Why Lister won't use time travel to get "home."

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by bedfordfalls, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    Nothing deliberate that I can think of, other than in Lemons when they deliberately returned to Red Dwarf from 1st century Earth. But I suppose that doesn't count.

    Trojan was possibly time-travel, because it is unclear (at least to me) if the Quantum Rod made Howard & Sim travel forward or the Dwarfers travel back. I suppose given it was aboard the Trojan it travelled the Trojan back. But I don't remember the Dwarfers ever travelling forward again (does that mean they're still in Howard & Sim's time?). I assume Howard & Sim came from the past because of Sim's wish to "start the uprising" against humans, but we don't actually know that. In any case, it was accidental.
     
  2. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    I think the catch-all explanation has to be that Tikka to Ride scared them off.

    Stasis Leak - Lister's future self told him to wait five years. It's been longer than five years.
    Backwards - Horrible place to live. I'm not going to begin to think about what changing history would mean in a world where time is backwards. Plus that swirly thing is long gone.
    Timeslides - Too scared to change history. Otherwise they could blow up a photo of Earth and fly Starbug into it.
    Tikka to Ride / Ourobouros - both used the inexplicably upgraded Series VII Time Drive, which I don't remember ever being lost. I suppose they're too scared to change history, but this doesn't explain why they don't use its back-to-Earth function.
    Lemons - It was an accident, but surely one they can replicate on purpose by switching the shower on again. I suppose they just don't want to go back to 1st century Earth.
    Twentica - See here

    I also think Trojan needs some consideration. The Quantum Rods re-connect things across time and space, so presumably they could take the Dwarfers back to Earth. If the Rejuvination Shower can then the Quantum Rods certainly can! I suppose the answer is that they haven't worked out how to control them.
     
  3. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    Besides just zapping themselves back to Earth, they could use the time-drive to avoid enemies. When the time-drive is introduced they go back to the 15th century, look outside and see they're still in space (why would they be anywhere else - it's a time-drive), then return to their present. But why return to their present? If they went back in time to before GELFS and Simulants were invented, they could travel back to Earth unmolested. They also can't affect history, because they're in deep space. Once they enter the Solar System (presumably in stasis) they can zap back to 3000000-odd.

    And if they don't want to travel in the past permanently because it'd be a boring trip without all the space-wombats and sentient-Robot-Wars-finalists, they could do it every now and then when they need to. For example, in The Beginning, instead of worrying about hiding in an asteroid, they could have hidden in the Bronze Age.
     
  4. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    My take on it is the reason they didn't use the timedrive in that manner is that they'd still be 3,000,000 years from earth with only Deep Sleep units rather than proper Stasis Booths, even assuming they were able to get back to Earth given that there would be no derelicts to scavenge fuel from and even assuming that they wouldn't need food in Deep Sleep, they'd still have probably died of old age long ago by the time they reached our solar system, given that they seem to still age albeit very slowly in Deep Sleep. Presumably that's why Kryten mentioned needing a faster-than-light drive as well.

    True they could have used it to jump a week or two ahead or behind whenever they encountered trouble, but I guess they figured that the possibility of giving in to temptation and turning out like their future selves meant it wasn't worth the risk.
     
  5. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    That's true, at the time they were stuck on Starbug. But it's mentioned in BtE that the Time Drive is on Red Dwarf now, so they could presumably pop in and out of Mesozoic Deep Space when they wanted to dodge Simulants. I suppose the reason they don't is the vague fear that any time-travel might turn them evil. Because surely you can't change Earth history from deep space.

    Given the Time Drive was mysteriously upgraded with an Earth button in Tikka to Ride, the fear of time-travel doesn't cut it in terms of getting back to Earth. Because why don't they just press the Earth button without time-travelling.
     
  6. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    I'm not sure they can travel through only space with the time drive. I think it's limitation might be that you have to travel through time, regardless of whether you travel through space or not. But then again, you would think they could use it to travel a very short jaunt into the future or past (maybe an hour or a day) so as to have the same effect. I did think that maybe the time drive isn't that precise, but I seem to remember Kryten using it like that in Tikka to Ride...
     
  7. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    Good spot!
     
  8. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    Hmm... maybe the time drive can't transport something as large as Red Dwarf?
     
  9. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    Given it can travel through time-but-not-space in Out of Time, it seems special pleading if it can't do vice versa. But I suppose that was when it could only do time. It mysteriously acquired a location setting between series, and unfortunately we just don't know if they can use the location setting but leave the time setting to "present". Because none of them have thought of this.

    LISTER: Okay Kryten, we want the Taj Mahal Tandoori Restaurant behind the JMC building in London. Back table; quiet.
    KRYTEN: I'll need a moment to acquaint myself with the controls.
    RIMMER: But you've used it before!
    KRYTEN: Have I? Oh, yes, of course I have. Sorry. How stupid of me. Just programming it now, matey boy.
    RIMMER: Nice landing, Kryten, that was about as smooth as an Egyptian whiskey.
    KRYTEN: Apologies, sir, I'm, ah, I'm not sure what I did then.
    LISTER: This isn't right, where are we?
    KRYTEN: Well, according to the Time Drive, the date is November the 22nd, 1963, and we're in the city of Dallas.
    CAT: How come? Gimme that thing! I've always been a bit of a technical whiz when it comes to these kinds of gizmos Hmm, Dallas, '63- no doubt about it.

