5 Best Machines to Time Travel for Beginners

“Time is an illusion. Lunch time, doubly so.”

Time, is a depressing predicament when you think about it. The entropy that pushes us forward towards death is an unmerciful mistress. Is it any wonder why mankind had always dream of escaping her grasp?

Statue of Urashima Tarō in Mitoyo, Kagawa Source : Wikipedia.

Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have been captivated by tales of time travel from the legendary folklore of Urashima Tarō, the fisherman who travel 300 years in the future after spending 3 days in the palace of the Dragon God, Ryūjin to the present day where bunch of American men facing mid-life crisis slipping back in time due to a hot tub malfunction.

All these time-traveling stories from all facets of the creative mediums have their own methods of punching through the layer of time but there have been many flaws in the design of their time machine such as appearing naked on the streets of 1980’s LA because apparently Skynet find the molecular codings of clothes a more complex task than a human DNA.

Understandably some these defects are for the purposes of introducing mandatory obstacles in the hero’s journey such as getting stuck in a mental institution with Brad Pitt in 1990 but as someone who is obssesed with such impossible feats, I’ve kept a list of the best ways to time travel using fictional machines with the minimal fault from both movies and TV shows.

A Delorean powered by plutonium may be cool but finding the open space to reach the speed necessary isn’t always that easy if you’re stuck in the prehistoric jungles of Malaysia, and good luck finding the blueprints to harvest the meteorite’s energy for a ‘time warp’ in the Golden Age of Melaka.

Unless you can run at the speed of light and enter the speed-force required to travel through time, the list below would be a better solution for they are solely based on the practicality of their design and the idiot-friendly user interface.


5. The Wyld Stallyns’ phone booth

Bill & Ted Animated Adventure by jhroberts

Before Keanu Reeves was the Chosen One, he was wannabe rockstar Ted Logan and together with his best mate, Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter), they had been assigned the most important task by Rufus the Future Dude (George Carlin). Their mission was to pass their history exam so that they can graduate high school and become the most influential rock band ever: the Wyld Stallyns.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is the classic time-traveling comedy movie that has the simplest of time machines – a phone booth. You might say it is a shameless rip-off of Tardis from Doctor Who except their machine is actually easier to use. All you need to do is dial in the date you wish to travel and *whoosh*, you’re on your way. If two highschool slackers can use it, anyone can. It is also easy to fix, with just a ball of chewing gum to fasten the antenna. In fact, there is no other complex mechanism to take care of unless you find keeping a pay phone clean to be a difficult task.

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The only downside to their phone booth is the limited interior space. Sure, you can cramp a whole load of historical figures in it but it is not very comfortable for long trips. Their time machine is adequate for beginners since there is no terrible consequences of paradoxical meetings which actually meant that there is an auto-correcting system which is beyond anything else in science fiction…even those on this list.


4. Temporal Agent’s Violin Case

Predestination, the amazing 2014’s science fiction film based on the legendary writings of Robert A. Heinlein‘s short story ‘—All You Zombies—’ is perhaps the best movie to ever represent the paradoxical challenges of time travel.

It is tough to describe the plot without giving away the twists but basically it is a story of a Temporal Agent, someone who travels through time to stop criminals before the crime is committed; chasing after a terrorist named Fizzle Bomber. This story deals with the grandfather paradox and is widely accepted as the best representation of the ‘eternal recurrence‘ which every time traveler faces when dealing with time paradoxes. This movie also plays with the idea that a pure time traveler has to be an Ouroboros himself in order to solve the paradox that he has created with his travel.

Paradox complications aside, this movie has a unique time machine in the form of a violin case. The mechanism inside wasn’t explained in detail but on the surface it seems easy enough to use. Dial in the date in the case, hold on tight, and you’re off. The compact size of the machine and its disguise make it easier to carry around without drawing too much attention to your sudden apparitions. It has also been used as both a weapon and a shield during the combat scenes in the movie, proving it to be a durable machine.

The only downside of this time-traveling violin case is perhaps the inner workings of the machine, which needs round-the-clock maintenance attention by the scientists and engineers over at the Temporal Bureau, and the only way to get their assistance is to be one of the Agents.

The amount of jumps you’re allowed to take with this violin case is also limited to the missions assigned, though in the movie there is a possibility of reprogramming the machine but that requires a knowledge beyond the average Joe. Such a design is a necessary measure by the Agency to ensure people like me for example, do not cause more damage to the Space-Time Continuum under their supervision.


3. The Timelord’s Tardis

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Does this need an introduction? How can anyone make a list of legit time machines without having the Tardis. It would be impossible and a sacrilege.

The famous blue box, the T.A.R.D.I.S (short for ‘Time And Relative Dimension In Space’) is a space-time vehicle stolen by the last living Timelord who goes only by the name of The Doctor (who? we’re not allowed to write it down) with the exception of The Master or Missy, since he regenerated to a she. And of course, the speculative survival of the entire planet of time travelers, Gallifrey being in a state of superposition in the crack of the Universe.

