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


Classification: Past and Future Time Travel

 

In The Time Tunnel, we are introduced to a secret government research facility buried deep in the (Arizona?) desert. There, a team of scientists has built a time machine called ‘The Time Tunnel’. Why exactly is this machine built is never explained: conveiably, the government envisioned some sort of information gathering abilities.

 

As often with this type of expensive program, there comes a time when a political hotshot attempts to shut it down. Growing alarmed at this prospect, one of they key scientists, Dr. Tony Newman, sends himself back in time in order to prove that it works. His plan succeeds: he finds himself in the past… on the sinking Titanic! (Out of all the places..)

 

Unfortunately, from some unknown technical reasons, the team in the present discovers it is unable to recall Tony: pull him back to the present. They do, however, maintain the ability to witness what Tony is experiencing, but that is no help. Tragically, it seemed Tony is doomed to go down with the Titanic!

 

But Dr. Doug Phillips, Tony’s colleague and good friend, refuses to accept this. He, too, activates the Time Tunnel and sends himself to the Titanic. I’ll stop here. You’ll have to see the first episode to find out how it resolves.

 

During the rest of the show, we see that the research team is unable to recall Doug and Tony. However, as said, they are able to view what is going on with them, as well as occasionally send the odd useful item to the past. Although they keep attempting to recall them, this never works. Though at times someone else, a native of the current time, is occasionally pulled to the present. That being said, they are always eventually able to transport Tony and Doug to other periods of history in the hope that they’ll eventually return home.

 

Strangely enough, Doug and Tony have a knack of finding themselves in historical situations, usually just about the time things are about to go wrong. But fortunately, both are quite knowledgable about various historical eras, so they usually manage to come out unharmed. Truly bizarre, no? I’ve always wondered why can’t Doug and Tony find themselves stuck in a really good time for a while, sipping Margaritas on the beach ;) . But no can do. Let’s just say it is this way: if The Time Tunnel: The Next Generation is ever to be made, in the first episode, Doug and Tony would find themselves on the top floor of Twin Towers during 9/11. Mark my words.

 

As someone who did not grow up in the United States, for me The Time Tunnel represents the ultimate time travel show. When I was a kid, whenever a new Time Tunnel episode was released, I – together with all of my friends – would watch it in awe. Although it is quite possible that from a grownup’s perspective it won’t seem the masterpiece that I remember it to be, I’d take that risk any day. It really was a very good show – me, my friends, our parents – we were all glued to the screen.

 

During their adventures, Doug and Tony visit the Titanic, a future expedition to the moon, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Civil War, Nazi Germany in WW 2, the French revolution, Troy (before it fell), the old west (when Aliens took over!) and many more places. This offered a truly diverse set of stories, settings and historical characters.

 

What I particularly loved about The Time Tunnel is the seriousness in which it was made. It’s almost as if the producers wanted to us to learn history – the plot never turned into Kitsch or slapstick (as too many modern shows do). It just felt real.

 

In summary: Interesting, fun, serious, diverse, challenging, scary at times (ah, the episode where Aliens took over the present), the Time Tunnel is the ultimate Time Travel television show. Although it will definitely look outdated (it was made in the 60s), if you can let that fact go, I’m sure you’ll have a blast.

 


The Time Tunnel – Volume One on Amazon

 


The Time Tunnel – Volume Two on Amazon

 

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Classification: Historical Characters

 

Voyagers! begins with a Jeffrey Jones, a boy living in 1982 with his uncle after his parents died. One afternoon, a man suddenly appears before his eyes. Extremely surprised, the shock causes him to fall out of the window. But instead of dying, the man jumps after him and – miraculously – transports them both somewhere safe.

 

It seems Jeffrey was rescued by Phineas Bogg, a member of the society of time travelers who are responsible in maintaining the timelines in the event that they go wrong (something that happens all the time). Since Phineas doesn’t know much about history, and Jeffrey does (his father was a history professor), they both go together on various temporal journeys. This often brings them in contact with various historical characters.

 

As a kid, Voyagers! used to be my favorite show. I used to have dreams about the Omni, the watch-like device Phineas uses to transport himself in time. Although it looked a bit outdated when I recently watched a couple of episodes, I still really enjoyed it.