    When the Time Drive is introduced in Out of Time, they act surprised that it hasn't taken them to Earth. But surely they'd have known it wouldn't change their location given they didn't enter a location setting?! We don't hear any discussion about "entering Earth co-ordinates" or "let's go to Liverpool", the only thing they discuss is what date to go to.

    CAT: Let's see if the sucker works!
    KRYTEN: Sirs, choose any year.
    RIMMMER: Since we can't guarantee the time-drive is going to function properly, I suggest we select a neutral time period for our first jaunt.
    LISTER: He's got a point. Let's go to someplace nice and safe and dull. How about . . . 1422?
    CAT: How about 1421?
    LISTER: What's the difference?
    CAT: No difference. I just wanted to make it look like I was paying attention.
    RIMMER: Load 1421, Kryten.
    KRYTEN: 1421 loaded, sir. August 17th. Engaging the time-drive.
    LISTER: Hey, we did it!
    KRYTEN: Indeed we did. All ship chronometers indicate that this is August the 16th, in the year 1421, just one day out.
    RIMMER: Give us visual, let's see what it's like out there.
    LISTER: Okay, punching it up. Again? We're still where we were!
    LRYTEN: Of course. We're still in deep space, sir, only now we're in deep space in the 15th century!
    RIMMER: So we're still threee million years away from Earth?
    KRYTEN: Well, yes.
    LISTER: Taking her back to the present.
    KRYTEN: Keyed in. Engaged.
    RIMMER: So forgive me if I'm being thicker than the offspring of a village idiot and a TV weathergirl, but what exactly was the point of that little exercise? Fun though it was drinking in the heady medieval atmosphere of pre-Renaissance deep space, the drive is next to useless, yes?
    KRYTEN: Well, at the moment, yes, but should we ever acquire a faster-than-light drive, we will have the combination to travel anywhere and anywhen.

    I think I suggested earlier in the thread that if they really had to use the time-setting, why can't they travel one second which would make no difference. Depending on how precise the settings are, maybe they could travel one nanosecond into the future, which means they can't change the past.

    Alternatively, given they face a three million year journey back to Earth, why not travel back to Earth three million years in the future, which would mean they arrive at the same time they would have anyway but they just didn't have to wait through it.
     
  10. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    Perhaps the spatial setting involves some ratio between space and time travel? So you can't travel much further in space than you could have travelled in the corresponding amount of time. In that case, the time drive could take you to Earth three million years in the past or future, but not to current Earth.
     
  11. Ant E

    Ant E Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Scientifically, from a physics point of view, if time travel did exist you would only be able to travel back to the point to and from when the time travel machine was invented!! Sci fi shows seem to forget this rule! :roll:
     
  12. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    I have reviewed all uses of the time-drive, and I think we can put this question to rest:

    1421 - Starbug, Deep Space
    3006282 - Starbug, Deep Space
    1963 - Texas Book Depository, Dallas, USA
    1966 - Texas Book Depository, Dallas, USA
    1963 - Texas Book Depository, Dallas, USA
    1965 - Outside prison transport, Idlewild Airport, New York, USA
    1965 - Inside prison transport, Idlewild Airport, New York, USA

    1963 - Grassy Knoll, Dallas, USA
    3006282 - Starbug, Deep Space
    3006282 - Starbug, Deep Space
    3006282 - Starbug, Deep Space
    2155 - Aigburth Arms, Liverpool, UK
    3006283 - Starbug, Deep Space

    Near the end of Tikka to Ride, Lister uses the time-drive for space-travel-without-time-travel. They beam into Idlewild airport, July 1965, where Kennedy is being escorted into a prison van. Then Lister uses the time-drive to beam into the prison van and talk to Kennedy, with no time-travel implied.
     
  13. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    That's an interesting point. We know it was aboard the Gemini-12, but we don't know if it transported the entire Gemini-12 or just the crew loose back to Earth. Nor do we know if the Gemini-12 approaches the size of Red Dwarf. For "we don't know" read "I don't remember".

    In additon to where and when, there must be a third setting on the time-drive: what.

    In Out of Time, it transports Starbug.
    In Tikka to Ride, it transports the four crew loose, then three tonnes of curry.
    In Ouroborous, we don't really know, but we see Lister with his son-self.

    Still, even if Red Dwarf was too big, why would they need to go in Red Dwarf.
     
  14. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    If we're going with the time-drive-and-stasis plan, it might not be possible to detach the stasis pods from the ship and have them work uninterrupted for three million years.

    If we're going with the time-drive-across-space-only plan, there might be variables we don't know about, restricting the kind of moves that are possible.
     
