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Timeline

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  119,802 ratings  ·  2,849 reviews
In an Arizona desert, a man wanders in a daze, speaking words that make no sense. Within twenty-four hours he is dead, his body swiftly cremated by his only known associates. Halfway around the world, archaeologists make a shocking discovery at a medieval site. Suddenly they are swept off to the headquarters of a secretive multinational corporation that has developed an as ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 489 pages
Published June 2000 by Arrow Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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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
4th out of 1,016 books — 3,289 voters
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank Herbert1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
60th out of 4,569 books — 16,226 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stacey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Space
This was the first Crichton novel I read, which is probably to his advantage. I knew it was fiction, so I was able to pick it up and cruise right through it. Had I started on The Andromeda Strain, or Airframe, I might have thought he was a non-fiction writer and not given him a proper chance. As it turns out, I was instantly hooked, and began to furiously and ferociously collect everything I could get my hands on by Michael Crichton. Now I've read most of his novels, and have met him in person. ...more
John
I loved this book... and then some arse made a really crap film and the book lost some of its shine... I couldn't rid my mind of the film set and actors.

I still quite like the book.
Joe Valdez
The next stop in my time travel marathon (November being Science Fiction Month) was Timeline, Michael Crichton's 1999 thriller. Crichton was not what I think of as a prolific writer; he published sixteen novels in his lifetime under this own name, beginning in 1969 with The Andromeda Strain. Perhaps the movies produced from most of these titles make it seem like Crichton was everywhere. I'd like to think that maybe the author devoted the time between novels conducting backbreaking research. With ...more
Jim
This was a good one.

When you step into a time machine, fax yourself through a "quantum foam wormhole," and step out in feudal France circa 1357, be very, very afraid. If you aren't strapped back in precisely 37 hours after your visit begins, you'll miss the quantum bus back to 1999 and be stranded in a civil war, caught between crafty abbots, mad lords, and peasant bandits all eager to cut your throat. You'll also have to dodge catapults that hurl sizzling pitch over castle battlements. On the
...more
Eric
I’ve never been terribly impressed with Michael Crichton. He writes excellent action and adventure scenes, but his characters always seem flat and one-dimensional, never doing much more than dodging dinosaurs or white gorillas. Not surprisingly, what I feel is his best novel to date, Disclosure, lacks the heart-pounding action and delves more into conflicts between characters, which I found much more compelling.

I had high hopes for Timeline, a weighty book that had drawn good reviews from the f
...more
Lisa

This book was my introduction to Crichton and I fell in love!
I fell in love because this is an author who does extensive research on the subjects he writes about. So he not only entertains, he teaches you something in the process.
In Timeline, Crichton combines science(quantum technology) and history(medieval) in a heart-stopping adventure. A group of historians are given the opportunity to literally enter life in fourteenth-century feudal France. But this is not your typical time travel story.
misha
Total piece of crap book that I got from a book swap.

That said, while I did a lot of skimming, this was a perfectly fine book to read while on mass transit... as long as I kept the cover down so that no one would know that I was reading crap.

And now you know that I sometimes read crap.
Rad Ryan
A novel for all-time. The one who made me to love books.
At my age when I read it, I was like WHAT THE HELL, WHAT's THE MEANING OF THAT WORD . I was 13 at that time, I always make a fool out of myself. My classmates were asking me how can I understand it or do I understand it, all kinds of questions who irritates me.

