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Time Travelers Never Die

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,451 Ratings  ·  304 Reviews
When physicist Michael Shelborne mysteriously vanishes, his son Shel discovers that he had constructed a time travel device. Fearing his father may be stranded in time—or worse—Shel enlists the aid of Dave Dryden, a linguist, to accompany him on the rescue mission.

Their journey through history takes them from the enlightenment of Renaissance Italy through the American Wil
Hardcover, 371 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by Ace Hardcover (first published September 11th 2009)
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Best Time Travel Fiction
102nd out of 1,243 books — 3,981 voters
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Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century
207th out of 501 books — 5,599 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sean O'Hara
Jun 03, 2010 Sean O'Hara rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Time Travelers Never Die is about a science fiction writer named Jack McDevitt who's read a bunch of historical biographies and decides to write a novel that incorporates them all, even though there's no rhyme or reason why a time traveler would pick these random points in history.

The "story" begins with David attending his friend Shel's funeral, only to find, upon returning home, that Shel is waiting for him. Shel and Dave are time travelers, so the fact that they die at some point in time does
Aug 24, 2010 Sandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2010, audiobooks
When I was a little girl, there was a show on TV called The Time Tunnel. It was one of my favorites. Those time travelers were so cute. Later on, I fell in love with H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. My favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone and Star Trek involved time travel. I even used to watch those old Dr. Who shows on PBS and want to go traveling with the Doctor in the Tardis.

Time Travelers Never Die is an old-fashioned time travel novel that reminds me a lot of those time traveling shows in t
Nathan Nipp
Although admonished not to judge a book by its cover, I frequently set my expectations by what the back cover blurb says, regardless of the fact that it is frequently written by someone in the marketing dept. who not even read the book. Sometimes these expectations are not met, resulting in disappointment. But sometimes, the book is different than its cover in the best of ways. Such was this book.

If I had to describe the book in one sentence, it might be, "A far more serious version of Bill and
Jan 27, 2010 Megan rated it it was ok
The person who read this book before me complained about it to me and told me that she didn't want a history lesson with her book. I love history, and I thought that a time travel story without a bit of history would be a lame time travel story indeed, so I picked it up after her. Now I kind of understand where she was going with her complaint. This book is all about the history with its time travel. Boy, is it. The characters really live it up in every possible moment in history (except the one ...more
Sep 17, 2011 Brooke rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, 2011
Rather light and fluffy science fiction, a bit like Bill & Ted minus the goofiness. There isn't much conflict driving the plot, just some adventuring and sight-seeing.
Apr 29, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
Well, I don't know. I'm not the kind of guy who typically finishes a book in four days, so I guess the way I ate this up must be a compliment, right? I'm very torn on what to say in this review. Typically I'm a sucker for time travel stories and a sucker for Jack McDevitt, so while this wasn't the best time travel story and it wasn't the best McDevitt story it doesn't seem like something I could realistically hate. Ultimately, I'd say it wasn't great, but it was a fast read an entertaining, so I ...more
Sep 27, 2010 Jackie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: sci-fi timer travel enthusiasts
Better than I thought it'd be. Although in some places, I felt the lead characters, Shel and Dave, had a cavalier attitude in their use, (or abuse) of the time travelling device. Still a good book if you like time travelling novels.
Jan 22, 2010 Robin rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-in-10
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matthew Hester
Oct 25, 2012 Matthew Hester rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what to think about this book.
I feel like I want to really like it, but keep asking myself: why?

Nothing in this book is in any way original. I suppose when it comes to writing a story about the ultimate science-fiction cliche that's bound to happen; but there are enough recent examples I could point to to show that even tired concepts like time travel can be given a unique spin.
It's pretty obvious from the get go McDevitt wasn't going for originality, so I can't really criticize him
Jul 23, 2014 Liviu rated it it was amazing
Typical McDevitt book that keeps you engrossed while you do not want to question too much its premises; our bumbling but endearing heroes (Shel and Dave) travel throughout history and have many adventures, most due to their ineptness; the cameos of Aristarchus of Alexandria, the civil rights leaders of the 60's and some of the Founding Fathers are the best, with a Borgia and the goons in the south suitably menacing...

A great ending and the book hangs together though it's more Time Traveler's Wi
Mar 25, 2016 Indrek rated it really liked it
Mitmekülgne teadlane Michael Shelborne jääb segastel asjaoludel kadunuks. On aasta 2018. Tema poeg Adrian "Shel" Shelborne leiab isa poolt juhuslikult leiutatud pihuarvutsuuruse seadeldise, millega saab ringi liikuda nii ajas kui ruumis. Loomulikult on põhjust minna kadunuks jäänud isa otsima.

