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** Xanatos learns how to properly take advantage of this using a coin meant to be sent to his past self a thousand years later. the coin wasn't worth much for it's time, but would now go for the 20 grand he would ultimately use to kickstart his fortune. He also made sure to write a letter that would be sent to himself a week before these events occurred, so he would know the instructions for how to pull it off.

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** Xanatos learns how to properly take advantage of this by using a coin meant to be sent to his past self a thousand years later. the coin wasn't worth much for it's time, but would now go for the 20 grand he would ultimately use to kickstart his fortune. He also made sure to write a letter that would be sent to himself a week before these events occurred, so he would know the instructions for how to pull it off.

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** Xanatos learns how to properly take advantage of this using a coin meant to be sent to his past self a thousand years later. the coin wasn't worth much for it's time, but would now go for the 20 grand he would ultimately use to kickstart his fortune. He also made sure to write a letter that would be sent to himself a week before these events occurred, so he would know the instructions for how to pull it off.

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* ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'': [[spoiler:Late in the series when Mai becomes the Woman of the Beginning, she travels back in time to try and prevent the disasters that have happened over the course of the story. However, when she tries to warn her friends, her very explicit statements like "Do '''not''' put on [[TransformationTrinket that belt!]]" somehow come out of her mouth as the same [[VaguenessIsComing vague warnings]] she gave the first time around. DJ Sagara explains that time is completely immutable even to godlike beings like themselves; once something happens, it's set in stone and there's nothing anyone can do about it.]]


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* In ''TabletopGame/FengShui'', trying to change history without capturing any Feng Shui sites will inevitably result in this. Big world events happen with the perpetrators having different names and everything eventually comes around to something resembling the present day. But once you start capturing Feng Shui sites, you can start making changes stick, and can even bring about a Critical Shift if enough sites are in your power.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/FengShui'', trying to change history without capturing any Feng Shui sites will inevitably result in this. Big world events happen with the perpetrators having different names and everything eventually comes around to something resembling the present day. But once you start capturing Feng Shui sites, you can start making changes stick, and can even bring about a Critical Shift if enough sites are in your power.
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* ''WesternAnmiation/MiloMurphysLaw'' has this. There's a time travel organization that sends its agents into the past to deliberately alter certain events, with the two agents seen most often (Cavendish and Dakota) tasked with making sure the pistachio nut doesn't go extinct. The episode "Missing Milo" also has the duo unintentionally set up a StableTimeLoop involving a peach, while the main character plans to do the same when his friends discover a note from the 1960s that is addressed by him but that he never wrote.

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* ''WesternAnmiation/MiloMurphysLaw'' ''WesternAnimation/MiloMurphysLaw'' has this. There's a time travel organization that sends its agents into the past to deliberately alter certain events, with the two agents seen most often (Cavendish and Dakota) tasked with making sure the pistachio nut doesn't go extinct. The episode "Missing Milo" also has the duo unintentionally set up a StableTimeLoop involving a peach, while the main character plans to do the same when his friends discover a note from the 1960s that is addressed by him but that he never wrote.


Apparently, people (or at least SF writers) in general have a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the past either their own recent past, or with the whole history of the world because every time the subject of time travel comes up, characters inevitably start wondering whether they can use their TimeMachine to change the past. Even if the characters have no intention of changing the past even if the characters don't actually travel to the past at any point some smartass will ask about [[TemporalParadox the Grandfather Paradox]], which will in turn lead to a discussion on the possibility (and morality) of altering the past:

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Apparently, people (or at least SF writers) in general have a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the past either their own recent past, or with the whole history of the world because every time the subject of time travel comes up, characters inevitably start wondering whether they can use their TimeMachine to change the past. Even if the characters have no intention of changing the past even if the characters don't actually travel to the past at any point some smartass will ask about [[TemporalParadox the Grandfather Paradox]], GrandfatherParadox, which will in turn lead to a discussion on the possibility (and morality) of altering the past:


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* In Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}, any deviation from the original timeline creates a Doomed Timeline, [[BadFuture which is as bad as it sounds]]. On the other hand, timelines have a limited ability to interact with one another, and the creation of a Doomed Timeline may have consequences reflected in the Alpha Timeline ([[FutureBadass Davesprite]] being the most visible example of this phenomenon). While most of these cross-timeline shenanigans have been necessary to the proper continuation of the Alpha Timeline, it's been hinted that the right combination of Doomed Timelines could throw the Alpha Timeline permanently OffTheRails, or at least off of [[EldritchAbomination Lord English's]] rails.

