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Up the Line

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  873 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Being a Time Courier was one of the best jobs Judson Daniel Elliott III ever had. It was tricky, though, taking group after group of tourists back to the same historic event without meeting yourself coming or going. Trickier still was avoiding the temptation to become intimately involved with the past and interfere with events to come. The deterrents for any such actions w ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 4th 2002 by ibooks (first published 1969)
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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe Time Machine by H.G. WellsTimeline by Michael CrichtonSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Best Time Travel Fiction
115th out of 996 books — 3,215 voters
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The Best Time Travel Books of All Time
68th out of 335 books — 801 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,701)
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It was good. It was real good. Really really good. You know my favorite thing about reading time-travel books is the paradoxes. I like a good yarn with a lot of temporal paradoxes. And this had a lot of those.

It also had a lot more Greek history than I cared to know. Really, he beat the shit out of me with the tours, going too deeply into what the tour guides were teaching. Okay, Mr. Silverberg, we get it. You know your Byzantium history. Impressive, and I do love history. But not in this contex
Michael Pryor
I'm starting to think that, sometimes, 1950s SF holds up better than 1960s SF, especially the 1960s SF that extrapolates the society of the swingin' generation into a future that's full of tie-dye, love-ins and general grooviness, babe.
Sadly, 'Up the Line' suffers from this. I say 'sadly' because when I first read this book (in the mid-1970s ...) I enjoyed it immensely. On this re-reading, I find that the years haven't been kind to this tale. The good stuff is still good - great historical backg
If anyone would have told me some weirdo from GR was going to get me to start reading more Sci-fi and actually really liking it I would have laughed in their face. But here I am, so, thank you, Hugh.

I loved this. Loved. I thought it was brilliant. I've read a lot of snarky reviews for this one and I'm not really sure why. Nobody has a sense of humor anymore? Maybe. Maybe it just takes a lot to offend me, because not one thing in this book bothered me a bit. There are also a lot of people saying
I enjoyed this book a lot, but it is not for the pious. It is an well written, clever time-travel novel, with humorous passages. Jud Elliott bails on his job as a law clerk, moving to New Orleans in 2059. He blunders into a job as a Time Courier, taking tourists "up the line" (into the past) to Byzantium, one of his few areas of interest and knowledge. His mentor Metaxas helps bring teaches Jud how to bring the past to life for tourists, but also builds himself a comfortable life in the past, ri ...more
This book was selected as our monthly pick for our Time Travel Book Club on Goodreads. The book gets a little bogged down in the middle with pages and pages of Byzantine history that at times is about as exciting as reading an encyclopedia. However, the final twelve chapters make up for it. The excessive sexual content throughout the book might also turn off some readers. This book would have been just as enjoyable with a "PG-13" rating instead of "R." I'm giving this book four stars primarily b ...more
read this 3 times. I generally hate sci fi but was recommended this book by a family member. though it can be offensive, the story is amazing and the mental visuals of the ancient times described are addictive. An excellent though not for everyone book. Very hard to mentally take in a lot of the paradoxes though reading it a couple times seems to make it easier. I had trouble putting this book down.
Charles Dee Mitchell
I like time travel books, and so I was actually looking forward to this piece of boring, dated, sexist drivel. Oh, and I left out racist. The main character refers to his always "magnificently oiled" black friend as Sambo.

Silverberg wrote it when he was in his early thirties and it was published in 1969. Maybe he was pissed that he was just a little too old for the summer of love and all the drug-inhanced screwing he imagined went on then. In any case with Up the Line he took his always libido-h
A.E. Shaw

Parts of me wanted to give this book five stars, other parts, one star, so to compromise, three seems a good bet.

This is a ludicrous book, truly, it is a bizarre and incredibly dated read which includes the best and worst of timetravel stories, often on each page.

The structure of the story is magnificent - the details, nuances and generally neat workings out of some of the most complex parts of timetravel tales are the highlight of this. Really, it's not easy to construct this kind of thing so
Dated science fiction is hilarious. I am reminded of the "classic" stuff where a man is flying across the galaxy in an aluminum rocket-ship, chain-smoking cigarettes with a floating anti-gravity ashtray, and wearing a polyester spacesuit. I don't recall how I ended up with this paperback, but it's old. 1969. And the story is from front to back like those Austin Powers movies. This guy thought that a hundred years in the future people would still be using the stupid slang of the day. Calling each ...more
Mar 15, 2013 Bryan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
Let's keep this simple....