 

As a side note, Jon-Erik Hexum, the actor who played Phineas Bogg tragically died at the end of first season by a stunt prop. It’s a real shame.

 

A second side note, last I read, Meeno Peluce the kid who played Jeffrey, now works as a history teacher. I guess he really was the perfect casting!

 

In summary: highly recommended: Adventure, history and time travel – you can’t go wrong with this combination!

 


The show’s DVD on Amazon

 

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tsaddik

Classification: Past Time Travel

 

There’s no need for a time machine if you’re a Tsaddik (the Jewish equivalent of a saint) – that is the premise of The Tsaddik of the Seven Wonders.

 

In this novel, Yitzhak Ben Reuvan, a Tsaddik, goes on a wild journey through time in which he meets various historical figures, from Moses to Richard Nixon, and rescues a Polish shikse (non Jewish woman – normally very attractive). In order to prevent the space-time continuum from collapsing, the Tsaddik must utilize some Jewish miracle working.

 

I’ll admit I don’t remember this book very well, but I do remember it’s a very fun Jewish science fiction novel (not something one reads every day) where time traveling Hassidim fight evil. Definitely an original concept.

 

 

 

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fabulousriverboat

Classification: Historical Characters

 

The Fabulous Riverboat is the second book in the Riverworld saga.

 

The Riverworld: a place where everybody who has ever lived has been resurrected, and now must seek out a place for himself in this brave new world. From Abraham Lincoln to Al Capone, everyone is there.

 

The Fabulous Riverboat continues the plot which started in To Your Scattered Bodies Go. This time the protagonist is Sam Clemens also known as Mark Twain.

 

During the time that has passed since the resurrection, there have been some attempts to make order. Numerous ‘countries’ have been organized. Some are dictatorships, others are democratic. Some are friendly, other are warlike. In addition, the people from the technological eras are pretty much in the same state as primitive humans. Don’t forget, since everyone has been resurrected and the planet has no history, there are no factories or available technology whatsoever. And even though the knowledge to obtain this certainly exists in the population, tracking down the right person among the billions of humans, with no phones or internet, is no simple task.

 

Sam Clemens has met a mysterious being claiming to be a rebel of the group that created the Riverworld and resurrected humanity there. The being supports his goal to explore the river, and instructs him where he can find iron deposits which he can use to construct the riverboat. In addition, obtaining the iron will be extremely useful in defending the venture from hostile societies; since metal is very rare on the Riverworld, everyone who possesses it, will have a big advantage over his enemies.

 

The choice of Clemens as a leader of this venture is perfect considering his vast experience in building and piloting riverboats on the Mississippi. But before that can be accomplished, he must ward off multiple hostile ‘countries’ who also want the iron – and must ally himself with one of the biggest villains in history, John Lackland (one of the historical kings of England). In the course of the events described in the book, we also meet other interesting characters from history including: Cyrano de Bergerac, the Nazi Hermann Goring, famous viking leader Odysseus, and more.

 

Although not a bad book, this is the weakest in the series. As before, the book is well written, and the historical characters are as fascinating. Sam Clemens makes a very interesting protagonist. However, the quest to obtain the iron and build a boat is not too interesting, and generally feels like a filler – something to delay the heroes until they can get their journey started.

 

If it were possible to skip this book, I’d say do so – as the next books are much better. But unfortunately it is a necessary element of the Riverboat saga, and so, definitely worth the effort.

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com

 

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scatteredbodies

Classification: Historical Characters

 

To Your Scattered Bodies Go is the first book in the Riverworld saga.

 

Imagine: at the end of your life, you die; but whether you expect heaven or hell, reincarnation, or simply oblivion, you find yourself waking up naked, young again, at the shores of an endless river in a strange world. And you are not alone: it appears that everybody who has ever lived has been resurrected in this brave new world. Imagine: if you search hard enough, you will find: Albert Einstein, Moses, Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler, Heath Ledger, Buddha, John Lennon, Al Capone, Robin Hood, John F. Kennedy and even Saddam Hussein – they are all there! Some are prehistoric people, others are from the future – but they are all present, all in the same bewildering situation. The Riverworld saga has one of the most amazing premises I’ve ever seen. Maybe even the best premise. The number of possible stories is infinite.

