Top 12 Time Travel Books

A compass for time-travelling
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For all escapists at heart, we have selected twelve delightful literary romps to quench your wanderlust in the time of pandemic. So hold onto your bean bags, as you are about to embark on a white-knuckle ride through time and space.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

IMage Credit: Vintage Classics

The greatest literary testament to pacifism, Slaughterhouse-Five offers a glimpse into the mind of a former soldier suffering from post-war traumatic stress disorder. Having survived the grisly inferno of the Dresden bombing, Billy Pilgrim begins to spot some peculiarities that tend to disrupt his day-to-day life. Emotional triggers seem to disconnect the war veteran from reality, leading him to believe that he has been abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, sending Billy on non-linear time travel of a different kind. As a time vortex pulls him back into the past, his mind works frantically trying to make sense of augmented reality that he finds himself in. Presented in the form of a time machine, Billy’s delusion serves as a vivid reminder of the horrific costs of war.

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The Time Machine by H G Wells

Image Credit: Deviant Art

Before this iconic masterpiece saw the light of day, the concept of time travel in fiction was in its infancy. Humans were transported into different dimensions through time slips with no way of knowing where and when they were going to end up next. H.G. Wells wrote a new chapter in the history of science-fiction with his invention of the time machine. For the first time, a character gained control over a vehicle to tear through the fabrics of time to the destination of his choice. When he did, he travelled to the year 802,701 to meet the Morlocks and the Eloi, the Yin and Yang of the human race, to see a polarised world filled with danger only to then witness the last days of the Earth thirty million years later.

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

Image Credit: Oxford Bookworms

This satirical portrait of medieval Britain chronicles the adventures of American factory engineer in sixth-century Camelot. Having received a heavy blow to the head in a heated dispute, Hank Morgan awakens at King Arthur’s court only to find himself drawn into outdated practices and superstitions that hold Camelot in a tight grip. Intent on reforming the city with nineteenth-century inventions, Hank often comes across as rather bumptious. But what he lacks in finesse, he makes up for in ingenuity. Sizzling with wit and intrigue, this prophetic tale pokes fun at pretentious society blending travesty, pessimism and absurdity into one head-spinning read.

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The House on The Strand by Daphne du Maurier

Image Credit: Virago

“A clever spin on the haunted house cliche, this is, superficially, a semi-historical novel that uses the conceit of time travel to link past and present in weaving an unusually complex portrait of Cornwall. I’ve always liked her well drawn, ambiguous characters, ever harbouring secrets which could potentially harm them or those around them. Richard Young, the main character, is no different. Outwardly affable enough to have retained at least one friend and to have attracted a young and attractive socialite wife, inwardly he is a social misfit, deeply alienated by the world around him. When his one friend lends him his summer cottage along with a mysterious “potion”, this side of him finally surfaces, with disastrous consequences for all involved. A fascinating read, especially if you actually enjoy answers that raise more questions.”- BBK

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The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein

IMage Credit: Del Ray

“Dan is an engineer and a darn good one. His inventions have been designed with the view of easing the housework of women everywhere: Hired Girl cleans floor; Window Willie washes windows, and Flexible Frank, his newest creation, will be able to do just about anything around the house, from changing a diaper to washing dishes. Life seemed to be treating Dan pretty well. Then his fiancé and business partner swindle him out of their business, and he decides to take the Long Sleep (cryogenic suspended animation) for thirty years so that he can come back to chastise an ex-fiancé who will be thirty years older than he will be. Of course, he won’t do it without his best friend Pete, his feisty, ginger ale-loving tomcat and true friend. He sends his remaining shares in the company he created to his partner’s young daughter Ricky, his only other friend in the world, trying to make sure that those don’t fall into the wrong hands as well. His only mistake is in confronting his traitorous friends one last time. He gets the Long Sleep all right, but he wakes up in 2000 without any money and without Pete.”- Daniel Jolly

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The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

IMage Credit: Vintage

One fateful encounter between a six-year-old girl, Clare, and a thirty-six-year old Henry sets in motion a life-long attraction beyond the reach of time. Seventeen years later, an aspiring artist marries a handsome stranger from her childhood, who is now five years younger than she remembers him to be. A rare genetic disorder frequently robs Henry of control over his own body as he travels through time and space, leaving Clare to cope with emotional turmoil in his absence. But despite all the curveballs life seems to throw at the young lovers, their unconventional marriage becomes a gravitational anchor that keeps pulling Henry back.

