I never met my great-grandparents,
but I am told they were extraordinary.
I am slightly obsessed with the notion of visiting the 1800s to meet them. And yet I must, fist shaking in the air, face the fact that this will never happen, can never happen. I blame Stephen Hawking.He says that if it were possible to go back and change the flow of events, the universe would cease to make sense. Not that it does, to me, anyway. Or poor Ebenezer.
When I first read Charles Dickens’ famous tale, I didn’t think of it as a time travel story. Did you?
But these time-warpingly tales are.
Timeslips, as they say in the UK
Time and Again by Jack Finney
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Speaking of that Clemens guy…
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Hank Morgan, a regular guy living in Hartford, Connecticut in the 19th century, gets hit on the head with a crowbar (by a man named Hercules, no less) and wakes up in Camelot. It’s a pretty hilarious look at medieval times.
Andrew Sean Greer has a thing about time.
I read Greer’s best-selling book, The Confessions of Max Tivoli, about a man aging backward. If you’re intrigued by the idea of a 10-year-old boy who seems to be a 60-year-old man (and who, half a century later, can pass for a 10-year-old boy), this fantasy with a twist is for you.
Now Greer is back with The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. I’m currently entranced with Greta who lives the same life in three different time periods, improvising her way through, dodging heartbreak and disappointment at every turn.
The book opens in 1985 with Greta in crisis ~ her long-term boyfriend, Nathan, has left, and her brother, Felix, has recently died of AIDS. Severely depressed, Greta undergoes an experimental psychiatric treatment that ~oh yes ~ transports her back and forth to the lives she might have lived in 1918 and 1941.
In each life, things are the same but different. And in every life, Greta searches for happiness.
There’s no complicated mechanics of time travel to follow or even understand. Greer just shows us how circumstances affect our choices and what we might do differently…. if we had other lives and alter egos. Curious about the magical what-if? Read the first few chapters here. Because who knows when the impossible will happen to you.
So, you’ve read the post ~ and you’re thinking,
there’s no mention of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon,
or The Time Machine By H.G. Wells,
or Finney’s sequel From Time to Time.
Have you read any of these?
What’s your favorite time-travel book?