Too much to digest? Well that’s the BBC’s Doctor Who for you. (That’s right, kids are watching complex theoretical concepts while you’re watching the drama of rich house wives). It has been running (literally, the main protaganist prefer to runaway whenever possible) for more than 50 years and it has become an icon of time travel. Many even consider it to be the ultimate time machine in fiction since it can move both in space and time and sometimes into a parallel universe.

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Unfortunately to many outrage and cries of Whovians, the Tardis is not on our number one spot due to many flaws making it difficult for beginners of time travel. Sure, there is an infinite amount of interior space with fans speculating that our entire reality is just a room in there (yes, there is a cult) but that only complicates things ever further.

There was already a few episodes where the Doctor’s companions are trapped and lost in the maze of the time machine.

Secondly, the “Sexy”‘s (The Tardis’ nickname as given by The Doctor) control console is not user-friendly. Even if you trained at the Time Lord Academy, chances are you’d never end up where you want to be since it has a mind/soul of it’s own. This could be argued as what makes it the greatest time machine in fiction, and with the introduction of the telepathic circuits in the console, it is easier to focus the probability of your destination. Now the greatest flaw of the machine is the fact that the owner is currently in its most grumpy reincarnation ever (Peter ‘Fuckity’ Capaldi) and the chances of you getting a ride with him without force is as slim as Donna Noble’s returns.

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Nevertheless if this blue box ever appears in front of you, do what is necassary to get in and stay alive ’cause you know there will be trouble.


2. Captain Jack Harkness’s Vortex Manipulator       

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Yes, another Doctor Who gadget. The show has played with so many different aspects of science fiction, one could say it is the nursery for great sci-fi concepts, such as playing with the idea of the virtual micro-universe named “the Matrix” back in 1977 when the Wachowskis were still in school.

Machines which bend the law of physics are abundant in this great British series but the one that caught my attention is the vortex manipulator owned by the immortal (and also omnisexual, and promiscuous) Time Agent and con-man from the 51st Century named (Captain) Jack Harkness. The vortex manipulator is a time-traveling teleportation device issued by the Time Agency and it is housed in leather wrist-straps with a covering flap, making it the most convenient thus hardest to misplace gadget on this list.

The Vortex Manipulator is also one of the easier ones to use, as can be seen in the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who episode, “The Day of the Doctor”, when Clara Oswin Oswald easily keyed in the intended coordinates even when she was being attacked by shapeshifting aliens known as the Zygons. Sure, The Doctor himself dismisses this gadget by calling it a “space hopper” and, seeing it as an inferior machine compared to his glorious Tardis, he has been known to use the vortex manipulator when in dire need. Like the time he was trapped in the Pandorica underneath the Stonehenge. Plus, the gadget was important in his plan to reboot the Universe with a second Big Bang. No matter what his view on the “space hopper”, he can’t deny its usefulness.

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Unlike the Tardis, the vortex manipulator is an extremely precise form of time travel when properly used. It also has many other functions such as communications, remote control, life signs tracking and many more; making it the Swiss Army Knife of the true Time Traveler. The only drawback of using a vortex manipulator is firstly, you gotta woo the flirtatious Jack or any other Time Agent and then be very careful to keep your head attached – for there are many hunters on the look out for this expensive gadget. Secondly, the gadget can be burnt out and the technical skills to revive it only exists in the future.


1. Rick’s Portal Gun

Crashing into our number one spot (and on The Simpsons’ latest couch gag) is Adult Swim‘s nasty, drunk mad scientist Rick and his grandson Morty. With only one season aired, this show has jumped through space, dimensions, parallel universes and has even stopped time, all thanks to Rick Sanchez‘s Portal Gun.

Adult Swim’s Rick & Morty is the animated television series aimed for adults and is created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. The show follows the misadventures of the alcoholic sociopath Rick dragging along his naive young grandson Morty as they deal with outlandish and dangerous weekly crises.

These not being limited to: Battling stupid aliens who keep tryinPortal_gung to steal Rick’s invention; stopping the uprising of ultra-intelligent dogs; Inception-ing Morty’s math teacher’s sexy dreams in order to give him good grades; running away from the Council of Ricks in the parallel universe; using Morty as an inter-dimensional drug mule, and many more mad exploits. It’s a smart sci-fi show with very bad manners and the best gadgets seen onscreen since The Lightsaber.

Technically Rick’s portal gun is more of an inter-dimensional gun but it can also be used for time travel since all he had to do was change the setting to travel through the parallel universes. The machine is so easy to use – just point and shoot the green gooey portal and walk through it – even the easily influenced Morty could use it. Sure the settings can be tricky and it could lead you to places you don’t want to be in like the Land of Farting Butts. But(t)you just can’t resist the awesome opportunity to jump through other universes and play some GTA with your otherselves while grabbing boxes of pizza during your lunch break.