3 months=1 book!
I mean how hurtful and so hateful with it! There are more books than to read! And my goal for my life is to read more than 100 books or even more!
I HATE NOVELS *c
...more
John
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Werner
Jun 17, 2009 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of action-oriented science-fiction
My reaction to this book was a lot more favorable than Stacey's --but I do have to agree with some of her criticisms. Because of his "hard" sci-fi orientation, Crichton insisted on trying to extrapolate an explanation for time-travel from existing science, his vehicle being quantum theory. Since this is too complex and counter-intuitive for most people to understand (and some of us suspect it of being a bunch of hooey anyway!), the "explanation" doesn't serve much purpose, and does wind up being ...more
Jackie
Time travel gets me almost everytime!
This novel was exciting and unique, I could hardly put it down. Cool quantum technology that I barely understood aside, I felt like I was transported to the 100 Years War along with the team that sets out to find the Professor. And that's what makes a good novel into a great novel for me, and Timeline delivered.
One of Crichton's best.
And I got a crush on Marek so that helps in keeping it on my favorite book list. I think I'll read in again soon.
Stephen
2.0 stars. My least favorite Michael Crichton novel. I just never became interested in any of the characters or the story line.
Damon
Crichton takes another swing at time travel. After a brainy first act that presents a layman's comprehension of quantum physics, the narrative shifts admirably into a more traditional adventure story about a group of college students trapped in France during the Hundred Years War, who have to use their modern educations of the 17th century to survive and get back home. One of the things I like about the science in Crichton's books is that it feels like he is explaining it to himself even as he e ...more
Lynn
It seems a lot of people feel this was one of Crichton's weaker efforts but I enjoyed reading this. It may be that, beyond the opening, there was not as much technology-driven plot as there was medieval adventure and romance. I thought it was entertaining and found that Crichton was able to keep me interested while I was reading.

Not a bad way to spend your reading time.
Alicja
Rating: 3/5

Summary: A mysterious company has been developing new quantum technologies... A mysterious archeological site in France founded by the mysterious company leads a professor to seek answers from those who provide his research funding... The professor's grad students find modern objects at the site dating back to the 14th century... The professor is trapped in time and they must attempt a rescue...

Review:

Here is what I loved about it:
1. The research into theoretical physics and perfect
...more
Patrice Hoffman
Another great read by the late Michael Crichton. I always feel a little smarter after having read one of his novels because of his writing approach and how he offers nuggets of factual information. These factual nuggets are what makes his novels so popular. They are well-researched and laid out in a way that isn't intimidating to the reader.

I was extremely excited that this turned out to be an adventure story wrapped up in pretty science-fiction wrapping paper, topped of historical fiction as i
...more
Chris Dietzel
Growing up, I read all of Crichton's books and loved each one. But everything that made those books so entertaining was missing in Timeline. The premise seemed implausible, even with advances in technology and a suspension of disbelief on the reader's part. This is shocking considering the same author made it feel completely realistic that dinosaurs could be recreated. To add to this, the plot felt manufactured and the characters were never developed to make you care about them. I would recommen ...more
Stefan Yates
Entertaining novel with a good sounding scientific premise (whether it could actually be done or not is definitely up for debate.) Like most Crichton books, his material is extremely well research and presented in a manner that you don't question where he got his facts from and if you did, he provides a lengthy bibliography.



This is not one of his better novels, but is still a good read. The basic gist of the story is that some scientists create a sort of time travel but one of their scientists g
...more
Kathryn
I was stunned at the lack of character description in this book. It's no wonder these novels are made so easily into screenplays. Granted, it's only the second Crichton novel I've ever read, so perhaps I should know better?

The premise of Timeline was strangely dichotomous pro/anti-science. I'm not sure if the author is implying that people are what make innovations morally wrong, or that extreme innovations are morally wrong by themselves. This story is another instance of the low-tech scientist
...more
Chris Schmutz
Andromeda Strain is a classic. Of course Congo, Rising Sun, and Jurassic Park are his 'biggies'. For me, I think his creativity was most unique in Timeline. The book was absolutely outstanding for me. it involves time & place travel, and manages to handle some of the paradoxes thereto quite well.

THE MOVIE WAS A HORRIBLE RECOUNTING OF THIS STORY !!! The movie was made at a time when FINALLY technology in film making was such that it might possibly be able to do this story justice. And then th
...more
Elyse
Oct 19, 2008 Elyse rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in time travel and medieval history
Recommended to Elyse by: My friend
Professor Johnston is leading an excavation trip in France with several of his students, but he leaves to speak with the founder of the company that's sponsoring the dig. There he finds out that the company has built a time machine that can transport you to 14th century France. He decides to see for himself what life was really like back there. But he is trapped and leaves clues for his students to find in the future, informing them that he is lost in the past. From there, they must travel back ...more
Alyssa Archambo
Many might be familiar with Timeline from the movie adaptation with Paul Walker and Gerard Butler -- I saw that movie ages ago when it came out and finally got around to reading the book. I can't really compare it to the movie, because I saw that so long ago, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Timeline is about a group of archaeologists who must travel to the fourteenth century (during a time of war) to rescue their professor.

