Thursday August 4th, 2011

The Spatial Challenge of Time Travel

I got an e-mail from Amazon today alerting me to the site’s favorite books of August, which led me to the page for Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, a novel about an immersive online game in the near future that sucks in the poverty-stricken protagonist and millions of others. That’s all I know at this point, but wanted to share this bit from an Amazon interview with Cline:

Q: Speaking of DeLoreans: biggest plot hole in the Back to The Future films?

A: The Back to The Future trilogy is perfect and contains no plot holes! Except for the plot hole inherent in nearly all time travel films: The planet Earth is moving through space at an immense speed at all times. So if you travel back in time, you are traveling to a time when the Earth was in a different location, and you and your time machine would appear somewhere out in deep space. For a time machine to be useful, it also needs to be able to teleport you to wherever the Earth was/is at your destination time.