1) This book has not aged well. It's almost laughable today, but maybe it seemed trendy back in the 60's.

2) The amount of sex in this book is really very unfortunate.

3) The historical descriptions make the book of interest, but are also a bit dry.

4) The plot doesn't really make an appearance until the last 20% of the book or so. Things pick up quite a bit. It tempted me to rate this book one star higher, but I have resisted.

5) The time travel gimmickry may have been cu
A peculiar book, containing some delightful time-travel shenanigans and some of the very best science fictional handwaving and lampshading ever written about the paradoxes involved. Truly, that section of the book is a glory and a wonder. Up the Line is also very, very much of its time in one unfortunate fashion-- its women are furniture. A scene in which the narrator angrily forces sex with a semi-willing woman is uncomfortable enough, but the way in which an adult male pedophile's constant phy ...more
James Broussard
Another novel by Silverberg. I can't even really put an adjective in front of that 'novel' to describe how I feel about this one. It's better than some of his stuff, but not nearly as good as some of his best. By any other author this might be their top work, but for Silverberg it's just middle of the road right out of his most productive years.

One quality about the novel is that it really shows its age and its presence as a piece of New Wave science fiction from the 60s and 70s. The gratuitous
I like the Time Patrol element of this novel, making sure time tourists don't cause paradoxes and historical changes. I've not seen time travel approached from a tourist aspect before. I also liked the creative ending. I can't say I've seen such an ending before, so nicely done. However, I think Silverberg forgot he was writing one of his sci-fi novels rather than one of his sex novels, and made this a bit rated X in parts. The ideas behind the story get at least 4 stars, but the creepy incestuo ...more
I had to check a couple times to make sure it said 'Silverberg' and not 'Heinlein'. But gradually some indescribable essence of it made it seem like the sexism was more a product of the times than that of a man who would be a misogynist even today. Then it was pretty fun.
A very engaging story but I can't really get with the scientific conceit this author prefers for time-travel. I'm into the many-worlds approach where new timelines are split off by the intrusion of time-travellers.
Fascinating time travel novel with some really interesting ideas. The main character was likeable and fun.
When Daniel Elliott III meets Sam he has just run away from a boring but respectable carrier his family wanted for him, to lose himself in the pleasures in the New Orleans of 2059. Then he finds out that Sam is working as Time Courier and joins the ranks to lead tourists to visit interesting points in time and experience the past.
Although he - like all other time travelers - is educated about paradoxes and the trickyness of conserving the current time stream, he soon finds out that nearly everon
I liked the overall pace and tenor of the book - very engrossing and fun. I loved the premise of time tourism. Certain classics had already established the Time Patrol, so why not this? It was irreverent, with a flippant attitude towards human greed, I thought: Well we can protect the past or make a buck, boys, which'll it be?? Hmmm....

The humor was not overdone, either. Some of the situations had their humor, but there was no bashing you over the head with it.

