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Old 06-16-2006, 07:39 AM
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Good time-travel fiction?


I want to travel around through time. However, I'm curiously lack in a time machine, so, I'll take the next best thing: fiction. Preferably good fiction, not crap "OMG teh dinos killed me in the past!!" stuff. Beyond that I'm open to anything that plays creatively with the concept of time.

Anyone?
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Old 06-16-2006, 07:50 AM
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The single greatest time-travel story ever (in terms of weirding you out) remains Robert Heinlein's '...All you Zombies'. You'll need pen and paper.
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:02 AM
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Some choices:

Rivers of Time by L. Sprague de Camp. Starts with his classic short "A Gun for Dinosaur", and continues with sequels he wrote later in life.

The Proteus Operation James Hogan -- the cliche of "someone goes back in time to help the Nazis" done well

Guns of the South by Harry urtledove. I think this is a classic -- White Supremacists help the South win the Civil War, but the SDouth doesn't exactly like White Supremacists.


Up the Line and Hawksbill Station by Robert Silverberg.

The "CrossTime Engineer" Stories by Frankowski

Heinlein's classic short stories "All You Zombies" and "By His Boostraps". I think Bootstraps is the ultimate time-travel story


The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold. He consciously tried to pack every time travel cliche he could into this one. Gerrold also wrote a dinosaur-hunting time travel story. I forget the name, but it's the bloodiest onme I ever read.

"The Theory and Practice of Time Travel" by Larry Niven (In All the Myriad Ways)


"Language for Time Travelers" by L. Sprague de Camp.



And, my all-time favorite:

Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp. Martin Padway accientally gets sent back in time. He tries to prevent the Fall of Rome.
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:05 AM
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A recent "literary fiction" bestseller: Audrey Niffenegger's Time Traveler's Wife, which I liked very much (and which I know has several other fans on the Boards).
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:37 AM
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Replay by Ken Grimwood (stretching the definition, but the hero does travel back in time and it features many of the themes of time travel).

Millenneum by John Varley (much better than the movie it was based on*)

No Enemy But Time by Michael Bishop

For short stories:

"Vintage Season" by Henry Kuttner & C.L. Moore
"Button Button" by Isaac Asimov (pure fun)


*Varley wrote the script and a novelization. However, the project fell apart, so he published the novelization alone. The script was filmed later.
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:40 AM
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Connie Willis wrote some awesome time travel books. Doomsday Book (medieval England) is excellent but sad, and To Say Nothing of the Dog (Victorian England) is excellent and hilarious. She's also got several short stories on the same theme. It's actually time travel from the future, and they're definately must-reads. (To Say Nothing of the Dog was the first Hugo winner to be funny on purpose, I think.)
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:57 AM
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I can't believe two people already have cited Heinlein and not mentioned "Door into Summer"!
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:37 AM
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I can't believe two people already have cited Heinlein and not mentioned "Door into Summer"!
Not to mention A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court!
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:38 AM
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Which is by Mark Twain, not Heinlein, of course.

Didn't mean to spawn confusion.
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:41 AM
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The Anibus Gates by Tim Powers. Time travel, a little sci-fi. . . steampunk!

As an aside, I'd like to thank the good people at the Dope for educating me on this genre. A long time ago I asked about a book in which a character time traveled, ate charcoal as an atidote to poison, dealt with the dogs from the gates of hell and met the poet Byron. I got the name of the book plus an introduction to steampunk.
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:43 AM
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Time Machines: The Best Time Travel Stories Ever Written contains one of my favorite time-travel stories--The Third Level by Jack Finney.
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:47 AM
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I think Bootstraps is the ultimate time-travel story.
As do I.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:00 AM
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Gerrold also wrote a dinosaur-hunting time travel story. I forget the name, but it's the bloodiest onme I ever read.
Would that be the one where a guy goes back in time to shoot a brontosaurus, and then gets eaten by the ticks living on its hide? (which are, of course, the size of lobsters)
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:01 AM
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A couple of others:

"A Gun for Aristotle" by L. Sprague de Camp. Time Traveler from Brookhaven Labs goes back in time to try to change Aristotle's philosophy so it doesn't end up stifling Medieval science for so long.

