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In the year 2000 a fellow started posting messages on various Internet forums proclaiming himself a soldier and time traveler from the year 2038 sent back in time to fetch an IBM 5100 computer. At first his handle was timetraveler_0 before he switched to his more commonly seen ID, John Titor.

He wove a fantastic tale of a future where we are looked upon as an egocentric, lazy, and foolhardy era that lead to a second US civil war, which in turn lead to a nuclear holocaust.

While I don’t find it implausible that we’re on a course where citizens will have to revolt against the government, I don’t believe John Titor’s tale about coming from the future. He noted that his time machine needs as accurate a clock as possible, and that his used 6 caesium based atomic clocks; a few months after this claim researchers announced a more accurate strontium based atomic clock. He discussed contention over the 2004 US Presidential Election, whereas that didn’t really occur.

Nevertheless, it was an interesting fiction, and engaging enough that there are still debates cycling about him and his claims, but one question that is getting far too little attention is: who is John Titor?

This is, of course, assuming that he isn’t who he claims. Some notes that might aid in a conclusion:

1) He’s a skilled tale weaver.

With the interest and debates that surround the man and his tales, his skill at provocation is evident. It’s a talented writer that can make people talk, and he certainly seems to have succeeded on that point.

2) He’s schooled enough in science to make an engaging prospect of time travel.

While many scientists dismiss Titor’s explanation of his time travel device, his descriptions and designs are intricate and inventive, and just plausible enough for the common man to wonder if there mayn’t be some truth to it. Though I like to keep up on what new in physics, I admit my skill isn’t enough to evaluate his claims, and must fall back on Einstein; he said time travel ain’t happening (I paraphrase).

3) He’s a sci-fi junkie, with a leaning toward the post-apocalyptic.

There are those the note that Titor’s tale follows along the same plot lines as the movie 1995 12 Monkeys. Even if that is happenstance, his tale of civilization after a nuclear strike is certainly science-fiction in it’s truest form. How many stories of the future hinge on World War III being a wake-up call to humanity? Most of the time it becomes a race wide near death experience that makes the survivors knit together and appreciate the world for what it is; Titor’s story is no different.

4) He’s a libertarian … or something like.

The very genesis of Titor’s Civil War II is the government taking rights from the citizens, and the citizens fighting back. If that isn’t a libertarian attitude, I don’t know what is.

5) He’s a Sabbatarianist.

The overt mention of the Christian sects of North America changing their Sabbath day back to Saturday makes this clear, the interesting prospects is why this is the case? It may be the libertarian slant playing though in religion, but the fact he makes such efforts to communicate this point that it bears examining.

They are rather broad points, true, but they are enough to paint a broad portrait of my quarry. Combining the above, I dare postulate that John Titor might be the creation of Dr David Brin.

The author of such novels as Earth, The Postman, and a Star Trek graphic novel, he’s proved he can write, and he tales are astute enough to show his obvious education in the sciences. And all the novels mentioned bear a post-apocalyptic element. David Brin’s political leanings are transparent on both his website and his non-fiction books⁠—definitely libertarian.

The last point is one I cannot substantiate, however, citing events in the novel Earth I don’t doubt that Brin could support such a move.

It’s a theory, a guess, and it was fun to evolve. Of course, alternate theories are excitedly welcomed.

John Titor in wikipedia
David Brin’s Website
David Brin on Amazon