I thought this book held up well w
I've enjoyed most of Silverberg's books that I've read, but I hadn't remembered the level of humor I found in this one. Not heavy-handed, but just enough that I'd find myself chuckling from time to time. But that's not what made me give it a 4-star rating. I absolutely love the idea of hopping around in the past to discover facts about one's ancestors. As a long-time genealogist, I kept thinking how much I'd like to be able to do that. I also liked Jud Elliott, the protagonist -- the scrapes he ...more
I would have given this book four stars if it were not for the beginning section, which is a laughably dated attempt by Silverberg to embrace the drug-hazed, free-loving hippie idea. But after this, the sci-fi writer-historian Silverberg kicks in and we are treated to one of the all-time great Time-Travel narratives.
Judson Daniel Elliott III works as a Time Courier, really a time-travel guide, leading tourists through actual events in history. Of course, the Crucifixion is a very popular destina
Robert Stewart
This is a good time travel story that directly confronts the paradoxes of time. If you're the type of person who complains that sci-fi writers tend to shy away from paradoxes, then you'll enjoy this book. In fact, you'll probably get more than you bargained for. Towards the end the plot becomes really intricate, with all sorts of temporal twists and turns. The story ends with two surprises that I thought were a nice touch. My only complaint is that the story is unnecessarily oversexed and this b ...more
Not quite sure how to rate this book. It was funny and interesting. The story skips along nicely and there a some crazy characters and a few good laughs. However it hasn't dated well and it's depiction of women and rape will be of putting to some people. Silverberg also helpfully described the boobs on every female character as if he invented them. If you can ignore that as the fantasy of either a very old man or a very young and silly boy and you don't mind reading 'Haghia Sofia' 200 times then ...more
Richard Ward
Comic blend of sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, and erotica. Sometimes the erotic sections probably cross the hazy, subjective line into pornography; either way, the book is definitely adult reading. That's too bad, really, since time travel adventures are always going to appeal to younger readers. In this book the protagonist takes a job as a time travel tour guide, specializing in medieval Constantinople. He gets himself in trouble with the Time Patrol, cops whose job it is to make sure ti ...more
David Merrill
This book was definitely a product of the time it was written. A couple of the main characters are obsessed with sex and traveling back in time to have it with their great great grandmothers. I suppose it was hocking in its day. So much so, the protagonist breaks a number of major time traveling laws while pursuing an ancestor. It was an OK read, but there are plenty of better time travel novels out there.
Sep 19, 2011 Lisa added it
An interesting conceit bogged down by excessive mentions of the protagonist's sexual prowess. It turns out that the number of times I will put up with an author describing how a character wants to boink his ultimate grandmother while time traveling in Byzantium is actually quite small. The history aspect of the novel was cool though!
Michael Tildsley
If I was to rate this book based off of my resentment of the more graphic portrayal of future sex-driven society, I'd give it 3 stars. However, since I'm overlooking that to the extent that I want to comment on the time-travel elements and the nature of paradoxes, I have to give this book its due.
Mlle Cordelia
Si vous me suivez sur Youtube, vous avez dû voir passer ma vidéo Trois romans... de SF dans laquelle je parle de ce roman. D'ailleurs souvenez-vous, j'avais chroniqué un autre roman de Silverberg en avril : Le livre des crânes, que j'avais a-do-ré. Celui ci m'a un peu déçue, à mon grand regret. Pourtant sur le papier, il avait tout pour me plaire : c'est l'histoire d'un homme dans le futur qui devient guide temporel. Il se retrouve à faire visiter différentes époques à des touristes, en particul ...more
Anna Suave
I read Up The Line as a kid of about 13 or so. I recall it being absolutely fantastic. Not so sure what I'd rate it if I re-read it today or how it has weather the last 25 years or so. But man, if you're a kid that loves sci-fi & time travel - this book is fan-freakin-tastic!
Although laugh-out loud dated in many spots and flawed here and there, you can definitely see the influence on the time-travel writing models of Kage Baker and Connie Willis. Good enough to recommend to others, with the proper caveats.
After a bit of a dodgy start the book settles into an interesting account of the paradoxes of time travel. Written with a 1970's style sexuality from a male point of view and Silverberg's usual knack for story telling.
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Time Travel: UP THE LINE: General Discussion 31 90 Feb 05, 2013 10:52AM  
Time Travel: UP THE LINE: Chapters 32-44 10 14 Sep 27, 2011 09:13AM  
Time Travel: UP THE LINE: Chapters 44-End 3 9 Sep 05, 2011 07:46AM  
Time Travel: UP THE LINE: Chapters 18-31 3 12 Sep 02, 2011 11:18PM  
Time Travel: UP THE LINE: Chapters 1-17 13 23 Aug 29, 2011 07:47PM  
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  • And Chaos Died
  • Time Storm
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Robert Silverberg is one of science fiction’s most beloved writers, and the author of such contemporary classics as Dying Inside, Downward to the Earth and Lord Valentine’s Castle, as well as At Winter’s End, also available in a Bison Books edition. He is a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the winner of five Nebula Awards and five Hugo Awards. In 2004 the Sc ...more
More about Robert Silverberg...
Lord Valentine's Castle (Lord Valentine, #1) Legends The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume 1 Dying Inside Legends II

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