  15. Goit_84

    Goit_84 First Technician

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    Lister doesn't have a job. He has nothing to do besides figure out how to get back to Earth in his own time. There's just so many times the solution has been presented to him.

    If the time drive still allows for instant space travel like in Series 7, then go back to Earth 1977, or whenever. Destroy the time drive immediately to prevent your corrupt future self from existing.

    Or, if the time drive can only jump in time and not space, then jump Red Dwarf back 6 million years. Go into Stasis and safely travel home in empty space for three million years, reaching home at roughly the same date Red Dwarf originally left. Again, destroy the time drive once out of Stasis and Red Dwarf is back in the solar system.

    There's soooooooo many ways Lister could have gone home. It's one of those cases where if it were a real person you accuse them of either consciously or self consciously sabotaging themselves because deep down, they don't actually want the thing they say they do.

    There's a whole episode to be had from this, I feel. Why would Lister want to go home anyway? Go back to a life where he's suddenly aged and grown 20 odd years? Made to work with no prospects? He'd be completely screwed if he went back and perhaps it's time the show just had him say this out loud.

    When he was 25, 26, 27, that dream held up, but not now. The best you could hope for would be to go back to a time that's in line with how long you had been away and just hope there's a decent paypacket to be made from an autobiography of what happened and a few celebrity appearances.
     
  16. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    I'm inclined to agree with you - but - don't forget, there are likely to be complexities and limitations we don't know about.

    Imagine a bunch of guys from the 1700s watching a TV show set today. They might spot all kinds of "plot holes" - e.g.:

    "Why's Ahmad worried about being late for his job interview - just because he's stuck behind some cars? This is a plot hole! He flew to Spain in something called an aeroplane! Why doesn't he use the aeroplane again, and go over the tops of the cars?"

    "Hang on a second. Claire's worried because she doesn't know if her son is safe. But, in a previous episode, she used the television-thing to look at people in another country. Why doesn't she use the television-thing to look at her son? Inexplicable!!"

    "On the way to Liverpool - in the car-thing - Paul wasn't worried about the police, because he was 'only doing seventy miles per hour'. In another episode, he got in trouble with the police for driving at forty miles per hour - in the same car-thing! This is a continuity error!!"

    Etc., etc..

    Having said all that - I do agree. This would make for a fascinating episode.
     
  17. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    The time-drive can definitely do space-travel-without-time-travel. We saw it in Tikka to Ride when he used the time-drive to go from outside the prison van where he watched JFK get escorted inside, to inside the prison van where he talks to JFK who just went in. This is definitely space-travel, but there is no time-travel implied. The only change in time discernable to the viewer was one second where the red flash moved Lister from one spot to another, which is just the time it takes to move rather than "time-travel".

    But maybe that scene still involved negligible time-travel of one second that the audience didn't notice. Assuming that's true, jmc2000's theory about space-and-time having to be in some sort of ratio is still in play. Because it was a short distance of only a few meters. We've only ever seen them go back to Earth (with the time-drive) between 1963-2155, roughly three million years ago. When Kryten operates the time-drive with his foot and accidentally moves them forward three years to 1966, they're still in the Texas Book Depository. Again, a small trip in time corresponds to no-or-negligible movement in space. Maybe in that case, they actually moved a few meters.

    The ratio theory is contradicted by the trip to 1421 deep-space where they travelled over three million years in the same spot. But that was before the time-drive mysteriously acquired a space-setting, and we don't know how the two settings relate to each other, if at all.
     
  18. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    The elephant in the room of time travel is - no movement relative to what?

    The Earth is spinning round the sun, and the sun is going round the galactic centre. The galaxy is moving away from the centre of the universe. If you travelled forward in time just one day, you'd have travel a great distance through space to "keep up" with your present location. Millions of miles, in fact.

    Based on dialogue from Tikka to Ride, I think they're actually more frightened of becoming their crappy future selves if they start time travelling.

    Having said which - bear in mind that Lister's been in stasis for three million years, picked up a helpful robot, met his ex from another universe, and fathered his own self. Due to the butterfly effect, any tinkering he does in the 23rd Century could stop that happening - and therefore stop him ever being born.

    E.g., he might accidentally do something in the 23rd Century that stops the Nova 5 setting off, meaning he can't meet Kryten in the year three million. Given that Kryten is such a major instigator, that might stop him finding the time drive or meeting Kochanski. Hey presto! He vanishes in a flash of paradox.
     
  19. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    It just occured to me that the time-drive being able to move in time-only in Out of Time needs some explaining, because we were explicitly told that the crew of the Gemini-12 had used it to go back to 20th-century Earth where they contracted flu and died. So the Gemini-12 wasn't actually in space in the 28th century, it was parked on Earth? Then why bother with a spaceship?
     
  20. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    This is the passage in question:

    They didn't send the ship to deep space until after their time travel disaster - so we can presume they weren't a million miles from Earth when they made their maiden voyage.

    Say they were in the vicinity of Mars or Venus. They could have time-jumped to the 20th Century and then simply flown to Earth from there, as a normal spaceship.
     

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