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The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century

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3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  716 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Stories by Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Finney, Joe Haldeman, Ursula K. Le Guin
H.G. Wells's seminal novella The Time Machine, published in 1895, provided the springboard for modern science fiction's time travel explosion. Responding to their own fascination with the subject, the greatest visionary writers of the twentieth century penned some of their finest stories. Here are ei
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Paperback, 448 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2004)
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Susan
Jan 31, 2010 Susan rated it it was ok
As is true in so many compilations, the stories in this book vary from so-so to wonderful. In the process of making my way through them, I discovered that maybe time travel per se is not the type of science fiction I really enjoy. There were more than I needed of encounters with dinosaurs and other real or imaginary creatures of the past. I find I much prefer stories that explore the complex possibilities and impossibilities created by time travel, and the confusion of people as they try to deal ...more
Megan
Nov 18, 2010 Megan added it
I'm listing all the stories so I can remember which authors to read more by.

1. "Sailing to Byzantium" by Robert Silverberg - This was one of my favorites. I thought its premise was really original and yet it was largely character-driven.
2. "The Man Who Came Early" by Poul Anderson. - Okay. I don't remember a great deal about this one, so I don't think it made much of an impression.
3. "Fire Watch" by Connie Willis. - Another favorite. I enjoyed the premise of this one a lot too, about a future w
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Amber the Human
Sep 03, 2015 Amber the Human rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Amber by: Kat
While I am not a science fiction fan, I am a fan of time travel. This book had some amazing stories. Getting to read the original story about dinosaur hunting by Ray Bradbury that the Simpsons toaster vignette was based on -awesome. Sailing to Byzenteam was a long one, but interesting. My favorite was probably Tranpalanda. Where is my book currently? I lent it to an intern at work ... I'll ask her mom about it soon. :-) And shout out to Kat for giving it to me!
Jamie
Nov 08, 2007 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of time-travel stories
Shelves: sci-fi, time-travel
When I read a collection of short stories, I generally start not at the beginning, but with the shortest stories first. If those first few "really short" stories whet my appetite, I'll move up to the longer stories.

This collection grabbed me from story #1. Just about every one of them held my attention and my imagination. Granted, some of them read like episodes of "The Twilight Zone" or "Outer Limits" (in fact, several were adapted for TV). This only adds to their appeal, in my opinion, especia
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John
Oct 26, 2010 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I got my first Kindle for Christmas in 2009, this was the first e-book I read. Being a big fan of time-travel stories, I immediately searched the Kindle archives for any stories on this subject. And since I hadn't read anything in years (other than listening to an occassional audio book), I figured a collection of short stories would be a little easier to digest and help get me back into a routine.

As with any collection of short stories, some selections are better than others. The stories I
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Flo
Oct 26, 2014 Flo rated it really liked it
It's difficult to apply a rating to the entire anthology, since some of the stories were not as fun to read as the others. In any case, since I'm a big fan of time travel, I read through every one of them. As with a lot of short stories, you're sometimes left wishing the story was a whole novel. At least this anthology is a good way follow-up with the authors you really liked. Turtledove does a good job of highlighting each individual authors' notable novels.

My favorites (not necessarily in orde
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James Anderson
Jun 10, 2014 James Anderson rated it really liked it
This was a very entertaining collection of stories. If you like time travel as a plot device, this book will probably be pretty enjoyable for you. There were 1 or 2 stories that took some getting into, but I can say without hesitation that there were no duds in the whole anthology.

This is my first GoodReads suggested book. Good job GoodReads!
Lincoln
Mar 10, 2010 Lincoln rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahh...Time travel

Its kind of an authors get out of jail free card. Wait that can't happen he is my favorite character he can't die...oh stop time go back fix it. I like real history and the idea of manipulating factual events. The big what if questions. Good old "The Sound of Thunder" stepping on a butterfly 65 million years ago changes language and culture in the present.
Noah Rozov
Feb 15, 2017 Noah Rozov rated it really liked it
I've read Richard Matheson's "Death Ship" of 1953.
Deborah
Aug 10, 2011 Deborah rated it really liked it
All of these stories are reprints and I had already read some of them. The introduction is good and the books are in order by copyright date. The copyright dates are listed under permissions at the back of the book. Some of the older stories are dated and some suffered a bit by being the influence of later stories, which makes them very predictable. Don't give up if you don't like the first few, skip ahead a bit, then come back to the others. I only rate the ones I liked.

