Saturday, March 28, 2015

12 Monkeys 1.11: What Ifs

Science fiction is intrinsically about what if this or that incredible event happened, and time travel is especially, and this is what 12 Monkeys 1.11, which does time travel so well, offered us last night, at least twice.

What if Jones were left alone at the time travel facility, with Cole never returning, her dwindling military support leaving, and even the guy who operates the time machine packing his bags and moving out?  Jones, as aware of herself as Socrates, knows she won't leave.  Where else would she go?  What else would she do?   All of this will likely be soon changed as Cole gets back in the picture, but Jones alone in the time travel facility was a touching set piece that could have come out of a Ray Bradbury story.

The other what-if flows from the same event that prevented Cole - at least temporarily - from returning to 2043.  He's fighting to the death with Ramse in 1980s Tokyo.   The result leaves Cole badly wounded, and Ramse arrested and thrown in a Japanese prison.  There he lives for years, contacted by some benefactor who takes an interest him, and eventually brings him to her facility when Ramse is released.

We're thus treated to an alternate reality in which Ramse has been living in the past into our current age all along - but is this really alternate?  It could be, if Ramse's experiences in this past amount to a dead end.  But there's a strong implication that maybe Ramse had indeed been in the past all along, interacting with and triggering the Goines, and intersecting with the Witness.   In other words, in all of the 12 Monkeys episodes we've seen up until this episode, with Cole often traveling back to the past, and Ramse ensconced in the future, an older version of this same Ramse, with the same memories and all, was already in the past, and maybe event to some extent not only reacting to but calling the shots.

Time travel has, until this series, been at its best in short stories, novel, and movies.   Television has checked in with a great episode from time to time - such as "City on the Edge of Forever" in Star Trek: TOS and "Yesterday's Enterprise" in Star Trek: TNG - but the series have been pale in comparison to what has been donewith time travel in other kinds of narratives.   12 Monkeys on Syfy, for the first time, is rolling out a tableau and story with complex and paradoxical parts truly worthy of the time travel genre.

See also this Italian review, w/reference to Hawking and my story, "The Chronology Protection Case"

And see also 12 Monkeys series on SyFy: Paradox Prominent and Excellent ...12 Monkeys 1.2: Your Future, His Past ... 12 Monkeys 1.3:  Paradoxes, Lies, and Near Intersections ... 12 Monkeys 1.4: "Uneasy Math" ... 12 Monkeys 1.5: The Heart of the Matter ... 12 Monkeys 1.6: Can I Get a Witness? ... 12 Monkeys 1.7: Snowden, the Virus, and the Irresistible ... 12 Monkeys 1.8: Intelligent Vaccine vs. Time Travel ... 12 Monkeys 1.9: Shelley, Keats, and Time Travel ... 12 Monkey 1.10: The Last Jump

podcast review of Predestination and 12 Monkeys

 three time travel novels: the Sierra Waters trilogy

 photo LateLessons1_zpsogsvk12k.jpg
What if the Soviet Union survived into the 21st century,
and Eddie and the Cruisers were a real band?

The Chronology Protection Case movie 

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