This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Image Credit: jo Fletcher Books

“If time is a set of braids, then changing a battle or the loss of a person, will change the futures to come. Things become complicated when you have two different ideologies trying to change time for their own ends. Two competing agents, one called red, one called blue, trying to undo the others work.. There’s a respect that develops into communication, which then develops into something more. This is a beautiful little novelette, flicking between viewpoints, with the letters acting as buffers. There’s an easy lyricism and rhythm to the writing. This is a book of mood and feeling, rather than action, so the writing style really pushes the book on, so that the pages just flow.”- Colin Murtag

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The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heiling

Image Credit: Greenwilllow Books

Buckle up and get ready to be whisked away on a round-the-world trip aboard The Temptation in Heidi Heilig’s debut fantasy. A sixteen-year old girl, Nix might seem like an average teenage girl, but there is more to her than meets the eye. Throughout her life, she has travelled through time and space on a hand-built pirate ship alongside her father, Captain Slate, who is on a mission to revisit his past to save the love of his life. But what fate awaits this duo on their perilous journey? 

The Girl From Everywhere delights the readers with witty dialogues, enchanting myths and breathtaking scenery.

The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov

IMage Credit: Voyager

“His name is Andrew Harlan. He is an Eternal: a member of a highly exclusive organisation. He is a Technician, and his job is to range through past and future centuries, monitoring and even altering Time’s myriad cause-and-effect relationships. The reality changes Harlan initiates may affect the lives of up to fifty billion people. Above all, therefore, a technician must be Dispassionate. An emotional make-up is a distinct handicap. But when he meets Noys, Harlan falls victim to a phenomenon older than Time itself – love. It is then that he realises that years of self-discipline must be cast aside. He must use the awesome technique of the Eternals to twist Time so that he and Noys might survive – together.”- Book Blurb

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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Image Credit: Cornerstone

A fast-moving historical novel that defies traditional genres, Outlander is a romance with time travel! Set against a backdrop of a rich Caledonian culture, this addictive tale of love follows the adventures of a combat nurse in 18th century Scotland. After walking through an ancient circle of stones, Claire Randall finds herself in the country terrorised by a gang of outlaws during the Jacobite Rising. The accidental time traveller struggles to keep her grip on reality until she meets a dashing warrior, Jamie Fraser, who offers much more than a crash course on survival in the wilderness. A patriot with a brave soul and a heart of gold, Jamie becomes a guardian angel for a young “outlander”, enriching Claire’s life with thrilling adventure that is so different to the mundane existence she has left behind in the 20th century. 

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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

IMage Credit: Disney

An interstellar travel through the fifth dimension may be hard to imagine, but not for Meg Murry, who has not seen her father for over a year. Accompanied by her younger brother and her schoolfriend, the fiery teenager sets off on a mind-bending trek to find the missing physicist. And even when their mission gets off to a rocky start, three guardian angels save the day by putting their wisdom and metamorphic abilities to a good use to guide the starry-eyed travellers on their journey. Thrilling and daring, this time-travelling odyssey interweaves science, love and magic into one multi-faceted plot, where good always triumphs over evil.

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The Clock That Went Backward by Edward Page Mitchell

IMage Credit: New York Sun

“Harry and the narrator are cousins who have spent considerable time with their Aunt, Gertrude. The most notable thing about Gertrude, beside her antiquity, is a stopped clock that she owns, which was made in 1572 in the city of Leyden in the Netherlands, where the family came from before immigrating to the United States. Following Gertrude’s death, when she willed the clock to Harry, the two travel to Leyden, with the clock, to attend university.

Naturally enough, with the guidance of one of their professors, they use the clock to travel back to 1574 and the Siege of Leyden, where Harry rescues the Mayor’s daughter and Professor van Stopp takes a key role in lifting the siege. The narrator returns to his native time, alone, and possibly the descendent of his cousin Harry.”- Steven Silver

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Stella is a Marketing Consultant and has been writing content for Full Text Archive since 2015. When she is not writing, she is meticulously planning our social and e-mail campaigns. Stella holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Russian Literature, which has provided a broad foundation from which she continues to explore the written world.

She spends her free time reading, visiting old castles and discovering new coffee shops. She can be reached at stella

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