There’s a fundamental flaw that exists in most time travel stories that I just can’t ignore. The first time it occurred to me was while revisiting Back To The Future after contemplating our solar system. We exist on a planet that is itself spinning at 460 meters per second while also rotating around the sun at over 30,000 meters per second. Combined, the actual speed at which we are moving is staggering and our actual location incalculable. Yet somehow when Doc Brown’s DeLorean creates a hole through time, that hole remains anchored to a location relative to Earth. This is a writing convenience that ultimately seems implausible to me. If someone were to travel through such a hole in time, it would probably leave them in the same position relative to the universe, which would be somewhere in the vast emptiness of space. Oops.

However, there are some time travel stories that avoid this problem by having a stationary point of origin and destination. This is something I can get behind. Characters in these stories will often use a device with a fixed location to travel through. For example, Lumpy Joe will create a machine in the present, and moments after turning it on, someone will emerge from it from the future. In a situation like this, the hole in time that the device creates is more like a tunnel, with both openings relative to its location in the universe. It’s not arbitrary. Sure, it severely limits story possibilities, but if it helps me personally sleep at night, then it’s worth it, right?

And then there are stories like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure where they acknowledge that to travel through time and remain on Earth also involves traveling through space. I suppose I’m okay with this, but man, sticking that landing would be haaard.