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, The 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, The Millions

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, The 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, Brain Pickings

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, The Washington Post

Time travel has become a veritable theme park of playful attractions, which Mr. Gleick explores with infectious gusto. … He is toying with ideas, playing with past and future. He is having fun, and we all know what that does to time.

Michael Saler, The Wall Street Journal


Pantheon Books

James Gleick is our leading chronicler of science and technology, the best-selling author of Chaos: Making a New Science, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, and The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood. His books have been translated into thirty languages.

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 civilizations, 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.

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (September 27, 2016)

ISBN-13: 978-0307908797

ISBN-10: 0307908798


  1. Machine
  2. Fin de Siècle
  3. Philosophers and Pulps
  4. Ancient Light
  5. By Your Bootstraps
  6. Arrow of Time
  7. A River, a Path, a Maze
  8. Eternity
  9. Buried Time
  10. Backward
  11. The Paradoxes
  12. What Is Time?
  13. Our Only Boat
  14. Presently