"Yesterday Was Monday" b
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Mina Villalobos
Jan 14, 2010 Mina Villalobos rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, sci-fi
A interesting bag of stories -some of them don't seem to be about time travel but tangentially, which is fine, I suppose, but confusing considering the name of the anthology.

I was particularly fond of The Price of Oranges by Nancy Kress and Another Story or the Fisherman from the Inner sea by Ursula K. LeGuin, mostly because they focused on the kind of psychological and emotional disruption that time travel would brought forth. Other stories tried to but didn't really got there for me -Robert S
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Fabiana Mattiazzi
A decepção literária de 2016: bem poucos contos se salvam, são bons, até os de autores consagrados são desinteressantes, fracos. Me custa muito crer que estes sejam os melhores contos de um tema tão profundamente interessante. A edição também decepciona: introdução horrorosa e achei a leitura bem desconfortável.
Carrie
Aug 17, 2012 Carrie rated it really liked it
The stories in this anthology are thought-provoking, some more than others; some are just there for entertainment value or because they have time-travel involved in some capacity. I was surprised that Heinlein did not make it into this anthology; "All You Zombies" and "By His Bootstraps" are pretty important contributors to the genre, though I suspect it was issues with copyrights and not editor choice. I'm using this anthology to teach a literature course on Time Travel, and I believe the stori ...more
Sandy Parsons
Apr 30, 2011 Sandy Parsons rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
While this is a fair representation of great science fiction authors of the twentieth century, I don't agree it's the best collection of time travel stories. For one thing, was time traveling to hunt dinosaurs such a meme of the early twentieth that it required three stories? I did like that the stories were organized chronologically according to publication date, because it was interesting to track the level of time travel cognition required by the reader as our general knowledge of the subject ...more
Scott
Sep 28, 2011 Scott rated it liked it
I've always been wary of "Best Of" collections because, what one editor may find of quality, another may not, and then there is also myself, the reader, who also has his own views of what the parameters should be. I just don't feel the title of this collection lives up to its name. IMO, the stories start out strong with the "golden age" writers (Sturgeon, Clarke, Bradbury, Finney, Matheson), then seem to become less exciting and start to seem to pay only a passing glance with the topic of time t ...more
Jennifer
Jan 17, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
It's possible Harry Turtledove and I just have different opinions about what makes a story "great." On the other hand, it's quite odd when at least two of the stories are not actually about time travel at all--time travel is just a red herring. So is it a story about time travel if, say, someone thinks they're a time traveler but they turn out to just be insane? I'm not sure, but it's a bit offputting. My favorites are the more contemplative stories that use time travel as a means of saying some ...more
Clark Hallman
Contains: Yesterday Was Monday by Theodore Sturgeon, Time Locker by Henry Kuttner, Time's Arrow by Arthur C. Clarke, Death Ship by Richard Matheson, A Gun for Dinosaur by L. Sprague de Camp, The Man Who Came Earley by Poul Anderson, Rainbird by R.A. Lafferty, Leviathan! by Larry Niven, Anniversary Project by Joe Haldeman, Timetipping by Jack Dann, Fire Watch by Connie Willis, Sailing to Byzantium by Robert Silverberg, The Pure Product by John Kessel, Trapalanda by Charles Sheffield, The Price of ...more
Phillip
Feb 24, 2009 Phillip rated it really liked it
A cool collection, but it's funny: they're all about time travel, but they were all written not expecting to be paired with other time travel stories. Each one inevitably starts with a "mysterious" event occurring, and then an investigation and then some scientist finally confesses he's responsible, but the true answer is "shocking." Then he takes a breath and says, "I've built a time machine."

