Time loop

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A time loop or temporal loop in fiction is a plot device whereby characters re-experience a span of time which is repeated, sometimes more than once, with some hope of breaking out of the cycle of repetition.[1] The term "time loop" is sometimes used to refer to a causal loop;[1][2] however, causal loops are unchanging and self-originating, whereas time loops are constantly resetting: when a certain condition is met, such as a death of a character or a clock reaches a certain time, the loop starts again, with one or more characters retaining the memories from the previous loop.[3]

An early example of a time loop is used in the short story "Doubled and Redoubled" by Malcolm Jameson that appeared in the February 1941 Unknown. The story tells of a person accidentally cursed to repeat a "perfect" day, including a lucky bet, a promotion, a heroically foiled bank robbery, and a successful wedding proposal. This story was a precedent to the films Mirror for a Hero (1988), 12:01 PM (1990), and Groundhog Day (1993).[4] The time loop is also considered a familiar anime trope,[5] since its use in the 1980s anime works Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer (1984) and Kimagure Orange Road (1987).[6]

Time loop as a puzzle[edit]

Stories with time loops commonly center on the character learning from each successive loop through time.[1] Jeremy Douglass, Janet Murray, Noah Falstein and others compare time loops with video games and other interactive media, where a character in a loop learns about their environment more and more with each passing loop, and the loop ends with complete mastery of the character's environment.[7] Shaila Garcia-Catalán et al. provide a similar analysis, saying that the usual way for the protagonist out of a time loop is acquiring knowledge, using retained memories to progress and eventually exit the loop. The time loop is then a problem-solving process, and the narrative becomes akin to an interactive puzzle.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Langford, David (June 13, 2017). "Themes: Time Loop". In Clute, John; Langford, David; Nicholls, Peter; Sleight, Graham (eds.). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. London: Gollancz. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  2. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (2009). Eating the Dinosaur (1st ed.). New York: Scribner. p. 60. ISBN 9781439168486. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  3. ^ García-Catalán, Shaila; Navarro-Remesal, Victor (2015). "Try Again: The Time Loop as a Problem-Solving Process in Save the Date and Source Code". In Matthew Jones; Joan Ormrod (eds.). Time Travel in Popular Media: Essays on Film, Television, Literature and Video Games. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 207. ISBN 9781476620084. OCLC 908600039.
  4. ^ Stockwell, Peter (2000). The Poetics of Science Fiction (1st ed.). Harlow, England: Longman. pp. 131–133. ISBN 9780582369931.
  5. ^ Jones, Steve (26 August 2018). "Revue Starlight ‒ Episode 7". Anime News Network. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  6. ^ Osmond, Andrew (29 November 2017) [30 September 2012]. "Edge of Tomorrow, and Kill Is All You Need". Manga UK. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  7. ^ Douglass, Jeremy (2007). Command Lines: Aesthetics and Technique in Interactive Fiction and New Media. Santa Barbara, Cal.: University of California, Santa Barbara. pp. 333–335, 358. ISBN 0549363351. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  8. ^ García-Catalán, Shaila; Navarro-Remesal, Victor (2015). "Try Again: The Time Loop as a Problem-Solving Process in Save the Date and Source Code". In Matthew Jones; Joan Ormrod (eds.). Time Travel in Popular Media: Essays on Film, Television, Literature and Video Games. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. pp. 206–209. ISBN 9781476620084. OCLC 908600039.