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Does time travel really matter anymore if you could jump to a reality where Justin Bieber didn’t exist, or one where Adolf Hitler is a critically-acclaimed artist? And if The Flash season finale tonight (if you’re streaming from the USA) doesn’t live up to your standards, you could always travel to another universe where you can fulfill your nerdgasms. The best part of this particular gun is that you don’t have to worry about consequences since you can just continue running across the infinite possibilities of reality.

First Published on : The Daily Seni.

4 thoughts on “5 Best Machines to Time Travel for Beginners

  1. The pic used to link the Zero Ducks Homepage to this article is, of course, a color edited-manipulated photo of the Alchemical Clock located in Olde Towne Prague, modern day Czech Republic. It also happens to be the longest continually running, most accurate, comprehensive analog calculator and mechanical predictor of local Earth Time while simultaneously giving the information one needs to determine with a high degree of precision and accuracy (if the Clock-Keepers have been diligent…and they have been) the sidereal coordinates we need in your “future” Time-Line of the actual location of Earth, Prague centric calibrated, of course, on the plane of the ecliptic and the Space-Time location of Earth on the Precessional Great Year (Galactic Center/Hunab Ku as Point of Origin or the relatively unmoving, still center of the Milky-Way) in order to make our Time Jumps with the degree of certainty needed to land on Earth and not end up in Deep Space somewhere between here and Andromeda galaxy. Time-Jumping from the base of the Alchemical Clock-Tower of 2313 CE to the same location on Earth 300 years past is a bit tricky, even after you’ve solved what you call in your present “paradoxes” which can occur only when you view Space-Time in a purely Einsteinian system. 122 years from your present (that’s 178 years ago for me and my research team and the few wealthy vacationers that passed the tests and financial requirements dictated and overseen by the administrators of the firm we represent.) a bright young married couple will co-author an abstract of observed data on and the behavior of the electricity and accompanying currents of electronic plasma and macroscopic, galaxy pervading magnetic quadrapoles in deep space that form moving currents of dual or paired filaments composed of plasma and producing a host of elegant, beautiful yet relatively “right before our eyes this entire time” succinct answers to your contemporary problems in Physics (Cosmology in particular). The Alchemical Clock has stopped for a cumulative sum total of less than 2 weeks and has only had 2 unscheduled stoppages lasting more than an hour or so, give or take during it’s 500 year history.. Even the Nazi blitzkrieg didn’t stop Her for long. Around a fortnight, that is the total down-time for what is in all reality an analog computer that has been perpetually yielding those that know how to read it accurate data on local and Earth centric Time and the secrets it gives all-day-every-day which yield to the initiated the Galactic Year and Earth’s location in Space-Time on the Great Year Calendar (or Platonic Year, Great Year, ~23,000 earth years), predictive data concerning Earth’s Precessional Cycle of the Equinoxes and the local Space-Time “zip code” or cosmic address for planet Earth, which is vital for pin-pointing Prague’s location relative to the Hunab Ku. Without the Alchemical Clock-Tower being perpetually cared for since the early 16th century CE, accurately maintained with Swiss-like precision engineering and never moved from the spot on which it was erected (which use to be the Town border or city-limit. The walls and defences ran adjacent to the Alchemical Tower.) we who Time-Jump and report, brief and debrief, gather data, experience a reality Time-Line anachronistic and unknowable in any real sense without Time-Jumping technology and knowledge; we who create entire alternate Universes with every iteration of a dampening paradox current or wave-field in the first stages of instability wherein the resonant frequency of matter within the sphere of influence of the prime or original paradox current is dampened via natural attributes of the paradox wave-field itself resonates enough with matter to become deconstructive on the Time-Line that will reduce the Time aspects of Space-Time to a singularity of one dimension, which is its own paradox and ergo, instantly becomes atemporal, retroactively deconstructing the event after it happened, making the observer see only a non-event with no paradox(es)…ever. Its the alternate time-lines we create with each paradox that begin or rather branch off or replicate like budding yeast cells/organisms, sharing a common past, yet becoming separate entities and independent on all levels. Because of these rather large and, as far as we know, unknowable effects our Prime directive is to cause no paradoxes. We haven’t made any novel paradoxes here tonight nor have we created forever parallel universes once the wave-field of paradox deconstructor resonance is self regulated via inertial dampening along an atemporal dimension. I know this because I found this article that I am actually copying (I brought a hard copy along with me this Jump.) We are safe. I intentionally misplaced, misspelled or otherwise altered the document from the original (which is a copy I made 300 years from this morning..yes indeed. However, these little paradoxes don’t have enough temporal-wave angular momentum to resonate, let alone move into atemporal uni-dimensional singularity(ies)…so when I look at the changes I made, they simply are not there. Seems as if we live in an auto-correcting, self editing, proofreading It’s own work, temporal paradox fixing Universe (much like a replicating daughter cell using polymerase to replicate a new copy of the DNA during synthesis phase of eukaryotic cellular division).

