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Man Who Folded Himself

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,037 Ratings  ·  378 Reviews
David Gerrold, brilliant new star in the firmament of SF, takes the oldest of science devices, a time-machine, and constructs round it one of the most dazzling—and perhaps the most agreeably outrageous—narratives to appear in the genre in recent years,

What would you actually do if you suddenly found yourself in possession of a time-machine? If you kept on meeting an infin
Hardcover, 1st Edition
Published November 26th 1973 by Faber & Faber (London) (first published February 1973)
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Dec 04, 2013 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Adam by: John Cartan
Dec 28, 2009: David Gerrold uses time travel to develop an extended metaphor for human life. The potentials of time travel take the loneliness, the quest for self-knowledge, and the futile quest to understand why we exist as ourselves to the most literal and profound extremes. The (almost) omnipotent protagonist Eakins constantly reshapes the timestream he exists in to suit his changing personality, and thus all his character developments become quite literally reflected in the world around him. ...more
Apr 10, 2013 Space rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't say enough good things about this book, but I can definitively narrow down all the bad things into one simple sentence. Too short.

I've read this book twice - maybe actually three times - and both times, I've read it in one single sitting - about three hours. It's highly energetic and very entertaining. The pages all but turn themselves.

The story is about a boy who opens a box, and finds a belt in it, and a journal. The journal is a collection of entries by all the people who have worn th
There's genres, sub-genres, and sub-sub-genres. Science fiction is a genre; the time-travel story is a sub-genre; and, I would argue at any rate, the time-travel story where you end up having sex with yourself is a sub-sub-genre. Someone must have written a dissertation on it by now. I'm guessing that All You Zombies is marked as the first time the idea is used by a well-known SF writer (no doubt the author of the dissertation has managed to locate several unknowns who got there before Heinlein) ...more
Jul 03, 2015 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of time travel stories
Recommended to Amber by: Rahat Asif
When Daniel Eakins Uncle Jim passes away, he inherits a time machine shaped as a belt known as a time-belt. He quickly begins to use the object. Will the choices he makes affect the time stream as we know it and ruin the world? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good but weird time travel story that I got for a friend as part of an ebook swap I participated in at an online book club. I liked all of it but ignored the sex parts. If you like time travel stories, def check this boo
Apr 17, 2016 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, deep-thoughts
A brilliant story about choices, about the consequences of our actions, about being human and coming to terms with your own self, about how one’ sexual orientation does not define the nature of that person. In a way it’s similar with Heinlein’s All You Zombies but this one is more elaborate and covers a lot more features of human behavior and psychic.

Good thing that I paid attention in the beginning that this is a 2003 edition and not the first one written in ’73, otherwise I would have been r
This book wasn't what I was looking for.

I wanted a book about time travel, about changing the past and the future, and about some sort of time machine device. That's what I was expecting based on the cover and the description. And yes, I got that, but I also got a lot of ruminations on how time travel works, how it affects the world, and how it affects Dan. This book is full of lots and lots of internal monologue. Not much action. Not even much time travel, when compared to the amount of thinkin
Sep 02, 2011 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I remember picking up this book in a public library in London. I had no idea who David Gerrold was, just that the cover looked interesting and the synopsis sounded good. I was fairly new to sf way back then and time traveling was an exciting concept to me. Prior to this novel the only time travel fiction I have read was H.G. Wells' the Time Machine. It is of course a classic but there is not all that much depiction of time travel paradoxes in Wells' book, he was more concerned with other themes ...more
Richard Derus
Nov 17, 2011 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.875* of five

The Book Report: Danny's been livin' the high life, thanks to a bequest from his mysterious old uncle. One day, the gravy train ends, and Danny has to make his own way. With a belt. A very special time-travel-enabling belt.

An exploration of adolescent exceptionalism, a meditation on the establishment, building, and defense of identity, and an astonishingly rare representation of gay maleness in science fiction. The author, who penned "The Trouble with Tribbles" for the orig
I love Time Travel books. It is one of my favourite sub genres of science fiction. I love all the questions it poses, the endless possibilities, the chance to rewrite history and to change your life again and again.

