Ultimate Time Travel
Books, Movies, TV Shows and Everything Time Travel



 

That’s it, I’m done with network television. I know that the threshold for cancellation has decreased in recent years, but in the past 2-3 years it just seems every single show that I find even mildly sophisticated gets canceled – just a matter of time. Whereas other shows – whose name I won’t mention so no one will get offended – that are insult to our intelligence, survive for many seasons.

 
Today I finally watched the finale of Dollhouse. An excellent show that was rushed in its second and last season, and truly was not given a fair chance. Joss Whedon (the creator of Dollhouse, Firefly and Buffy tried to cram so many superb ideas in the last season, each one of those could’ve been the basis of an entire season. He probably intended for that to be the case. No matter what Joss creates, I know it’s going to be worthy of watching. But alas, it doesn’t draw enough of an audience. [Sarcastic tone]

 
Even though Terminator: the series started as a pretty average (or worse) show, when it diverged from the Terminator mythology it became significantly better. At least they finished it properly, unlike many other shows.

 
I’m not even going to mention Heroes which was a superb show in its first season but just got worse and worse – I blame the networks for that.

 
Journeyman was a pretty decent show… canceled, of course.

 
When Flashforward was made into a series and was actually better than the book I was happy. Finally a show – even one that deals with a variation of time travel – is on the air! Naively I thought that this is it. But of course, it too was canceled. I guess it was just too hard for the studio executives to understand.

 
So I ask myself: why bother? Why get attached to a show and its characters? It’s starting to feel like I’m setting myself up for disappointment.

 
And the answer comes: I don’t think I’m going to. Flashforward was the final straw. That was a really good show. Enough is enough! Particularly when the threshold for cancellation is so much higher on cable. True Blood is a fantastic show. Dexter – despite not having any aspect of fantasy or science fiction – is probably the best show I’ve ever seen. Although many of Syfy’s shows are not the greatest (i.e. Warehouse 13, Eureka), they are fun and at least you know they’re going to last a while. The Stargate franchise: SG1, Atlantis and now Universe, are all excellent shows. The franchise lasted so far, what, 15 seasons? I highly doubt it would’ve survived if it were on the networks.

 
I’m not going to mention other shows. If you’re here, you probably know what I’m talking about.

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enchantment

Classification: Fantasy

 

In 1975, when Ivan Smetki was 10 years old, his family was forced to stay for a while in his uncle’s farm, which is located next to Kiev. One day, Ivan went on a small excursion in the woods and stumbled into a small clearing. When the wind pushed moving leaves, Ivan saw the pale shape of a sleeping woman. But there was something else – something malevolent. Panicking, Ivan ran away in fear. Not a long time afterward, the Smetski family moves to the US.

 

Many years pass, and Ivan is now a Ph.D. student working on a thesis dealing with Russian fairy tales. Although in the years since he stayed with his uncle Ivan always believed what he saw was a hallucination or a dream, he couldn’t forget it. Thus, when his research takes him back to Russia, he decides to look for the clearing he saw when he was a kid. To his great surprise, he finds it. And indeed there is a woman sleeping underneath the leaves. There is also something malicious guarding her – a huge bear.

 

Before he realizes what is going on, he is informed that the bear will kill him unless he agrees to marry the woman. This will break an enchantment that is placed on her (which is what kept her sleeping for so many years). Naturally, he proposes on the spot, and suddenly he – and the beautiful princess Katerina, apparently the source of the Sleeping Beauty tale – are living in 10th century Russia. Shattering romantic expectations of a trip through time, Ivan finds himself in a place where all his skills are worthless (what would a modern Russian scholar do in the 10th century?), and needs to prove himself to the locals.

 

The plot thickens when Ivan and Katerina find themselves back in the 20th century, fleeing the wrath of the Baba Yaga – the mythical Russian witch that actually placed the curse on Katerina – and Bear, the spellbound personification of Russian winter.

 

Enchantment combines elements of Folklore, Modern Fantasy and Time Travel. This is a really hard thing to do: very few novels manage to do this successfully, but this is one of those cases. There were also a lot of unexpected twists: time and again the novel managed to surprise me with original plot elements. A fantasy novel becomes great if it manages to convince you that there is a great universe in existence beyond the novel, with its own rules and limitations. This is the strength of Lord of the Rings. Here, too, the author manages to do a superb job in creating a highly believable universe. What I thought was weak in the novel is the characterization. The character of Ivan was not very realistic, and seemed to exist only to advance the plot. Sleeping Beauty, Princess Katerina, was also a one dimensional character (I also could not stand her!). However, the Baba Yaga is a fascinating villain, I greatly enjoyed the scenes told from her perspective. Bear was even better, and was my favorite character in the book.

 

To summarize: highly recommended. One of the most original stories I’ve ever read, extremely enjoyable. Although it is more a fantasy than a time travel story, it will appeal to lovers of both.

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com

 

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anubisgates

Classification: Past Time Travel

 

In 1983 a wealthy man, J. Cochran Darrow, discovers a way to travel to the past. He hires Brendan Doyle, an English professor who’s an expert on Coleridge, to take a group of ten tourists – each having paid a million dollars – to 1810, specifically, to attend a lecture given by Coleridge himself. To Doyle, a scholar researching the biography of the mysterious poet William Ashbless, this is a dream come true – a once in a lifetime opportunity – and he, of course, accepts the offer. However, the plan goes awry: just before attempting to return to the present, Doyle is kidnapped and is unable to return.

