Traveler

DIrishB

The Timeline Guy
So I've been mulling over an idea for a comic book called "Traveler", a story about a time-traveling reporter from our future (the 22nd century) named Orpheus O'Malley. Orpheus uses time-travel to travel back in time to specific points of interest: historic military battles (D-Day), histories mysteries (What ever happened to Jimmy Hoffa? Who was Jack the Ripper? Did those 3 guys really escape from Alcatraz? Who really shot JFK?), etc.

Basically, he travels into the past to answer these questions, then reports on them in his own present time in a weekly E-News article. Since time travel is an accepted element of their current society (though still heavily controlled by the government), all of Orpheus' activities are overseen by a cantankerous goverment agent named Duvall.

When he time travels, he swaps places with a person who is tied into the events he's investigating. That person's actual body is transported into the future and kept in an unconcious state so they'll have no memory of what happened to them. Orpheus assumes their identity through 3D holographic imagery and voice synthesizing, and builds up a knowledge of the people and events surrounding the particular mystery he's investigating by studying as much as possible those events. Of course, history is written by the victors, so sometimes he gets those things wrong and this leads to chrono-hijinks! When the mission is complete, the person whom Orpheus portrayed is returned to their home time with implanted memories of the events they missed.

Throughout Orpheus' travels, he occasionally runs into his arch-enemy, the immortal first man Adam. Adam has been driven slightly insane by his extended life, growing more disgusted by humanity's base selfishness and growing destruction of the world and environment. Adam has been behind some of histories greatest tragedies, from the fall of Rome, the Black Plague (a bit of medieval biological warfare on Adam's part), right on up to 9/11. As humanity's technology and potential for world-wide catastrophe increases, so do Adam's attempts to end all (or most) human life on this planet. How else can he re-build Eden but to wipe away this world of sin (thats his motivation, anyway)?

The idea is to provide a unique look at history, while at the same time unraveling the truth behind it. Its a little bit Flash Gordon, a little bit Da Vinci Code, Indiana Jones and Doc Savage pulp, and a little Transmetropolitan all rolled into one. Ideally, each issue or arc would have a particular style or tone to it: Jimmy Hoffa storyline would use elements of mobster movies, JFK storyline would involve political thriller and espionage tones, etc. Also, the nature of the book allows Orpheus to wrestle with the idea of changing the past for the betterment of the future: even if it drastically changed the future of the world, would you be able NOT to kill Hitler if presented with the opportunity? Or what about a serial killer from the 16th century no one remembers or ever heard of? Chronal displacement and alternate timelines follow...stay tuned.

Anyway, I'm still developing the idea, but I think it has potential. any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

Ultimate Houde

UC's Resident Genetic Recombinator
Sounds kinda like Quantum Leap in how the travel is actually happens. He use to replace the people as well.
 

Random

Didn't **** any of those *****es
It's interesting my only problem is the idea of him taking over someone's identity. I think it could be better if that was done only when it needs to. Think JFK's assassination, he could just pose as a generic police officer and investigate through the chaos. Or something like that. It may be more interesting to see how he could con his way into witnessing the situation than just pretending to be someone else.
 

DIrishB

The Timeline Guy
Sounds kinda like Quantum Leap in how the travel is actually happens. He use to replace the people as well.

Actually, I meant to include that as an inspiration, but really only in the scientific explanations. Storywise, its much more pulpy.


It's interesting my only problem is the idea of him taking over someone's identity. I think it could be better if that was done only when it needs to. Think JFK's assassination, he could just pose as a generic police officer and investigate through the chaos. Or something like that. It may be more interesting to see how he could con his way into witnessing the situation than just pretending to be someone else.

The point of Orpheus taking over someone's identity is to minimize the effects on the timeline. If he portrayed a random cop as you suggested, there's a possibility, however slight, someone might notice (another cop from his precinct who doesn't recognize him, etc). If he takes over the identity (appearance, speech patterns, attitude and other personality traits) of an existing person from that time period who was directly related to those events, he's in a much better position to learn the truth without altering the timeline, as long as he doesn't screw up (the possibility of which creates a nice dramatic tension). Remember, he's trying to solve mysteries, so it makes sense to me that taking on the identity of someone directly related to it would serve him better to learn the truth as opposed to a random person (cop, politician, etc) who wasn't involved.

Does that make sense?
 
