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Time and Time Again

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  10,441 ratings  ·  1,396 reviews
It’s the 1st of June 1914 and Hugh Stanton, ex-soldier and celebrated adventurer is quite literally the loneliest man on earth. No one he has ever known or loved has been born yet. Perhaps now they never will be.

Stanton knows that a great and terrible war is coming. A collective suicidal madness that will destroy European civilization and bring misery to millions in the ce
Paperback, 386 pages
Published December 16th 2014 by Bantam Press (first published November 1st 2014)
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Melliott Here's a list of some good time travel books:

Kindred, by Octavia Butler
Timeline, by Michael Crichton
From Time to Time, by Jack Finney
Outlander (and it…more
Here's a list of some good time travel books:

Kindred, by Octavia Butler
Timeline, by Michael Crichton
From Time to Time, by Jack Finney
Outlander (and its many sequels), by Diana Gabaldon
The Accidental Time Machine, by Joe Haldeman
Somewhere in Time, by Richard Matheson
The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
The Map of Time (and sequel) by Feliz J. Palma
The Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout, All Clear, all by Connie Willis!
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  10,441 ratings  ·  1,396 reviews

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Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I thought I “knew” Ben Elton. I remember the shiny suited motormouth monologues on Friday Night Live and Blackadder, and years ago I read and enjoyed Stark and at least one other of his books, but for the life of me I cannot remember which one. Time and Time Again though is a book that I will find very hard to forget – It absolutely blew me away. I loved it and am going to be telling everyone to read it.

If you could go back in time and change one piece of history – what would you consider to be
Michael Finocchiaro
Original ideas but pulp fiction in terms of writing. Maybe reading PKD and Cixin Liu has spoiled me, but I did not find this sci fi story convincing. There were too many moments that were written like a cheap screenplay, "the emperor would be dead in 24 hours!" and yet it is actually three days later. Sorry, I know, no spoilers but this book is so irredeemably predictable that if you don't see that coming, you need to stop watching Fox&Friends because your brain is turning into oatmeal. The love ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

While I enjoy time travel books as much as the next reader, I still recall my doubts when I was first pitched this book: What if I don’t know that much about World War I? How much history do I need to know in order to follow the plot? Will I still be able to enjoy this story?

Looking back at those questions now, I have to laugh. Really, I needn’t have worried about a thing. Even though history is at the center of this plot
Andrew Smith
If you could travel back in time and change just one thing what would it be?

This question was put to ex-special services soldier Hugh Stanton by his former Cambridge University history professor. The year is 2024 and Hugh’s spirits are low as he struggles to deal with the loss of his wife and children, who’d been killed in a road accident. He’d received a call from Professor McCluskey summoning him to a meeting at Trinity College where she unveiled a letter that had been passed down the ages, pe
Saturday's Child
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another brilliant read from the very talented Ben Elton. This one would make a fantastic movie or TV mini-series.
Paul E. Morph
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this one. It’s a truly excellent slice of science fiction. Fast paced, intelligently written with appealing characters and even a few laughs. Saying that, this is not a comedy. A lot of the negative reviews I’ve seen of this have been people who expected it to be; perhaps understandably as Elton is far more well known for his comedy writing (he did write most of Blackadder, after all).

It’s not especially high brow speculative fiction; the time travel mechanism isn’t examined t
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hugh Stanton is an ex-army officer, and former internet survivalist sensation, whose world collapsed when his wife Cassie and two children are killed in a hit and run while crossing the street. Invited to spend Christmas with his former history professor Sally McCluskey, Stanton only goes because he is totally at a loss at what to do with himself. McCluskey is larger than life; vibrant, enthusiastic and a mentor who enthused the younger Stanton about history. She liked to pose questions to her s ...more
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, time-travel
Man this was a great book to end the year on. Time travel books can be hit or miss with me and this one was a hit.

First of all and this may not interest anyone else, but it had my all time favorite historical person playing a pivotal role in the book. That was worth four star from me. Elton did a great job with his character. (You won't have too read too far into the book to see who I'm talking about).

Hugh Stanton was the perfect man for being a time traveler. A kind hearted, skeptic, rugged out
This was ok. It was funny at times and quite informative about the assassination that kicked off WWI. But I didn’t much like the writing style and found it irritating and boring by turn.

