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.
- Original Title:Time Travel
- Author:James Gleick
- Rating:7.16 / 10
- Genre:Science Fiction
- Publisher:Published September 27th 2016 by Pantheon
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Being young, I was skeptical of the future, and saw it as a matter of potential only, a state of things that might or might not arise and probably never would.
—John Banville (2012)
A MAN STANDS AT the end of a drafty corridor, a.k.a. the nineteenth century, and in the flickering light of an oil lamp examines a machine made of nickel and ivory, with brass rails and quartz rods—a squat, ugly contraption, somehow out of focus, not easy for the poor reader to visualize, despite the listing of parts and materials. Our hero fiddles with some screws, adds a drop of oil, and plants himself on the saddle. He grasps a lever with both hands. He is going on a journey. And by the way so are we. When he throws that lever, time breaks from its moorings.