Reviews of Time Travel

Time Travel, like all of Gleick’s work, is a fascinating mash-up of philosophy, literary 1002-bks-doerr-coverweb-blog427criticism, 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…. Gleick is a polymathic thinker who can quote from David Foster Wallace’s undergraduate thesis as readily as from Kurt Gödel or Lord Kelvin, and like many of the storytellers he thumbnails, he employs time travel to initiate engrossing discussions of causation, fatalism, predestination and even consciousness itself.

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….
Gleick leads us on a thrilling journey of ideas. Augustine talks to Robert Heinlein who talks to Kurt Gödel, all the while someone is trying to connect a call between Marcel Proust and the ever patient Sam Beckett…. “Time Travel’’ adds its elegant and witty voice to the unending conversation of book with book. Doing so, it connects the history it documents with the future in which its readers will encounter it.

Thomas Levenson, The Boston Globe

A grand thought experiment, using physics and philosophy as the active agents, and timemachine2literature as the catalyst. Embedded in the book is a bibliography for the Babel of time — a most exquisitely annotated compendium of the body of time literature. What emerges is an inquiry, the most elegant since Borges, into why we think about time, why its directionality troubles us so, and what asking these questions at all reveals about the deepest mysteries of human consciousness and about what Gleick so beguilingly calls ‘the fast-expanding tapestry of interwoven ideas and facts that we call our culture’…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. This salon is at once literary and scientific, mixing the two cultures as they should be more often. Gleick, as host, reminds the reader-guest that this conversation is not about silly pop notions of time travel being corrected by the sober rational discoveries of science. It is also about science itself becoming increasingly baffled by time…. 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

James Gleick’s exhilarating history of time travel begins by transporting us back to the future … 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

A science book that demands to be read is one that expertly reveals the characters, perspectives and hidden connections that make our world. That’s the essence of Gleick’s craftsmanship, and it’s what makes great science writing timeless.

Ivan Semeniuk, The Globe and Mail

James Gleick is a master historian of ideas—no one else can do what he does. Synthesis leads to elucidation leads to stunning, original insight. Time Travel, like so much of his work, is simply indispensable.

Charles Yu

A dazzling voyage through time…. Deeply philosophical and full of quirky humor. Gleick’s journey through the fourth dimension is a marvelous mind bender.

Publishers Weekly

In his enthralling new book, James Gleick mounts H. G. Wells’s time machine for an invigorating ride through the most baffling of the four dimensions. In these pages, time flies.

John Banville

Magnificent. A riveting history of an idea that changed us so profoundly, we forgot we had even been changed. But Gleick remembers.

Lev Grossman