TimeMaster by Robert L. Forward. Interesting because it's a time travel novel by a research physicist who made it logically and scientifically consistent. a attempt, I think, to properly address the isue of what happens when you try to go back in time to change the past.


Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock. Time Traveler goes back in time to find Jesus Christ. There's a controversial idea for you.


And you have to mention H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, even though it didn't address most of the issues we associate with tim travel. Nevertheless, it started life as a planned multi-media extravaganza, like those Disneyworld rides, and it envisioned time travel as sort of speeded-up film (one of the things George Pal got right when he filmed it).




If i don't bring up the Diana Gabaldon stories, someone else will. I haven't read them, but Pepper mill has read and loved all of them.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:13 AM
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The Flight of the Horse is a book of time-travel stories by Larry Niven, based around the design of a time machine dreamed up by some physicist or other, whose aim was to make it theoretically feasible. I find it amusing that Niven then uses the machine to tell the most bizarre set of time-travel stories you ever heard. The twist is that:

SPOILER:
The time machine, if it is taking you back before about 1800 (when the concept of time travel was invented by a fiction writer) actually takes you into a fictitious universe, replete with unicorns, dragons, and characters from fiction (in one story, they grab Moby Dick- in the novel based in the same universe [Rainbow Mars] they travel to an amalglam of the different versions of Mars dreamed up by E. R. Burroughs, H.G. Wells and a couple of others). However, the characters doing the time travelling come from a future devastated by nuclear war, so they assume that anything they pick up that doesn't square with their idea of the universe is due to "faulty records" of the past.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Quote:
Gerrold also wrote a dinosaur-hunting time travel story. I forget the name, but it's the bloodiest onme I ever read.


Would that be the one where a guy goes back in time to shoot a brontosaurus, and then gets eaten by the ticks living on its hide? (which are, of course, the size of lobsters)
Nahhh. I think it's called "Deathbeast", abouit a hunt for T. Rex. Gerrold said he wanted to do time travel as "Jaws". The T. Rex ends up gobbling up or stepping on just about everyone, to a degree unlikely by the laws of probability alone. Indicates the existence of a malign force in the Universe. In this case, a sadistic author.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:18 AM
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I remember reading two books that were entertaining. The titles, I think, were:

The Great Time Machine Hoax

Dinatopia

I may have imagined them, though.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:25 AM
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Happy Clam, Niven's recent bopok Rainbow Mars is part of the same series as the stories in Flight of the Horse (the volume actually includes several, if not all, of the stories. The main story has the heroes encountering all the fictional Martians that have been written (kinda like the opening chapter of the second volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), but the real center of the story involves


SPOILER:
...Trees that grow to be big enough to form natural "space elevators". The problem is that they suck up all a planet's water and evaporate it into space, which is why Mars is so dry. On the other hand, they do form the basis for "Jack in the Beanstalk" and other random literature.







(And nothin' to do with Kim Stanley Robinson's Red/Green/Blue Mars series.)
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:25 AM
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In the Nantucket series by S.M. Stirling -- Island in the Sea of Time, Against the Tide of Years, and [/b]On the Oceans of Eternity[/b] -- the entire island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, is sent back (by unexplained means) to 1250 BC. Rollicking adventure story!
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:35 AM
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I recently enjoyed a wonderful little book, The Forsight War by Anthony Williams. His time-traveller gets to help Churchill and Friends win WWII. I recommend it to you.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:39 AM
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Avoid the shit movie by all means but do read Timeline by Michael Crichton.
Very entertaining fast read.
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:01 AM
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Let me get in another plug for Varley's Milenneum. The novel is excellent--one of my all-time favorites. The movie...not so much.
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:06 AM
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Tunnel Through Time by Lester Del Rey is a great book. Basic plot: a physicist invents a time machine and sends a paleontologist back the age of dinosaurs. But he doesn't come back on schedule, so his son and the physicist's son go back to search for him. What I like about the book is that these people aren't a bunch of idiots geting chased by dino's; they know how to take care of themselves and bring the necessary equipment along, like high-powered rifles and .45 automatics, and survival gear.