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* In Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}, ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', any deviation from the original timeline creates a Doomed Timeline, [[BadFuture which is as bad as it sounds]]. On the other hand, timelines have a limited ability to interact with one another, and the creation of a Doomed Timeline may have consequences reflected in the Alpha Timeline ([[FutureBadass Davesprite]] being the most visible example of this phenomenon). While most of these cross-timeline shenanigans have been necessary to the proper continuation of the Alpha Timeline, it's been hinted that the right combination of Doomed Timelines could throw the Alpha Timeline permanently OffTheRails, or at least off of [[EldritchAbomination Lord English's]] rails.



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Temporal Mutability -- AKA '''The Sliding Scale Of How Easy It Is For Time Travelers To Change The Past, And Why'''.

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Temporal Mutability -- AKA '''The Sliding Scale Of of How Easy It Is For for Time Travelers To Travellers to Change The the Past, And and Why'''.



Apparently, people (or at least SF writers) in general have a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the past--either their own recent past, or with the whole history of the world--because every time the subject of time travel comes up, characters inevitably start wondering whether they can use their TimeMachine to change the past. Even if the characters have no intention of changing the past--even if the characters don't actually travel to the past at any point--some smartass will ask about [[TemporalParadox the Grandfather Paradox]], which will in turn lead to a discussion on the possibility (and morality) of altering the past:

to:

Apparently, people (or at least SF writers) in general have a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the past--either past either their own recent past, or with the whole history of the world--because world because every time the subject of time travel comes up, characters inevitably start wondering whether they can use their TimeMachine to change the past. Even if the characters have no intention of changing the past--even past even if the characters don't actually travel to the past at any point--some point some smartass will ask about [[TemporalParadox the Grandfather Paradox]], which will in turn lead to a discussion on the possibility (and morality) of altering the past:



#'''YouAlreadyChangedThePast:''' AKA [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_time Block time]] or Eternalism. Past, present, and future are an immutable whole. You can't change history. [[Series/DoctorWho Not one line.]] Consequently all time travel to the past results in the creation of a StableTimeLoop, by virtue of the fact that the past--''including the interference of all those time travelers''--already happened. Changing the past [[YouCantFightFate is out of the question]]--but there is the possibility that [[WaybackTrip the history books don't tell the whole story]]. Even so, your attempt to travel back to 1930 and assassinate Hitler [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct is almost certainly doomed]].

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#'''YouAlreadyChangedThePast:''' AKA [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_time Block time]] or Eternalism. Past, present, and future are an immutable whole. You can't change history. [[Series/DoctorWho Not one line.]] Consequently all time travel to the past results in the creation of a StableTimeLoop, by virtue of the fact that the past--''including past ''including the interference of all those time travelers''--already travelers'' already happened. Changing the past [[YouCantFightFate is out of the question]]--but question]] but there is the possibility that [[WaybackTrip the history books don't tell the whole story]]. Even so, your attempt to travel back to 1930 and assassinate Hitler [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct is almost certainly doomed]].



* '''Branching timelines:''' Your time-traveling causes a new timeline to split off the original, and both timelines exist (can be [[RubberBandHistory temporarily]] or permanently if it happens to be AnotherDimension identical to your own but shifted in time) as {{Alternate Universe}}s of each other. Depending on the setting, you [[TheMultiverse may]] or may not be able to return to your native timeline after you've caused it to split. Thus, there's no danger of [[RetGone accidentally erasing yourself from existence]] -- at worst, [[ExpendableAlternateUniverse you'll prevent one alt-timeline's equivalent of you from existing]]. On the other hand you can't truly SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong, either: for every timeline that you fix, there's another that you don't.

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* '''Branching timelines:''' Your time-traveling causes a new timeline to split off the original, and both timelines exist (can be [[RubberBandHistory temporarily]] or permanently if it happens to be AnotherDimension identical to your own but shifted in time) as {{Alternate Universe}}s of each other. Depending on the setting, you [[TheMultiverse may]] or may not be able to return to your native timeline after you've caused it to split. Thus, there's no danger of [[RetGone accidentally erasing yourself from existence]] -- at worst, [[ExpendableAlternateUniverse you'll prevent one alt-timeline's equivalent of you from existing]]. On the other hand you can't truly SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong, either: for every timeline that you fix, there's another that you don't.



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* ''Series/DoctorWho'', being the ''TropeNamer'', flirts with both this and Enforced Immutability (see above). Basically, the rules of time travel are fixed and immutable... within a single story. The writers don't even pretend it's consistent beyond that. This gets a lampshade in [[Recap/DoctorWho50thASTheDayOfTheDoctor The Day of the Doctor]] when Ten is terrified at the idea of changing history, only for Eleven to blow him off since they do it all the time.