 

In the first book, the protagonist is Sir Richard Francis Burton, the famous 19th century explorer. The last thing he expected is to die and find himself in the Riverworld. Finding himself – just like everyone – with an indestructible container that can be used to gain meals three times a day, and also contains cigarettes, alcoholic drinks, a lighter and a lipstick, sir Richard tries to make sense of his new life.

 

Not long after waking up, Richard and a few people he befriended, including: Alice Liddell Hargreaves (the grown up inspiration for Alice in Wonderland), a Neanderthal, a holocaust survivor, and an alien that happened to reach Earth in the 21st century, decide to build a riverboat and go up the river in the hopes of finding who has resurrected everybody – and why. But this is no simple feat since many of humanity’s worst examples (such as the Nazi Hermann Goring) have been resurrected as well.

 

The book is fantastic. Using so many historical figures provides an amazingly deep setting that can and is used very creatively. The first book in particular is the best as it enables us to experience the wonder through the eyes of multiple famous protagonists.

 

The author did a fantastic job at researching these individuals. Often we see references to anecdotes that do not make much sense, but if one searches them (say, on Wikipedia), one can understand the meaning. It makes the story so much more realistic. It feels as if we’re reading the adventures of a real pesron.

 

In summary: Superb! An absolute treat that all sci-fi lovers will enjoy.

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com

 

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lightofotherdays

Classification: Effects of Time Travel Technologies on Society

 

Two masters of science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter, have joined forces to bring us The Light of Other Days.

 

In the year 2035, a new technology, a system of “WormCams” is invented; this technology enables opening a microscopic wormhole and sending a tiny camera to the other side – allowing the controller to see and hear what goes on on the other side. Although at first this technology is only available to very few, later it becomes widespread.

 

In its first incarnation, this technology is used to spy on various locations. This means that the concept of privacy is forever lost, obviously, with enormous repercussions. Imagine: How would society react if nothing is private anymore: everyone’s most personal and intimate moments could be viewed by everyone else. Celebrity or not, no one is impervious.

 

Then the technology is further refined, allowing the wormholes to be opened in any time. It is now possible to solve every crime that has occurred in any point in time, by moving the wormhole camera backward from the victim. More importantly, this technology gives humanity the ability to watch every historical character and scenario. Unsurprisingly, this has enormous ramifications: many historical beliefs are debunked – some of which are quite fundamental.

 

In my opinion, this premise is superb, as befitting of two giants of science fiction. In fact, this could’ve easily been split to two novels, as there is so much potential to either one of the underlying premises. The problem is that the novel is written in a very dry manner. The characters are not too interesting, and what they do with the technology is not that fascinating either. Although the book is definitely not bad – it’s actually quite good – what I find frustrating is that it could’ve been so much better.

 

Furthermore, although the effects on society made by the invention of the WormCams is done pretty well, I thought some of the ideas were implausible. In particular, the emergence of an organization of people who’ve decided to live their life in darkness and communicate using a sign language, only so that their privacy is maintained. Suspension of disbelief aside, I thought this is just plain silly. (Not to mention the fact that surely in the even more distant technology a new technology would be able to overcome this barrier as well, no?)

 

All in all, criticisms aside, this work is good and should appeal to any sci-fi lover. It’s a shame that it could’ve been so much more.

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com

 

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thewatch

Classification: Historical Characters

 

Peter Kropotkin, a real Russian revolutionary who lived between the years 1942-1921, was an anarchist advocating for a communist society free from central government. The Watch asks the question: what would’ve happened, if just before he died, a being from the far future came to Peter Kropotkin and offered him to live life as a young man. The catch: it would be in 1999, and it would be in the United States. This is the premise for The Watch.

 

In The Watch, Peter Kropotkin accepts the offer made by Anchee, the being from the future, and tries to make a life for himself in modern day Virginia. He gets a job, meets a girlfriend, find friends and an apartment. Life in modern day America forces Peter to deal with contemporary issues such as tattoos, piercing, homosexuality, Capitalism among others. In addition, he meets other people whom Anchee has transported from the past (such as a doctor from the Civil War).