McDevitt`i ajarännuteemaline romaan on oluliselt erinev kui võrrelda seda kasvõi nt Heinleini "Enese ees ja järel" või Asimovi "Igaviku lõpuga". Mingis võtmes väga mäkdevitlik lugu oma argisuse ja detailiro
Melissa McShane
Slow to start, uninspired treatment of the subject, too many other good books to read, didn't bother finishing.
An Odd1
Jul 30, 2013 An Odd1 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When his father Michael disappears, leaving instructions to destroy hand-sized devices he calls "converters", Shel accidentally finds the inventions enable time travel. To find his parent and meet famous men, he enlists his best friend. Dave, a linguist, translates in Renaissance Italy, helps find lost Sophocles plays in the library of Alexander the Great, and gets jailed at a negro rights demonstration. Shel wants to settle down with Helen, but somebody's body is found burned in his bed and Dav ...more
Aug 28, 2010 Samantha rated it really liked it
Time travel is a tricky subject. There are so many variations on the theme, with so many potential difficulties, that it can be challenging to present it in a truly believable way. Now, I'm the sort of reader who's willing to set nitpicky details aside if the story is engaging enough, which almost certainly plays into my feelings on this book.

'Time Travelers' tells the story of buddies Shel and Dave as they journey through the ages. At first on a quest to locate Shel's father, eventually it turn
May 10, 2010 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Your Dad disappears from his home in suburban Philadelphia. There is evidence that he went in, but never came out (all the doors and windows are locked from the inside; his keys and personal effects are inside). But he has left two devices, about the size of a walkman, in your care. As you wait to hear from the police searching for your Dad's whereabouts, you experiment with the controls on one of the devices and suddenly find yourself half way across the state of Pennsylvania a day later!

Jeffrey Jelmeland
I wish I knew why I always feel like the story is stalling out about two thirds of the way through any of McDevitt's work that I read, but every time I stick with it and ride the story to the end I find that the journey was well worth the effort of moving past that stalling point. Once more his story drew me into the characters, and the characters drew me into the ever unfolding story. Not many authors write such that I actually care about the characters, and start to think of them as actual hum ...more
Nov 09, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jason Ashlock, Michael A.
Recommended to Jamie by: Jason
This was just a fun book, plain and simple, and a great read. I am a big fan of time-travel stories. Although not quite as much fun as Joe Haldeman's The Accidental Time Machine, the story itself was enjoyable. The character's romp through time is very much the kind of journey I'd want to take if I had access to a time machine. There were clever uses of time-travel paradoxes throughout the story, and it was fun feeling like I was getting to meet famous people from history. As far as time travel ...more
Jul 28, 2012 Craig rated it really liked it
This one's quite a bit different from McDevitt's space adventures, but I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable. It's a very good time travel novel; I'd rank it up there with Heinlein's THE DOOR INTO SUMMER and Gerrold's THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF. I didn't think that the characters were quite as well developed as his usual standards (nor was the plot quite as tightly developed), because his obvious enthusiasm for the subject matter pretty much overwhelmed everything else. It's a travelogue of his ...more
Mar 16, 2011 Brett rated it it was ok
Finished "Time Travelers Never Die" by Jack McDevitt. Of all the time travel books and movies I've read/seen so far (and there are a LOT of them), this one is the lamest. It's not that the writing was necessarily bad. It's just that the two protagonists were just that stupid throughout. I was amused when near the end they were described as a comedy duo because of their differences, since throughout the story I was thinking it should've been called, "Laurel and Hardy Find a Time Machine." Or Abbo ...more
Dann Todd
Nov 18, 2015 Dann Todd rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, history
A 2 star review on my scale is not a book that I would recommend. 2 stars is an accurate assessment of my experience.

The use of language and grammar were fine. This is a well edited tome.

My issues involve spoilers, so.....

(view spoiler)
Allan Dyen-Shapiro
Mar 30, 2015 Allan Dyen-Shapiro rated it really liked it
McDevitt usually writes space opera, and us such, one would expect a plot-driven novel. Expectation met. What's fun is his take on time travel required scrupulous care to setting up events where the characters must set up the events after learning that it happened. So, no hard science fiction here, like McDevitt is known for--indeed, no real mechanistic examination of time travel at all. But he still managed to make it detail-oriented.

