The time travellers wife.

I just finished reading “the time travellers wife” by Audrey Niffenegger, and I thought it was a wonderful book, even though through it wanted them to break out of what you knew was going to happen.

Now I am reading Greg Keyes’ “A calculus of Angels” - Quite a different style of book! I think the character interaction in that is helping me with my writing though.

I absolutely loved The Time Traveller’s Wife. It was beautifully written, and touching. I believe someone is making a film out of it.

Also, I notice the film of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni is just coming out. One of my favourite books of the past ten years.

The movie will star Eric Bana as Henry and Rachel McAdams as Clare. It is scheduled to be released this year.

My friend Carole recently reviewed The Time Traveler’s Wife at book-lovers-get-your-english-on. … arole.html – and she found some very interesting inconsistencies in time travel “rules.” I may have to re-read the book (which I LOVED when I read it a couple of years ago).

Do you know of other really good time travel books?

Right now I am reading The Book of Lost Things and Seeing Redd.

I bought The Time Traveller’s Wife last year but haven’t got around to reading it yet. It got lots of good reviews and sounds interesting, so I guess I’ll have to read it for sure at some point soon…

To state the ruddy bleeding obvious (even though I didn’t see this mentioned in a single review of The Time Traveller’s Wife, which surprised me): the idea of someone randomly visiting different parts of their life sounded to me as though it had been lifted straight out of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 (“Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time”). S5 is one of my favourite books ever (I’ve probably said that in just about every other post; hmm, it’s not as though I’m fanatical or anything, honest). It does sound as though Niffenegger had a slightly different take on it (her character arrives Terminator-style naked in random places, whereas Billy Pilgrim will just be having a chat with his wife, walk through the bathroom door and suddenly find himself in a completely different part of his life).


If anyone of you understands German, I can recommend “Der Funke des Chronos”, written by Thomas Finn. The story is set in Hamburg in the year 1842. In this year a great fire destroyed half of the city. The hero of the story, Tobias, travels back in time to 1842 and tries to get back to his own time. He is assisted by Heinrich Heine (the poet).

Finn is a remarkable author and has written a lot of adventures for the RPG “The Dark Eye”.

I Loved the Time Travlers wife but did jot read it. I listened to it, unabbridged on CD. (2 times.) My mother used to read to me when I was a child so I like to be read to either in the car or just before i go to sleep.

The Time Travlers wife is captivating. The construction and mood are so weel developed and the characters are as beliveable as any I have come across. The “suspension of disbelief” is almost instantious.

I reccomend this book to anyone that wants a book to remember and thin of for years to come.


Getyourenglishon, you asked about other time-travel books.

Probably my all-time favourite is THE DOMESDAY BOOK by Connie Willis, in which an Oxford academic finds herself stuck in The Middle Ages, and misses the period she was aiming for and ends up in slap in the centre of the black plague. It’s phenomenally gripping, and fun.

Another by Willis, time travel again, is TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG which is a dryly witty book in which the Three Men in a Boat from Jerome K Jerome’s book are real people, who are met by the time traveller.

And an oldie which I read four or five times, THE TIME MACHINE by HG Welles.

Timetravel books? The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. Incredible! How the main character and William Ashbless … no, sorry you can’t say that … You’ll have to read it yourself. Clowns on stilts, egyptian gods, immortal poets and time travel in ONE book. Priceless!

John (and others!), thank you. I have read The Time Machine multiple times. I picked up The Doomsday Book, and if I like Ms. Willis, I’ll try the others. I had a time trying to get into Three Men in a Boat, but I’m glad to give a “retelling” a try with the right author.

I’ve also picked up Forever by Pete Hammill and The Thief of Time by John Boyne (which, I suppose, aren’t technically time travel, but longevity).

John Dodds, I LOVED Doomsday Book AND I blogged about it on .

Mange, I will check out The Anubis Gates. Thanks!

Has anyone read 1642? It looks like a rip-roaring bit of fun.

Loved the Time Traveler’s Wife but did not actually read it; listened to the 16 CDs (Unabridged, listened twice…)

I found it to be a haunting tale that taps into my deepest desires for time travel. To go where I have been; to see, as Mt Serling writes, “the voices of the people and the places of his past.” Just

Look at my sig and you will understand. If ever you get the opportunity to read Walking Distance, you will be moved. The first time I read it, I cried for all that simply can not be touched again.


