As publication nears, let's get ready for some time travel


I once heard author David Sedaris do an amazing thing. At a bookstore event, he interrupted reading his own work to read off a list of other books he’d liked and wanted his audience to know about.


I thought it was extraordinarily generous for a writer to share the limelight that way. I always wanted to do the same thing. So here goes.


During the course of writing One Red Thread, I read (or at least began) 36 novels of time travel and related* themes. So while we’re waiting for publication in November, I thought I’d pass along some of my favorites—just in case you’d like to get ready by reading some other time travel stories.


I’m leaving out the classics—The Time Machine by H.G. Wells and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain—both of which I did read and which stand apart in creating the genre.


But for contemporary works, here are my top ten. Some are instructive for writers. Some are just plain fun. And while some made bigger impressions than others, this is not a ranking. I’m listing them in the order in which I read them.


  • Time and Again by Jack Finney

  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

  • Replay by Ken Grimwood

  • A Shortcut in Time by Charles Dickinson

  • The Chronocide Mission by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

  • Borgel by Daniel Pinkwater

  • The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein

  • The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold

  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King

  • How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu


*Related themes also turned up some very good books, including the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, which travels in and out of novels; Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, which is about reincarnation; Familiar by J. Robert Lennon, which is about parallel lives; and two books by Andrew Sean Greer, The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which is about living time backward, and The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, which also is about reincarnation.


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