The story starts with Dan receiving a timebelt from his Uncle Jim and once he figures out how to operate it off he goes through time. The first stop is the lure of making money from knowing the results of a number of horse-races. With all the possibilities open to him Dan goes looking
Alex Hiatt
Jan 01, 2010 Alex Hiatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone (Anyone)
Recommended to Alex by: John Cartan
Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself is really the first time-travel story I've read. (Except for A Sound of Thunder of course, which now seems extraordinarily tepid by comparison.) That I rate it so highly may follow from this fact. I'm sure others who are more familiar with time-travel literature will find themes and situations they've already come across. But the content is mostly all fresh to me. I didn't quite relish the writing style; at least it read quick and smooth, that's something I s ...more
May 13, 2011 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Jeff by: found it on the library shelf
Shelves: science-fiction
Considered the ultimate time travel book, I would have to agree. Not only is the classic time travel paradox (ie. if I go back in time and kill my grandfather, I will no longer exist to go back in time to kill my grandfather, therefore I will live to go back and kill my grandfather)brought forth and quickly turned on end, but the fact that time travel is really not time travel at all. (Can't tell you what it realy is without spoiling the novel for you!)

Dan inherits a belt from his guardian, Uncl
Maggie K
Nov 15, 2013 Maggie K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much to think about here...this ended up being a lot more thought provoking than I thought it would be.

I usually don't care that much for the first person POV, but here it essential. The paradoxes are alarming to me, yet not the normal ones you would think...the internal paradox is what's focused on here.
Review to follow

This was such a fun and fantastic read! What if time travel were possible, and if so, what effect would it have on the person traveling back and forth through time? David Gerrold explores this issue, as well as looks at the very elements that help define human life itself. The book is written as a series of journals/notes as our protagonist travels through time, discovering himself, not only internally, but meeting several incarnations of himself as he continually alters aspects
Janine Southard
In one major way, this novel can not be considered a genre novel: It doesn't have a strong plot-line.

And (you will probably never hear me say this again), the book is better for that. It's the story of a totally normal introvert who, when confronted with a time travelling device, continues to be totally normal. He doesn't attempt to achieve great things. He doesn't make a lot of new friends in various time periods.

No. He hangs out with himself in a giant house that he built for the express purpo
Dennis Liggio
May 19, 2010 Dennis Liggio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the quintessential time-travel novels. This one leaves behind questions of how or an emphasis on how hard it is. The narrator is given a time travel belt that is easy to use, with no drawbacks, and time paradoxes are not possible. Instead, changes are additive, so the last change made sticks. Meaning, if he makes a mistake, he can (and often did) go back and tell himself not to do that. He can also freely talk and hangout with past selves.

Instead the focus on this novel becomes the possib
Aug 07, 2011 Tej rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: time-travel
I know I gave this 3 stars which is supposed to suggest "I like this book" according the GoodRead pop up bubbles. But I didnt like it. I didnt enjoy the book either. But I did find it fascinating and very clever. Its a very weird book, quite radical and...did I mention downright weird?

Its more of a philosophical musing and study of the life of Daniel, who is a time traveller. The book is about him and him alone. The rules of time travel allows all possibilities of choices to exist as layers on
Kevin Richey
Mar 02, 2012 Kevin Richey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every now and again I stumble on a book that is highly original that I’ve never heard anyone talk about, but for those that have read it, it’s like being initiated into a cult. Sometimes they’re under-read classics like Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther or Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. Sometimes they’re surprisingly good lesser works by great modern authors, like Patrick Süskind’s The Pigeon. But today I came across what was apparently a bestseller upon its release, and still con ...more
*Unavoidable SPOILERS. All the reviews for this book are full of them.*

What would you have done if you’d inherited a time belt at 19? Gone back in time and gotten rich, for one. Spent hours pondering time paradoxes. Had a nice, quiet dinner with yourself. Traveled through every age. Witnessed the most important events in history. Done some dusting and cleaning in order to improve the past. Seen Jesus. Drunk Coke in Pompeii. Stolen baby Hitler. Had sex with yourself.

Wait, what?

Okay, probably not
I'm truly not sure how I feel about this book.

For Ian's sake, I have to point out that it's masturbatory. Which is not at all a bad thing.

Any story about time travel, where the protagonist changes history in his own timeline, is sure to be confusing, but I'm not sure whether the confusion here is in my mind or the author's. I did see where the ending was headed, and that only adds to the confusion.

