Time travel has always been one of the main science fiction dreams, right up there with goldfish-bowl helmets, jetpacks and sexy green alien space women who want to find out about this Earth thing you call... "love." But there's more to jumping through the ages than just making sure that you don't step on any butterflies or accidentally kill your ancestor. For example, what's the most stylin' ride you could blow the minds of the middle ages with? Under the jump, we weigh up some of your options.The TARDIS: It's possibly not the most famous time machine in science fiction (yet) - that would probably be a certain car that you'll meet below - but it's definitely the most distinctive. Doctor Who's stylish acronymtastic (its name stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) mode of transport may have started life as a means of keeping the show's 1963 first episode budget down thought up by BBC staff writer Anthony Coburn, but it's since become one of the most recognizable images in SF TV. Something that the BBC must be happy about, having trademarked the familiar blue box in 2002.
The Cosmic Treadmill: A glorious example of Silver Age comic book (il)logic, the Flash's self-built "cosmic treadmill" allowed him to travel backwards and forwards in time - as well as through parallel universes - by running so fast that he'd hit the perfect vibrational frequency that would allow him to zip away. Created by Flash and Green Lantern writer John Broome, the somewhat ridiculous gimmick has stayed around in the Flash books ever since, proving that some ideas are so dopey that they cross the line into permanently awesome.
Doc Brown's DeLorean: What is it about the time machine from Back To The Future that makes it so perfect? That it was one of the first green time machines (after that whole plutonium thing, of course)? The very specific need for a very particular speed? The fact that it put the already spacey look of one of the '80s most impractical cars to good use? Perhaps all of the above, but what will always single it out for our love and adoration was the fulfillment of Doc Brown's promise that, where we're going, we won't need roads.
The Time Bubble: Ah, the simplicity of 1950s design. The Time Bubble - so named because it's a clear bubble that travels through time - first appeared in 1958's Adventure Comics #247 as the 30th century's favored method of time-travel, and who can deny something with such sleekness and beauty? Thank creators Otto Binder and Al Plastino for what must surely be the objet d'art aesthetic of purity that all other time machines should aspire to. The Time Tunnel: On the one hand, I should be more worried that they never really got the time tunnel to actually work properly, but on the other, dude. It was a time tunnel, an honest-to-goodness man-made version of the Guardian of Forever, but with less Joan Collins - You didn't need to operate any funky machinery or maintain your internal vibrational frequency, you simply needed to enter the tunnel and off you went. The only drawback, if the experience of Tony Newman and Doug Philips is anything to go by, is that you'll never get to come home again. But if you liked your present-day life so much, why would you time travel in the first place, right?