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Random

Didn't **** any of those *****es
The point of Orpheus taking over someone's identity is to minimize the effects on the timeline. If he portrayed a random cop as you suggested, there's a possibility, however slight, someone might notice (another cop from his precinct who doesn't recognize him, etc). If he takes over the identity (appearance, speech patterns, attitude and other personality traits) of an existing person from that time period who was directly related to those events, he's in a much better position to learn the truth without altering the timeline, as long as he doesn't screw up (the possibility of which creates a nice dramatic tension). Remember, he's trying to solve mysteries, so it makes sense to me that taking on the identity of someone directly related to it would serve him better to learn the truth as opposed to a random person (cop, politician, etc) who wasn't involved.

Does that make sense?

Yeah, my problem with that explanation is even if he takes over someone else's role his own decision making would disrupt the timeline just as much. And then you would have to explain he knows what the guy does even though he doesn't know the truth of history. Because if he couldn't make his own decisions and mistakes then you lose the essence of your main character. You might as well have him just see through the person's eyes than do a whole body switch thing. Now, if the focus of the story is solely the truth of history and Orpheus along with the government agency are just a loose framing device that's fine. But if you want Orpheus to have his own voice and the agency and Adam have a larger arc in the story it would benefit greatly for Orpheus to be his own character.

I just would find it more interesting to have Orpheus simply get a crash course in history, period dialect, customs, and general knowledge and have to work his way to get the story without disrupting history. Like with the example another cop from the precinct notice how would he get out out of that situation and preserve the timeline? That dynamic of him having to use a combination of historic knowledge, wit, and maybe some future tech to find the truth could make the process of solving the mystery much more interesting. Though again it depends on your focus.
 

Seldes Katne

Site mom
I would also think that human rights groups from the future might have some issues with the fact that your main character is essentially kidnapping other people and using their identities without permission. What if he gets that person "killed" or permanently crippled? Even in this century, identity fraud is a crime.

Or is that a theme you're going to address in your stories?
 

DIrishB

The Timeline Guy
Yeah, my problem with that explanation is even if he takes over someone else's role his own decision making would disrupt the timeline just as much. And then you would have to explain he knows what the guy does even though he doesn't know the truth of history. Because if he couldn't make his own decisions and mistakes then you lose the essence of your main character. You might as well have him just see through the person's eyes than do a whole body switch thing. Now, if the focus of the story is solely the truth of history and Orpheus along with the government agency are just a loose framing device that's fine. But if you want Orpheus to have his own voice and the agency and Adam have a larger arc in the story it would benefit greatly for Orpheus to be his own character.

I just would find it more interesting to have Orpheus simply get a crash course in history, period dialect, customs, and general knowledge and have to work his way to get the story without disrupting history. Like with the example another cop from the precinct notice how would he get out out of that situation and preserve the timeline? That dynamic of him having to use a combination of historic knowledge, wit, and maybe some future tech to find the truth could make the process of solving the mystery much more interesting. Though again it depends on your focus.

You make some really good points. I'll have to mull them over, but thanks. Its this type of stuff that helps me formulate the logic (however loose it might be) that helps shape the story.

I would also think that human rights groups from the future might have some issues with the fact that your main character is essentially kidnapping other people and using their identities without permission. What if he gets that person "killed" or permanently crippled? Even in this century, identity fraud is a crime.

Or is that a theme you're going to address in your stories?

It is. Basically, the idea being that by the nature of time travel, he gets an almost limitless do-over button by being able to jump back and "fix" any mistakes made. I want to keep the time-travel explanation stuff light, as I don't want to get wrapped up trying to make sense of potential time-paradoxes, etc. Again, this is a pulpy, light-hearted tale, but at the same time there will be an attempt at social commentary.

As for human rights groups of the future complaining, etc, the general idea is that any risk is worth it to exploit the "truth" in order to get consumers to read his articles. Thats the opinion of Orpheus' editors, especially, and partially by the government who polices the time travel (but who can possibly benefit greatly by it).

It opens up an avenue to explore the morality of time travel and how both individuals and groups would be tempted to change things or take advantage for their own gains, even at the great risk of altering the timeline. Its also what will become a key point and motivation of the Adam character: his discovery of and attempts to use time-travel to achieve his goals and his master plan, which only begins when he and Orpheus first meet.
 

Zombipanda

My Boom-Boom's mostly gay
I don't know how I missed this, but it's an interesting thought, DiB. Is it something you're still working on?
 

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