A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME TRAVEL searches for answers as to why time travel has inspired humans across borders and generations.
Long before becoming a dilemma for Einstein, time travel peppered ancient Japanese myths, the Hindu epic Mahabharata, and folktales around the world. Hundreds of years later, in dystopian novels and TV dramas, it remains one of the most compelling narratives we know.
In a society where time means everything and instant gratification is key, the idea of traveling through time offers us a means of escape from our hectic lifestyle. And it shows: in the last decade, there has been an influx of time travel themes in books, movies, and pop culture.
But it isn’t merely a diversion for the mind or a form of entertainment. What was once just a story has become controversy. Time travel pits scientists against each other in debate. It angers governments to the point of censorship. It’s shaping the computer technology that will order our societies tomorrow; it inspires fanatics; it inspires our youth. In a society that worships progress forward, this deceptively simple idea invites us to indulge nostalgia, rewrite history and evade mortality.
What makes time travel so powerful that it resonates in each of us, and to what lengths are we going today to make it a reality?
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME TRAVEL is the biography of an idea, chasing time travel from ancient India to the streets of Los Angeles. For people of all ages and backgrounds—especially science fiction enthusiasts, and anyone who aches to experience a different time—it is an odyssey through one’s own imagination and a discovery of kindred spirits.
Dr. Ron Mallett
Dr. Satyanarayana Dasa
Ted Sider, PhD
Erik Demaine, PhD
Ed Farhi, PhD
Originally, I wanted this film to pit the physicists studying time travel—the “realists”—against the “fanatics” who thought time travel was possible. My main question was: who was right? But then I realized that documentaries exploring whether time travel is possible were already out there, like Stephen Hawking’s Universe, or Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. But during my research I found it fascinating to find how far back in history the concept of time travel had already been recorded. Centuries before H. G. Wells wrote The Time Machine, there were written stories about time travel spanning across all cultures and religions.