Six Twisty Time-Travel Novels

1 February 2016

Wondering how on Earth it could already be February? Where does all the time go? We can’t guarantee these six brilliantly twisty time-travel novels will give you the answer, but reading them would definitely be time well spent!

 

Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp

The Roman Empire had spread order, knowledge, and civilisation throughout the ancient world. When Rome fell, the light of reason flickered out across the Empire. The Dark Ages had begun. Could a man from the 20th century prevent the fall of Rome? When lightning struck and he was hurled backward into the sixth century, the question became anything but academic to Martin Padway…

Time and AgainTime and Again by Jack Finney

Si Morley, bored with his job as a commercial illustrator, doesn’t hesitate when he is approached by the government to take part in a top-secret programme. And so one day Si steps out of his twentieth-century, New York apartment and finds himself back in January 1882. There are no cars, no planes, no computers, no television and the word ‘nuclear’ appears in no dictionaries. For Si, it’s very like Eden, somewhere he could find happiness. But has he really been back in time? The portfolio of tintype photographs and sketches that he brings back convince the government. But all Si wants is to return…

Although better known for The Body Snatchers, Finney’s Time and Again is described as ‘one of the most important, and most moving, timeslip texts yet composed’.

Hawksbill Station by Robert Silverberg

In the mid-21st century, time travel is used to send political prisoners to Hawksbill Station, a prison camp in the late Cambrian Era. When the latest arrival suspiciously deflects questions about his crimes and knowledge of ‘Up Front’, the inmates decide to find out his secret.

The Anubis GatesThe Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

Brendan Doyle is a twentieth-century English professor who travels back to 1810 London to attend a lecture given by English romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This is a London filled with deformed clowns, organised beggar societies, insane homunculi and magic, and it all goes wrong when he is kidnapped by gypsies and consequently misses his return trip to 1983.

The Technicolour Time Machine by Harry Harrison

L.M. Greenspan, the head of ailing Climactic Studios, gave producer Barney Hendrickson five days to get a major movie in the can – and Climactic out of it. Impossible? Not with Professor Hewett’s miraculous presto chango time machine, the answer to Hollywood producer’s prayer. Nipping back to AD 1,000 with a whole film crew and two glam stars, Barney sets out to prove that the Vikings discovered America five hundred years before Columbus – and to film the event in glorious Technicolour. But it’s not as easy as it sounds…

To Say Nothing of the DogTo Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

Ned Henry is a time-travelling historian who specialises in the mid-20th century – currently engaged in researching the bombed-out Coventry Cathedral. He’s also made so many drops into the past that he’s suffering from a dangerously advanced case of ‘time-lag’. Unfortunately for Ned, an emergency dash to Victorian England is required and he’s the only available historian. But Ned’s time-lag is so bad that he’s not sure what the errand is – which is bad news since, if he fails, history could unravel around him…

To Say Nothing of the Dog won the Hugo Award for best novel, 1999.

About Darren Nash

I’m Digital Publisher at Gollancz, responsible for the SF Gateway and SF Masterworks. Digitally, I can be found here, on Twitter at @SFGateway (officially) and @thenashmeister (unofficially). In meat space, I operate from a secret base inside a dormant volcano, on a remote pacific island that – mysteriously – doesn’t appear on any official maps. Possibly.

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