View Full Version : Need some technobabble regarding a time device

Mark Moore
08-25-2014, 04:07 AM
I'm currently dusting off one of my abandoned WIPs (present-day scenes are all completed; more flashbacks must be added). It's about a girl/woman and her friends from the 1980s. Her father is a scientist and invents, among other things, a "time-skipper", which takes the form of a wristwatch. It allows the wearer to "fast-forward" time at any speed and for any duration. She continues to age at a normal pace compared to the "accelerated" world around her. In other words, if she sets the thing to 1.5x speed, she can skip past one hour and age only forty minutes. The device's digital display will also provide other useful information, such as the disparity between the "old" time and the "new" time (a cumulative total of the amount of time skipped, what the current date "should be" under normal circumstances, and her adjusted "date of birth").

The present-day setting is 2005-2007, but there are flashbacks to the 1980s and 1990s, and the girl really ages only about five years in that time.

Obviously, the girl isn't really fast-forwarding the universe. She's creating some kind of disparity between herself and the rest of the universe (a detachment between her aging and perception and that of everyone and everything else). I need some kind of plausible (or at least semi-plausible) technobabble for her father to spew when he explains how this thing works (as well as a better name than "time-skipper").

08-25-2014, 05:25 AM
This belongs in SFF

08-25-2014, 05:32 AM
Sounds like relativity is your friend. This isn't time skipping. It's time dilation (http://www.phy.olemiss.edu/HEP/QuarkNet/time.html). I suppose you could have it generate a field that sort of "spins" at a significant fraction of the speed of light. More power, stronger spin, more time skipping.

I think time gets funky around the event horizon of a singularity, too.

08-25-2014, 05:37 AM
The Chrono-Displacement Device, or CDD, works by part-way phasing you out of our time dimension, via complex quantum interactions I couldn't possibly begin to explain to you. Essentially, it controls your movement along the Time-dimensional axis. By moving yourself 'forward' for lack of a better word at a rate greater than 1 second per second, you will experience the world around you accelerate, as you outrace the 'normal' flow of time. It does this via N-Dimensional Brane warping; that wristwatch there is actually a teleportation device in some ways that move you sideways through the dimensions to access...

Oh but then, we don't have time for that, do we?

King Neptune
08-25-2014, 05:36 PM
It can also be regarded as a Local Time Retarder, because the region affected by the thing is moving through time at a slower rate.

08-26-2014, 02:16 AM
I know this sounds cliché- but have the scientist begin explaining to her all the crazy terms and what-not, then have her cut him off, "laymen's terms please"

Mark Moore
08-26-2014, 07:31 AM
I know this sounds cliché- but have the scientist begin explaining to her all the crazy terms and what-not, then have her cut him off, "laymen's terms please"

The thing is she's going to become a scientist herself (in fact, she accepts a science scholarship to M.I.T. at one point), so I'm not sure that she'd do that.

08-26-2014, 08:16 AM
Use the narrator voice to glide over the details. What I don't want to see, and I am sure there are many others including editors, who would rather see the author eschew poorly researched ideas than putting grizzly mockups of scientific concepts in the story.

08-26-2014, 05:13 PM
I agree with Xelebes. You could reference something somewhat familiar to sci-fi audiences, like a warp bubble and say it creates a kind of stationary warp bubble or something that moves her forward in time.

08-26-2014, 06:27 PM
"How does the Heisenberg compensator work?"
"It works very well, thank you."


Ergodic Mage
08-26-2014, 07:42 PM
As robjvargas says this is time dilation and we currently have astronauts that experience it to a very slight degree.

As it does happen I would recommend keeping as close to a real explanation as possible. I'm going to base the following off of simple wikipedia articles as you don't need to be a physicist but understand some basics.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerate_matter - see the Singularity section at the bottom.

So a technobabble explanation that has some basis in physics.
The watch accelerates fermions within an electromagnetic field to the point where they form up micro black holes. Within this field time dilates safely for the traveler.

Now this wouldn't pass by a physicist, but it seems plausible for time-travel. A few things you can address as well:
She would still be experiencing time so she'd notice the 40 minutes.
She would still be around and visible to people. More like HG Wells Time Machine than pop in and out of time.
The energy required would probably be greater than the total energy of many super giant stars.
Formation of black holes can become a devastating weapon.
The time dilation effect would go out as well as in, so bystanders could be effected.

Good luck!