What’s a good name for a phenomenon where time moves differently?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

I’m trying to come up with a term to describe how time moves slower or faster in different places of a galaxy. I’m trying to explain how in Star Wars, things seem to move differently for different characters in separate locations. I’m trying to argue that Han limping to Bespin took “longer” than Luke training on Dagobah. I got the idea from the recent Clone Wars episode where it takes place concurrent with Revenge of the Sith. I always thought ROTS took place over like 3 weeks but based on Clone Wars- it would appear to be several days. I want BOTH to be right in my headcanon.

Their is proof that my theory might actually hold water since it was said in an official source that Luke felt that he had been on Ach-To far longer than he actually had in The Last Jedi.

Whats a good term for this phenomenon?
 

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  • #2
phinds
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Time doesn't move faster or slower at different places anywhere. It always just ticks away at one second per second. If you are talking about perceived differences then you are talking about time dilation. If you are talking about differential aging due to different paths through spacetime then it's differential aging, but you can only get that if you have two objects together, separate them, and then re-unite them after they have taken different paths through spacetime. Movies and such don't generally stick to actual science.
 
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  • #3
berkeman
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Their is proof that my theory might actually hold water since it was said in an official source that Luke felt that he had been on Ach-To far longer than he actually had in The Last Jedi.
Sorry, I'm having trouble parsing that sentence. First, I'm pretty sure you mean "There" and not "Their", but I'm not sure since you say you're a writer. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your meaning. Also, what do you mean by using "Their [sic] is proof" and "official source" and "Luke" and "The Last Jedi" all in the same sentence. Do you mean an imaginary SciFi proof of some sort, or are you trying to imply that there is some actual scientific proof of something based on those fictional stories and characters?
Whats a good term for this phenomenon?
It's officially called "The Hummingbird Principle". Time moves in slow motion for hummingbirds compared to us humans... :wink:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https://nationalzoo.si.edu/migratory-birds/hummingbirds&psig=AOvVaw2gb5EyVNyn6bkWOPcjCQKN&ust=1587939042272000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=2ahUKEwj-kcuFzITpAhUMAjQIHSFhC-0Qr4kDegUIARC7Ag

1587852684544.png
 
  • #4
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Sorry, I'm having trouble parsing that sentence. First, I'm pretty sure you mean "There" and not "Their", but I'm not sure since you say you're a writer. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your meaning. Also, what do you mean by using "Their [sic] is proof" and "official source" and "Luke" and "The Last Jedi" all in the same sentence. Do you mean an imaginary SciFi proof of some sort, or are you trying to imply that there is some actual scientific proof of something based on those fictional stories and characters?

It's officially called "The Hummingbird Principle". Time moves in slow motion for hummingbirds compared to us humans... :wink:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https://nationalzoo.si.edu/migratory-birds/hummingbirds&psig=AOvVaw2gb5EyVNyn6bkWOPcjCQKN&ust=1587939042272000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=2ahUKEwj-kcuFzITpAhUMAjQIHSFhC-0Qr4kDegUIARC7Ag

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That’s what an editor is for


I honestly don’t fully understand why people on online forums take the time to answer with sarcastic responses or unhelpful links. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ignore the post? 🤔
 
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  • #5
berkeman
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Can you please address my point about your use of the word "proof"? I probably wouldn't have bothered to reply (I don't frequent the SciFi forum), except for the part of your post where you seemed to be claiming some kind of scientific proof and citing only fiction.

Or would your Editor have caught that problem as well? :wink:
 
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Can you please address my point about your use of the word "proof"? I probably wouldn't have bothered to reply (I don't frequent the SciFi forum), except for the part of your post where you seemed to be claiming some kind of scientific proof and citing only fiction.

Or would your Editor have caught that problem as well? :wink:
🙄 I meant “proof” in-universe. Forget it. I’ve been informed time does not behave this way. Good day.
 
  • #7
Klystron
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Your Star Wars references are largely lost on me but I am familiar with the original characters and plot. Apropos to your question on how characters perceive the passage of time: a character's subjective perception of time allows the writer to include the characters' mental states and feelings.

