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The Mindtraveler Paperback – February 1, 2015
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"Packed with ideas and whimsical notions, THE MINDTRAVELER is a playful take on time travel and memory, what we can change and what we can't. Good science-y fun!"
- Charles Yu, author of HOW TO LIVE SAFELY IN A SCIENCE FICTIONAL UNIVERSE
"Like all the best science fiction, THE MINDTRAVELER works both as story and as metaphor. In the story, a pair of time-crossed lovers struggle to fulfillment. But the metaphor provides something deeper, a meditation on the nature of free will, memory, and regret."
- Paul Park, author of A PRINCESS OF ROUMANIA
"The wonderful thing about Ms. Rozanski's particular version of sojourning in the future and the past is that - as nowhere else in the genre, to my knowledge - she explores time travel's wrenching emotional complications; and even moral complications. Visiting a former self is, in this analysis, a philosophical and psychological journey, replete with the lessons of remorse and gratitude, teasing the paradoxes of free will and fate and choice."
- Louis B. Jones, author of New York Times' Notable Book ORDINARY MONEY
"When physicist Margaret Braverman develops a process allowing her to travel into her younger self, she discovers what her life has been missing. But can she change the future in time? THE MINDTRAVELER is a gritty, intimate, and very human look at academia, scientific research, and ourselves. Bravo!"
- Julie E. Czerneda, author of SPECIES IMPERATIVE
"An introspective tale that avoids the common action-oriented plotline, while delving deep into the psychology of scientific obsession. Finally, a time travel story for people who actually understand quantum mechanics."
- Jana Oliver , award-winning author of the TIME ROVERS series
From the Back Cover
"A savvy, sassy, scientifically astute and rewardingly personal time travel story, which captures the intersecting worlds of physics, academe, and harrowing heart-warming romance just perfectly. Bursting with brilliant lines and memorable characters, THE MINDTRAVELER makes a signal contribution to the time-travel romance genre."
- Paul Levinson, author of THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES and UNBURNING ALEXANDRIA
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"What woman of a certain age doesn’t sometimes look upon her life and wish she could go back and do it all over again?
With more of her life behind her than ahead, Margaret Braverman, a physicist teaching at a small college, cannot help but regret the things she never quite got right. Most important among them was the tragic ending of her romance with her brilliant colleague Frank, something she has never gotten over. Then there is the prospect of restoring the respect of her colleagues after that unfortunate incident where she set her hair on fire. And, of course, it would be glorious to get even with that mean-spirited, conceited, womanizing Caleb Winter.
Fortunately, after years of experimentation in the back room of her lab, Margaret has finally built a time machine. The key, she discovered, is in teleporting not the body but the mind. And so, at 5:03 p.m. on May 3, 2012, Margaret teleports her mind to her 1987 self.
Though her body is that of a 35-year-old, the narration and point of view is that of her older self. “60″, as she calls herself, feels everything but can’t move a muscle. All she can do is to passively witness what she lived once before, and, until she figures out how to influence things, nothing is going to change.
Comic, beautifully written, with a solid grounding in science and a thorough sympathy for its characters, the MINDTRAVELER captures the universal desire for a second chance."
To start with, the jacket blurb is somewhat misleading in my opinion. At least initially this is not a story about a failed romance from which Margaret never recovered from. It is about a driven woman, a physics scientist living and working in a male dominated profession. A woman who still believes that the feminist movement has made changes, and that those changes are still coming. It is only once Margaret successfully transports her current consciousness back into her 35-year-old body.
While this is an entertaining tale, it gets off to a relatively slow start. If you are willing to stick with it you'll find that the final half, or third, of the book makes everything well worth your time. The stories that Margaret related as memories are suddenly being relived as her current life, for her 60-year-old mind is riding along in her 35-year-old body. But she seems to be doomed to repeat all her same mistakes, unless she can figure out how to either communicate with her younger self, or simply hijack her own body.
The idea of reliving your life, but with all the knowledge you've gained over time, well that's certainly not a new idea. I think most readers have probably wished they could come back to an earlier era in their life as long as they knew then what they know at the time of that wish. Here is one story of how that might, or might not, work. The improbable highs and devastating lows that are tied to an experiment such as this make for entertaining reading once things kick into gear.
Watching Margaret interact with her co-workers, both as her younger self and through the eyes of her mental self having to relive the experiences, knowing which ones are worth getting upset about and which will fade into distant memories, well that is simply great entertainment and a wonderful way to approach the whole topic of time travel. As we witness her younger self and her current self respond to the important people in her life we get that abstract outsider's view, the one that reminds us that what she's going through at the moment we're witnessing, well it could all be changed yet again, and again, and again - an eternal loop of infinite lives if you will. This book not only entertains, it also brings forth some fascinating ideas for contemplation. Certainly worth having to slog through the slow start!
Margaret cracks time travel and goes back into her past. From this new perspective she is able to relive her failed relationship with one of her colleagues. Whether the relationship between Margaret and Frank is the primary or the secondary plot (after the time travel) is probably a matter of personal opinion.
Perhaps the inclusion of scientific aspects puts off romance fans, and conversely the romance might be off-putting to the more hard core sci-fi fans. Ultimately though, the novel is about Margaret (and Frank) *and* about her research in time travel. I thought it was a really good mix that worked well.
The two themes go hand in hand; once you can travel in time you may as well do something there. Margaret chose love. It wasn't about her colleagues, friends or students - they feature because they make up part of her history, but they're not the main focus of the novel.
On a similar footing, I was driven to the end of the novel on two counts - was Margaret going to do anything about Frank (and if so, how?) and how on Earth was Margaret going to engineer things to get back to the present - if at all?
I rated The Mindtraveler 5 stars for an engaging time travel romance novel with scientific oomph!