Created By: TheShadowKnows on October 23, 2012 Last Edited By: TheShadowKnows on January 5, 2013

Time Travellers Paradise

Colonizing the past to get back to an unspoiled world

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What to do in a Crapsack World? Conventional wisdom says that when Earth That Used to Be Better starts going downhill, it's time to hop aboard an ISO Standard Human Spaceship and depart for all points celestial. But in the Time Travellers Paradise scenario, perhaps because it is recognized that not All Planets Are Earth-Like, it seems more practical to stick to Earth but explore a different dimension of spacetime.

This is Time Travel not as vacation, but as The Migration, going back in time to start Settling the Frontier on a more resource-rich Earth, and to build a true Arcadia there. Rather than Set Right What Once Went Wrong, the protagonists decide in this case to deliberately become Trapped in the Past to when things *were* right.

To avoid a Temporal Paradox, these stories may be set in the deep past when Everything's Better with Dinosaurs and other giants roamed the Earth, so as not to mess with human history, and/or in an Alternate Universe that approximates the Earth's past. Because of the logistical difficulties of transporting a whole population back, the mechanism is more often a Time Portal than a Time Machine.


  • Mastodonia (Clifford D. Simak)
  • Terra Nova (TV)
  • Conquistador (S. M. Stirling)
  • Dresden Codak (webcomic)
  • All Our Yesterdays (Star Trek)
  • The Girl from Tomorrow (TV)
  • Hawksbill Station (Robert Silverberg)
  • Saga of Pliocene Exile (Julian May)
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • October 23, 2012
    Another example: Feathered Serpent 2012 (Junius Podrug)
  • October 23, 2012
    It might be a pattern, but a pattern does not a trope make. Plus, people want reasons or details for the lists.
  • October 23, 2012
    I thought a pattern is exactly what makes a trope. Of course each of these is a Zero Context Example and we need much more then two sentences of a description. It also needs links to the stories being mentioned (Terra Nova without a space between Terra and Nova will make a link or Conquistador with the word between {{ these }} if it's one word) and it needs to reference other tropes in the description. It's up to the OP (original poster The Shadow Knows) to do all that and add anything else by clicking on the pencil under his name to edit.
  • October 23, 2012
    A trope is a repeating pattern that has a meaning for the audience. It needs to be a shortcut in storytelling, I think. There's always arguments over this.

    I was trying to remember Zero Context Example, but kept getting the spelling wrong.
  • October 24, 2012
    The idea of this sounds tropeable. It has at least as much meaning as What Year Is This. Of course if the OP isn't going to work on it it doesn't matter.
  • October 24, 2012
    In addition to Time Travellers Paradise, other possible trope names are Colonizing The Past, Time Colony and Mastodonia / Republic Of Mastodonia (the Ur Example).
  • October 24, 2012
    Colonizing The Past gets my vote, captures the concept nicely.
  • October 24, 2012
    Dragonriders Of Pern kindasorta does this- in a few of the books, when low numbers of fighting dragons threaten, the protagonists send groups of dragons and dragonriders into the past to hide out somewhere and grow to maturity/breed more generations, to later return to the present and help out. Not sure if it'd suit as an example.
  • October 24, 2012
    Much better description. There's still a Zero Context Example problem though. In each of the examples you need to say where they went and why, in other words how they saw it as a paradise.
  • December 31, 2012
    In an episode of South Park people from the Future use Terminator-style time travel to go back to the past (our present) where they get minimum wage jobs and deposit their earnings in the bank so their future families will have money.
  • December 31, 2012
    Context for the examples I know.

    • Terra Nova: Colonists from the heavily polluted and overcrowded 22nd century settle the Mesozoic.

    • Dresden Codak: Luddites from the future who resisted The Singularity try to conquer the present so they can live like us "noble savages".
  • January 1, 2013
    I'll expand the Star Trek example.

    Live Action TV
    • Star Trek The Original Series episode "All Our Yesterdays". When the inhabitants of the planet Sarpeidon discover that their sun is about to go nova, they decide to travel into their planet's past in order to escape destruction. Each person was sent to the time period they desired. Before being sent, they were physically and mentally conditioned to live in that particular time period.
  • January 3, 2013
    • The basic premise of Time Shift is evil Dr. Krone invents time travel, and attempts to use it to re-write history so he's the central figure in the entirety of Earth's history.
  • January 4, 2013
    Related to Bad Present, maybe?
  • January 4, 2013
    You Already Colonized The Past? ....naaah.

    Maybe Temporal Immigrants, Moved To Mesozoic or City of Jurassic Park. (I do like Republic of Mastodonia.)
  • January 5, 2013
    In an episode of Doctor Who beings from the chronological end of the universe travel back in time in order to continue living.