- 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: 6.4 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Man Who Folded Himself Paperback – June 10, 2003
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Attention Science Fiction Fans
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"Gerrold is such a good writer that he keeps us reading through. . . shifts of time, space and character--right into pre-history."
"Uncanny allegorical force . . . altogether most impressive."
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Top Customer Reviews
The other thing that struck me was the genius of the story. The narrative bothered me before, because it seemed kind of thin. But I don't see it that way anymore. There are two themes at work here. One is the sci-fi aspect, which consists of exploring in depth time travel with all of its ramifications. This can get quite philosophical at times, as the author goes into paradoxes and spends time establishing and explaining them. I enjoyed this immensely. The other theme is the life of Dan. This story is a biography of sorts, covering an entire man's life from birth to death. A good portion of the book is dedicated to thoughts of the meaning of life, what love is, and the fear of death. This is weighty stuff, and it is taken seriously here without killing the momentum of the story.
The story is a lot like the protagonist himself. It starts out linear, splits, becomes confusing, even chaotic, and then comes back together with purpose toward the end. I admire how the author was able to do this. I've never read anything like it.
Some have remarked that the book deals with Narcissism. Maybe, but I'm not so sure about that. To me, one of the ideas that the book explored is that we are always alone. That you can love a person, be friends with them, but in the end, you are alone. And that's the same whether it goes for other people, or copies of yourself. Even if you had another "you" present, it wouldn't really be you. Even if you tried to fool yourself into thinking that.
It's a great book, if a bit short. Highly recommended!
Like many, it started with Star Trek. In my defense, when the show first aired, I was five. I didn't see the cheezy special effects or Shatner chewing the scenery. I saw an adventure that was about to begin in reality as I would be about eight years old when I watched our old, rattle trap black and white TV as they beamed an image from the surface of the moon.
Of course I was hooked.
Wasn't much older when I discovered people wrote the stories on ST ("classic" I guess we call it now) and went looking for their books. And guess which scene in Star Trek has been stuck in my head for half a century? Like so many of us, the rain of tribbles on Kirk (it is such a fun episode, it really is). So the first ST writer I went looking for and found was David Gerrold and his very excellent "The Man Who Folded Himself". For someone on the young side of things, it was simply a mind "blowing" experience. I don't think there's an aspect of time travel left untouched. The novel has remained my "yardstick" for measuring all other time travel novels, stories, TV episodes, and movies.
It's been years since I read the book so I decided it was time for a reread. Only to discover there's an entire other level to the book. Time travel is not immortality. Even with access to high tech, future medicine, the protagonist ages. We're never told how old he is and he doesn't even know. His lifespan may be immense by our standards. Yet it is finite.
In the end, he has to choose what is truly important. He seems to have all of time as his playground, his backyard, but he doesn't. Not really. And he has to find meaning. To create meaning out of the chaos of what had once seemed and endless party.
As someone now facing a deadly cancer, I related to the novel in ways you may not. I came to see another angle to "more time" not being "more meaning". Not in and of itself. Not even if you have a time machine...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The writing seemed simplistic as if it were adolescent literature, but it moved along at a decent pace.Read more