Saturday, May 16, 2009

Time travel stories

I have been a fan of time-travel stories since I was a child. In the spirit of Diana Gabaldon's "Methadone List", to help pass the time while we wait for AN ECHO IN THE BONE, here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order:

1) REPLAY, by Ken Grimwood



This is the story of a man who wakes up one morning to find himself 25 years in the past, living in the body of his 18-year-old self, with full knowledge of the future. Like the movie "Groundhog Day", the cycle repeats over and over again, but each time with a slightly different twist. Highly entertaining!

2) THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE, by Audrey Niffenegger


I read this book, and loved it, several years before I'd ever heard of Diana Gabaldon's books. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, this is the story of the relationship between Henry, a time-traveler, and Clare, a young girl who will eventually become his wife. Henry's time-traveling abilities are totally out of his control; he "travels" without warning, never knowing where or when he will end up. The time-travel angle in this book is well-thought-out and plausible, and I loved the relationship between Henry and Clare. (Warning: the ending will break your heart.)

3) IF I NEVER GET BACK, by Darryl Brock


Baseball fans will appreciate this one. It's the story of 20th-century journalist Sam Fowler, who finds himself transported back to the year 1869, where he encounters the Cincinnati Red Stockings, America's first professional baseball team. The historical details in this book are fascinating, and the book itself is well-written, with lots of wry observations about the time period.

4) CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES, by Penelope Farmer



This one is on my list for sentimental reasons. It's the very first time-travel story I ever read, one of my favorites as a child. CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES is the story of an 11-year-old girl who travels back in time to World War I-era England. If you know a child in this age group who enjoys reading about what it's like to live in another time, I would certainly recommend this book.

Other Recommendations?

What about the rest of you? Do you have a favorite book or movie with a time-travel theme? If so, I'd love to hear about it.

12 comments:

Mackin-Art said...

My favorite time travel movie is "Somewhere in Time" based on the book "Bid Time Return" - of course, I'm biased, it was filmed here on the Island!

Jack Finney's "Time and Again" and "From Time to Time" are also great reads. My favorite is one you mentioned, "The Time Traveler's Wife", the ending is heart breaking.

Karen Henry said...

I've read "Time and Again", but it didn't make much of an impression on me. Still, it's been a while, maybe I ought to give it another try.

As for movies, well, I have to include "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" on that list. As a longtime fan of the original ST, I've always thought that movie was a lot of fun. (In fact, my interest in time-travel stories in general came from all those years of watching Star Trek. <g>)

Karen

Joanne said...

I haven't read very many time-travel books (except for the Outlander books), but I do have a few titles that I've enjoyed reading. "The Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis was an interesting look at life in the 14th century as a university group in the 20th century sends a young woman into a time when a plague and other dangers will pose challenges to her survival and ability to return safely. (I believe this is on DG's methadone list.)

"The Devil's Arithmetic" by Jane Yolen is a young adult book, but is a very powerful and moving story for young teens who may be "too cool" to understand the sacrifices of the past or be involved in religious matters. A young Jewish girl is annoyed to have to attend her family's gathering to observe a religious holiday; she is embarrassed that her grandfather (a holocaust survivor) is so fervent in his religious beliefs. When she is asked to participate in the ceremony by opening a door to welcome a prophet, she is transported back in time and finds herself in a Nazi concentration camp and experiences/witnesses horrors first hand. Highly recommended for mature young adults.

I also loved "The Time Travelers Wife" -- have tissues nearby for the ending.

Karen Henry said...

Joanne:

Ohhh, yes! I loved THE DOOMSDAY BOOK, which is yet another one that I read long before I ever heard of Diana Gabaldon or the OUTLANDER series. (I didn't care for the parts of it that take place in the 21st century, but I just devoured all the 14th century stuff. Very powerful writing, and an unforgettable story!)

See, this is just more proof that I've been a sucker for time-travel stories for a long, long time, which is why it frustrates me no end that I came across Diana's books only in 2006. I would have been addicted fifteen years ago or more, if I'd only known the books existed. Oh, well. Better late than never, I guess.

Karen

Janet said...

I love The Doomsday Book also, but I thought To Say Nothing of the Dog also by Connie Willis is much better as a time travel book.

Joanne said...

You know, there was another time-travel book that I remember reading and enjoying, but the title and author just escaped my memory. Since I lost all of my books (sad) during Katrina, I don't have anything to look through for reference. Then, it dawned on me! (several hours later!) Michael Crichton's "Timeline" was a fast-paced, easy read. It doesn't include a wealth of research on the 14th century, but I remember enjoying the book's fast-paced plot.

I'll also be interested in checking out the two books mentioned by other posters: "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and "Bid Time Return." I loved the movie "Somewhere In Time" and it is particularly tragic in light of Christopher Reeve's own personal story. Thanks for the suggestions.

Glynis said...

I love the Time Traveler's Wife, great selection here.

Joanne said...

Lucky for all of us, Karen, that you found DG's books! You're my go-to person for updates on the new books! Too bad you didn't find Outlander fifteen years ago, but you do have the rest of your life to enjoy -- not a bad prospect! I just remembered another time travel story that I read in high school -- "The House on the Strand" by Daphne Du Maurier. I'm finding out I've read more time travel stories than I realized!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

I liked Reflections in the Nile by Suzanne Frank, I've read the first three in the series, all set in Egypt or the Mediterranean and Middle East, not a bad series, I liked the first one best so far.

Karen Henry said...

Julie:

Thanks for the suggestion! I've never heard of these books but they sound intriguing.

Karen

Laura's Reviews said...

I love time travel stories also - I tried to think of more, but it looks like all of my favorites are included on this list as well as some new ones I'll have to check out!

Linda said...

Another good(but small) series is the Knight Errant series by R. Garcia Y Robertson. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/r/r-garcia-y-robertson/knight-errant.htm