Did you see the movie Source Code [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source_Code]?
I've also read stories where it takes a major disruption of the time line to cause a change, as TIME resists change--perhaps this would work for you. Time resets each time he returns to his present.
Or there is the multiverse of infinite timelines. Each time he goes back he creates a new timeline, but when he returns he returns to his own present.
Then there are stories where time travel merely is part of what actually occurred (e.g. Moorcock's BEHOLD THE MAN); and others where one cannot know for certain what even small change will alter the timeline (e.g. Bradbury's A SOUND OF THUNDER).
Btw, one of the best time travel stories I recall is David Gerrold's THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF.
Well, he could go back to progressively later and later times. As in, he knows she dies on January 1st, so he goes back to Jan 1 and saves her (yay). But then back in the present, he finds out that she ended up dying on January 2nd. So he has to travel to Jan 2 to save her that day. Goes back home... now she dies on Jan 5. Travels back to that day...
His time travels would never overlap, at least until the date of her death pushes up to the present day.
Incidentally, he would have to leave later and later from the present to avoid running into himself in the present.
You'd have to determine what your rules are as far as his memory; does he remember that originally she died on Jan 1 and he went back to save her? Or does the fact that he changed history mean he has no recollection of her first death when he gets back to the present, so in his mind he is always going back the first time, and the book ends with her dying in the present (for the first time).
You could also have a Pauli Exclusion type principle for time - you can never go back to the same time twice.
As for her dying all the time due to the universe "trying to put it right", there is now the problem with comparisons to the movie series Final Destination. One way to get around this is have her deaths come naturally from the effect of the interference. One possibility here is that the timeline protection from the MC extended over her entire life, so she never learned to perceive danger. This would be an interesting rod made by the MC for his own back. (This line would probably work better if the story was about his own daughter, than a love interest.)
He has to be much older when he goes back than when he was there. He likely could go back as a doctor, a specialist, He could meet himself and while there would be a resemblance, he would not look anything like he did then.
Of course this depends on how much time passed between the events. If he lost her in his twenties, and he goes back when he is forty, he would not be seen as the same person. I assume he became a doctor learning about her condition. it would take him some years to reach the point where he could help her condition so there is aging there.
He might go into the room at times the hospital is not open to the public or to visitors. That would make sure he does not meet himself.
and some solutions as to why she still dies, is that he misdiagnoses the illness and does not realize that until too late. Or, she has a bad reaction to the medicine he gives her and dies from that. It could be that while it is the right diagnosis and medicine, she has a complication, a second condition that reacts badly to the medicine.
You mention that it is a time rewinding device. Does this mean that he gets younger as he goes back in time?
Could the time travel be such that his consciousness is reinhabiting his prior self? Perhaps in your world, that is the only way time travel is possible, where matter doesn't travel back, but only the soul -- and a body is required to make the transfer.
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I have read some stories and books with this problem, the writer usually seems to ignore it. That by the way includes me. I have as story about a guy who keeps going back in time to keep his wife from --hmm, not sure how to politely say it so I will say-- flipping out. She attacks him and has to be institutionalize. He keeps going back in time to figure out what caused it and how he can fix it before whatever went wrong goes wrong.
But he never meets himself. Either the writers ignore that problem or they think like me. The last time he went back in time it was from a different time line so in the current time line he never went back in time so he can't meet himself. In my story, in each new time line he has to figure out how to go back in time again even though towards the end he figures out that it wasn't his first trip back.
Hmmm, no wonder Riker from STNG said "time travel give me a headache".
quote:Could the time travel be such that his consciousness is reinhabiting his prior self? Perhaps in your world, that is the only way time travel is possible, where matter doesn't travel back, but only the soul -- and a body is required to make the transfer.
If the prior consciousness was also in his prior self, there could be some interesting conflicts between the two. If it wouldn't work for this story, it could still be an interesting approach.
Wonder if it would work for a writing challenge?
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited July 18, 2011).]
There was an old Mad TV episode where Abraham Lincoln invented a time machine and went into the future to see what kind of president he turned out to be, then found out what happened to him. So he went back in time to try and kill JWB as a child, he kept trying and failing. Then it showed Ford's Theatre and JWB looks up and sees the guy who's been trying to kill him all his life. So it really was self defense.
So your time rewinding device is kind of like a reverting to a previous saved game? I think it would work if you remember to rewind the time where he went back in the first place.
Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions. The story is nearing completion. I'll post the 1st 13 soon. You guys really helped me out of this clinch.
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