Due to an accident involving a brontosaurus, the time machine is damaged, and the team can only make it back to the present in short hops. So they end up successively getting chased by T.Rex and Pterodactyls in the Cretaceous, almost freezing to death in the Ice Age, and getting caught up in tribal warfare in the Pleistocene. There's enough character development to make you really care about the people, and you may even shed a tear or two at the end of the book as you contemplate the unknown fate of the little cave girl G'na.

Anyway, I highly recommend it.
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:10 AM
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I came in to say Connie Willis, but I was beaten to the punch, so I'm seconding that.
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:11 AM
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"The Man Who Folded Himself" is really the ultimate time travel novel/novella.

You know the time travel cliche where a future version of yourself comes back to advise you about an action you're about to take? Well, if you had a working time machine, wouldn't you experience this just about every day?
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:20 AM
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I recommend The Light of Other Days by Stephen Baxter and Arthur Clarke. It makes time travel not only realistic, but inspiring.
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:29 AM
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For a really different method of time travel (but, if it works, one that every one of us has tried -- unsucessfully, but it did have other pleasures), see Ray Nelson's "Time Travel for Pedestrians" in Again, Dangerous visions
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:31 AM
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Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card is about an attempt to change history by going back to Columbus's first meeting with the natives of the New World.
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hlanelee
I remember reading two books that were entertaining. The titles, I think, were:

The Great Time Machine Hoax
by Keith Laumer.
Quote:
Dinatopia

I may have imagined them, though.
That's fairly recent, right?

The origin of the cliche mentioned in the OP is A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury. A nice, complicated, time travel story is The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov. Not one of his best, though.

Poul Anderson had a series on the Guardians of Time. Jack Williamson's Legion of Time was the first instance of a corps of time travellers fixing problems. The Men who Murdered Mohammed by R. A. Lafferty is a reasonably plausible one. The most realistic one I know of is Timescape by Greg Benford. Time communication, not travel, but I found it quite gripping.

I favor the Heinlein stories already mentioned, as working out all the implications in two great stories.
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Old 06-16-2006, 12:02 PM
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I haven't read it yet, but if it's as good as his other books, I feel safe recommending A Shortcut in Time by Charles Dickinson.

I second or third the recommendations for Replay and Doomsday Book. Green Darkness by Anya Seton might be dated (lots of 70's references) but I loved it way back when.
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Old 06-16-2006, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lute Skywatcher
Time Machines: The Best Time Travel Stories Ever Written contains one of my favorite time-travel stories--The Third Level by Jack Finney.
Also read Time and Again and its sequel From Time to Time. I loves me some Jack Finney!
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Old 06-16-2006, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Voyager
The Men who Murdered Mohammed by R. A. Lafferty is a reasonably plausible one.
Alfred Bester, not Lafferty.

There's also George Alec Effinger's novella, "The Bird of Time Bears Bitter Fruit." He expanded the idea into The Bird of Time, which I haven't read.
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Old 06-16-2006, 01:06 PM
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Oh, I forgot, Michael K. Swanwick wrote one fairly recently called, I think, The Bones of the Earth that was really good (if a little muddy at the end.)
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Old 06-16-2006, 01:44 PM
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There is a series of books by Kage Baker that has to do with time travel. They're called the Company series, but are better known by their individual titles. The first one is In the Garden of Iden. The time travel is more a plot device than the point of the story, but the series is still very, very good.
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Old 06-16-2006, 04:30 PM
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The Technicolor Time-Machine by Harry Harrison is a good fun read. In it, the time machine isn't used for jurassic hunting trips or to solve historical mysteries, but for a much nobler purpose: to make a Viking movie!
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Old 06-16-2006, 04:38 PM
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Anyone with me on loving that Choose Your Own Adventure book called The Cave of Time?

Need I say more?
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Old 06-16-2006, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Clam
Would that be the one where a guy goes back in time to shoot a brontosaurus, and then gets eaten by the ticks living on its hide? (which are, of course, the size of lobsters)

I remember that one! And another where a group of dinosaur hunters return to their own time and find it's all changed - because one of them stepped on an insect in the past.
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Old 06-16-2006, 05:05 PM
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And some more - another Biblical one, Let's Go to Golgotha by Garry Kilworth.

