Appropriately enough, there’s something about time travel tales that draw writers and readers to them time and time again – it’s a device with longstanding literary history.
With Pretend to be a Time Traveller Day marked on December 8th (yep, there really is a designated day for everything and everyone), and with time travel novels traversing genres as well as time, it seems there’s a time travel novel for everyone, too.
Covering everything from action-packed sci-fi thrillers and mind-blowing classics, to quirky contemporary romps, and all-out tear-jerkers, this collection of terrific time travel novels is sure to contain more than a few books to float your literary boat.
Let’s kick off with a few of our favourites. Voted Book of the Decade by the LoveReading community, Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife is a beautiful, unique love story that really does linger long in the heart. While you may have seen the movie, nothing beats being immersed in the power of Niffenegger’s words on the page.
A few of the LoveReading team haven’t stopped raving about The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. How’s this for high praise from Maxim Jakubowski? — “Imaginative and dazzling, this spans the world and the centuries and never flags, while constantly defying the reader's expectations. Science fiction for people who don't like the customary trappings of SF: if this doesn't convert you, nothing will. Just read it!”
Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life is another contemporary gem – a lyrical story of life, death, and rebirth set through WWII, and shot-through with questions around destiny and the paths we choose to take. For a very different, clever, comic take on WWII, try Stephen Fry’s Making History in which characters attempt to prevent Hitler from being born.
If you’re a fan of magic realist, myth-infused tales, try Violet Kupersmith's Build Your House Around My Body – it’s a wild, wry ride of a read. Meanwhile, Matt Haig’s ingenious How to Stop Time sees a 41-year-old teacher traverse the globe, and time, while learning what it means to live happily. Haig’s The Midnight Library comes highly recommended, too.
Into high-concept, page-turning brain-bogglers? Try Stephen King’s 11.22.63, and Timeline by Michael Crichton. Or how about a spine-tingling, sci-fi crime chiller about a time-travelling serial killer? The Shining Girls has your name on it. And, if you love getting stuck into book boxsets, browse Jasper Fforde’s hugely satisfying Thursday Next series.
With plenty more time travel treats highlighted below, buckle up to browse a bounty of exhilarating voyages.