Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

drawkcabi

Time Travel Books - The Best and All The Rest

Recommended Posts

Although Hyperion has some time shenanigans I wouldn't call it a book about time travel - in a similar way I wouldn't call either of the Terminator movies (there are only 2) time travel movies.

 

Now Back to the Future on the other hand... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry but way, way, way disagree there.

 

Terminator movies are most assuredly time travel movies. Paradox, predestination loops, time travel rules, it's all there. It's even inspired a time travel trope called "Terminator Rules" (as opposed to Back To the Furture Rules).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok I can maybe cede that point but there is little in Terminator that actually deals with the cause/effects of said Time Travel. It is primarily focused on the warfare and single mindedness of the Terminators in question, rather than the mechanics and causation/effects of time travel.

 

Now show me the scene where John Connor fades out of a picture and in the background you can hear "Earth Angel, Earth Angel... would you be miiiiine"

 

:) I do see your point but I think the Terminators are not primarily about time travel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mods please fix the site so I can edit posts in IE and also copy and paste between IE because it just doesn't work. Chrome works fine on the other hand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have loved time travel novels since I was a child. Of the books that have been mentioned so far, my favorite is "The Time Traveler's Wife". Not only does it involve time travel but it has the added bonus of taking place in Chicago (where I live) and more specifically the Newberry Library (where I spend a lot of time).

I have read "Time and Again" and enjoyed it but more because if I could time travel I'd want to go back to late 19th century New York City so its like my dream time travel scenario. That and when I first learned about it, it was not in print and the internet did not exist so I had an epic quest hunting down a used copy at the Strand Bookstore which only added to its mystique.

My favorite time travel novels are all found in the children's section of the bookstore but I still enjoy them as much an adult now so I think they are good for all ages. Madeleine L'Engle has a number of them including "Many Waters" and "An Acceptable Time". My favorite of hers is "A Swiftly Tilting Planet". Very much influenced by L'Engle's stories is Newbery award winning "When You Reach Me" by Rebecca Stead.

Other children's favorites include "Time at the Top" by Edward Ormondroyd (time travel via an elevator!), "Tom's Midnight Garden" by Philippa Pearce, "King of Shadows" by Susan Cooper, and "The Stones of Green Knowe" by L.M. Boston.

There is a new in progress trilogy which has an interesting premise - there was a Great Disruption in 1799 where the world was fractured in time and all the continents were thrown into different time periods. So its back to the middle ages in parts of Europe, wooly mammoths are back in existence in Canada, parts of North America are pre-historical, the pharaohs are back in Egypt whereas parts of Asia and South America are far into the future. The first book is "The Glass Sentence" by S.E. Grove.

Turning to books for grownups, I've very much enjoyed Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. Also, Daphne DuMaurier's "The House on the Strand" brings an interesting connection between addiction and time travel. One man can't resist traveling back and forth between present day and 14th century Cornwall even though he is physically endangered by the experience.

"Arcadia" by Tom Stoppard is a play and it isn't traditional time travel. Instead you have a room in an English country house and two overlapping stories in time - one in the present day and one in the early 19th century. The events from the present and past are connected and influence one another and I love the idea that you can have the past and present co-existing and happening simultaneously in a room like that.

I know Connie Willis has a number of time travel novels. I've only read "Blackout" which I liked. It involves historians traveling back in time to observe the Blitz during WWII in England and ending up getting stuck and having to do more than observe.

Some time travels I have disliked...the second book in Deborah Harkness's All Souls trilogy, "Shadow of the Night". While I normally like most books set in Tudor England, I did not like this one. I similarly disliked "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs. Actually I really hated it.

Seconding pretty well all of this. I haven't read "The Glass Sentence" yet, so I'll look it up. Thanks! (Miss you!)

 

 

I can't believe lady n is the only one to mention Willis. Read all her books. I like To Say Nothing of the Dog the best, but if you like your time travel to be...er...full of pestilence and famine and reminders that the past is terrible, then read Doomsday Book. 

 

A good series for time travel is Kage Baker's The Company. The first book is, IIRC, In the Garden of Iden. It's not really heavy time travel, but the books are good and entertaining. Recommended.