To which twenty different characters in twenty different stories all go, "A whaaaaaat?"
Dawn Barnhart
Feb 09, 2013 Dawn Barnhart rated it really liked it
most of the stories has been written prior to 1990 but all wonderful stories I think my favorite would have to be the prices of orange. I believe I read this book way back on first time out . I did truly enjoy reading the prices of oranges, a gun for dinosaur, time Locker, yesterday was Monday, and Leviathan the best . I believe yesterday was Monday what is made into well written 4 not sure which twilight zone or out of limits back in the 19 fifties or early sixties
Rogue Reader
Aug 22, 2016 Rogue Reader rated it liked it
So many different theories and narratives of time travel, you'd think there'd be a canon of sorts by now. But no. Loved a couple - the loving longed for loss returned 18 years ago by LeGuinn, Harry an old guy who goes back to 1936 to buy food and warm socks and feed his friend. Lots to enjoy, a couple to speed through.
John Orman
Mar 26, 2012 John Orman rated it really liked it
Includes neither of Heinlein's classic time travel tales, "All You Zombies" and "By His Bootstraps." No "Vintage Season", but does have Kuttner's "Time Locker." Includes the classics "A Sound of Thunder" (Bradbury) and A Gun for Dinosaur" (de Camp), as well as A.C. Clarke's "Time's Arrow." Great book for fans of time travel!
Riju Ganguly
May 09, 2012 Riju Ganguly rated it liked it
Till date this has been the only theme-based science fiction anthology that I have read. It had contained several classics, several not-so-famous and yet highly readable stories, and rubbish stuff. Try to find out the "best of" collections of some of the contributors, and there you may find many more jewels.
Chris C
Nov 15, 2007 Chris C rated it liked it
I haven't been a fan of the other "Best of" collections by Harry Turtledove but this one is a little different. Most of the stories in here are incredible and well chosen for their differences in approaching the "limited" world of time travel. I especially enjoyed Jack Finney's "I'm Scared" and the Ursula K. Le Guin's "Another Story".
Johnny
Mar 27, 2015 Johnny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Anthology

To me the highlight was the older stories. There is something so good and refreshing reading from the old masters. This science fiction authors that cut their teeth on the old pulp fiction and even though their science might be suspect, their writing skills are next to none.
Jeff
Feb 01, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, gem
This has some real gems including a story by Charles Sheffield, who I had never heard of before but quickly became a great fan of. Also, there is a World War II story that has a take on time travel and history I had never considered before and a great story by Nancy Kess called the Price of Oranges. Only a few stories were disappointing.
Roy Huff
Jan 15, 2013 Roy Huff rated it really liked it
I'm a lover of all things time travel. A very good compilation. A few of these have been turned into films, namely, The Sound of Thunder. A must read for a lover of the genre, but there is still something missing. I would give it 3.5 if possible.
Ralph
Jul 13, 2009 Ralph rated it it was ok
Some excellent stories - one can certainly see how these stories helped create the foundation for modern Time Travel stories.
Inclusion of several of the tales, which were of obvious lesser quality, was puzzling. It made me wonder what the editor's true criteria was?
Andrew
May 23, 2016 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: overdrive
the first half of the book was a lot better than the last half I think. probably because I enjoyed time travel going back to the past as opposed to the Future. Still I found several authors that I want to read more of their works now.
Elizabeth
Jan 05, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
A mixed group (with some entries, ironically, a bit dated) but overall very good quality of work.
Jesse Morgan
Mar 18, 2016 Jesse Morgan rated it really liked it
Very good anthology.
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Dr Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced a sizeable number of works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.

Harry Turtledove attended UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in Byzantine history in 1977.

Turtledove has been dubbed "The Master of Alternate History". Within this genre he is known both for creating original sce
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More about Harry Turtledove...

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