Most helpful positive review
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Paul Nahin has written an excellent book for the layperson.
on May 12, 1997
People have long been fascinated with the idea of time travel. The possibilities are exciting -- you could go back in time and experience firsthand all the wonders of history. You could actually get a second chance to correct mistakes in your own life. To some these possibilities are frightening -- if you really can change the past, what does this do to our sense of continuity? To history? What if you went back and killed your own father before he even met your mother?
Paul J. Nahin discusses both sides of this issue in his thought provoking book Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction. He begins with an overview of time travel, from scientific possibility of it, to popular conjecture about it. He goes on to discuss the nature of time itself, and then ends with an in-depth analysis of paradoxes created by the possibility of time travel. He assures us that we do not have to worry about changing history, because the past cannot be changed.
Nahin has written an excellent book for the layperson. He includes many references to popular works of science fiction, including many stories and movies the reader is probably familiar with. This helps illustrate many of his points. The text is clear and well written. Anyone without a background in physics can understand this book. For those with a more technical bent Nahin includes a few "Tech Notes" at the end of the book to explain certain phenomena he discusses. Time Machines is an exciting book for anyone who has ever sat outside on a long summer night and wondered "what if."