Are you fascinated by the concept of time travel? Do you often find yourself pondering about what the future might hold or wondering what it would be like to go back in time and witness historical events first-hand? Well, you’re not alone! Time travel has been a popular theme in literature for decades, with countless books exploring the possibilities and consequences of such a phenomenon. So, whether you’re a die-hard sci-fi fan or just looking for a good read, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to embark on a thrilling journey through time as we take a closer look at some of the most imaginative and thought-provoking books about time travel ever written.
Best Books About Time Travel You Must Read
“The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells
“The Time Machine” is a classic science fiction novel by H.G. Wells, first published in 1895. The book follows the adventures of a Victorian scientist and inventor who creates a time machine and uses it to travel to the future. In the distant future, he discovers a world populated by two distinct groups of people: the Eloi, a peaceful and childlike race who live on the surface of the earth, and the Morlocks, a terrifying and cannibalistic species who live underground. Through his journey, the protagonist witnesses the gradual decline of human civilization and the ultimate extinction of the human race.
“Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut
“Slaughterhouse-Five” is a science fiction-infused anti-war novel written by Kurt Vonnegut and published in 1969. The book tells the story of Billy Pilgrim, a World War II veteran who becomes “unstuck in time” and travels back and forth through different periods of his life, including his experiences during the war and his life after. The novel is a commentary on the horrors of war, and Vonnegut uses time travel as a device to explore the chaotic nature of life and the seemingly random events that shape our existence. The book also features elements of metafiction, with Vonnegut himself appearing as a character in the story.
“11/22/63” by Stephen King
“11/22/63” follows the story of Jake Epping, a high school teacher who discovers a portal that allows him to travel back in time. With the help of a friend, Jake decides to use the portal to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. As Jake delves deeper into the past, he realizes that changing history is not as easy as he thought it would be, and that his actions have unforeseen consequences. The book explores themes of time, fate, and the consequences of trying to change the past.
“Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon
“Outlander” follows the story of Claire Randall, a British nurse who travels back in time from 1945 to 1743 Scotland, where she meets a Scottish warrior named Jamie Fraser. As Claire adjusts to life in the past and becomes increasingly involved in the politics of the time, she must navigate her growing feelings for Jamie and the challenges of living in a time and place vastly different from her own. “Outlander” is known for its meticulous historical detail and its blending of historical fiction, romance, and time travel. The book has been praised for its strong characters, compelling plot, and richly detailed setting.
“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” by Claire North
“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” is a novel that explores the concept of time travel and immortality. It tells the story of Harry August, a man who is born in 1919 and lives his life over and over again, retaining the memories of his previous lives. Each time Harry is reborn, he must navigate the world anew, but he is able to use his past experiences to influence the course of history. As Harry navigates his many lives, he becomes part of a secret society of people like him, known as the Cronus Club, who share his unique ability. However, Harry soon discovers that not all members of the Cronus Club have the best interests of humanity at heart, and he must use his knowledge of the past to prevent a catastrophic event that could destroy the world.
“The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger
“The Time Traveler’s Wife”follows the story of Henry DeTamble, a librarian who suffers from a rare genetic disorder that causes him to time travel involuntarily. Through his travels, Henry meets and falls in love with Clare Abshire, a woman who first encounters him when she is six years old and he is in his thirties. The novel explores the intricacies of Henry and Clare’s relationship as they navigate the challenges of Henry’s unpredictable travels and the impact they have on their lives. The book also delves into themes of fate, free will, and the nature of time itself.
“Kindred” by Octavia Butler
“Kindred” is a science fiction novel that tells the story of Dana, an African-American woman living in 1970s Los Angeles who is suddenly and inexplicably transported back in time to a Maryland plantation in the early 1800s. There, she meets her ancestors, including a white slave owner and the black woman who is destined to become her great-great-grandmother. As Dana navigates the brutal realities of life on a plantation, she grapples with the moral and ethical implications of her presence in the past and the impact it may have on her own future. The book explores themes of race, identity, power, and the legacy of slavery in America.
“The Man Who Folded Himself” by David Gerrold
“The Man Who Folded Himself” follows the story of Daniel Eakins, a college student who inherits a time machine from his uncle. As Daniel travels back and forth through time, he begins to unravel the complexities of time travel and its impact on his own identity and relationships. The novel is known for its unique take on time travel, as Daniel discovers that he can interact with alternate versions of himself and even create new versions of himself through his travels. The book explores themes of personal identity, free will, and the consequences of manipulating time.
“Replay” by Ken Grimwood
“Replay” follows the story of Jeff Winston, a middle-aged man who dies of a heart attack and wakes up in his college dorm room 25 years earlier, with all his memories intact. As Jeff relives his life with the knowledge of his future, he becomes determined to make different choices and avoid the mistakes that led to his untimely death. However, Jeff soon discovers that he is not alone in his experience, and that there are others who have also been given the chance to relive their lives. Together, they explore the possibilities and limitations of their unique situation, as they grapple with questions of fate, free will, and the nature of time itself.
“The Anubis Gates” by Tim Powers
“The Anubis Gates” follows the story of Brendan Doyle, a scholar who is invited to attend a lecture on Samuel Taylor Coleridge in London in the year 1983. However, when Doyle accepts the invitation, he finds himself transported back in time to London in the year 1810. In 1810, Doyle becomes embroiled in a complex plot involving time travel, magic, and Egyptian gods, as he attempts to unravel the mystery of a powerful and ancient artifact known as the Anubis Gates. Along the way, he encounters a colorful cast of characters, including a shape-shifting sorcerer, a mad scientist, and a group of beggars who are not what they seem.
From H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” to Tim Powers’ “The Anubis Gates,” the books on this list offer a wide range of perspectives on the concept of time travel, and each has something unique to offer readers. Like this post? Don’t forget to check out our other short stories in our Quick Read section