Time Travel

James Gleick

Gleick’s story begins at the turn of the twentieth century with the young H. G. Wells writing and rewriting the fantastic tale that became his first book, an international sensation, The Time Machine. A host of forces were converging to transmute the human understanding of time, some philosophical and some technological — the electric telegraph, the steam railroad, the discovery of buried civilisations, and the perfection of clocks. Gleick tracks the evolution of time travel as an idea in the culture — from Marcel Proust to Doctor Who, from Woody Allen to Jorge Luis Borges. He explores the inevitable looping paradoxes and examines the porous boundary between pulp fiction and modern physics. Finally, he delves into a temporal shift that is unsettling our own moment: the instantaneous wired world, with its all-consuming present and vanishing future.

Reviews of Time Travel

  • ‘Endlessly fascinating and as thorough as you like, but written with his customary grace and wit’ Spectator

    ‘This book is a bit like you imagine time travel to be: a dizzying mind-rush through a century of ideas, some lingered over, some only glimpsed; some clearly seen, some blurry. It is vertiginous, exciting, paradoxical – and worth making the journey’ Sunday Times

    ‘Enthralling…in these pages, time flies’ John Banville

    ‘Time Travel regularly manages to twist its reader’s mind … A wonderful reminder that the most potent time-travelling technology we have is also the oldest technology we have: storytelling’ Anthony Doerr

    ‘Superb … Rich in obscure and illuminating information, laced with lyricism, wit, and startling and convincing insights’ Joyce Carol Oates