And the veteran British SF writer John Wyndham (who wrote Day of the Triffids) did a short story called, I think, Chronoclasm.

Also the British SF humour writer Jasper Fforde's literary detective Tuesday Next does a lot of time travelling with her dad. Quote: "My father had a face that could stop a clock ..." (literally!)
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Old 06-16-2006, 05:10 PM
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There's this really great novel that's going to be published next year, and ...

Crap, I've said too much!
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Old 06-16-2006, 05:23 PM
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I remember that one! And another where a group of dinosaur hunters return to their own time and find it's all changed - because one of them stepped on an insect in the past.
Can you remember what it was called? I read it in a book of "comic" sf and fantasy, which I have since lost. Always remember that story as being rather grim and glory.
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Old 06-16-2006, 05:49 PM
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That's "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury. The dinosaur hunters are only allowed to shoot a dinosaur seconds before it would have died anyway of natural causes. Except one guy gets scared and leaves the path, steps on a butterfly, and...
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866
That's "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury. The dinosaur hunters are only allowed to shoot a dinosaur seconds before it would have died anyway of natural causes. Except one guy gets scared and leaves the path, steps on a butterfly, and...
... next thing you know it's raining doughnuts.
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Old 06-17-2006, 12:32 AM
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Give Brian Aldiss' Frankenstein Unbound a shot. You might enjoy it.
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Old 06-17-2006, 12:52 AM
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Any votes for H. Beam Piper's Paratime short stories?

CMC fnord!
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Old 06-17-2006, 01:38 AM
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The Ivanhoe Gambit by Simon Hawke is a light, frothy souffle of a read. In the book, future societies settle conflicts by sending soldiers back into the past to fight, the side with the most survivors wins. The book follows the adventures of Lucas Priest as he's sent back in time, not to fight a war, but to go after rouge soldiers, Priest and his team must assume the identities of various figures in England (Robin Hood to name but one). It's the first in about a seven book (or so) series. The first several are enjoyable, but the later ones not so good.
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Old 06-17-2006, 04:44 AM
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Kindred by Octavia Butler is about a young black woman who is pulled back to the 1850s (?) on several occasions to save her white ancestor from dying. She tries in vain to help him become a decent human being.
  #47  
Old 06-17-2006, 06:47 AM
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John Varley recently wrote another time travel novel, Mammoth. It's just as good as Millenium.
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
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As do I.
No, having read them both, I place Zombies marginally ahead, if only for the sheer brain-strain of...
SPOILER:
the same character being his own father, his own mother, and the person who takes his father back in time to meet his mother and then his infant self back in time to grow up and become his mother.


Harry Harrison's Rebel in Time has the eponymous character going back in time
SPOILER:
to deliver a Sten gun and plans for more of the same to the Confederacy, this being a devastating weapon that the technology of the time could have manufactured had it known how, and the hero travelling back to stop him.


And then there's The Stainless Steel Rat Saves The World, in which
SPOILER:
pretty much the entire plot, including the initial piece of time travelling, turns out to be Slippery Jim undoing the mischief he himself has perpetrated in another version of the timeline
.

Lightweight but funny was the Calvin & Hobbes story where Calvin, unwilling to do his own homework at 6:30, goes forward in time to 8:30 when it will have been done, only to find that it hasn't, so the two Calvins jump to 7:30 to make that version of Calvin do it in time to be collected at 8:30. Fortunately, while all this is going on, the 6:30 Hobbes and 8:30 Hobbes collaborate to write the story of Calvin's time-jumping lunacy, and all is saved... except that Calvin doesn't know what the story is about until he reads it before the entire class the next day.
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:03 AM
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I can't believe two people already have cited Heinlein and not mentioned "Door into Summer"!
You beat me to it. Absolutely wonderful book, one of RAH's best.
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:50 AM
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The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter. This is my favorite time-travel book, followed closely by The Time Traveller's Wife which was mentioned above.

Time's Eye and it's sequel by Arthur C Clarke and Stephen Baxter. The sequel just hit paperback.
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