Last week we published Part I, featuring 5 classic time travel tales.
These next five Time Travel books are more recent and anchor themselves in historical or everyday events. They are less about the concept of time travel and more about what we can learn from being put into circumstances beyond our control.
The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers (1983)
science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, mystery
Using historical details with his fantastical imagination, Powers makes this time travel novel a thrilling adventure full of humor. Powers won a Philip K. Dick award in 1984 for this complex original story. It begins when a millionaire who has discovered how to time travel. He talks Brendan Doyle into acting as a guide to time traveling tourists, so he can make some money. But when Doyle gets stranded in 1810 Regency London, dangerous things start happening. Gods, wizards, the Knights Templar and werewolves show up.
Outlander, Diana Gabaldon (1991)
science fiction, historical fiction, romance, adventure
Historical, romantic and well written, this first book in Gabaldon’s time travel series moves between 20th century England and the 18th century Scottish Highlands. First in a series of eight books, it introduces Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, after she returns home from the war in 1945. When she is reunited with her husband for a second honeymoon, she disappears into the past by stepping through a portal within an ancient circle of standing stones.
She is transported to Scotland, 1743, a dangerous and precarious time in Scottish history. She is now an “outlander”. When she meets Jamie Fraser, a proud warrior and a man of honor, she begins to live between the past with him and the future, where her husband lives. Gabaldon orchestrates a believable world of time travel between England and Scotland to tell a complex story of culture, love, and the true nature of life.
Doomsday Book, Connie Willis (1992)
science fiction, Middle Ages, Black Death
The first book in a series about Oxford time-traveling historians is a mix of classic and historical science fiction. A history student from 2048 is mistakenly sent to an English village in 1348 right before the outbreak of the Black Plague. While people of 1348 are dying, the scientists in 2048 work to stop their own epidemic from getting out of hand. It tells a story about survival and the will of the human spirit and includes some social commentary.
Bones of the Earth, Michael Swanwick (2002)
science fiction, dinosaurs
A paleontologist is handed an opportunity of a lifetime when a stranger leaves behind a cooler with a recently severed head of a stegosaurus. He’s discovered the secret of time travel and is initially thrilled at the prospect of conducting research on live dinosaurs. However, his frequent trips into the past soon have negative consequences on the present.
Time Travelers Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (2003)
science fiction, romance
This romantic science fiction novel tells the unconventional love story of Clare, an art student, and Henry, a librarian with a genetic disorder. Henry has Chrono-Displacement Disorder, which means he randomly and unpredictably gets sent through time where he meets and remeets Clare, and sometimes himself.
Henry’s unpredictable disappearances leave Clare in an ever shifting relationship. They attempt to live normal lives together, in circumstances they cannot control, separating and reconnecting many times over. Their passionate relationship keeps them going even after Henry is pulled away at important moments, and left to review their lives, past and future.
About the Author
IVY BRUNELLE is a Reference Librarian at PPL. She accidentally became a sci-fi geek in college. But if you asked her about it, she’d deny the whole thing, then silently slip through a portal of ancient standing stones.