I found the premise of this book to be good... what would happen if we went back and stopped the bullet that killed Franz Ferdinand? Unfortunately, the rest of it fell flat for me, and became overly predictable. I still enjoyed the writing, but didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped to. The cover definitely drew me in, isn't it cool?

It's a little bit history, a little bit sci-fi and a little bit dystopian, which all worked surprisingly well together. The research in this
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a great boys own adventure of a read.
Imagine travelling back to a time where you can change the history of our world, make it better, make the wars of our time not happen, prevent the deaths of soldiers in the trenches of ww1 the holocaust of Hitler's mania.
Our man Hugh Stanton is engaged by the people who have the knowledge to do just that , is it foresight or hindsight? Time loops confuse the most avid sci fi boffin so I decided to just go along for the ride and it was quite a r
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
If you had one chance to change history...Where would you go? What would you do? Who would you kill?"

It took me a while to finish reading this book and I'm still unsure what to make of it, even though there's a lot to like - the promise of time travel, alternative history, action and Elton's reputation as one of the world's best satirists.

What I didn't expect was that it would dissolve into time traveller's compendium of clichés.

The year is 2024. Hugh 'Guts' Stanton, a 'mysterious, tall, blond
The premise is an interesting one; can you go back in time and prevent the suffering of millions? Hugh’s target is the First World War, understandably an event with triggered a snowball effect across the world. If he can prevent the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and stop his warmongering uncle, the Kaiser of Germany, from stirring trouble, will the future be different? Is one event really the cause of so much pain?

I found the sections about the history, especially the assassination in Sarajev
Susan May
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Having read a couple of Ben Elton’s previous books, I knew I would enjoy Time and Time Again. What I didn’t realize was just how much. Elton has really honed his story-telling skills, and based on his latest novel, he is now arguably one of the most readable and entertaining authors writing popular fiction today.

Time travel and alternate reality are complex plots to tackle, but Elton masterfully steers his book, from the first page to the end, without any dragging or info-dumping on us like so
Stuart Anderson
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
The author's style is easy to read. The book's pace is incredibly fast, one can imagine entire sections of the book translating directly into a series of quick cuts in a film. As such it is a page turner and mostly entertaining.

However the premise is fundamentally flawed. the protagonist demonstrates early on that he is acutely aware of the butterfly effect yet never questions his objective of directly invoking it. Even after observing the effect first hand with his interaction with a flower gir
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Time and Time again... indeed an interesting book and a good read.

Time is endless and it is all a loop, or do we call it an "illusion"...

Why am I here and what is my mission to accomplish?
Can I go back in time and change few things, for a better today?
Many many similar questions are running in my mind...
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My first 5* of the year. I was torn while reading this book; I am a girl who loves suspense and usually judge a book on just that, so when this book didn't really have any climatic moments I started to slate it.

However, this book has gained 5* from me as it has changed my whole perception of history, time travel and it has given me a whole different experience on how books can affect your life. I found myself believing everything that was written; I had to pull myself out of this world to readj
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I thoroughly enjoyed this time travel novel, even if, every now and then, I had to fight the urge to to through it at the wall - but that would have wrecked my phone as I was listening on audio!

The question was put to Hugh Stanton "if you could change one thing in history, what would it be?". Oh the possibilities are endless. As are the potential reprocessions. His answer is not not the obvious one.

Stanton is possibly the worst prepared time traveller I have ever come across. Some of the charact
Albert Myburgh
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
I like Ben Elton and I really wanted to give this book 3 stars, but decided to be strong. 2 stars still mean 'it was ok' after all.
And that is exactly what it was: ok. Easy and quick to read I felt a little underwhelmed with it although I did learn a bit more about the events that led to the First World War which was interesting. Also, the few smart twists toward the end were quite entertaining, however that was about it.
The main character Hugh Stanton is nothing more than a hunky piece of cli
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The premise of this story sucked me in straight away; if you could go back in time and change one thing, what would you change? Anyone who loves History has played at What If? In this book Hugh Stanton travels back to stop Gavrilo Princip assassinating Franz Ferdinand in 1914. He wants to prevent WWI saving millions and setting the twentieth century on a less destructive path. Well things were never going to be that straight forward! Added to this is the fact that the author leads us to believe ...more
Willem van den Oever
Warning: This review of Ben Elton’s “Time and Time Again” contains some mild spoilers regarding plot development.

