (No.) Would the right wing reactionary Ramsey ever show a human side? (Actually yes, briefly.) Would the world ever stop blowing itself up in some new way? (And what did they do before they had project Backstep?)

But as well as these the show did point out some interesting aspects of time travel. For a start, and the reason a chrononaut was needed to pilot the ship, the Earth is travelling through space, spinning on its axis and orbiting the sun, while the entire solar system is itself travelling through space. So to go back in time seven days is to potentially arrive at a point in space many tens of thousands of miles from the Earth, unless you can somehow adjust for this movement, and so travel through space as well as time. Few other movies, books or tv series have considered this issue.

The series also showed the Butterfly Effect in action, in a somewhat amusing fashion, as our dashing Chrononaut goes back in time to undo some calamity and also places a bet of a football game, only to discover that his money has been wasted. The changes he made somehow affected a completely unrelated event, i.e. the game.

But the series also raised some time travel related questions, and chief among them, where was the other Frank Parker? If he goes back in time seven days, then surely he should be in a time period when a previous version of himself was living. Yet he never met himself. So did the original Frank vanish each time he arrived? Or were multiple copies of himself living on the Earth in secret?

The fuel source was also another interesting puzzler. Ignoring what it was, one of the limitations of time travel was that each trip used fuel and they only had a limited supply of it. Yet that makes no sense. He kept going back in time seven days, and at that point the fuel he used to make the journey was still there. It had not been used. So potentially they had an unlimited supply of fuel and never actually had to worry about using it up.

Anyway, I quite enjoyed the series but always found these questions in the front of my mind whenever I watched an episode.

Cheers, Greg.