Time Travel: A History

The title is a bit misleading. Actually, it's a book about time.

A mind-bending exploration of time travel—from its origins in literature and science to its influence on our understanding of time itself. The book vividly explores physics, technology, philosophy, and art as each relates to time travel and tells the story of the concept’s cultural evolutions—from H.G. Wells to Doctor Who, from Proust to Woody Allen. It takes a close look at the porous boundary between science fiction and modern physics, and, finally, delves into what it all means in our own moment in time—the world of the instantaneous, with its all-consuming present and vanishing future.

“Time Travel is another of James Gleick’s superb, unclassifiable books—rich in obscure and illuminating information, laced with lyricism, wit, and startling and convincing insights. It is an exploration not only of the (theoretical) phenomenon of time travel but of our understanding of ‘time’ itself.” Joyce Carol Oates
“Time Travel, like all of Gleick’s work, is a fascinating mash-up of philosophy, literary criticism, physics and cultural observation. It’s witty ('Regret is the time traveler’s energy bar'), pithy ('What is time? Things change, and time is how we keep track') and regularly manages to twist its reader’s mind into those Gordian knots I so loved as a boy.” Anthony Doerr, New York Times
“Gleick’s hybrid of history, literary criticism, theoretical physics, and philosophical meditation is itself a time-jumping, head-tripping odyssey.” Jonathan Russell Clark
“In Time Travel, James Gleick has done a wonderful thing…. Time-travel enthusiasts will certainly get the history, the basic physics, and a useful tour of the classic paradoxes of time travel and its implications. But the book pursues much greater ambitions as well.” Thomas Levenson, Boston Globe
“A grand thought experiment, using physics and philosophy as the active agents, and literature as the catalyst… The kind of book that lodges itself in the imagination, planting seeds of ideas, insights, and revelations bound to go on blossoming for the remainder of this lifetime.” Maria Popova
“Time Travel presents a great read—as well as a wide-ranging, rich list for further reading—for anyone intrigued by the scientific romance of time travel…. Most of this book offers a bracing swim in the waters of recent science, technology and fiction, but it ends with a view from the shore of immortality.” Rosalind Williams, Washington Post


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