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The Man Who Folded Himself Paperback – June 10, 2003

3.8 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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."

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: 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 (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #521,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love time travel stories, and somehow David Gerrold's novel escaped being read by me. I am having a hard time putting it down; it is that compelling. Yet, it is also a very challenging story, which is why I gave it only 4 stars. In essence, there is only one character, who continually meets himself (or herself, as the case may be.) You need a scorecard to tell who is narrating the story. On the other hand, I love that Gerrold has challenged the stereotypes of not being able to meet yourself or the ability to change history. Enjoy.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read this years ago. I remember being turned off by two things: The homosexuality, and the unconventionality of the story. Now re-reading it, I'm struck by a couple of things. First, I've changed as a person and don't find my sensibilities easily offended anymore. In my view there's nothing wrong with homosexuality, so if a writer wants to make his protagonist homosexual, I could care less. More power to him! That said, the homosexuality depicted here is understated. Tame even, by today's standards.

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.
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