Book Review: Time Travel: A History

Book Review: Time Travel: A History

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While I enjoyed the book overall, I finished it with an odd sense of disappointment.

It’s filled with references that are aimed directly at me, everything from The Time Machine to Looper to Star Trek and Doctor Who to classical written SF. He references movies, television, novels, and short stories, the majority of which I’m at least passingly familiar with. Time travel is such a SF standard that you can’t blink at Schrodinger’s Cat without having a paradox fall to one side.

But that’s most of the book.

Much of the rest was how the language of time travel has slowly insinuated itself into our culture as a whole. This was both interesting and cool, but it still comes up short for me.

I wanted, needed, thought I was getting, something more. Where was the comparison of the various presentations of temporal mechanics? Where was the treatise on how the notion of time travel affects us as people and as a society? Where was the ranking of paradoxes and the ways around or through them?

Quite likely, I should have taken the title a little more literally. This was very much a history of Time Travel inside the genre with little forays outside of it.

Overall rating: 3 stars. Like I said above, I liked it, but I wanted to like it a lot more. There’s a lot of stuff missing. I was looking for more philosophy in this book, I think, and more science. What I got was a pleasant tour through a lot of familiar SF pop culture territory, but I could get most of that already by going through my own bookshelves or video library or Netflix.

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