 

This novel enables the reader to examine modern day USA through the eyes of an early 20th century anarchist. Definitely an interesting point of view. In general, I like this type of premise, as I find that the usage of historical figures, if well written, greatly enhances most plots since the author is required to stick to the personality of a real human being (most notably done in the Riverboat series by Philip Jose Farmer). However, I didn’t like it here. For starters, I thought Peter Kropotkin is just not interesting enough to be the protagonist of a book, nor is he a likable character. The same can be said for Anchee; he was supposed to be mysterious and enigmatic, but really he was just plain unpleasant. Furthermore, I found the plot somewhat – what’s the word I’m looking for – antagonizing. The entire novel felt like an excuse for the protagonist to preach his ideas – there was no real discussion of any topic, just a monologue by Peter about virtually everything he encountered. I’m quite certain this was in fact the author’s rationale of writing the novel.

 

To be completely honest, I think I can attribute some of my dislike of the book to the fact that I simply don’t agree with Peter’s opinions. In other words, I am not an anarchist or a communist. That being said, I believe that a differently written novel with the same premise would not have me so irritated; it’s the preachy manner in which the book was written that I found so unbearable. I won’t say the book was not interesting (it definitely was!), but the fact is, I did not enjoy it.

 

All in all, if the premise intrigues you, you might as well try The Watch. I didn’t particularly like it, but it may be more to your own liking. Let me know what you think.

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com

 

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herethereeverywhere

Classification: Past and Future Time Travel

 

Roxanne Bonaventure is 11 years old. One day, on her way back from school, she meets an old woman near death. But before she is able to talk to the woman or help her, the woman gives her a gift: a mysterious silver bracelet (which she later names the Sofia) and disappears in a flash of light. Not long afterward Roxanne discovers to her amazement and delight that the Sofia can transport her through time.

 

At first she uses the machine for fun: she decides to go to every Beatles concerts. Then she starts using it to improve her life: she uses it to discover information about a guy she has a crush on, and when her father becomes very ill, she uses it to travel to many different futures in search of a cure.

 

As she grows older, the novelty of time travel begins to wear. She’s seen it all: the future, the past, parallel universes – and nothing seems to surprise her. Moreover, these extensive travels bring her in contact with other time travelers, none of which has the unlimited time traveling capabilities she enjoys, and none of which know where her device came from. This makes Roxanne wonder: where did the Sofia come from? And who was the old woman who gave it? (was it her?). And so, she decides to find out, and sets on a journey that will take her to the far end of time and back to discover the hidden origins of the Sofia.

 

Although the book has an excellent premise (even if it is a bit of a cliche) and is generally well written, I found it a bit dull. None of the subplots seemed to be too original or had an unusual twist, and all in all, the book felt as if it lacked a focus – it felt more like a collection of loosely related short stories than a real novel. Consequently, I can’t say I was surprised to discover this is the author’s first novel. However, I’m sure the next would be better, since this book shows a lot of promise.

 

In general, I think this is a good book, but it could’ve been much better. If you really must read every time travel story, I say: go for it. Otherwise, you may want to skip this one.

 


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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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timeshare3

 

Classification: Historical Characters

 

The adventures of John Surrey continue in Timeshare – A Time For War, the third installment of the Timeshare trilogy.

 

In this book, John Surrey – the head of security of the time travel agency – and his wife Althea Rowland, go back to London in the 1940s so they could participate in World War II. John is determined to assist in the war effort, hoping it’ll end even better than it did, and so, he decides to join a special unit headed by Ian Fleming (author of the James Bond series).

 

As before, John meets and befriends various historical characters. There’s not much new to say about the book, since it’s very very similar to the other two entries in the series, and as with the other books, the plot feels is virtually secondary.

 

After reading the third novel in the series, I felt the novelty completely wore off. I wasn’t interested in reading about historical celebrities anymore, and the plot was simply not strong enough to keep me from losing interest. To be honest, after I finished it, I felt as if I’d already read it before – and at times I have trouble remembering which plot belong to which novel.

 

But in all fairness, this is still not a bad book, and in fact would make a fun read for someone who absolutely enjoyed the other two novels, and wants more. I’d even make a wager and say that if one hasn’t read any books in the series, he’d probably really like this one. It’s the repetitiveness of the three books which turns one off.

 

To summarize: If you can’t get enough of this style of book, go for it. Otherwise, you may want to skip this one. I probably wouldn’t be getting book 4 if it ever comes out.

 


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com

 

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Time Travel Movies