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Thrice Upon a Time

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  758 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
SOS FROM A FUTURE THAT WILL NEVER BEIt's amazing enough when Murdoch Ross's brilliant grandfather invents a machine that can send messages to itself in the past or the future. But when signals begin to arrive without being sent, Murdoch realizes that every action he takes changes the future that would have been...and that the world he lives in has already been altered!Then ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Baen Books (first published February 12th 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Erica Lundstrom
Jul 04, 2014 Erica Lundstrom rated it did not like it
I started reading this book when it came out (1980). I stopped reading at what i thought was about 1/3 though...I never forgot not finishing the book and the title popped into my head every couple of years (or more). It haunted me so much that I decided to attempt it again in June of 2014. I only took a few chapters of analytical supposition to understand why I quit reading the 1st time...I decided to 'speed read' through the book. It probably contains some interesting theories....I read enough ...more
Christine Brennen-leigh
Wow. I THINK there was a story there. Sometimes I couldn't tell because of all the technical jargon and overly detailed explanations. OK, you are trying to sell me on sending information through time. I've kind of already suspended my belief in order to read the book. You don't have to keep selling me on the idea. I'm there, I'm reading. Let's just get to the actual story! Waaaaayyyyy to wordy, not enough enjoyment.
John Loyd
Apr 08, 2015 John Loyd rated it it was amazing
Thrice Upon a Time (1980) 310 pages by James P. Hogan

This novel started out with a lot of theoretical discussion between the protagonists, with a lot of "I knew this guy from when I worked at..." The first discussion was about sending messages back in time, and how would that affect reality. How does it avoid a paradox? What happens to the world when a message is sent back to a time where they hadn't previously received that message?

Murdoch and Lee are Americans, who are coming to work is Scotl
Jul 22, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it
There are two kinds of time travel works of fiction. The one were the time travel just happens and the other one were the author takes you through every step of the science and the possible paradoxes involved. This book is of the later category. The author really understands physics and logic and knows how to present them in an interesting fashion.

This is not really a fiction story in as much as the author doesn't create the drama through the developing of characters and situations but he builds
Jul 29, 2007 Bill rated it it was amazing
One of James P Hogan's best. Paradoxes mount up as the invention of a time communication device is eventually used (twice) to save the world. Mind bender at times. Hard science fiction at it's best (with the exception of Heinlein, Asimov, and Niven - good company to be with)
Brent Moffitt
Jun 10, 2011 Brent Moffitt rated it it was ok
Very interesting idea of how multiple universes might work, but the story seemed a little contrived. Hogan seems to have written a theory wrapped in an uninspired story rather than telling a good story and working the theory into the storyline.
Apr 19, 2013 Hal rated it it was ok
James P. Hogan has some really great ideas that he explores quite thoroughly in this book. Having spent a great deal of time thinking about communication through time in my own work, it was refreshing to read a story where someone had gone into as much or more effort.

The science, however, takes priority at the expense of characterization, and there were certain passages that made me gag. Almost every description of the female characters contained very sexist judgments. The only saving grace was
Printable Tire
I always forget I like "hard" science fiction- a sub genre which above all others deserves the title science fiction, as it encompasses stories of "fictional science." "Hard" science fiction can certainly be boring, or badly written, but if done correctly, the science part can get my brain stimulated in directions it usually doesn't want to go.

Thrice Upon a Time's science was dizzying- it was hard enough wrapping my head around the time travel parts, let alone experimental nuclear fusion. And th
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 21, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Hard Science Fans with Much Patience for Exposition
I'm afraid I agree with an Amazon review I saw that this would have done much better as a short story or novella. This is a work of hard science fiction, with an emphasis on hard science and not so good on the fiction. Hogan has done better--I quite liked his characters in Realtime Interrupt, but here, although it's a great idea, I just don't find the ideas compelling enough to make up for a weak plot and characters. This isn't the usual time travel book and I do appreciate all the thought Hogan ...more
Oct 16, 2015 Traxus rated it it was ok
Shelves: time-travel
Although it has potential as a hard-sf time travel story, the storytelling style is rather bad. Descriptions are too detailed everywhere, making it tedious to read through. On the other side it gets too short when the story gets interesting. It also has minor story flaws, like people not getting greedy about the machine, or an additional 2nd conflict not really needed, as it brings nothing new to the story. So from a 3-4 star story rating it drops to a 2 star rating, because of the hard reading.
Aug 05, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was good. It did take me time to get into the story because there was so much technical / programming stuff. But once I got the hang of that it was good. Usually if I cannot get into the book fast enough I give up and move on. This story kept me hooked however and is worth the read.
Adriaan Brae
Aug 17, 2013 Adriaan Brae rated it it was amazing
Hands-down the best hard-SF time travel book out there. This should be required reading for anyone contemplating writing a time-travel book or script (Yes, I'm looking at you Hollywood)