"To Say Nothing of the Dog" is very, very funny. I couldn't face the Doomsday Book. Kage Baker's books I remember as being good, but I don't remember much about them... that may say something too.

 

Crixus and Zabs both recommended "Life After Life", which was indeed good. I want to read the next one about her brother. Ian Tregillis's trilogy that starts with "Bitter Seeds" is excellent.

 

Mods please fix the site so I can edit posts in IE and also copy and paste between IE because it just doesn't work. Chrome works fine on the other hand.

Put a post in the help forum, please. That's one for the sysadmins, unless your copy of IE is doing wildcat strikes.

 

ps. Terminator movies -> Entertainment forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


 
Does Dick's Counterclock World count (time moves at a normal pace, but in the wrong direction)?

how would you know if time moved in the other direction? Do people remember the future but not the past?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

how would you know if time moved in the other direction? Do people remember the future but not the past?

In Counterclock World, time starts moving backwards at some point in the 1980s, and people can remember the time before. Not everything goes backwards (consciousness is still linear, most physical laws seem to hold) but the dead start coming back to life and living age backwards towards unbirth. Oh, and digestion is reversed, with comical consequences. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Counterclock World, time starts moving backwards at some point in the 1980s, and people can remember the time before. Not everything goes backwards (consciousness is still linear, most physical laws seem to hold) but the dead start coming back to life and living age backwards towards unbirth. Oh, and digestion is reversed, with comical consequences. 

 

There's a Red Dwarf episode where that happens. Everyone's looking forward to WWII because millions of people will come back to life and Nazi armies will retreat across Europe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Life after Life, Kate Atkinson.


This. Not only the best time travel book I've read (probably), but one of the best books I've picked up in recent years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. I got it through one of those old Book of the Month clubs when it was released--engrossing and depressing at the same time. I'd studied microbiology and public health in school and it brought the horrors of the plague to life a little too well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marcel's Proust Remembrances of Things Past is the greatest time travel book(s) of all time.  Won't be topped.

Philip K. Dick's The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is excellent.

Toni Morrison's Beloved is a time travel novel in its own way

Wiliiam Gibson's new novel The Peripheral is the best sci-fi time travel novel I've read.

Philip K. Dick's Ubik has characters going through a very different type of time travel.

 

Top Ten Time Travel Movies:

 

1. Primer

2. The Terminator

3. Back to the Future

4. Looper

5. Memento

6. Twelve Monkeys

7. The Time Machine (original)

8. Terminator 2

9. Time Lapse

10. End of Tomorrow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The company books by Kage Baker form a funny closed timeloop. The books are at their best while exploring some era thoroughly (the hollywood golden age section short stories are fantastic) and at their worst when the main couples (it's complicated) ditches the tragedy and gets lovey dovey (really only happens in excess occasionally and near the end because fortunately many books aren't even about them).

 

But the timeloop is really curious. And the books are generally about timetravel ofc. People kidnapped, modified into immortal cyborgs and sent to the yet more distant past again (i think it's only one way, the easy way) to cache stuff that would be lost to disasters in secure caches causing and abetting the formation of very the company that created them in the future? Good premise. And its got a interesting tension

[spoiler]

just like the Lives of Harry August for a similar reason, which isn't a big spoiler (and seems to be a standard 'one way' time travel narrative trope).

 

Actually i was wondering if the author of that was a fan. Although The Live of Harry August ends up on a almost nihilistic tone comparatively. Goddamn irresponsible immortals.

[/spoiler]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marcel's Proust Remembrances of Things Past is the greatest time travel book(s) of all time.  Won't be topped.
Philip K. Dick's The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is excellent.
Toni Morrison's Beloved is a time travel novel in its own way
Wiliiam Gibson's new novel The Peripheral is the best sci-fi time travel novel I've read.
Philip K. Dick's Ubik has characters going through a very different type of time travel.
 
Top Ten Time Travel Movies:
 
1. Primer
2. The Terminator
3. Back to the Future
4. Looper
5. Memento
6. Twelve Monkeys
7. The Time Machine (original)
8. Terminator 2
9. Time Lapse
10. End of Tomorrow


Not gonna lie, Looper being above all those sort of terrifies me.

