Time Travel: A History
Although in our modern idiom time traveling is such a well-worn trope that it feels almost factual, in actuality the conceit is remarkably recent. In just a little over a century, this simple idea has grown and amplified in myriad directions. Author James Gleick takes readers on a diverting voyage of their own as he explores the history of the conception, from its humble beginnings in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (and, more removed, primordial ancestors) to the interconnected now, in which, in our electronically-linked, cyberspace world, past, present, and future blend together. It is a wild ride and far-ranging. What is in your mind when you picture a time machine? It is probably something like Wells envisioned, or perhaps like that envisioned by the movie’s director. Would time travel be desirable? What about paradoxes? These questions, and many, many more, are addressed with verve and skill; Gleick is wonderfully skilled at presenting vague concepts in a tangible way, and his dissections of seminal works of science fiction, which seem best to document the idea’s evolution, illuminate his perceptive insights. This micro-history is fascinating reading, a worthwhile and enjoyable trip for those who will take the time.
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