Time Travel? Time Machines? Are They Possible?

Happy Back To The Future Day!

At the end of the original 1985 Back To The Future film, Doc Brown urges Marty McFly and Jennifer Parker to hop aboard his DeLorean time machine and travel thirty years into the future to save their children. The 1989 sequel Back To The Future II picks up where the first movie leaves off, with the trio flying to the year 2015. The time machine is programmed to take them to a specific date– October 21, 2015.

Today is that day. The world we live in bears some resemblance to its fictional counterpart, but the creators of Back To The Future II were a wee bit off on some of their predictions. I won’t spoil the movie by saying much more.

What hasn’t changed is the public’s fascination with time travel and time machines. What started in 1895 with H.G. Wells’s novella The Time Machine continues to this day in science fiction books, films, and TV shows. But will humankind ever be capable of building a time machine and using it to travel to the future, or to the past?

According to Bill Nye, it is impossible for anyone or anything with mass to travel at the speed of light. Attempting time travel through a black hole would kill anyone who attempts it.


I doubt science fiction writers will be discouraged. They only need to invent some special kind of device that will allow their time traveling characters to make it to the past/future without being stretched into a piece of spaghetti. It doesn’t have to work in the real world as long as the audience believes in it enough to stick with the story.

When I wrote Time Trip: A Dinosaur Musical, I did not go into the nuts and bolts of how time machines work. The first scene takes place in the year 2121, when time machines are still somewhat of a novelty, yet the scientist characters know people who have traveled in them. The main drama surrounding the time machine in my story involves a trio of gangster T-Rexes, who mistake the time machine for a dinosaur and try to eat it! (Don’t worry about scaring the little kids– this part of the scene is meant to be played for laughs.)



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