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For other articles with similar titles, see Time Stream (disambiguation)

The timestream is a metaphorical conception of time as a stream, a flowing body of water. This conception has been widely used in mythology and in fiction. This analogy is useful in several ways:

  • Streams only flow one way. Time only moves forward.
  • Streams flow constantly. Time never stops.
  • People can stand in a stream, but will be pulled along by it. People exist within time, but move with it.
  • Some physicists and science fiction writers have speculated that time is branching--it branches into alternate universes (see many-worlds interpretation). Streams can also diverge.

In fiction, an alternate continuity is sometimes called an alternate timestream.

Examples of the usage of timestream:

  • In the Legacy of Kain game series, the timestream's nature (as to whether or not it can be changed) plays a vital role throughout the story.
  • In the Terra Nova (TV series), the Terra Nova settlement exists in a different timestream, so that it doesn't affect the future of 2149, from where the settlers arrive. To decide upon where (and where) to start the settlement, a timeprobe is sent out from 2149 and when it can't be traced back anywhere on Earth, they sense that it reached a different time-stream and begin the settlement in that timestream.