I just discovered this book and I loved it. Read it two or three times to get it sorted. As someone else said – beautifully written. Also beautifully thought out and put together. I don’t think Carole really caught Audrey messing with her rules – in fact, she stuck to them like glue, which I found pleasing. There is the question of how it was that he kept fetching up in the clearing, but I thought that didn’t need explaining; it was what the story was about.

I found Audrey’s use of multiple selves in the same place at the same time to be perfectly reasonable. I’ve always regarded this rule of time travel as silly. Of course you today and you from the future or past can be in the same place at the same time. You are two different people.

I really time travel ideas. I’m a serial reader of Wells’ The Time Machine. The story that I immediately thought of, though, when I started to get into The Time Traveller’s Wife was Chronoclasm by John Wyndham in a collection of his stories called The Seeds of Time. A love story too (the stories in this collection were a conscious effort by Wyndham to present SciFi in a “normal” short story format), it had some of the same delightful “chicken and egg” questions.

I’m interested to see other guys getting into The Time Traveller’s Wife. In many respects, it is kind of chick-litty.

I’ll be interested to see the movie; it looks well cast. (Go Eric, you little Aussie hero.) I wonder whether the director can hold back, though, as the book did – the movie could be a mad action thing. Well, we’ll just have to wit and see.

I noticed soem critics praising the Audrey’s faithful Chicago setting. I have no knowledge of Chicago, but I found the setting just right. It is hard-edged and normal, no nonsense, in the book which accentuates the oddity of the time traveller. I actually emailed Audrey and suggested that for a movie version, I MUST be set in that hard-edged environment, but perhaps with a more British rather American direction (I have rendered this down in my head to directing the film in a way that let’s things happen and focuses on the people and their interaction and internal dialog, like the book, rather than making things happen and focusing on the action). An interesting thought that did occur to me – you could just about kill this book and a movie of it stone dead by setting it in England. In Chicago, the guy is definitely oddball. weird and off the wall – in England, he would be merely eccentric.

Hello Chris of Booklovers-get-your-english-on

Your friend Carole wrote:

I think I know the answer to that, Chris. Remember Henry’s two first trips – one to the place he longed to be, the museum, and the other escape from the car wreck? In the first isntance, he ends up where he wants to be, and in the second, he gets out of where he doesn’t want to be.

So the thing is not entirely random.

Now, consider his life. Where is he in his life when he visits Clare in the paddock for the first time? He’s well along in it. Does he know about the paddock? Yes he does – Clare takes him to see it when he visits with the family on that first Christmas (and it might be presumed they would visit it on other occasions too). When Clare first meets him in joint real time, she gives him the notebook with the schedule – so you get that marvellous chicken-and-egg situation that’s built into time travel – and she tells him about the wonderful times they have had there.

So what we have is that Henry can slingshot off to all kinds of places, but there is a tendency for him to be in places where he really, really wants to be when he needs to be there. Another instance of this is the older Henry turning up to cover in the wedding – he knows younger Henry is going to zot off. There are others – note hoiw he sees his mother a number of times.

So although Henry feels that his time travel is random, in fact, it is not. Some of it is has a degree of direction, albeit unconscious in Henry’s case.

Another question Carole raises is the two year interval of not seeing Henry. This could fall into the same category – Older Henry unconsciously directing himself to stay away. You wouldn’t want Clare to be walzing into the library and meeting younger Henry half an hour and one shower since making steaming love to older Henry!

Thank you, greenmorpher – I will mention to Carole.

I read To Say Nothing of the Dog and loveloveloved it! I blogged about it at book-lovers-get-your-english-on. … chris.html . She is writing another time travel novel due out soon – I can’t wait!

Thanks to Carole, too, getto, for directing me to think through the book more and for highlighting stuff I either didn’t pick up or passed over without thinking the implications through.

Speaking as someone was about medieval plague and stuff and time travel, how about purposive time travel and Timeline by Michael Crichton? I loved it. I am always mightily engaged by Crichton’s exposition of the science underpinning what he is writing about. His discussion of chaos theory in The Lost World is brilliant. The man is perhaps the greatest communicator of science of the age – and he actually makes money out of it by operating under the guise of a fiction writer.

Clever fellow.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

“Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes” – the secrets of how type can help you to sell or influence, now at the new low price of $29.95. See the book at or Amazon.

