I'm sure there's a term for this, but I can't remember what it is.

It’s a common thing in time travel stories for an object to only exist because of the time travel - someone from the future travels back in time, and gives an item to a character, which they then carry to the future and either travel back in time to give it to themselves, or pass it off to someone else to pass on to them in the past.

I’m 90% positive I, at one point, knew a term that referred to that object, but I can’t, for the life of me, remember what it is.

Note, I’m not looking for ‘closed time loop’, ‘predestination paradox’ or anything like that. It’s not the situation, it’s the object.

They’d be a form of OOPArt, one supposes, but again, I’m trying to remember a vaguely remembered term for a time-displaced item that only exists in the first place because it was time-displaced.

Frankly it sounds like the MacGuffin of the story

I never knew it had a name.

I know exactly what you are talking about. Kirk’s eyeglasses in TSFS, the note Barney gives to himself across time in The Technicolor Time Machine, the tape recorder with instructions to defeat the villain in The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World (and, in fact, the villain in the same book - he never came from anywhere).

These objects have no connection to the “real” universe. They just exist. No atoms in them can be traced to any raw material in the natural universe. They just go round and round. In the case of the handwritten note in TTTM, even though it is in Barney’s handwriting (IIRC) he never wrote it. I like to think these items “came with the universe”.

That is something else entirely.

As for the OP, according to Wiki:

Looper? Bootstrap?

I like Jinn. Never heard that before. They write wikipedia articles on the strangest things…

Or maybe “ghost in the machine”, if you consider the universe to be a machine, these items would be ghost-like.

I like that information as well as objects can be Jinn. If Scotty gives the formula for transparent aluminum to a dude in the past, and eventually Scotty learns this same formula in class, where did the original formula come from? No where!

One could suppose that there is an “initial” timeline where someone takes the time to invent TA, form Kirk’s glasses, and then with literally countless cycles of the ever-changing timeline the origin is so lost it seems like it could never have had one, but it did. So what seems at first glance to be a predestination paradox really isn’t, and that every time through the timeline changes ever so subtly and no one could tell, and that instead of a loop, what you really have is an “ocean of waves”, with your timelike path in the waves traceable back to the beginning, if it were possible to exist “outside of time”.

Jinn isn’t the word I was trying to remember, but I like it.

John Varley used the term Twonky in his novel Millenium for an anachronistic object that could cause a time paradox, and it seems to me that I’ve seen Twonky used for the kind of object you’re talking about (although the real Twonky was nothing like that).

That’s a nice cover story but in fact back in 1992 Lossev and Novikov encountered a time traveler from 2016 who told them to start using the term Jinn.

I’m pretty sure a time traveler from 2016 would’ve called something that loops around to repeat itself over and over and over a Rubio.

I have thought of a sort of inverse of the grandfather paradox where you travel back in time and marry someone, producing a child who then grows up and has a child who is … you. In that case, you have the interesting question of where your genes would come from. Would you be 25% Jinnee genetically? Or would all your genes come from your other three grandparents?

I don’t know, but regardless, you’d lack the Delta brainwave. >_>