Another TT book I really like is "The Bone Clocks" by David Mitchell. Lauren Beukes' "The Shining Girls" is decent, and I guess Grossman's "The Magicians" have some slight elements of time travel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Memento and Inception are the straight ish  :cheers:

 

 

 

I remember seeing Twelve Monkeys in the theatre. Ilke Se7en, I walked out of the theatre like "whut?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Doomsday Book was the first one that popped into my head. It's one of my favorites. I also really enjoyed most of The Company books by Kage Baker, but I don't like how they end, so I am kinda iffy on recommending them. The first ones had a really intriguing premise and were excellent adventures. The way it wrapped up though left me feeling flat. It sucks a lot because just when the central mystery became the most interesting and something I was really invested in, it began it's downward trajectory into mediocrity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi unJon! WJ just convinced JaimeL to play a game of mafia, I thought it was maybe you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So here's what I have:
- Recurrence Plot
- BLACK QUANTUM FUTURISM

Stuff I randomly spotted on Twitter and instantly proceeded to order (it's cheap anyway). It's self-publish stuff, I think, but that increases the curiosity of finding something RARE very few people know and potentially great and also different from everything else out there. Entirely new perspectives. Pioneering!

The two are related, the first is a weird tale that almost looks Danielewsky, it should have a sequel in a couple of months, and boldly claims "Time Travel, Theory & Practice". There are a few weird schemes and pictures inside, the quality is not good (print quality of the images) but I love looking at convoluted diagrams and tangles of plot and mythology. The second one is some kind of fanzine, just 70-80 pages in a small format, it's basically the "manifesto" that feeds the first book. I'll paste here a quote so you understand what we're dealing with:
 

[...] The troubling reality of being Black in America. The troubling reality of memory and how it plays a role in our daily lives. What do we chose to remember and what are we trying to forget? What memories are forced upon us and what memories are we forced to forget? What effect do they have over our bodies and psyches? The double conscious that DuBois once prophetically spoke of has transformed into a metafractal of limitless shapes and symmetry within the collective conscious of Black people. What are the dimesions of trauma? Does it work like a satellite routing a collective misery (sadness) to a certain locale? Does its energy participate and reemerge in some other space? How does our trauma affect the cosmos?

---
Black Quantum Futurism (or BQF) is a new approach to living and experiencing reality by way of the manipulation of space-time in order to see into possible futures, and/or collapse space-time into a desired future in order to bring about that futures reality. This vision and practice derives its facets, tenets, and qualities from quantum physics, futurist traditions, and Black/African cultural traditions of consciousness, time, and space. Inside of the space where these three traditions intersect exists a creative plane that allows for the ability of African-descended people to see into, choose, or create the impending future.

BQF is a new experience of time consciousness that binds modern day physics, ancient African time consciousness, and conceptual notions of futurism. Through Black Quantum Futurism we can increase the "knowability" of the future and the past by treating both modes of time as formally equivalent. This practice develops foresight and hindsight by studying features of time, sources of change, rythms and patterns in larger social patterns, as well as patterns in our personal spheres of experience in order to map out our Black Quantum Futures. Time is change, and to see into the future is merely to anticipate what changes will occur, and what patterns will re-occur. BQF Creatives work to consciously subvert the strict chronological hierarchal characteristic of linear time.


One of the pages it titled: Swahili Conception of Time and Space

Here's an image of the writer, with Africa-shaped earrings. She basically looks coming straight from The Matrix:
http://40.media.tumblr.com/e3cc295a7878d9a75aec6d9712476da9/tumblr_nmyhnnKMSJ1sugf2vo1_500.jpg

So, it's Time Travel mythology employed as social activism. A delicious post-modern mix. It's mythology laid on top of this discourse:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z0N3hsSvs8

Watch the video because it's great. I still only just browsed through the two books since I just got them, so can't really say if what's in there is actually good. But the premises are more than worth the very small price. I feel like I'm hanging out with the cool people (I'm white, but I still feel it's cool).

And I also absolutely love this blur of practical mythology, crossing over between fiction and reality, and basically reinvent everything. Even when it's a failure it's still exceptional.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...