This book is all about the technical description, and the implications of the technology. There's a distinct lack of in-depth characterization - it's just enough to keep the story rolling along.

To enjoy, I think you need to be the kind of reader that gets chills down you spine when you read a really wild new idea,
Dec 27, 2013 Tomislav rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This book was a very slow starter for me. In the first half, Hogan's characters spend an inordinate amount of time discussing particle physics, which is not the conceptual focus of the story. Finally, in the second half, it begins to work on time and causality - which is far more interesting to me, and I suspect most readers. Especially, since the standard model is pretty classical these days. What the story does do, is to skillfully overlay an emotional arc across backdrop of cross-time causali ...more
Ronald Smith
My first time "travel" book. Also, one of my first sci-fi reads. I'll always remember it fondly.
Sep 24, 2014 Kantadharm rated it it was amazing
Perhaps possible ( one day?
Nov 27, 2014 John rated it liked it
1982 grade B+
2004 grade C
Jan 20, 2013 MD rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Even though I read this book decades ago I still remember being astonished that the publisher would give away so much of the plot in the title. The entire time I was reading the second timeline I was aware it was going to be reset and that really detracted from the suspense of the story. But for that, I think this would have been a much more enjoyable read and I would have given it a higher rating. Now I see that in a newer edition they have given away the author's twist in the artwork as well!
Matt Kelly
Nov 23, 2013 Matt Kelly rated it really liked it
One of the best treatments of time travel I've ever read. Time travel is the central premise of the book rather than just a mechanism that drives the plot. A real attempt is made to explore the consequences if time travel were actually possible. In this case, it's not even time travel, per se, but just the ability to send information back in time. The result is fascinating.
May 08, 2012 Barbara rated it it was amazing
This book is set in 2007 but was written in 1980. The premise is still interesting and a fun read, although the author completely missed on his vision of the future. No internet or mobile phones in this book, but high speed travel and fusion based power abound.
Jan 09, 2009 Ken rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Keith Caserta
Jan 10, 2012 Keith Caserta rated it it was amazing
A great story! Just when you think you've got it, the author tears everything out from under you and starts over! Exciting, moving and delightful. Wonderful hard SciFi.
Nov 10, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
I agree with Dr. Rogers (who recommened this book to me): this the best anyone has ever delt with the issue of manipulating time.
Jun 04, 2009 Charles rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm not a big fan of time travel stories but this one takes a slightly different tangent and I thought it was very well done.
Jun 14, 2007 NumberLord rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A cool time-travel novel from James Hogan. His work tends to be "hard" science fiction and this one is no exception.
Oct 20, 2009 Nicole rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Ross Murdoch inherits the time messaging machine his grandfather invented. Good development of time paradox.
Gwyn Rees
May 02, 2015 Gwyn Rees rated it it was amazing
My favourite with an interesting chain of logic with a kitten instead of the butterfly's wing flap
Secret Gril
Jun 23, 2016 Secret Gril rated it it was amazing
Embrace a story with drama and excellent plot that makes you read even midnight
Mar 04, 2009 Jill rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best with the time travel conundrum
Mar 25, 2012 Henry rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to start a fire
Shelves: time-travel
This book was so bad that I couldn't even finish it.
Sarah Sammis
Aug 28, 2010 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing
Time travel and mini-blackholes oh my!
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James Patrick Hogan was a British science fiction author.

Hogan was was raised in the Portobello Road area on the west side of London. After leaving school at the age of sixteen, he worked various odd jobs until, after receiving a scholarship, he began a five-year program at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough covering the practical and theoretical sides of electrical, electronic, and m
More about James P. Hogan...

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