Recently, I posted a positive review of the new novel by Charles Yu, entitled How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. So I was delighted to come across an article by Yu written for The Guardian of Great Britain in which he names his top ten time travel books.
In case you’re interested, here’s the list of what he recommended:
- Slaughter-House Five, or the Children’s Crusade by Kurt Vonnegut
- “Garden of Forking Paths” (short story) by Jorge Luis Borges
- Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman
- The Fermata by Nicolson Baker
- The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madelaine L’Engle
- “All You Zombies” (short story) by Robert Heinlein
- Six Walks in the Fictional Woods by Umberto Eco
- “An example of a new type of cosmological solution of Einstein’s field equations of gravitation” by Kurt Gödel (Rev. Mod. Phys. 21: 447–450.)
- Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
As you can see, Mr. Yu has played it a little loose with his list, which he readily admits. Besides fiction, there is non-fiction, including an article on time travel by Kurt Godel, of Gödel, Escher, Bach fame. I don’t have a problem with that per se, but I do take issue with calling the list ten time travel books, when two are short stories in larger collections (not devoted to time travel stories) and one is a journal article. Still, it is a pleasure to see what he likes and, since they are his rules, he’s allowed to break them.
Here’s an additional list of ten more time travel books, all novels this time, to supplement the list above. A couple of my favorite time travel books did not make Yu’s list, though his own book certainly makes mine. I am going to carry over one; though not on my list, Slaughter-House Five, which is one of my favorite books, period, it certainly deserves to be.
- Time and Again by Jack Finney
- Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut
- Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
- How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
- The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
- Orlando by Virginia Woolf
- Kindred by Octavia Butler
- The Female Man by Joanna Russ
- Martin Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick
- The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
And two Bonus novels:
These 12 additional time travel novels hardly address how many are missing from the original list; in fact, this list is lopsided in its own way: a bit too literary from some folks, I’m thinking.
So, what do you think? Anything missing?
PS The only edition of Behold the Man any of the libraries has is the original abbreviated novella, which Michael Moorcock expanded into a full novel — we intend to correct that situation by ordering a copy ASAP.