Subject: Re: Eek! Time Travel
Date: Sat, 23 May 1998 12:35:24 EDT
Yikes I am really drowning in this time travel stuff but let me try and follow you
<< I'm not sure exactly what you mean when you say that Ash destroyed the evil at the end of Evil Dead 2. I understand that to be a remake of The Evil Dead (which was not 4 hours long, either), and my sources say that the movies had the same ending--but they could have been mistaken. However, your point that the book was found at the castle by the professor is an important one, and requires that it was moved from the graveyard to the castle in both time lines. >>
Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 are not remakes... Evil Dead 2 is indeed the sequal.
At the end of Evil Dead 2 they throw Ash back in time and you only see Ash back in time for the last 2 minutes of the film. Army of Darkness, however, is based around Ash's entire time travel experiences in the past.
<<It has a history. Ash cannot have been at that castle in that history, because he must be born in his own point in time before he can go back in time--that is, Ash's life must begin with his birth at a specific point in time and space which must have arrived through its own chain of events before he can travel back into history and alter it. His appearance near the battlefield where the events of Army of Darkness occur therefore changes the history which led to his own birth.>>
I'm trying to understand... are you saying Ash can not travel into the past before his birth, but why? that's what time travel is!
1300's Castle --- 195* Ash's Birth --- 19**Ash thrown back in time
Now when Ash was thrown back in time that time line remained (continuing) without Ash. The time line continued as normal, except it was minus one man... until he was transported back into the future from the castle (end of AOD). So it was as if Ash never left.
And replying to the fact of him being the "promised one" I am having some trouble understanding...
The Book of Evil said that a man would come from the future and stop the evil.
Now maybe he didn't do the job perfectly, flawlessly, or without error but he, indeed, stopped the evil and fullfilled the prophecy.
I'm sorry for any confusion and please feel free to respond with corrections
I am only 14 so don't expect a metaphysical genius sending you mail : )
O.K., let me try to clarify this for you. First, let's get past the problem of whether the Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 are the same or different stories. I'm getting a fair amount of mail on it, and it shows a lot of disagreement on this point. I've got some feelers out to try to find copies of them, but they seem to be missing around here.
Obviously I'm not saying that Ash can't go back to a point in time earlier than his own birth. I'm saying that there has to be an original history which leads to Ash's birth which he erases and replaces when he goes back in time. But perhaps this will be clearer if I invent a different story, one of the paradoxes in which tellers of time travel stories delight.
Let's imagine that Ash goes back in time only about 80 years, and meets a woman and falls in love. He then marries her, has children, and dies in the past. Now let us suppose that one of those children has a child who becomes Ash's father--that is, Ash has accidentally married his own great-grandmother. It is immediately clear in this anomaly that Ash cannot be born unless he goes back in time, and he cannot go back in time unless he is born. Most time travel enthusiasts would say that this outcome is impossible--Ash cannot become his own great-grandfather, so this can't happen. Yet on it's face, if Ash can go back in time 80 years, there's no intrinsic reason why he can't meet and marry his great-grandmother--so the problem seems insoluble.
In another scenario, let us imagine that Ash is thrown back about 50 years, and gets in a fight with a young man in which he is forced to kill the young man. Unbeknownst to him, this young man would have grown up to be his father. Now he has killed his own father prior to his own conception, and cannot be born. But if he cannot be born, then he will never travel back in time, and so he cannot kill his father. Again, most time travel enthusiasts would claim that this is impossible, and cannot happen. But if Ash can go back in time, what would prevent him from killing his own father?
My time travel theories solve these problems. Under my approach, time is linear and progressive, and time travel creates anomalies. That is, when Ash was born, there was a history in place which did not include him. He ages and reaches a point in time at which he goes back. Going back in time, he intrinsically changes history--the alternate timeline now includes his presence in history, a change from the history which existed before he was born. He might marry his great-grandmother; he might kill his father. He is creating a new history. The future which led to his birth has been erased and replaced by this new timeline. But we can often reconstruct that other time line from the scraps we have. (Also, if Ash were either to marry his great-grandmother or to kill his father, it has serious repurcussions for time, in that at the moment he should have gone back in time to create this history he will probably fail to do so, and so destroy the new history he created, either restoring the previous history or creating a new one. But that's beyond our concern at the moment.)
The theory suggests that when someone travels backward in time, all of time must snap back to that moment and be played again to the moment at which the traveler departed. If at that point in time everything is similar enough to the original time line that the traveler would make the same trip and do the same thing, time continues into the future; otherwise, it is forced to repeat again, since if at the end of the second time line the traveler will not go back to create that history, the history has been altered again.
Of course, these things didn't happen in Ash's story. But the treatment of time must be consistent. We have to have a theory of time which explains the things which reasonably might have happened, even when they don't. Thus, 1300's castle without Ash...1950's birth of Ash...1970's Ash thrown back in time...1300's repeated with Ash...Ash thrown forward in time...1950's Ash born in alternate history...1970's Ash thrown back in time and Ash returns from the past to continue into the future.
The fact that Ash left the 20th century for any time at all is not important. It is no different than if he had moved to Boston for a while and then come back.
Concerning Ash being the promised one, in Army of Darkness, the book only predicted that someone would come--it did not predict that that one would come "from the future". No one can come from the future until the future exists. But I think that the information available strongly suggests that in the original time line someone arose to fulfill the prophecy. It cannot have been Ash, for the reasons explained: there has to be a timeline which reaches his birth before he can go back to alter that past--and there's the critical concept. When Ash goes back into the past, he is altering the past--which means there must have been an original past for him to alter, and that original past did not include him. Once he alters it, it is forgotten, unknown to history, because it has all been erased; but it must have existed in an original time line. Back to the Future is very instructive in this regard, and worth a look.
Don't apologize for your age. You've shown as good an ability to recognize the time travel problems as most of those who write to me. I'm glad to be able to help you understand it.
Let me know if this is clear. Thanks again for your interest. And by the way, your brother has written back and indicated that he will be taking a look at the web site as soon as he has some time, so perhaps he'll be able to field questions (there's an advantage to being able to chat with someone as opposed to working by e-mail).