Part of my problem is that Gerrold seems to be unsure of the consequences of time travel himself (w
Mur Lafferty
Jan 31, 2013 Mur Lafferty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, 2013-books
Was taking to my kid about time travel stories and i kept referring to this one, but realized all I remembered was the mansion where all the versions of Dan went to party. So I picked it up and reread it in a day.
It was as good as I remembered. The protagonist, Dan, is a little narcissistic, with a middle class-inspired boredom, but that makes this adventure perfect for him. His uncle leaves him a time traveling belt in his will and dan spends his life wandering the world and all of time. But w
Aug 15, 2010 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I recently read a presentation of time travel by David Gerrold in his novel, The Man Who Folded Himself. Gerrold's novel is not recent - it was published more than thirty years ago - but a friend recommended it to me (it is one of his favorites) and I finally read it. Like Wells' novel it is slight, less than 150 pages, but in that thin novel Gerrold packs a striking picture of the nature of time travel. In his view there exist multiple universes all populated with different versions on one's or ...more
Mar 10, 2016 Dustin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, time-travel
It's a time travel story, but it's not really about the time travel, so much as it's about the time traveler. It's not about their exploits in time so much as it's about how they've lived with themselves (in a very, let's say narcissistic way) and how they've come to understand themselves. As a time travel story you might be disappointed to learn it features no dinosaurs, pirates, "Meanwhile, in the past..."or amazing future technology, but it does delve deeply into the nature of the character.
G.R. Reader
I've never seen so much heinleining in my life. But why wasn't Bob invited to the party? I kept waiting for him to turn up as a minor character, but he never did.
Jan 14, 2013 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. The premise (time travel) and the story line are first-rate. Not only an interesting tale, but plenty of space is given to discussion of the philosophy and human impact of the situation. Classic SF! But there are elements of the story that either I flat out disagreed with or caused me to feel uncomfortable. Not sure I would h=want to read the book again. Hence, the 3 star rating.
Ben Kruskal
Jul 18, 2015 Ben Kruskal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating time travel novel with a very philosophical and psychological bent. Explores the changing-the-past/paradox issue and comes up with an interesting and plausible explanation. Also explores questions of selfhood. A surprisingly though-provoking short novel. Strongly recommended.
Jun 12, 2016 Camille rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2016
I would read pages, then pause and think. I would think about what I would do if I was given a time traveling device. I would wonder if I would do the same things as the protagonist. I wondered if things would be different for me, being a black woman, and if I could casually stand around and watch history unmolested.

This book had me thinking so many things... and it was wonderful. It was so great, I think I have to read it again because the ending has a bit of a twist, that I'm sure I'll gain a
Mar 28, 2014 Hakim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As John Lennon once sang: "I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together." Yeah, this pretty much summarizes what happens in this book.

I would describe The Man Who Folded Himself as time-travel porn (those who read the book will excuse the pun). It's the story of Danny, a young man who inherits a time-travel belt from his late uncle. He then starts duplicating himself and creating new realities, he rewrites his life as he sees fit and thinks he's God. So far, it's your basic time-t
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This is quite possibly the most circular novel I have ever read. I cannot possibly even begin to explain what that means without giving the entire story away. So I will provide a brief synopsis. First, however, I have to tell you that I loved the basic idea of this book. What was utterly fascinating is the brilliant explanations & illustrations of paradox, and the idea that time is not linear, it is only our perception of it that is linear. I do have to tell you that some parts of the book w ...more
David Zeiger
Apr 27, 2008 David Zeiger rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: diehard time travel fans
Shelves: sci-fi
Time travel sets up apparent paradoxes. That's a given. How an author chooses to resolve them is pretty much the only new treatment that can be given to this bromide. This author chooses the many worlds approach where each decision spins off a new world dependent on your decisions. The author rightly realizes that this gives one god-like powers and contemplates what a person would do with those powers. The main character, Dan, runs the gamut of changing history, making millions, playing poker wi ...more
Great Time Travel Journal - Great Intro and Afterword.

THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF, by David Gerrold, was a phenomenal read, poised with a great central character (characters?) whom the reader follows through countless philosophical and moral conundrums. There are times in this book where there are long portions of internal debate about time travel, which is confusing, but easy to follow the train of thought. I was just as confused as Dan as he was working these problems out internally, which goes
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
different versions? 1 11 Nov 12, 2014 06:03AM  
Time travelling paradox 1 25 Dec 18, 2013 08:05AM  
Science Fiction A...: * November 2013 Themed Read - The Man Who Folded Himself 27 45 Dec 08, 2013 11:07AM  
Time Travel: THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF (*spoilers*) 60 126 Feb 07, 2012 09:08AM  
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