Ever since Michael J. Fox got out of a Delorean and endangered his own existence by having his own mum fall for him, it’s been clear that time travel isn’t just fun. It can be bloody dangerous and problematic too.
With “Time and Time Again”, Ben Elton – who I only knew for his comedy writing for various excellent BBC-series, but shows here he has a lot more to say – tackles the space-t
Cold War Conversations Podcast

A gripping time travelling alternative history yarn.

I'm not normally a fan of the sci-fi time travelling genre, but the alternative history scenario caused by stopping the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 lured me in as well as having already ready Ben Elton's The First Casualty and Two Brothers: A Novel.

Elton writes at a breezy pace and although you have some idea of what's going to happen the various twists and turns keep you guessing.

An enjoyable and relatively qu
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Closer to a 4 and a half stars. I'd know Ben Elton more for his comedy turns for Young Ones and Black Adder but this is definitely a very different approach for him.
A very interesting twist on the what if concept for alternative history with academics being presented with theopportunity to drop someone from the 21st century into 1914 to reshape the 20th century into a better ,less warlike period.
Stanton , the main character is very good, and there are a few interesting twists and turns , withy
Ken Hammond (kenzaz)
Time and Time Again Ben Elton What if you could travel back in time and change one event, where would you go? stop world war one by eliminating Gavrilo Princip, and saving the assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914, Me probably not ("too scary"), then thinking a bit probably yes, just one of those dilemmas a good citizen contemplates all the time apparently. Ben Elton British Sitcom mid 80s fame "The Young Ones" lived with flat mates that weirdly emulated the show to a certain ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
DNF on page 74

Nope. No thank you. I can't believe I'm typing this, but I would actually much rather read the sequel of Decapitation.
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
At the risk of being repetitive, I will echo others' reviews when I say that I liked the premise but the story fell a little flat. I had trouble getting into it from the beginning. There wasn't enough lead-up to the involvement with the Chronos people. I disliked the character of McCluskey from her first appearance and never changed my mind on that. The protagonist, Hugh, was self-involved and a bit arrogant, leaving his development flat and two-dimensional in some ways; and despite the saga of ...more
Martin Belcher
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
I haven't enjoyed a book as much as this one for ages! Absolutely riveting...a thriller of the future, the past, time travel, changing the past and the future....
Hugh Stanton is an ex-soldier in 2024 who has suffered a terrible loss, loosing his wife and children in an awful accident. It seems he has nothing to live for. A meeting with his old professor of history at Cambridge reunites him with his past and a future, a mission linked to Sir Issac Newton's theories of travel in time. The Professo
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The last Ben Elton book I read, Two Brothers, leapt to the top of my all time favourite reads. This has now leapt up to the top five, and may go higher, once I've had time to digest the story. All of the What Ifs involved in time travel are here, neatly knitted into a fascinating, fast paced alternative history of the twentieth century, and how it could have been if the First World war had been averted. Similarities to Stephen Kings 11.22.63, but focused on Europe, this book is simply brilliant. ...more
Beth Sponzilli
Great time travel story. Recommended especially if you liked Stephen King’s 11/22/63. It is an adventure to change history for the better, involving WWI. Might read more of this author.
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Ben Elton was born on 3 May 1959, in Catford, South London. The youngest of four, he went to Godalming Grammar school, joined amateur dramatic societies and wrote his first play at 15. He wanted to be a stagehand at the local theatre, but instead did A-Level Theatre Studies and studied drama at Manchester University in 1977.

His career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memo

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“We've just lost our way, that's all. But what if you could give us a chance to do better? Just one chance? One single move in the great game of history? What's your best shot? What would you consider to be the greatest mistake in world history and, more to the point, what single thing would you do to prevent it?” 3 likes
“Screw humanity. I don't give the whole stinking bunch of us more than a couple of generations and good riddance. The universe is better off without us.” 1 likes
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