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* ''Series/DoctorWho'', being the ''TropeNamer'', flirts with both this and Enforced Immutability (see above). Basically, the rules of time travel are fixed and immutable... within a single story. The writers don't even pretend it's consistent beyond that. This gets a lampshade in [[Recap/DoctorWho50thASTheDayOfTheDoctor "The Day of the Doctor"]] when Ten is terrified at the idea of changing history, only for Eleven to blow him off since they do it all the time.


* In ''Film/AvengersEndgame'', Dr. Banner explains that you can't change the past, and that going back in time to do so would only result in the creation of a new timeline. For that reason, going back in time to stop Thanos wouldn't change anything in their own history [[spoiler: but they can take the Infinity Stones from before they were destroyed and use them to undo his acts in the present]].

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* In ''Film/AvengersEndgame'', Dr. Banner explains that you can't change the past, and that going back in time to do so would only result in the creation of a new timeline. For that reason, going back in time to stop Thanos wouldn't change anything in their own history [[spoiler: but they can take the Infinity Stones from before they were destroyed and use them to undo his acts in the present]]. present.]]


* In ''Film/AvengersEndgame'', Dr. Banner explains that you can't change the past, and that going back in time to do so would only result in the creation of a new timeline.

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* In ''Film/AvengersEndgame'', Dr. Banner explains that you can't change the past, and that going back in time to do so would only result in the creation of a new timeline. For that reason, going back in time to stop Thanos wouldn't change anything in their own history [[spoiler: but they can take the Infinity Stones from before they were destroyed and use them to undo his acts in the present]].

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* In ''Film/AvengersEndgame'', Dr. Banner explains that you can't change the past, and that going back in time to do so would only result in the creation of a new timeline.

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* As detailed in ''Discworld/NightWatch'', this seems to be the case on Discworld. When Sam Vimes and a convict he's chasing both get sent back in time, the convict kills Vimes' mentor, and Vimes is thereafter given the chance to fulfill that mentor's role in history (although he ''does'' need to have this all explained to him by the History Monks). In the end, both versions of history converge on the same present day.



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[[folder: Web Original]]
* [[Wiki/SCPFoundation SCP]]-2003: a time machine created by the Foundation in order to study the future and promote the development of a positive future for humanity. Unfortunately, one thing they've found is there are individuals whose presence and actions affect causality disproportionately, even to completely unconnected events happening thousands of kilometers away. For example, Scenario XE has the birth of a boy in Turkmenistan and the election of the Prime Minister of New Zealand on the same day in 2049 cause a chain of events leading to a society-destroying nuclear war between Israel and Greater Indonesia in 2058. Other futures have included things like the sun spontaneously becoming a black hole or a gamma ray burst destroying all life. These futures are unstable and can be changed with the most mundane of actions, and there's no telling what the results may be.
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#'''RubberBandHistory:''' Time is ''mostly'' immutable, like a wide river following a well-worn path. Travelers can make changes to the past, but these changes inevitably get smoothed over by the passing years. For example, it would be possible to [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct travel back to 1930 and assassinate Hitler]], but UsefulNotes/WorldWarII (or some equally bad conflict) would happen anyway because the social factors propelling him would still be in play. [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong Setting Right What Once Went Wrong]] works, but only in the short term. You could prevent your brother from taking that fatal journey, but due to his poor driving skills, you merely delayed his death by a few months. [[MergedReality Making A Better World]], unfortunately, doesn't work. Unless you were to apply a sufficiently large change, one that would stretch the rubber band until it snaps, freeing history to run in a different direction.

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#'''RubberBandHistory:''' Time is ''mostly'' immutable, like a wide river following a well-worn path. Travelers can make changes to the past, but these changes inevitably get smoothed over by the passing years. For example, it would be possible to [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct travel back to 1930 and assassinate Hitler]], but UsefulNotes/WorldWarII (or some equally bad conflict) would happen anyway because the social factors propelling him would still be in play. [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong Setting Right What Once Went Wrong]] works, but only in the short term. You could prevent your brother from taking that fatal journey, but due to his poor driving skills, you merely delayed his death by a few months. Either that, or he gets killed by some other accident. [[MergedReality Making A Better World]], unfortunately, doesn't work. Unless you were to apply a sufficiently large change, one that would stretch the rubber band until it snaps, freeing history to run in a different direction.


* ''Film/StarTrek'':

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* ''Film/StarTrek'':''Film/StarTrek2009'':

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* In Alfred Bester's "The Probable Man" This prevents the protagonist from returning to his own time, he can go back to the same point in the past repeatedly but will always end up in a new timeline when he travels back to his own time and quickly realizes that this will happen no matter how many times that he tries. In the end [[spoiler: he decides to return to the past just before he had left to return to the future (foreshadowed at the start of the story when an unseen shooter in the distance had distracted his pursuers) and live out the rest of his life there, implying an end to the cycle.]]

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