For example take a courthouse scene common in many novels and films. The judge reads the jury's verdict and imposes a sentence, say 5 years imprisonment, on the accused. Supporters of the accussed gasp and cry out at the severity of the sentence. Prosecutors and the victim's family protest the leniency of the sentence. The prisoner faces the horror of 5 years incarceration where time seems to creep by minute by minute.

Objectively all the characters deal with the identical time interval but react quite differently. Young Luke Skywalker and ancient Obi-Wan Kenobi live and interact together before receiving Princess Leia's call for help. One can imagine how differently each perceives the passage of time.

This temporal distinction provides the basis for understanding the passage of time for characters separated by galactic distances. Consider Ripley's character drifting in cold sleep after the carnage of "Aliens". Very little subjective time passes for her while asleep but as a spacewoman she knows much time has passed as her derelict craft crosses immense distances back to Earth station after she wakes.

A rough but useful guide for understanding (and writing) galactic science fiction: distance implies time. Even stipulating faster-than-light (FTL) travel implies an older, more ancient, more advanced civilization separated in time and space from our mundane existence. Sub-light travel over galactic distances requires immense passage of time; requiring provisions for cold-sleep, stasis or generation star ships.

George Lucas explicitly describes these conditions in the opening prologue to the Star War films.
 
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  • #8
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I’m trying to come up with a term to describe how time moves slower or faster in different places of a galaxy.
I've read a few stories with this premise, but the only term I can recall was "the slow" for our part of the universe, which has GR limits compared to the 'normal' universe the characters usually inhabited where GR did not apply. Needless to say, dropping into the slow was akin to being marooned on a desert island with just a volleyball for company.

I’m trying to argue that Han limping to Bespin took “longer” than Luke training on Dagobah.
How exactly was Han traveling? It is possible - assuming warp drives were involved - that time within warp is different to time outside warp. That's a common sci-fi trope in stories and I've used it myself, though it is mind bending to keep all the time frames aligned. Which is probably where any discrepancy such as this in Star Wars canon arises from. You need to keep in mind that multiple authors are writing books, screenplays, and anime over decades without an actual scientific framework to explain and constrain. They literally can make up whatever the hell they like, so Author A in book A has a plot imperative that Author F in movie F does not:
  1. Know about
  2. Care about
  3. Needs to contradict for their plot.
Take your pick, but it is unlikely - I'd say impossible - to keep every aspect consistent, esp. when readers such as yourself are pouring over them with forensic fervor, unpicking loose threads. Richard Morgan released his three brilliant Takeshi Kovacs novels over three years and it was not until I read them back-to-back recently that I noticed a number of timeline elements did not line up. I'm not sure why that happened but suspect it's just because, as I've found, it is really hard to keep every little item aligned across multiple novels set decades apart.

Their is proof that my theory might actually hold water...Luke felt that he had been on Ach-To far longer than he actually had in The Last Jedi.
That's clearly not a reliable guide on which to base a theory. As @Klystron pointed out, the mechanics of writing mandate this type of 'feeling' be expressed as such, either overtly as you shift across multiple PoVs, or explicitly to convey the emotional state of the characters. Writing such intricate insights without making the prose a sequence of mundane exclamations of "he thought", "she said" is the essence of the art of penmanship and when done well, it elevates the book from just readable to literary black hole that inexorably captures your attention.

Finally, Star Wars has very little physics as we know it. Without wanting to sound glib, let your imagination run riot, because, surely, that was Lucas's whole point in the first place. And that's coming from someone old enough to have been blown away by the groundbreaking first movie as a teenager. He promised a sci-fi epic and boy, did he deliver!
 
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That’s what an editor is for
BTW, if you're expecting an editor to fix up basic grammar mistakes such as 'their' and 'there' then you're wasting your time and theirs! Do them a favor and at least run Grammarly over your draft before anyone else sees it. Even the free version picks up that mistake.
 
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Of course Mr Vonnegut defined the Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum without worrying about all the details. Maybe that is a better course.....it seemed to work for him.
 