    ——–oooooooooooooooo———o-o-o-o-o-oooooooooo———–oooooooooo——–o—–ooooooooo——–

    THE FOLLOWING IS DISCARDED SENTENCE FRAGMENTS REMOVED DURING COMPILATION OF ABOVE MATERIAL. IT IS SUPPLEMENTAL AND IN NO WAY GRAMMATICALLY STANDARD FOR EARLY 21ST CENTURY AMERICAN ENGLISH. BEWARE, ONE SMALL CHANGE I MADE REMAINED. YOU MAY ALREADY BE A “DAUGHTER FRAGMENT” OF YOUR ORIGINAL SELF AND ARE NOW DWELLING IN THE FIRST FEW MOMENTS OF AN ALTERNATE, FOREVER PARALLEL UNIVERSE FROM THIS MOMENT ON THROUGHOUT ETERNITY OR UNTIL OUR TECHNOLOGY EXCEEDS 24TH CENTURY STANDARD TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE. I HAVE THE AUTHORITY, ABILITY AND DESIRE TO TAKE TWO OF YOUR 21ST CENTURY TEMPORAL NATIVES WITH ME. REDUCE THE APPLICANTS DOWN TO 7 OF YOU. A MEMBER OF EACH SEX, NO SERIOUS APPLICANTS OLDER THAN 60, NO YOUNGER THAN 28 NEED EVEN BOTHER. DON’T ASK WHY. GATHER AT THE SOUVENIR SHOPPE OWNED BY THE TIBETAN ACROSS FROM CHARLES’ BRIDGE ON THE OUTER WESTERN BORDER OF OLDE TOWNE SQUARE. LOOK FOR MYSELF AND POSSIBLY A WOMAN WHO YOU MAY FIND LOOKS IDENTICAL TO JANE MANSFIELD… BECAUSE IT WILL BE, IF SHE DECIDES TO JUMP WITH ME THIS TIME AROUND. YOU WILL SEE 2 MEN TRYING DESPERATELY NOT TO JUMP OUT OF THEIR OWN SKIN, BOTH MEN WILL LOOK TO BE IN THEIR LATE 60S TO EARLY SEVENTIES. TYCHO BRAHE AND JOHANNES KEPLER. THEY JUST HAVE TO HAVE THEIR SUPPOSEDLY POSTHUMOUS MINDS BLOWN. (I WON A BET WITH AN EXECUTIVE MAJOR SHARE HOLDER OF OUR FIRM.) THE ALCHEMICAL CLOCK-TOWER CAN NOT BE MISSED. MEET AT 13:13 LOCAL TIME ON MARCH 6TH, 2016 AT THE ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK. MAXIMUM TOLERANCE FOR JUMPING IS 40 CUBIC FEET.

    =========0=0=0=000000000000000===========0=========0=000=000===========00000000==

    yet become spatially atemporal The Earth moves along with the rest of the solar system in the ~26,000 Earth years it takes for the solar system to revolve once around the Milky Way Central “Star” region. position relative to the center of the Milky Way [the Hunab Ku] or Omega Point of the Mayan Calendar (the Earth crossed the galactic equator and solar-system ecliptic plane on Dec 21, 2012, the day when the 13th and final Baktun of the Mayan Long Count Calendar reset to Long Count Calendar, Day 1, katun 1, Baktun 1. The Milky-Way’s Galactic Center is located in that region/area of the North American autumn and winter night sky betwixt the point of Sagittarius’ arrow and the tip of Scorpio’s tail stinger. Almost as if the ancient Sumerian astrologers, Babylonian magicians, philosopher-savants formed within Grecian mystery schools, those unnamed and prehistoric metaphysical theoreticians, shamans and prophets who were co-created during Humanity’s Time spent in an early iteration of the precessional year or when the hypotemporal state of Consciousness and Holistic thought-forms and belief systems that were held by an immature yet potentially divine-like Humanity whose self image was more tribal centric and the sense of self was nothing at all like the disease that plagues Humanity overall and as a whole as of THIS present now-Time; those that first stepped out of the genetic and instictual and cosmic spring or helical period the spiral and it’s flow of Consciousness the within and sage counselors two arrows pointing at each other and What Lies Between the two pointing characters is The Omega Point). The Mayans, those masters of Time and Space, gave it the auspicious title of Hunab Ku. and Timethis 16th century CE engineering marvel’s complete existence, which celebrated it’s 500th anniversary (quincentennial) during 2012. chronometer

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