“The past is obdurate.”
― Stephen King
I love a good time travel story. And I mean all sorts of time travel stories. I like the ones where people go back in time to change things in their own lives. I like the distant past stories of people attempting to fit in to the culture they are visiting. With that in mind, I created this week’s list, a top five of the best time travel into the past. Notice I said the past and not the future. That’s because I’m saving that list for next week! Let me know what your favorite is in the comments.
It’s hard to pick a favorite book from time travel master Connie Willis. The duo of Blackout and All Clear is her newest, and probably my favorite. Time traveling history students trying to maneuver a past they don’t understand—as things slowly start to spin out of control. Her books are witty and comforting, even when things get dark.
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Who knew King, decades into his career, had the penultimate time travel romance in him? This book is not only thrilling for the big ideas it struggles with, but also moving for the smaller heartaches that occur. As Jake tries to prevent the assassination of JFK, it seems like history itself is rising against him.
Times Three by Robert Silverberg
Times Three is kind of a cheat because it’s actually three short time travel novels in one volume. And all three novels are killer! Hawksbill Station is like a prison movie mixed with Jurassic Park. Up the Line features the classic dilemma of falling in love with your multi-great grandmother and hoping she’s into you too, and Project Pendulum is a intriguing thought experiment about time traveling twins.
Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson
Richard Matheson’s most well-known story is I Am Legend, which pretty much defined the post-apocalypse-horde-of-the-dead genre that persists even today. However, Matheson has a softer side, as evidenced by his second most well-known story, What Dreams May Come. Somewhere in Time, like Dreams, is a star-crossed romance where time separates two individuals destined to be together. It’s a touching book where one man struggles to be with the woman he loves across time and space through sheer force of will alone.
Tempest by Julie Cross
This is a sly little book about a teenager with the ability to jump back in time as he please, but this jumps are more like dreams–nothing changes. It all changes one day after he leaps to the past following a horrific event, only to find he can’t get back to the present. It’s a tense and moving young adult novel with promised sequels to come. Might just be the next Hunger Games.