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The Man Who Folded Himself

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  2,385 ratings  ·  289 reviews
This classic work of science fiction is widely considered to be the ultimate time-travel novel. When Daniel Eakins inherits a time machine, he soon realizes that he has enormous power to shape the course of history. He can foil terrorists, prevent assassinations, or just make some fast money at the racetrack. And if he doesn't like the results of the change, he can simply
Mass Market Paperback, 165 pages
Published March 1st 1991 by Bantam Books (NY) (first published February 1973)
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Dec 04, 2013 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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
Alex Hiatt
Jan 01, 2010 Alex Hiatt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Maggie K
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.
Dennis Liggio
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
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
*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
Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime)
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Nancy Oakes
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 1 of 5 stars  ·  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
May 13, 2011 Jeff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
I gave Gerrold 2 stars rather than one because (1) his depiction of time travel is closest to what some physicists believe is possible (John Gribbin, In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality); and (2) the book is an autobiographical description of so much that is wrong with the worldview that dominates 21st century Europe and North America. As such, the book helped me to appreciate why the Christian worldview is so superior. Two examples:
a. Dan the main character of the book i
I picked up this novella because I'm teaching time travel literature, and reviews had mentioned this as a "must-read" (and the Kindle edition was cheap). To be honest, Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder" and Heinlein's "Hey, All You Zombies," are better options than this novel in regards to time travel; if you're interested in a story about sexual identity and how a character comes to accept himself, then this novella is likely to be of interest. Dr. Who fans already know that it isn't about the tim ...more
I didn’t much like David Gerrold’s The Man Who Folded Himself. It was philosophical, explored time travel. Why wouldn’t I like it.

First there is a paucity of characters. In essence there is one character repeated over and over and over. But this repetition wasn’t good in the way that Ken Grimwood’s Replay was. I felt neither empathy nor sympathy for the main character.

Second, there is almost no plot. There is nothing that drives it to a conclusion. In fairness there is some plot, but that is at
Ok, I just read this book last night (it is a short read), and I've been thinking about it. A lot. As the title to this review states, I am pretty sure I liked this book, maybe even loved it, but something is holding me back from singing its praises.

I did feel that the sexual themes were an interesting touch yet at times the writing surrounding the more intimate scenes felt like it was in a different voice -- more stilted. I think Gerrold limited himself some, too. This book could easily have be
For those of you who love the idea of time-travel but think that Dr Who is altogether far too restrained. For those who can think of all the things they would do with their time machine, who know just how carried away they could get.... This book should be a salutary lesson and will help you to understand why most time-travel stories only use their particular machine occasionally (and why I've given up using mine completely). So be warned. This book does get complicated and possibly takes things ...more
Raja Praveen
This book appears to be a description close to the consequences of time travel, if at all it exists. And it successfully makes the reader to ponder about time travel fundamentals rather than just reading the story. But then to enjoy this book, one has to get around the fact that the past is only a memory and a (singular) future alone is possible only the exact moment before it happens. Thus there couldn't have been too many variants of Dan the protagonist running around.

The book was an amazing
Not all that well-written or well-plotted. Seems to end up going in circles, and although circling is one of the plot points, it does get a bit tedious.
November 2008

I felt like going on a time-travel binge, and this famous little story seemed like a good place to start. It was interesting and weird and wildly convoluted, but eventually got a bit tedious: one can only take angst so far, and our boy Dan can't help but stop and question his motives and the consequences every few pages. Still, managed to pose some interesting questions and ideas, and was probably quite revolutionary for its time.

And really, I don't get why people have a problem wi
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different versions? 1 9 Nov 12, 2014 06:03AM  
Time travelling paradox 1 23 Dec 18, 2013 08:05AM  
Sci Fi Aficionados: * November 2013 Themed Read - The Man Who Folded Himself 27 45 Dec 08, 2013 11:07AM  
Time Travel: THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF (*spoilers*) 60 122 Feb 07, 2012 09:08AM  
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