"Most people think that time is like a river, that flows swift and sure in one direction... but I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you; they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm."
— The Prince, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
"When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in the particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is 'So it goes.'"
— Billy Pilgrim, Slaughterhouse-Five
"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly... timey-wimey... stuff."
"Okay, kid. This is is where it gets complicated."
— Amy Pond to her younger alternate-universe self, in the midst of one of the most convoluted time-SNAFUs imaginable, also in Doctor Who
"Time isn't a straight line, it's all... bumpy-wumpy. there's loads of boring stuff, like sundays and tuesdays and thursday afternoons."
— The Doctor, they really love this trope over in Doctor Who
GA: Why Is It That When The Subject Of Temporal Mechanics Is Broached Your Sparing Human Intellects Instantly Assume The Most Ingratiating Posture Of Surrender Imaginable
"Time is like a deluxe-model sexbot. It exists only to be screwed in every possible way."
—SF Debris on Star Trek Voyager, "Relativity"
TG: the thing with time travel is
TG: you cant overthink it
TG: just roll with it and see what happens
TG: and above all try not to do anything retarded
— Dave Strider, Homestuck, explaining his theory on temporal mechanics.
YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL
— The narrator describing Hearts Boxcars's stance on temporal mechanics.
"When you're dealing with time travel it's important to establish whose rules are in play. Is this 12 Monkeys rules where you can't change shit? Or Back to the Future rules where you can change shit but the time line is kind of easygoing about it? Or Terminator rules where you can change shit, but then maybe you can't change shit, and then you make a God-awful TV series and Christian Bale yells at someone?"
"By the way, this won't change history at all. Let's go around blowing people up. Let's kill some ancestors. That's real great. As long as it doesn't affect the Wyld Stallyns concert! When they come back to the present, it's gonna be some kind of Planet of the Apes shit! They're going to be playing to an audience of intelligent sloths!"
"I hate temporal mechanics!"
"Time is a tangled web. Try not to dwell on all the loose ends."
— Nozdormu, Dragon Aspect of Time, World of Warcraft
"That's the problem with time travel. Everything's different when you get back."
Lina Inverse, Slayers Perfect
"Time isn't a straight line. It's more like a David Lynch movie. It's this wandering, meandering thing that just goes in all directions and if you're very lucky, by the end you'll see some boobies, and maybe some little people."
Joe: "So do you know what's going to happen? You done all this already? As me?"
Old Joe: "I don't want to talk about time travel shit. Because if we talk about time travel shit then we're gonna be here all day, drawing diagrams with straws."
"[Asagi Whisperwynds] said time's flexibles. Long as y'don' try tah break it completelys with time paradocs an' misplacin' important peoples, it'll mend itself. Soooooooooo jus' go fer it."
—Nozumi Whisperwynds, We Are Our Avatars
“Why?” she says.
But she knows. She has to go back. She does not need the past or the present or the future. All of them are disappointments, seep poison into her veins and drain her of her happiness. But in a single moment, there would not be enough time for it to bleed in, and she could relive it over and over again.
She could go back. She could go there. (There—a vague, abstract concept but somehow seems more solid, more real than anything she can hold in hand. There. There is flowers, there is the sweet perfume of them, and there is a smile, warm hands holding her.)
I’ll be waiting.
A vague memory tickles her, like a fly, and her Griever buckles and strains against his confines, yearning. She soothes him with her mind, stroking him, promising him. Soon. Let’s go back. I just want that moment. I want time to stop.