Let's Get Rich - Summary
With the interpretation of Time Travel as shown in The Universe is a Pretty Smart Place it is clear that the Time Traveller returns to the same universe that he left. There were no significant changes to the universe immediately apparent on his return. His World Line ran at the same rate as the Cosmic World Line. It was only the relationship of the positions of these World Lines. George simply lived a few of the hours in his life in 1924. His World Line would be as detailed in the diagram below.
What is more difficult to show is whether his Time Travel trip affected the History of this universe. George did not learn about the money his grandmother had been given by the bank in 1929 until after his trip . Was this money the direct result of Georges trip to the past and that his grandmother's brother had taken the original money for the sale of the item of jewellry with him where it was lost at sea? We don't know if the story would have been the same if George had not made his trip. If it had been the same then his grandmother's brother good genuinely have placed the money from the original sale in the bank. The story is still complete. It is also just as likely if George did not make his trip for his grandmother not to have had a brother and for the story of the sale of the item of jewellry to have been completely different. There are many ways for this ending to appear to leave no paradoxes which is the reason why it was given the title it was.
Things are however slightly different with the alternative Don't Mess With Time ending which involves parallel universes. Here, the Time Travel trip that George takes has such an effect on the universe that an alternative universe is created which is the only one that he can return to. Again his World Line runs at the same rate as the Cosmic World Line. It is only the relationship of the positions of these World Lines. George still lives a few of the hours in his life in 1924 but he is unable to return to the universe that he left. This has no account in 1924. He can only return to the future 1998 of the universe created by his actions in 1924. His World Line would be as detailed in the diagram below.
Previous to 1924 both universe A and universe B in the diagram shared a common History but due to George opening an account in 1924 he can only return to the 1998 in universe B. Similarily he could make a further Time Travel trip and go back to 1924 again. If this was to happen George would create another universe - universe C - and be unable to return to any time in the future of universe B. He would of course be able to travel back to 1923 for example where both universes A and B shared a common History but again any actions would still result in a further universe being created. There would be no action he could make that would allow him ever to return to the original universe A that he left. This ending leaves him stuck in parallel universes which is the reason why it was given the title it was.
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Anthony Edwards - December 1996