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The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century: Stories by Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Finney, Joe Haldeman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Paperback – December 28, 2004
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From the Inside Flap
LEAP INTO THE FUTURE, AND SHOOT BACK TO THE PAST
H. G. Wells's seminal short story "The Time Machine," published in 1895, provided the springboard for modern science fiction's time travel explosion. Responding to their own fascination with the subject, the greatest visionary writers of the twentieth century penned some of their finest stories. Here are eighteen of the most exciting tales ever told, including
"Time's Arrow" In Arthur C. Clarke's classic, two brilliant physicists finally crack the mystery of time travel-with appalling consequences.
"Death Ship" Richard Matheson, author of "Somewhere in Time, unveils a chilling scenario concerning three astronauts who stumble upon the conundrum of past and future.
"A Sound of Thunder" Ray Bradbury's haunting vision of modern man gone dinosaur hunting poses daunting questions about destiny and consequences.
"Yesterday was Monday" If all the world's a stage, Theodore Sturgeon's compelling tale follows the odyssey of an ordinary joe who winds up "backstage.
"Rainbird" R.A. Lafferty reflects on what might have been in this brainteaser about an inventor so brilliant that he invents himself right out of existence.
"Timetipping" What if everyone time-traveled except you? Jack Dann provides some surprising answers in this literary gem.
. . . as well as stories by Poul Anderson - L. Sprague de Camp - Jack Finney - Joe Haldeman - John Kessel - Nancy Kress - Henry Kuttner - Ursula K. Le Guin - Larry Niven - Charles Sheffield - Robert Silverberg - Connie Willis
By turns frightening, puzzling, and fantastic, these stories engage us in situations that may one day break free of the bonds of fantasy . . . toenter the realm of the future: "our future.
About the Author
Harry Turtledove was born in Los Angeles in 1949. He has taught ancient and medieval history at UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State L.A., and has published a translation of a ninth-century Byzantine chronicle, as well as several scholarly articles. He is also an award-winning full-time writer of science fiction and fantasy. His alternate history works have included several short stories and novels, including The Guns of the South; How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel); the Great War epics: American Front, Walk in Hell, and Breakthroughs; the Colonization books: Second Contact, Down to Earth, and Aftershocks; American Empire novels: Blood and Iron, The Center Cannot Hold, and Victorious Opposition; and Ruled Britannia. He is married to fellow novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters: Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.
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Top customer reviews
As with any such collection there are good stories and bad stories here, and which ones you like and dislike out of the 18 here will necessarily vary. For the most part I liked the ones selected though I thought there were a couple of duds--I just couldn't figure out "Fire Watch" at all and just plain didn't care for "Anniversary Project". But with 18 stories it was easy enough to skip forward to the next, and overall I liked more stories than I disliked.
Recommended for any fan of time travel and alternative history stories. There are some duds here but they're easily skippable.
As with any collection of short stories, some selections are better than others. The stories I enjoyed the most were "Yesterday was Monday" by Theodore Sturgeon, "Timetipping" by Jack Dann, and "Sailing to Byzantium" by Robert Silverburg. This last story was not only an excellent addition to the time-travel canon, it also offers an interesting look at a society's obsession with youthful perfection (not unlike our current society).
The offerings are of two kinds: great stories and classic stories. While a few fall into both camps, the reader does get a sense that most were selected to fit only one category. The great stories speak for themselves, with interesting ideas, unexpected twists and memorable characters. The classic stories are sometimes less complex or polished, but have important places in the historical development of time travel fiction. They are the good-for-us vegetables to be eaten along with the tastier main course items.
My favorite two classics are:
Henry Kuttner's "Time Locker" has the feel of a mid-twentieth century detective story told from a criminal's viewpoint. Its mystery is complicated by an uncalibrated time machine in a nondescript piece of office furniture.
L. Sprague de Camp's "A Gun for Dinosaur" is one version of the now-cliché hunting expedition to the prehistoric past story. It's still an enjoyable trip, with one or two surprises for first-time readers.
My favorite two "great" stories:
Robert Silverberg's "Sailing to Byzantium" introduces us to a man from the 1980s who must cope with society tens of thousands of years in the future. We learn this new world along with him as he slowly discovers who and what is real. And what can be done about it.
Ursula K. Le Guin's "Fisherman of the Inland Sea" follows a man who gives up much in his quest for other worlds--and finds that his regrets both drive him forward and draw him backward. This is good writing, imaginative anthropology, and innovative technical speculation all in one. It's a good introduction to this talented author, in case you've been needing one.
The collection is highly recommended. Fans of good time travel shorts may also enjoy Time Twisters and Time Pieces.