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The Man Who Folded Himself Paperback – June 10, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


"Uncanny allegorical force . . . altogether most impressive."

About the Author

David Gerrold is the author of Jumping Off the Planet and When HARLIE Was One, which was nominated for Hugo and Nebula awards. He lives in Northridge, California. Geoffrey Klempner is the director of studies for the International Society of Philosophers.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books; 1st BenBella Books Ed edition (June 10, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932100040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932100044
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When this time-travel classic first appeared thirty years ago, I was a grad student in history and my mind was full of the academic debate over the nature of causality -- so Gerrold's thoughts on the subject made quite an impression on me. I stole his arguments shamelessly for use in the TA lounge. I had met him at a con a couple of years before, when his reputation derived almost entirely from tribbles, and I believed at the time that he was going places. Sadly, he never quite made the big time and I imagine most younger discoverers of science fiction have never heard of him. Still, any fan of time travel fiction knows this book well and I doubt anyone can ever match the psychological and philosophical complexity of Dan Eakin's life in possession of the Timebelt. This artifact is the only one of its kind (logically, when you think about it) and so Dan is the only time traveler, . . . but there's plenty of him to go around, because time travel is actually the creation of alternate realities. There are young Dans and old ones, hetero- and homosexual versions, even male and female. Some go insane, some become degenerate. Some find love, some lose it. But Dan is his own universe: "I am a circle, complete unto itself. I have brought life into this world, and that life is me." If you're looking for a Time Patrol adventure yarn, this isn't it. (There isn't even all that much plot in the usual sense.) But if you want to think about the consequences of personal, individual time travel, you can't do any better than this one.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A. McCain on August 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Ok, I just read this book last night (it is a short read), and I've been thinking about it. A lot. As the title to this review states, I am pretty sure I liked this book, maybe even loved it, but something is holding me back from singing its praises.

I did feel that the sexual themes were an interesting touch yet at times the writing surrounding the more intimate scenes felt like it was in a different voice -- more stilted. I think Gerrold limited himself some, too. This book could easily have been 300 or 400 pages. I agree with some of the earlier reviewers that are wondering why we were not given more details of what Dan was up to in his time travel pursuits.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It is an intriguing novella that really approaches some fascinating topics. If you enjoy time travel fiction, I do suggest you pick up a copy.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Sammis on September 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
I think narcissism and time travel go hand in hand. Dan/Don/Danny/Diane et al is not much different than Dave Lister. I enjoyed the book quite a bit, though I have to wonder if the author retconned some of Dan's early stock picks. The original book was published in 1973, so unless the author has a time belt of his own or is psychic, he wouldn't have known about Apple and Sony. I'd love to get a first edition and compare those passages... The time travel plot and "twists" are fairly standard, the ending didn't suprise me but I did enjoy this telling of the story. The journal entries from the various incarnations allowed for a character growth that doesn't usually happen in this genre of book. I also liked the rather frank exploration of the main character's sexuality.
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46 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I love books that have a time travel theme and looked forward to reading this book, as it had come highly recommended. This book is more like a long short story or a very brief novella, which is a mercy, considering how disappointed I was by it. It was merely ok. In fact, there was very little about it that I found to be engaging, though I do not affirmatively dislike the book.

The book is about a young man, Daniel Eakins, who inherits a belt that allows him to travel in time. The book itself is like a diary that the main character keeps of his journeys in time. He writes mostly about meeting other versions of himself, both male and female, and making love to those versions. His presence at some of the greatest moments in history, which he does go to see, consist of nothing more than a laundry list to indicate that he had been there. There are also journal entries by some of his other various incarnations, which is a moderately interesting contrivance.

Still, there is little substance to the book in terms of plot, as well as little character development. The time spent in other eras are glossed over quickly, as if too much time would be wasted in doing otherwise. Daniel does try to change some historic moments, with some interesting consequences, but that, too, is glossed over. The book almost reads as if it were a stream of consciousness narration, which is, perhaps, congruent with keeping a diary or journal. The exploration of sexuality in which the author engages is certainly novel, though slightly creepy.

This book, which feels more as if it were an outline for a book, would probably be of interest only to die hard, time travel fans. If you are not such an individual, deduct one star from my rating and avoid this book. As is its central character, the book is in a state of arrested development.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Newman VINE VOICE on November 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting time travel book but it is difficult to say anything about the plot without creating spoilers. I really enjoyed it though it was riddled with paradoxes that seemed to make it difficult at times to understand the timeline of Daniel Eakin, the main character.

Daniel inherits a time travel belt from his Uncle Jim. He uses it to travel through time constantly and through paradoxes, create thousands of versions of himself. Daniel ends up living his life with these different versions as his companions (in more ways than one).

Throughout the book there are a lot of philosophical arguments as to what Daniel and his multi versions of himself (Don, Danny, etc.) do. It all leads up to a big surprise ending!
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