Time related story plot device question

  • #1
Hi. So I have a story idea and my main plot device has something to do with time. I want it to be a more science fiction than fantasy so I was hoping someone could help me. The general idea is, a man falls asleep only to wake up 20 years in the future, in one night, he cannot remember the last 20 years, but he has aged and so has everyone else, it as if time jumped forward and he's in the future. Is there any way I can make this plot device work without obviously violating the laws of physics, so it is reasonable? I don't want to use the whole 'he was frozen' plot device, I want it to seem a bit magical, but yet be a bit logical. Is it possible to do that?
 

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  • #2
Bystander
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Amnesia, and it has been done, not memorably. Might be able to recall when and by whom, but, as I say, it was not a particularly remarkable item.
 
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  • #4
Stephen Tashi
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he cannot remember the last 20 years, but he has aged and so has everyone else, it as if time jumped forward and he's in the future.
It's an often seen scenario in fiction. An interesting variation would be if the man himself and most people around him aren't interested in his past. Perhaps there's only one irritating guy who keeps pestering him about it - and then the irritating guy gets knocked off .... or was this supposed to be a romance novel?
 
  • #5
It's an often seen scenario in fiction. An interesting variation would be if the man himself and most people around him aren't interested in his past. Perhaps there's only one irritating guy who keeps pestering him about it - and then the irritating guy gets knocked off .... or was this supposed to be a romance novel?
Well I want it to be mystery, he tries to find out how this happens, and tries to get those years of his life back. But, I don't want it to be a coma or amnesia, I want it to be something like time itself changed (like how you age different due to time dilation), but this guy literally jumped ahead 20 years, but I don't know how to do that without throwing the laws of physics out the window
 
  • #6
CWatters
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I don't know how to do that without throwing the laws of physics out the window
Nor does anyone else!
 
  • #7
CWatters
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One interpretation of a version of the double slit experiment suggests we might be able to alter the past. Rather it suggests all possible versions of your past might exist and you can change which one occured.

So at a stretch i suppose you might be able to justify someone messing with his past in a way that does something similar to what you are looking for.
 
  • #8
One interpretation of a version of the double slit experiment suggests we might be able to alter the past. Rather it suggests all possible versions of your past might exist and you can change which one occured.

So at a stretch i suppose you might be able to justify someone messing with his past in a way that does something similar to what you are looking for.
Interesting, but how would you lay that down? The many worlds interpretation states that these alternate pasts will never intersect, and these alternate universes only branch off when a quantum effect is made, like the double slit. I guess that could be the sci-fi element, someone managed to intersect and change them.
 
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  • #9
Stephen Tashi
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Well I want it to be mystery, he tries to find out how this happens, and tries to get those years of his life back.
Maybe he never succeeds.

Maybe both he and his younger self are now alive as an unexpected (unexplained to the reader) by-product of some experiment and if they are allowed to meet "scientists" fear there will be some universe-destroying consequences, so he is being isolated.

If you want the story to have unexplainable physics in it, just put it in as unexplained.
But, I don't want it to be a coma or amnesia,
Any particular reason? If you're going to use a basic plot that's been used a hundred times, why not use its most plausible aspects?


There's always the old Secret Government Project plot ingredient - maybe the guy has no past. He is an artificial intelligence that's been implanted in the body of human being. The body has a history - that of its former owner. But the history of the former owner turns out to having nothing to do with the history of our guy - who has no history.

However, I think that's less interesting than the usual find-out-my-past type of story. Suspense in that type of story can some from the guy seeming to be find out that he was evil and naughty and meeting people who tell him of his character defects etc. Then he solves some mystery and it turns out he wasn't so bad after all.

Unfortunately for plot artists, plots don't have much to do with the quality of fiction. It's the specifics of how they are executed that count. It's like real life. There are plots such as: I go shopping and then have lunch at a restaurant with my friend Ned, who will complain about the service. It's a bland plot, but entertaining if well executed.
 

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