What We Learn by Traveling in Time


DIMENSIONS: A Line, A Loop, A Tangle of Threads was The Gort recipient at this year’s Boston Science Fiction Film Festival. It is an indie gem about time travel. It got me thinking, there are a lot of time travel films out there. What do they tell us? Are there lessons to be learned and, if so, what are they?

The answer to the second question is an emphatic yes. So here are a few lessons gleaned from various time travel films.


Lesson #1: If you travel back in time, remember, no matter how hot you mom is and how strong she comes on to you, don’t sleep with her. (Back to the Future)

Lesson #2: Loud, nearly atonal teenage rock music is timeless, like the masters Mozart and Beethoven. It comes replete with significant ear damage and with a poseur’s attitude. Oh yeah, really cute women will be drawn to it like a Valley girl is drawn to malls. (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)

Lesson #3: In the pursuit of perfect happiness, it is imperative to buy lots of insurance from snarky salesmen. This is key to finding a smart, beautiful woman as a life companion. It also helps if you can play the piano, know the Heimlich Maneuver and avoid puddles. (Groundhog Day)

Lesson #4: When preparing for time travel, bringing the proper equipment makes all the difference. The savvy time travel knows that no matter where you go, or when, be sure to bring your chainsaw. It has a thousand and one uses. (Army of Darkness).

And finally, in Lesson #5, we learn that modern dentistry has no equal throughout the ages, especially the 1960s. (Austin Powers & The Spy Who Shagged Me)

We’ll be mulling and absorbing these lessons as the days go on. Perhaps we’ll discover some more for as we know, the movies are a font of essential information on how to live our lives, just ask the Eloi.

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5 thoughts on “What We Learn by Traveling in Time

  1. time travellers are always losing their time machines. they then have a conflict with morlocks, a big guy named biff or their high school science teacher as they try to regain control of their time machine.
    if you have access to a time machine the first thing you do is make a plan to keep an accurate log of every time that you lost access to the time machine. then you immediately go forward in time to retrieve the diary. armed with the details of all the events wherein you lost your time machine, you would then go back in time and make preparations that would prevent each event. for example h.g. wells would leave a note to himself “don’t leave your time machine unattended. some creatures called the morlocks will drag it into their cave”
    now that you have guaranteed perpetual access to your machine you can always do what bill and ted do. make a plan to use the time machine to put a key under a rock etc…

    • the bbc miniseries “a hitch hiker’s guide to the galaxy” featured one episode which took place at “the restaurant at the end of the universe”. it’s a 5 star restaurant and every night the floor show is the end of the universe. it’s a very exclusive club. the only clientelle are demigods and mortals with access to time travel.

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