Not a lot of emphasis on plot coherence--basically, people ro
Jun 02, 2016 Linda rated it liked it
I love the ideas in McDevitt's books but for me, the story telling, never quite lives up to those ideas. This was a fun, quick read but never did it get to the kinds of things that you would think would be the ones most people would want answered right away.

The time machine is essentially delivered into the characters hands as something that exists and no explanation for how it works is ever attempted. For this book the author takes the view that history is fixed and can't be changed which preve
Apr 03, 2014 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy time travel novels and this one was no exception although I thought that in some places this one got a little bit carried away. It was sometimes hard to follow all the travels through time to retrieve one of the travel devices, etc. Overall though, I did like the story which starts out at the funeral of one of the main characters, Shel, who then comes back using time travel. The story then tells how Shel came into possession of three time travel devices invented by his father and ...more
Mar 14, 2014 Catherine rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one. I haven't read a lot of McDevitt, but I'll be on the lookout for more of his work. I'm a sucker for time travel stories and I love seeing different people's takes on the paradox problem. This one didn't concern too much with that, instead focusing on as many historical events as McDevitt could cram in, and it delighted me to no end. It also had me thinking about what historical events I would like to see, and the list is about as endless as the places Shel and Dave tra ...more
Jan 12, 2010 Randy rated it it was amazing
Michael Shelborne learns after his father disappears that he'd invented a time machine. Recruiting his friend, Dave Dryden, a linguist, the pair begin a hunt through time looking for the elder Shelborne.

It's addictive and they visit all the most famous eras, places, people, of time. The paradoxes pile up and then they begin to go downtime, to the future. The consequences could be catastrophic.
Joey Brockert
This was an enjoyable little romp through time. Two old friends find that Shel's Dad has left them a device that moves them through time and space. It takes some getting used to what it does (the first time shel uses it, he falls on his backside because he is sitting on his couch and where he goes it is not there, so he falls to the ground), but they get the hang of it and have all sorts of adventures.
The cool part is that the device moves them through space and time. Ya know, the Earth and th
Brent Stansfield
Jul 01, 2014 Brent Stansfield rated it did not like it
A time travel storyteller has to bring something interesting to the premise if he wants to entertain; McDevitt doesn't. If you want a time travel story that focuses on historical fiction, a little romance, and good humor, then read Connie Willis' "To Say Nothing of the Dog". Give this one a miss.

The primary conceit here is that the time travel seems to cost nothing and has few limitations. The time machine brings a person--clothes and possessions as well--anywhere and anytime with excelled preci
Merit Coba
Jun 20, 2014 Merit Coba rated it did not like it
I am sorry to say that this book bored me off the bat and by page thirty I returned it to the library. The writer is to blame for this.

He takes the roundabout route in telling how two friends discover that the device a dad of them left behind is actually a time travelling machine. You know the type of dad. A brilliant scientist who in his free time makes time travelling devices from computer spare parts and names them, how original, QPads.

The dad has disappeared in time and the search for him is
Fredric Mau
Jul 16, 2013 Fredric Mau rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
McDevitt is my favorite author - and this is an awesome book! I highly recommend this one, even for people who are not sci-fi fans! Because, really, if you had easy time travel, what would you do? Certainly not visit wars and disasters and such. Enjoy the read! And I wanna visit La Belle Époque!
May 08, 2015 Chet rated it really liked it
This book is about a *lot* of time traveling--not just one or two excursions into the past or future. Use it for entertainment, to solve problems, and, of course, to make money. Going into the future and Googling your name is not recommended, though. A nice read.
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Around the Year i...: Time Travelers Never Die, by Jack McDevitt 4 19 Feb 16, 2016 05:40AM  
anachronisms? 3 12 Sep 13, 2013 11:15AM  
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Jack McDevitt is a former English teacher, naval officer, Philadelphia taxi driver, customs officer and motivational trainer. His work has been on the final ballot for the Nebula Awards for 12 of the past 13 years. His first novel, The Hercules Text, was published in the celebrated Ace Specials series and won the Philip K. Dick Special Award. In 1991, McDevitt won the first $10,000 UPC Internation ...more
More about Jack McDevitt...

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“A friend is a second self.” 0 likes
“Time is like a river. As soon as a thing is seen, it is carried away and another takes its place, and then that other is carried away also. —MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS         DAVE” 0 likes
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