It’s Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!), and so all kinds of science-fiction driven nerditry is being splattered all over the Internet in honor of the occasion.
The various Star Wars films are to have taken place in a fictional setting “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” The “long time ago” business was a nice twist on George Lucas’s part: We’re all accustomed to thinking of advanced technology as being something associated with the future rather than the past, and what’s more advanced than a civilization that can travel the stars? On the other hand, “a galaxy far, far away” is a bit redundant, since any galaxy other than our own Milky Way is, by definition, pretty Gawd-damned far away.
Thinking about things that may (or may not) have taken place a long time ago in galaxies far, far away got me to thinking about time travel, a staple imaginary technology of science fiction. The idea of being able to travel in time has long been a pet fascination of mine since seeing George Pal’s 1960 production of The Time Machine as a not-quite-eight-year-old kid. Even without obsessing over details like the Grandfather Paradox, there are plenty of other niggling technical details to worry about.
Immunity to the diseases of the past or future, for instance. How ironic would it be to travel hundreds of thousands of years into the future only to be felled, not by some dread Morlockish descendant, but by the billionth generation of today’s increasingly antibiotic-resistant bacteria? Blecch.
What about the electromagnetic radiation that surrounds you as you travel? As you move faster through Time, would sunlight become shifted toward unimaginably high frequencies, turning into a deadly hail of X-rays and gamma rays? Would the speed of your travel attenuate their effects?
Yes, sometimes I actually wonder about this kind of stuff.
Do you ever find yourself thinking about time travel (you nerd)? And if so, which Time Machine would you rather have?
Or this one?
Leave your answers in the comments - and the rationale behind your preference, if you feel like getting all ’splainey.