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Of course Mr Vonnegut defined the Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum without worrying about all the details. Maybe that is a better course.....it seemed to work for him.
He did, nice pick up, @hutchphd. You've reminded me that making up fancy sounding, kinda-real, entirely insane descriptors for impossible speculative physics is one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing science fiction 👍
 
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  • #12
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A Quenton Tarantino movie. I can never figure those things out.
 
  • #13
DaveC426913
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I’m trying to explain how in Star Wars, things seem to move differently for different characters in separate locations. I’m trying to argue that Han limping to Bespin took “longer” than Luke training on Dagobah.

Whats a good term for this phenomenon?
This is a cinematic technique - compressed time and stretched time. Like how two minutes of screen time passes while a guy defuses an exploderizer with only 10 seconds on the counter-downer.

Here's a few terms that describe various forms of dynamic time in cinema:
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/short-film-language-teaching/0/steps/31039

I take it though, that your idea is to take it a step further into fantasy that the varying timelines are a real part of the story. I can't help you with that.
 
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  • #14
SamRoss
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How about "local temporal flow"?
 
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And coordinate time vs local time ?

Also there are other things like closed loop in space-time in rotating universes. Maybe even a fifth dimension that is neither space nor time via a degenerate metric.

To be even more SF there could be a global condition on time looking like chronology protection and only the projection on space of the whole spacetime could build closed loop such that there were a collapse of the time axis, hence you would have several times finishing in the same time ?
 
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  • #16
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If your looking to make something up for use in a book I would use something which starts with "Chrono" which means Time in Greek.
 
  • #17
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Vonnegut's Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum (abbreviated for convenience to the CSI effect?) seems to cover the bases. The 'hummingbird' effect has a nice ring too. Taking a cue from Vonnegut, but going for Latin here, a variation could be Tempus Altaris? It's nothing like as comprehensive as Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum, but it is somewhat briefer.

In passing I recall a short story by Eric Frank Russell published in the 1950s about an exceedingly torpid race of aliens called The Waitabits. I've never come across it myself, although not for lack of trying. I like the name though.
 
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  • #18
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I was slightly chagrined to learn from my MD sibling that Infundibulum is an actual medical term of art (for an external corporeal involution). Always thought it to be purely Vonnegut!
 
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Finally, Star Wars has very little physics as we know it.
I've read some novels form the SW universe which tried to 'install' some real physics, but the result was nothing good: nor a decent sci-fi, nor a decent SW novel.

Just forget it. Star Wars is more of a fantasy genree anyway - it's just done with spaceships.
 
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  • #21
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"Dystempor."
 
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I sense that people are avoiding suggesting time-dilation a mechanism to explain the temporal inconsistencies in the Star Wars universe. I guess if you go with real world physics, there is pressure to apply it precisely and correctly.

This was an interesting film where, inside of a cave, the temporal rate of flow was decreased to the point that by the time they got out, millions of years had passed. There was a temporal gradient (where the rate of time gradually increased) across the entrance, and as you went deeper into the cave the rate of time slowed even further.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Trap_(film)

You might call it temporal distortion.
 
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  • #23
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In my 'Convention' tales, 'Venturer', Earth's first true star-ship, is away for five years by ship-log but gets home after three ground-time. Before their first, lasered message arrives from Prox...
'Inverse Time Dilation', thanks to unexpected long-term side-effects of experimental Alcubierre Drive. Later versions of Drive mitigate this quirk but, if you're in a hurry, you can trade apparent vs actual time...
 
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Of course Mr Vonnegut defined the Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum without worrying about all the details. Maybe that is a better course.....it seemed to work for him.
I am speechless! (A condition much desired by my friends.) I was about to offer the same delightful phrase, from the even more delightful and penetrating Mr. Vonnegut. Thirty years I've waited since the last opportunity and you took it from me. If only the thirty years had not passed so slowly.

The only equivalent to the phrase, in terms of linguistic joy, but devoid of any explicit temporal elements, is Heinlein's pantheistic multi-person solipsism.
 
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