Honestly, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Though I lo
...more
Nikki
What happens when people go into the past using time travel? Knowing Crichton's works, you may have some idea. Like his other works that I have read, this one is full of technical knowledge that brings even more credibility into the actual story. Without the background technical information this could have ended up as just another time travel novel without the needed information to make it plausible.

For this installment of Crichton, he takes us on an adventure that does not really start out in
...more
Stephen Gallup
I listened to Timeline on audio sometime back in the 90s, and many of the scenes remained with me thereafter. When my 9-year-old daughter recently expressed interest in this sort of genre, I played it again in the car, primarily for her benefit. Turns out that was a mistake, because the language was too strong for her. She didn't particularly like the violence, either.

For me, experiencing it again from her point of view was an eye-opening experience. I sympathize with parents who try to shield t
...more
Ohr
The plot is always moving, the book contains plenty of action, and Crichton still retains mastery of his superlative ability to organically include plenty of interesting and entertaining information (in the case of this book that information is about medieval France, not the ridiculous quantum physics time travel nonsense Crichton vomited on to the page), but it's just SO stupid and dull. Not to mention my loathing of time travel plots to begin with (if you think you found a way to avoid a parad ...more
Kenny
I am a huge fan of Michael Crichton, but not because he's a great writer. I think his books are adequately written, often with painful dialogue, implausible situations, and unrealistic characters.

That being said, he is an IDEA guy and comes up with some of the very best ideas for books: Recreating dinosaurs (Jurassic Park), debunking global warming (State of Fear), human hybrids (Next), virtual reality (Westworld -- remember this was the 1970s), business-killing political bureaucracies (Airframe
...more
Jared
When an author can't create anything new you end up with this. This is a Michael Crichton novel so you know you going to get a team of top-notch scientists, some wealthy, eccentric entrepreneur, and a big scientific/horrific dilemma. The only problem is the entire plot. Here we have time travel. A wealthy, eccentric entrepreneur with some scientists figure out how to go back in time. They go to the middle ages. People get lost in time. Now, they need a new team of scientists to get them back. Th ...more
Mark Hebwood
This story brought a huge smile to my face - Timeline is one of these books which leave you sad when you finish them. Like a good, long friend has left you to live somewhere far away.

Crichton creates a story that brings together cutting edge theories in physics (this time it is the multiverse) and a good old-fashioned adventure story set in medieval Europe. The plot starts slowly and accelerates throughout. Plot twists do not slow the story down, its pace never loses momentum. Characters are wel
...more
Travis Daniel Bow
You've got your time travel, your jousting, your sword-fighting and James-Bond devices, your action scenes and a literal count-down to raise the tension, plus a few Crichton-ish discourses on the nature of technology, physics, and history.

What's not to like?

Flat characters, mainly. I wouldn't have batted an eye if any of them died, didn't really care about their mortal peril, and didn't find any of them interesting beyond their interesting choices of profession.

Also, like a bad action movie, th
...more
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Timeline 23 146 Dec 09, 2014 05:51PM  
SFBRP Listeners: Time travel (#152). Crichton's Timeline 10 60 Feb 10, 2012 04:34AM  
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Michael Crichton (1942–2008) was one of the most successful novelists of his generation, admired for his meticulous scientific research and fast-paced narrative. He graduated summa cum laude and earned his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1969. His first novel, Odds On (1966), was written under the pseudonym John Lange and was followed by seven more Lange novels. He also wrote as Michael Douglas ...more
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“In other centuries, human beings wanted to be saved, or improved, or freed, or educated. But in our century, they want to be entertained. The great fear is not of disease or death, but of boredom. A sense of time on our hands, a sense of nothing to do. A sense that we are not amused.” 73 likes
“Professor Johnston often said that if you didn't know history, you didn't know anything. You were a leaf that didn't know it was part of a tree.” 32 likes
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