One of my all-time favorite time travel novels is called “If I Never Get Back” by Darryl Brock. It is the story of a modern day American transported back in time to 1869. He ends up traveling the country with the first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings. If you are a baseball fan, you are sure to enjoy this book, which seems to have been recently reissued. … 802&sr=1-1

Other time travel stories:

“Time After Time” by Jack Finney
“A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain
“Behold the Man” by Michael Moorcock (an astonishing story of a modern man who goes back in time and adopts the identity of Jesus Christ)

And the science fiction novels of Robert Charles Wilson, while not exactly time travel stories, often play with the notion of the pliabilityof time. In “Spin” the earth is encased in a force field that slows down time… so that the sun and the rest of the universe advance a thousand years for every week or two on earth (or something like that).



Get your english on recommendede Cannie Willis’ The Doomsday Book. I hadn’t come across it before, so I pottered down to the library yesterday, ran it to earth, and was kindly permitted to borrow it.

I have a feeling Willis could cut about 200-250 pages out of the 670 page book without hurting it; just too much detail. BUT very well thought out.

I chuckled at an assumption on p.231 thought.

“Dr Ahrens was right in wanting to cauterise my nose. Everyone, even the little girls, smells terrible… They all have fleas. Lady Imeyne stops even in midprayer to scratch… (they) have comparatively clean faces, but they don’t wash their hands or change… By rights they should all have long since died of infections…”

I’ve lurked around villages in the Highlands of New Guinea at a time and in places where no-one ever washed; in fact, they rubbed their skin with oil and stuff. Everyone and the place itself should have stunk to high heaven, but it didn’t. In fact, if you stop washing with soap, your skin and the flocks of bacteria and whatnot that live on it, rapidly reach an equilibrium which has an odour but is not rank in 99% of cases.

People do get infection from wounds, but the natural oils on the skin seem to minimise that. What the people there do go down with was pneumonia and pleurisy from a combination of flu and living in flueless (note the pun!) smokey houses, also a problem in medieval England (one of the time periods in the book).

Another factor that shouldn’t be ignored is that the very low life expectancy of those times – and of the people living in the New Guinea mountains. Sure they don’t live as long as many others due to a variety of factors, including less than optimal nutrition, but a big part of the statistically short life span is made up of infant or child deaths. Once you get a start, the outlook is much better than the statistics suggest at first glance.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

“Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes”, the secrets of how type can help you to sell or influence, and “Hot to start and produce a Magazine or Newsletter”, now at the new low price of $29.95. See the books at or Amazon.

If I may butt into a discussion that has taken somewhat of an interesting tangent–when I was in Tibet a couple years ago, the conventional wisdom was that the Tibetans bathed either annually or never, depending on whom you listened to (little water and no heat may play a part in this :smiley: ). I made a point of going into crowds and getting fairly close to individuals, and never did I encounter any of what we call B.O. The people smelled of smoke from cooking fires, with a little woolen and animal; I could distinguish nothing else.

Our Aussie guide said that only westerners get B.O.; it’s because of our degenerate lifestyle.

Here in the northwest, where some people still heat with wood, some Americans smell like smoked salmon also, even though they bathe.

It’s nice to know the crowds of yesteryear didn’t reek. It has kept me from time travel a number of times: If I can’t take my deodorant, I’m not going… I’ll have to look into Doomsday.

I’ve noticed that the people with the greasiest hair are the ones who shampoo and strip out the natural oils every day.

Why wouldn’t equally obsessive use of deodorant and scent products have a similar effect on body odor? Excepting those few unfortunates who actually have a BO issue due to a quirk of their body chemistry, “human” smells better than any perfume or cologne.

On the other hand, maybe the “degenerate lifestyle” comment has something to do with it - diet does affect body odor, and the typical western lifestyle includes a lot of “food” that isn’t.

People smell different than the accoutrements of their lives. Decaying meat stinks (I hear – I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years, so I haven’t gotten close enough to meat in a while to rekindle the memory). The breath of someone with tooth decay or ill stomach stinks. Feces and urine stink. If one does not clean unpleasant smells off themselves, they could stink.

Plus, medieval Europe was not as enlightened in some matters, such as cleanliness, as other cultures. (What a delicious irony!) Could the smell of unclean clothes, remnants of stinky things on our bodies, be unpleasant to a member of the supposedly sterile world of the late 21st century?

It’s not unusual for someone from a different culture to need time to readjust to the new surroundings, and to view them as unpleasant until they do. Also, let’s remember how the fictional crew of The Enterprise saw the “archaic” brain surgery of the 20th century. I can cut our “Doomsday” protagonist slack for her adjustment time.

(How’s that for a topic save?)