 

To his amazement, Doyle discovers that in order to get back, he must overcome a band of gypsies, magic-wielding Egyptian sorcerers, and the perils of 19th century England. Not to mention an ancient, body-switching, werewolf. During these trials, Doyle gets to live in Victorian England – a dream come true that turns into a nightmare – and attempts to find the enigmatic Ashbless (the rationale being: as long as he is there, why not make the best of it?)

 

The book is very well written, the characters – historical and fictional – are fully fleshed, and the level of detail in describing the period and historical characters is astonishing. Powers has clearly done his research, and it shows.

 

To me, one of the favorite aspects of complex Time Travel novels is the mental attempt to guess how the various time periods connect. Many books attempt to do this and simply fail. Even worse, other books become cryptic and ‘mystical’, thus, avoiding the need for a convincing conclusion. The Anubis Gates pulls off this feat admirably: all elements tie out perfectly, and the best aspect, some parts clearly came – to me – as a surprise.

 

To summarize: there are a lot of ingredients in this book: Time Travel, Historical Figures, Complex Interweaving of Past and Present that need to be wrapped up in a convincing manner. The Anubis Gates is one of the few books able to pull this off together. It’s simply a masterpiece: one of the best time travel books I’ve read.

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com


 

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bearinanhourglass

 

Classification: Fantasy

 

Bearing an Hourglass is book two of the Incarnations of Immortality series. In this book series, every book introduces a mortal man that becomes an incarnation of one of the basic aspects of the universe: Death, Fate, Time, Nature, War, Evil and Good. Better yet, all seven books deal with the same story – so we can see it from the various incarnations’ perspective. In addition, this particular story is self contained, so it is possible to enjoy the book without reading any of the others (in fact, out of the seven, I only read four or five and I don’t feel compelled to read the remaining books).

 

In Bearing an Hourglass, we are introduced to Norton, a mortal human who has lost his true love, and consequently, feels life is pointless. In an odd turn of events, Norton finds himself receiving a weird offer: take the office of Chronos, and effectively become the incarnation of time (replacing the previous holder of the title in the process). But this great power comes with a price: Norton lives his life backwards, a price heavier than it might seem at first, since he can only have very limited interactions with other people.

 

As Norton quickly finds out, Satan, the father of lies, is trying to take advantage of his lack of experience (something Satan does in all other novels, by the way). Thus, Norton finds himself in a conflict with both Satan and the other incarnations.

 

Bearing an Hourglass is a classic Piers Anthony novel: extremely imaginative, but very weak in character development and shallow at some points. In general, I really like the setting, and the premise of this particular novel. However, the novel itself is not very good as its execution is poor, and strangely, at times the story doesn’t appear to make sense – or just becomes stupid. Not to mention the unexplained obsession with sex.

 

Despite these criticisms, I think Bearing an Hourglass is generally a fun read. What makes it particularly memorable is the time perspective. From Norton’s perspective, the story goes backwards; this offers many interesting plot twists. For example, immediately upon becoming Chronos, all of Norton’s friends already know him for many years, whereas he’s only introduced to them towards the end of the book (which is chronologically the beginning).

 

As a side note, if you liked this book, I’d recommend reading the first one in the series as well. ‘On a Pale Horse’, the first book, deals with the incarnation of Death (though to be honest, Terry Pratchett’s ‘Mort’ – which deals with exactly the same concept – is far, far superior).

 

In summary: a very light and yet a fun read. If you don’t expect too much from this fantasy novel, you’ll probably enjoy it.

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com

 

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outoftime

 

Classification: Fantasy

 

Emma Merrigan is a divorced middle-aged university librarian living a rather dull life. Her life is so unexciting, it is almost impossible for her to envision something else. Perhaps that is why when Emma bumps into Jennifer, an abused teenager, she invites her to her house – and to her life.

 

What Emma doesn’t know is that from some reason, this change causes night terrors – strange nightmares which she hasn’t had since childhood – to return at full force. The reappearance of these brings back old memories, which eventually lead her to open an old box her mother – who mysteriously vanished when Emma was a child – had left her decades before.

 

Thus begins Emma’s descent into a world of witchcraft and occult, a world where curses – malevolent parasitic entities – can plague people for centuries, and can only be stopped by traveling in time to the curse’s origin and eliminating it there. And so, Emma finds herself a time traveling hero, bitter enemy of curses.

 

Out of Time is a very imaginative fantasy novel. The characters and settings are diverse and interesting, and its premise is so unusual that it becomes a page turner – at any given moment, the reader doesn’t really know where the plot is going (always a good thing).

 

Additionally, although this is a time travel story, it is a fantasy novel as well. As such, the perspective is rather different from the ’standard’ time travel tale. In this case, time travel is mainly used as a tool that enables visiting various interesting historical settings.

 

In summary: a very fun fantasy novel, easy read if you’re looking for something light. I particularly liked the fact it is a modern fantasy tale, meaning, it depicts a complete fantasy universe superimposed on our model world (i.e. think Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere). Definitely recommended for fantasy lovers.

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com

 

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Time Travel Movies