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Booklist: Time Travel

May 1st, 2008 (07:42 pm)

Current Mood: quixotic
Current Song: SVU score music

Time travel is one of my favorite topics. I'm fascinated by the concept, and I enjoy stories, movies, documentaries, and TV specials about it. Some rely heavily upon fantasy and imagination, while others discuss science and possibility.

The Boys are Back in Town by Christopher Golden is my favorite book which employs time travel. It is also one of my favorite books written by Golden, which is saying a lot, considering 1) how much I love his books and 2) how many books he's written.

What adult hasn't wondered what life would be like if things had been different in high school, and what teen hasn't wondered what they'd do when they grew up? Take those questions, those ideas, and darken them, then insert the twists of tragedy and forgotten (or altered) memories, and you've got The Boys are Back in Town.

When Will attends his ten-year reunion, he expects to catch up with old friends, not discover that one is dead. The victim is someone with whom he recently communicated, yet everyone else claims died in high school. In the blink of an eye, Will remembers the event, yet retains his 'regular' memories as well.

As the story continues, more memories are revealed. These aren't suppressed memories, but rather new-old memories. Altered memories. Someone or something is changing the minds of Will and his old friends. Finding the source - and the strength to stop it - will lead him on an imaginative journey readers will always remember.

If you know me - if you really know me - you might be able to figure out how this book connects to me. (Notice that I said "to," not "with.") Think you know? Leave a comment below!

Read the first three chapters of the book.

Additional Time Travel Picks

The Doll in the Garden by Mary Downing Hahn
This fantastic story has stayed with me for nearly twenty years. (Time travel! A cat! Consumption! Mary Downing Hahn! Of course I love it!) This book was written for children ages 8 and up. When a young girl follows a white cat under a hedge, she befriends another girl - one who is not from her time.

The Withern Rise Trilogy aka the Aldous Lexicon Trilogy by Michael Lawrence
This trilogy is shelved in teen fiction. It's great for adults as well. I really enjoyed what the author did with alternate realities and family lines. It is vital that you read the trilogy in order:
- A Crack in the Line
- Small Eternities
- The Underwood See

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Not necessarily one of my favorite books about this subject nor in general, but something that's worth reading. One of my close friends absolutely loves this story and took her online name from it. Since a bunch of my customers are currently reading this in class, I won't say anything more about it, as I want them to read the book with an open mind and draw their own conclusions.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
For his entire life, an "average" guy is afflicted with time travel. He doesn't get to choose when or where he goes, but instead of traveling back to a place and time like Ancient Egypt (where I'd like to go!), he ends up traveling to places and events which are always related to him or to his loved ones. Like The Boys are Back in Town, I can't tell you about a certain character without giving something important away, so go read the book, then leave a comment below. Like The Boys are Back in Town, this novel was written for adults, so it may be all right for older teens to read but has some language and scenes that may not be appropriate for younger readers.

Bonus books: Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters trilogy has a different take on time.

Moving Pictures

My favorite time travel films include Somewhere in Time, Donnie Darko, and Frequency.

Somewhere in Time is based on the book Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson. I like the film much, much more than the book. I love the music John Barry created for the picture. He also provided the score for the 1972 live-action British musical film adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, another of my favorite films based on one of my favorite books.

Also, while Sliding Doors may not be precisely time travel, if you liked it and like that kind of alternate reality story, you should definitely read The Boys are Back in Town and the Withern Rise trilogy. Now.

I enjoy Doctor Who. I haven't seen the original series, but I've seen many episodes of the new series with the Ninth and Tenth Doctors. Go, David Tennant! I haven't seen the Eleventh Doctor yet.

I also liked the TV show Time Trax. Go, Dale Midkiff!

If you like stories about time travel, you may also like stories dealing with dystopia or time loops.


Posted by: E.C. Myers (ecmyers)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 03:09 am (UTC)
Aarrgh! Dark City

Thanks for the recommendations! Some of those are my favorites too. I also highly recommend Time and Again by Jack Finney, which uses a similar method of time travel to Somewhere in Time (hypnosis). The film The Butterfly Effect was also surprisingly good, especially for an Ashton Kutcher film.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)

I just expanded on this post a great deal! You were commenting as I was typing.

I've been meaning to read Time and Again for at least a decade.

I saw The Butterfly Effect in bits and pieces. I've heard about the original ending(s) as well. Creepy!

Posted by: pjhoover (pjhoover)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)

I loved The Time Traveler's Wife! I totally lost it at the end. Glad no one else was around!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)


Two books I recommend to TTW fans:
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (and film)
A Certain Slant of Light (amazing)

Posted by: kbaccellia (kbaccellia)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 03:42 am (UTC)

Love, love, Somewhere in Time. I ended up buying my own copy!

Also the book Time Travelers Wife. I also got kind of lost at the end and had to reread those last chapters a couple of times.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)

Somewhere in Time: The book, the film, or both?

I hope the movie version of TTW does it justice.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 04:52 am (UTC)

Great icon!

Posted by: Melissa Wyatt (melissawyatt)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 12:30 pm (UTC)

I love John Barry! His music is so lush, romantic and poignant. His score to Out of Africa is sublime but oh, that heartbreakingly romantic theme from Somewhere in Time!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)

Such beautiful work. You MUST see and hear his Alice!

Posted by: steve_vernon (steve_vernon)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)

If you dig time travel hunt yourself up a copy of The Memory Tree, by John Little. I believe you'd dig it.

Posted by: steve_vernon (steve_vernon)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)

And yes, I am old enough to comfortably use the term "dig" with the utmost authority.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC)

Good times, good times.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)

I'll have to track that down at some point!

Posted by: saralholmes (saralholmes)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the great list! I would tuck Connie Willis in there, too: To Say Nothing of the Dog, Doomsday Book, several of her short stories...

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)

I still haven't read Willis! What's wrong with me?!

Posted by: leigh_purtill (leigh_purtill)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)

I second the recommend to read Jack Finney -but I prefer "From Time to Time" (horribly generic title), which is the sequel to "Time and Again" (also horrible title). And for movies, check out "Time After Time" (are there no good titles in this genre???), about Jack the Ripper traveling through time to the 20th C, based on the Karl Alexander novel.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)

Intrigued by Jack the Ripper.

Posted by: Johngie (frillybunny)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC)
- juno -

Thank you for this book list. I too LOVE the topic of time travel. The only one I've read on this list was The Time Traveler's Wife, which I loved. I hope the movie doesn't ruin it. The Boys Are Back In Town looks really interesting, I'll have to pick up a copy!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)

You are welcome!

Please let me know what you think of The Boys are Back in Town!

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