Time Bubbles – Six Ideas


What if you went back in time and killed yourself? If you killed yourself, you wouldn’t live to kill yourself, in which case you didn’t kill yourself, in which case you lived to kill yourself, etc. What kind of time loop would this create? I’m not sure how the logic for this works AT ALL, but what if it makes a time loop which no one can leave? A “time bubble”, if you will. If you will, here are some ideas on where you could go with it:

1. Perhaps time doesn’t even EXIST outside of the loop anymore (or maybe just not for its “inhabitants”). People are just shunted back to the beginning when they reach the end. Perhaps this would be a defense mechanism of the universe to fix time, keeping it from affecting the rest of the timeflow?

2. What if, additionally, people who get to the end of the time loop (or maybe more accurately “time bubble”) keep their memory of what happened? Like “Groundhog Day”, but for everyone. I don’t think time could change, so probably their consciousness would be along for the ride. But what about the third iteration? Would they have a consciousness in the back of the back of the mind, aware of not only of the original thoughts but also the second iteration’s piggybacking thoughts? Or would the “hitchhiking” consciousnesses within the person be able to speak to each other? Or, alternately, different people’s hitchhikers, could they communicate with each other in some way?

3. Maybe “time pedestrians” (this would be a great term for people who only travel through time the regular way, at one second per second) are moving in and out of this time loop at the regular pace, but time travelers can’t leave the bubble. Would they be stuck there? Or would they be able to stop traveling, live past that period, and then travel again? If so, would they be able to travel back into the time bubble, or would they be stopped? This could cause some additional paradoxes, which could be fun. If you can travel back inside but not out, you could even use the bubble as a “time jail” for time criminals, depositing them into it and making them live out the time bubble until they pop out the other end, capable of traveling again.

4. Getting back to the guy who kills himself, thus creating this loop: what if he was aware of the consequences (whatever I decide those actually are)? He could be creating a safe space for himself, so that he wouldn’t have to experience an event from his past, or an event he knows (or just thinks?) will happen in his future. Or he could have traveled back to a certain time to kill himself because that was the start of the best period of his life so far, and he wanted to relive it over and over? Or he could be protecting himself from other time travelers by creating a loop as a safe haven from them. A sort of time bunker. Maybe there are even some sort of time invaders, and he’s creating this time bunker to amass an army and prepare?

5. I think something good would be an individual story of the effect of time travel on someone, with that someone only marginally involved in a time war or time prison or whatever your main story is, but very effected by the creation of this time bubble. A person whose life is completely upended by this, and who takes action in the plot not to take sides in whatever conflict/crisis is going on, but just to restore time so they can move the fuck ON.

6. Getting back to the time-suicider, what if this act places him outside time somehow? Not really a “time bubble” story, but still. What if he is untethered from time (or “unstuck in time”, isn’t that the Vonnegut line)? Would he be a time traveler with no future or past? What could this allow him to do? Maybe he could do funky things with time, like slow it down, or speed it up, or freeze it. Okay, so this actually isn’t a time bubble idea, it’s something entirely different with probably a list of ideas its own. So maybe another time.

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3 Responses to “Time Bubbles – Six Ideas”

  1. Vanessa Says:

    Maybe time splits and creates an alternate universe? So there exists a continuity where you kill yourself and one where you don’t.

  2. gryfft Says:

    I see what you did there and it won’t work dammit


  3. annoying Says:

    What’s wrong with Vanessa’s idea? That’s one of the ways I’d deal with it. Usually, in stories like this, someone comes along and stops the paradox. The time-split idea would work well in a multi-verse.

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