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Thrice Upon A Time Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (October 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671319485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671319489
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #460,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

When Murdoch was summoned to his grandfather's isolated Scottish castle, he had no idea of the old man's latest discovery -- nor where it would lead him. Sir Charles, a genius in far-out physics, had found a flew in the law of conservation of energy; in any process, an incredibly tiny increment of energy escaped -- back through time! Using this "tau" radiation, he could send messages into the past.
But Murdoch discovered records of messages he knew he had never sent. Were many futures possible? Could a message from Future X alter the past -- and thus wipe out Future X? But who would be foolish enough to send a message that could eliminate his own existence?
Then disaster struck. An advanced fusion reactor threatened to destroy all Earth. Grimly, Murdoch sat down to send back the words that would destroy everything he had learned to love. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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This means that one's future self risks elimination when they send any type of message back in time.
Joe Banks
One guage I use to measure a time travel novel is believability...Hogan has managed to be creative while at the same time presenting a plausible scenario.
Jackie Tortorella
Now different people have different tastes and I don't want to spoil anything, but the title does give you a great clue.
Mark Harsen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on August 15, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the things I like about James P. Hogan's fiction is that it's so largely idea-driven. He makes plausible projections from present-day science and uses them as the basis for a story (which generally includes the story of the discovery of the scientific principles at issue).
This is one of my favorites. In it, Hogan explores a mind-blowingly cool scientific concept: what if it were possible for information to travel from the future to the past?
"Classic" SF treatments of time-travel themes leave something to be desired -- even Robert A. Heinlein's fine short story "By His Bootstraps," which depends for its success on several narrative tricks that work in the story but aren't very realistic elsewhere. (The protagonist has to relive the same series of events several times, from different points of view, without really being able to _make decisions_ as this happens.) Others allow the possibility of changing the past but allege that _actually_ changing it would somehow make the universe go blooey. A few allow the past actually to be changed but don't explain how it's possible (in particular ducking the obvious paradoxes).
So Hogan started from scratch and tried to provide a plausible scientific basis for his own tale. And what he came up with was a way that information from the future _can_ change the past -- with, let's say, _very_ interesting consequences for his characters, including a host of brand new moral problems and hard choices. As I suggested above, the story is (like most "hard" SF) fundamentally idea-driven rather than character-driven, but Hogan's characters are believable and interesting all the same.
If you enjoy this sort of thing, you'll also want to read his later novel _Paths To Otherwhere_ for exploration of the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. And check out _The Proteus Operation_ for yet another fascinating twist on the time-travel/changing-the-past theme.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jackie Tortorella VINE VOICE on May 31, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Thrice Upon a Time is my first Hogan book, but I have followed up by ordering more. Time travel is a favorite topic of mine. I've read so many I've lost count. This one stands out in that it is very heavy on science and theory. If you like to ponder the possibilities and ramifications of communication across time, this book will appeal to you as it did to me. It has an excellent treatment of the paradox dilemma. One guage I use to measure a time travel novel is believability...Hogan has managed to be creative while at the same time presenting a plausible scenario. The consequences of altering the future are explored in a satisfying (and believable) manner. Those reviewers who found the book dull are not people who have spent a great deal of time pondering the theories. The book involves the reader in trying to figure out the theory, because once the ability to send communication back in time is discovered, the next step is figuring out how it's done and how the paradox situations fit into the equation. The true nature of time is explored thoroughly. It is not a book of rip-roaring action, but definitely a book for those who are enthralled by the idea of communication through time. I found it immensely satisfying.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey Kidd on October 31, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
James P. Hogan's best works have always been about science and scientists exploring the universe, finding out how it ticks, and being surprised not so much by what they find as by the byproducts of what they find. In this story, a machine which can send signals back in time is invented, and the rest of the story revolves around three key questions: "Exactly how does it work?", "What does it mean about the way the universe works?", and finally, "How do we use it wisely?"
Hogan's characters quickly became friends, and I got thoroughly caught up in their quest for answers, some of which, as you would expect, are kept secret until right up to the very end, which includes one of the most gorgeous juxtapositions of "Surprise!" with "Of course!" I've ever read. This one was more than worth the time spent reading it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. White on September 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read this book twice. Once when I was younger, and again recently. It was what I would consider a Good book. Hogan always seems to turn out an entertaining book, a book worth reading, but not a Snow Crash. I could read this book again when its turn comes up. Worth buying and reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joe Banks on February 6, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The concept of time travel is one of the oldest themes in science fiction. Just when you think its been milked dry, someone like James P. Hogan comes along and breathes new life into an otherwise tired concept. I found "Thrice Upon a Time" to be the most thoughtful, innovative takes on time travel I've seen yet. Almost universally, time travel books or movies deal with a person being transported either back or forward in time. In this case, Hogan deals with information being sent back in time. He theorizes that "in any reaction, a tiny (almost undetectable) amount of energy goes back in time". If properly modulated, that energy can act as a signal to relay information. This technique makes it possible for those in different futures to send messages back to a point in the past. So, someone in the future can tell their former self what to do or avoid. That, in turn, changes the course of events. This becomes a way to avoid dangerous or costly mistakes, since those in the future can reveal how a given course of action turned out. Of course, it also results in the negation of those timelines not taken. This means that one's future self risks elimination when they send any type of message back in time. That's some pretty heavy stuff. Hogan's unique skill as an author is his ability to use his engineering knowledge to make the impossible seem practical. One example is his use of "bootstrapping" (a mainstream computing hack) and reinventing it as a way to send messages back one day at a time (thus bridiging a larger time gap with the past). The idea that from every instant, there are multiple (perhaps infinite) possible timelines is fascinating too. Bottom line: if you care more about ideas than horrible aliens or exploding spaceships, then this is the book for you.
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