Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's about Time

I've always been intrigued by books that center on time travelers and all of the complexities involved in that kind of fiction. I'm a history buff, primarily of the American Civil War period and the couple of decades before and after that tragic war, and I've often daydreamed about what it would be like to be able to go back in time to actually witness some of the events that I've read so much about. I look at those old pictures sometimes and really wish that it were possible to visit that period in American history. Anyway...that gets me to thinking sometimes about my favorite "time travel" books and how difficult it can be to find good ones amongst all of the junk that gets written in that sub-genre.

So, for those interested in that kind of reading, here are a few of my favorites (in no particular order), and I'd welcome any suggestions that you have.
  1. The Time Traveler's Wife - (Audrey Niffenegger) Admittedly this is one of the tougher ones to follow and it takes some real concentration at times to keep all the timelines straight, but it is well worth the effort.
  2. The Time Machine - (H.G. Wells) This is the one that started it all for me. I read this book as a boy and have wished that I could find that elusive time machine ever since.
  3. Time and Again - (Jack Finney) Finney wrote the perfect dreamer's time travel book because the pictures scattered throughout the book make it so easy to imagine yourself in the 1880s. This is considered to be one of the time travel classics.
  4. Time on My Hands - (Peter Delacorte) This is one I'm planning to re-read sometime in 2007 because I really enjoyed it the first time. It's something unusual, a political time travel novel, which involves a traveler's attempts to find a young Ronald Reagan and to do whatever it takes to keep him from ever entering politics. Like Finney's Time and Again, this one includes lots of photos that are half the fun.
  5. Time Out of Mind - (John R. Maxim) When it snows, Jonathan Corbin finds the scene shifting to America's Victorian period and, consequently, he feared snowstorms in New York City. This one has photos at the beginning of each new chapter but they don't add much to the book at all.
  6. Till the End of Time - (Allen Appel) Time traveler Alex Balfour is faced with a dilemma: he might be able to prevent the bombing of Hiroshima. The question is should he do it or not?
  7. A Shortcut in Time - (Charles Dickinson) Dickinson is one of my favorite writers and I was a bit surprised to see him venture into this type of novel. But he did himself proud. This story gets more and more complicated as it goes, with people doing time travel in both directions with unexpected consequences.
  8. The Door into Summer - (Robert A. Heinlein) This is one of those science fiction classics that I read as a kid...what more could you ask; it has suspended animation, time travel, revenge...
  9. If I Never Get Back - (Darryl Brock) This one has two of my favorite things in it: baseball and time travel, a story about a man who finds himself back in 1869 where he manages to become a player on the Cincinnati Red Stockings and, among other things, he invents the bunt, ballpark hot dogs and the scoreboard.
  10. Replay - (Ken Grimwood) A man and woman die in 1988 and wake up in 1963 in their 18-year old bodies with all of their memories intact. They get a chance to relive their lives and to do it right this time...but will they?


  1. I have Time Traveler's Wife on my tbr list for this year. I don't read a lot of TT books but I love the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

  2. Thanks for the tip about the Outlander books. I'm aware of them in a vague kind of way but I've never really picked one up to see what they are all about. I'll do that now.

  3. Hmmm...those are some interesting reads you have listed. I own a copy of the Time Traveler's Wife, but haven't read it yet. Thanks for reminding me about it :)

  4. kirsten, The Time Traveler's Wife is as good as it's cracked up to really does demand a good measure of concentration, though, in order to keep the timelines straight in your head. But the main thing is that it's worth the extra effort.

  5. What about Ursula le Guin's classic children's book A Wrinkle In Time ?

  6. I didn't read that one when I passed through the proper age group, Sally. I'll have to take a look...a bit late.