Narrative Techniques Series: #15 Predestination paradox

Narrative Techniques Series: #15 Predestination paradox

In the Narrative Techniques Series, the technique we address in this article is that of the Predestination paradox.
This is a technique especially typical of science fiction stories and involves a return to the past.

What is the Narrative Technique of the Predestination paradox?

The predestination paradox is a situation in which a person travels back in time. The intent is to change the outcome and becomes a part of past events.

In addition, they are more likely to have the ability to cause the initial events that inspired the person to travel back in time in the first place.

History is meant to be predestined in this case. No matter if someone tries to alter the past event, the event will eventually be fulfilled.

We speak, in fact, of the Predestination paradox because the traveler will find themself involved in a series of events that force them to face a journey through time. This is travel into the unknown. The character has to pay a lot of attention not to change the course of things in the present time.

In other words, history is predetermined. Any interaction with past events will only have the choice to function consistently so that established past events will remain preserved.

How to apply the Narrative Technique of the Predestination paradox?

Often this narrative technique involves the presence of a particular object. How can one return to the past?
The introduction of an object, large or small, will take the protagonist on a journey back in time.

We can find some famous examples of objects used to go back in time and create the predestination paradox in movies and fiction.

Let’s think about Marty McFly, the protagonist of “Back to the Future” by Robert Zemeckis. To travel through time, Marty and Doc use the well-known car “DeLorean”.

Similarly, in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban“, Dumbledore gives Hermione a curious object, a time-wheel. The girl can use it to attend multiple school classes on the same day. But also to help Harry save the hippogriff Buckbeak and his godfather, Sirius Black.

Three turns should do it.

J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Time travel is the dream of many. It’s something that’s allowed in books and movies, with fantasy, and allows for the movement of action.

The Predestination paradox technique implies that the protagonist, or the time traveler, is faced with a series of events that will inevitably cause them to have to travel into the past.

However, time travel brings inevitable consequences, to which the protagonist must pay attention in order not to change the course of events.

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