Jump to content

Time Travel books


EHyde

Recommended Posts

I love a good time-travel story. I just finished 11/22/63 by Stephen King and that got me thinking about some of the other time travel books I've read. One of my favorites is Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis, which is full of crazy puzzle pieces until that moment at the end when bang! everything fits together. Stories with time travel don't have to be full of crazy paradoxes -- some use it just to put characters in incongruous settings, ala Doctor Who -- and I think that approach is harder to get right because I think a lot of authors underestimate what effect -- even without going into paradoxes -- simply being from a different time will have on the characters. For time travel affecting character development, I think Kindred by Octavia Butler is excellent. What are some of your favorite time travel stories? Or do you like time travel at all?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How good is 11/22/63? I also know that King is a liberal (this doesn't bother me), and I am wondering if he loads the book up with liberal diatribes? I read some reviews on Amazon that make me think he does. Even if you agree with him politically you should be able to see this if it happens. I don't like it when conservative writers do this either (Clancy loaded his later books with right wing diatribes).

I think there is another Time Travel book about saving Kennedy that was written in the 1970s. It was by two well known sci-fi authors. I never read it and can't remember the name.

Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove: This is done more as alternative history. A bunch of racists go back in time and give Robert E. Lee 100,000 AK-47s in January 1864. The book is VERY well done. It doesn't spend much time on the time travel part and focuses more on the alternative history. I have read 10-12 books by Turtledove and this one is by far my favorite.

If you are somewhat tempted, read the prologue and see if it catches you. I really liked it. One of my favorite book quotes of all time. (quote will be off a little. been a while since I read the book)

"What are these new fangled repeaters?" Said Robert E. Lee

"General Lee, its an AK-47"

Sounds silly, but it works in the book. Turtledove is a history buff and he clearly did a lot of research and put a lot of thought into this book. I never got the sense of 'oh this is just silly'.

Time Travelers Never Die by Jack McDevitt: This is ok. 2 friends discover their dad's time travel device and go historical site seeing. Its more of a history buff book. I think McDevitt likes history and thought it would be fun to write about 2 regular guys from modern times chatting with historical figures.

The Accidental Time Traveller by Joe Haldeman: Very good book. It also has a sense of humor. A graduate student who is too lazy to finish his Ph.D. accidentally discovers time travel. The problem is the time machine only goes forward in time. There is one scene in the distant future where he runs into something similiar to the anti-Skynet. Instead of wanting to destroy mankind, this AI, thinks people in the future are so shallow and utterly annoying, it wants to go forward in time to get away from them. Haldeman has a very good writing style. His prose is very compact.

The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter: Sort of a sequel to the original Time Machine book by HG Wells (written 100 years ago). This is more sci-fi oriented, but I found it fun. You don't need to read the first book to know what happens.

Nantucket Series: by SM Stirling. Read 2 out of 3. Island of Nantucket gets zapped by an alien force and sent back to 6000 BC. All the people and stuff on the island are the same. Stirling is a terrific world building and that was really fun. I never read the third one because I found his bad guy character boring and too over the top. I think he added it just to have a good guy/bad guy arch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More votes for Blackout All Clear and Pastwatch. Also worthy is a newer book by Orson Scott Card, Pathfinder.

I admit I'm not widely read in this sub genre. But I have read the original, HG Wells' The Time Machine. Which, in all honesty, is not really that great, but is worth reading as a historical curiosity. As a plus, it's freely available from gutenberg.org.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How good is 11/22/63? I also know that King is a liberal (this doesn't bother me), and I am wondering if he loads the book up with liberal diatribes? I read some reviews on Amazon that make me think he does. Even if you agree with him politically you should be able to see this if it happens. I don't like it when conservative writers do this either (Clancy loaded his later books with right wing diatribes).

I wouldn't say diatribes but you can definitely tell it was written from a liberal perspective. It didn't really bother me except for one particular case (but that was a small thing). The focus of the book is on the attempt to save Kennedy, not really alternate history "what if he'd been saved," so looking at how things would've been different from a liberal vs conservative viewpoint isn't really an issue.

Turtledove's another author I keep meaning to read but haven't yet. *Sigh* I've got too many of those.

Does the Nantucket series eventually tie in with Dies the Fire and those books? I think I heard that somewhere. I've tried and failed a few times to get into those books (Dies the Fire, I mean. I haven't tried the Nantucket series at all yet).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Does the Nantucket series eventually tie in with Dies the Fire and those books? I think I heard that somewhere. I've tried and failed a few times to get into those books (Dies the Fire, I mean. I haven't tried the Nantucket series at all yet).

I started the first book in the Dies the Fire series and never finished. I read somewhere that in a later book a guy from that series heads east to find Nantucket. In the Nantucket series I think there is a brief and vague explanation about what happened. Basically, Stirling wanted to write a book about Nantucket going back in time, so he invented a reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Diana Gabaldon's books are fantastic! Start with Outlander. A woman from post WWII England is inadvertently sent back to Scotland in the year 1743, just before the revolt. They're romances, but very well done and her research is impeccable.

I agree with everyone about Stirling's Dies the Fire. The only thing that got me through the book was the fact that it takes place in my back yard. (well, not literally, but close enough)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Diana Gabaldon's books are fantastic! Start with Outlander. A woman from post WWII England is inadvertently sent back to Scotland in the year 1743, just before the revolt. They're romances, but very well done and her research is impeccable.

I agree with everyone about Stirling's Dies the Fire. The only thing that got me through the book was the fact that it takes place in my back yard. (well, not literally, but close enough)

That's why I started Dies the Fire--I grew up in Corvallis--but, well, tiny irrelevant details being wrong probably wouldn't have made a difference if I liked the rest of the book, but they ended up just contributing to the overall "meh" I felt when reading it.

I didn't finish Outlander either, but that was mostly because of wrong expectations on my part--I knew it was "time travel romance" but I was thinking it was heavier on the time travel, lighter on the romance, and it just wasn't what I was looking for at the time. It was definitely well-written though, and I plan on finishing it sometime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's why I started Dies the Fire--I grew up in Corvallis--but, well, tiny irrelevant details being wrong probably wouldn't have made a difference if I liked the rest of the book, but they ended up just contributing to the overall "meh" I felt when reading it.

Yeah, I noticed that too. He obviously didn't bother to research the area beyond looking at a map. He got Sweet Home wrong too. But he wasn't too far off about the Eola Hills which is about a mile from my house. That's cool that you're from Corvallis. I've got a lot of friends that live there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...