Listen closely, for within the realm of science fiction lies a captivating sub-genre that offers a delightful blend of all your desires: time travel books. These literary treasures span a wide range of themes and genres, encompassing adventure, historical fiction, romance, social commentary, mystery, humor, and even poetry. They truly have something for every reader. If the opening credits of Quantum Leap still echo in your mind, then this handpicked collection of must-read time travel books is tailored especially for you. So immerse yourself in these fascinating tales and relish the journey through time.
1. All Those Who Wander by Kiran Manral
Imagine a reality where the past, present, and future coexist seamlessly. Picture a world where rewriting your own past is possible—a chance to revisit and alter the course of events. Envision the ability to shield your younger self from the impending traumas of life. What if you were simultaneously living infinite versions of your existence, all at once? This extraordinary tale revolves around Ana, who appears at various ages whenever we encounter her. Yet, there lies a mystery surrounding Ana’s true identity. Prepare to be entangled in a web of looped time and non-sequential lives, as guilt and consequences unfold. ‘All Those Who Wander’ deftly transforms the conventional time-travel genre into a mesmerizing exploration of who we are, what we’ve become, and when and where it all matters. Given the opportunity, wouldn’t you seize the chance to heal your inner child?
Read the book review here.
2. This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
In the bleakness of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant discovers a forbidden letter, bearing the warning “Burn before reading.” Thus begins an improbable correspondence between two rival agents, each fiercely determined to secure the best future for their warring factions. What starts as a taunt transforms into an epic and romantic exchange, holding the power to alter the course of history. Yet, their connection must remain concealed, as its revelation would ensure their demise, for the war rages on, and only one side can claim victory.
3. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
In a uniquely compelling narrative selected as a Good Morning America 2021 Top Summer Read, the visionary author’s masterpiece follows a Black female protagonist through time, confronting the horrors of slavery and exploring the lasting impacts of racism, sexism, and white supremacy. Dana, a modern black woman, celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her husband, is suddenly snatched from her California home and transported to the antebellum South to save Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner. As Dana is repeatedly drawn back to the slave quarters, her journeys become more perilous and uncertain, raising questions about her very survival. This captivating tale not only traverses time but also delves deep into humanity’s struggles, shedding light on the past and its echoes in the present.
4. Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield
In a realm of intertwining destinies, an unlikely trio emerges the disillusioned major attempting to alter history in 1889, the daring highwaywoman known as the Holy Ghost in 1788, and a war that spans time in the year 2020, where the Farmers and the Guides wage a relentless battle for control. As they navigate through the turbulent currents of time, little do they know that their paths are bound to intersect, and the arrival of Alice Payne holds the key to changing the course of their fates.
5. Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
In an extraordinary tale of love and sacrifice, Kin Stewart, an ordinary family man working in IT, hides a remarkable secret—he was once a time-traveling secret agent from the year 2142. Stranded in the 1990s after a failed mission, he conceals his true identity while grappling with blackouts and memory loss from time travel. Eighteen years later, a rescue team arrives to return him to 2142, where his forgotten family awaits. Torn between two lives, Kin struggles to stay connected to both worlds, endangering the agency, history, and his teenage daughter, Miranda. In a final daring journey across time, he defies all rules to protect her existence and discovers the boundless capacity of a father’s heart to love and protect those he holds dear in this emotionally charged and genre-defying debut, “Here and Now and Then.”
6. The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz
In this uniquely entwined narrative by Annalee Newitz, the visionary founder of io9, a gripping tale unfolds, seamlessly blending the elements of time travel, murder, and the relentless pursuit of protecting loved ones. In 1992, a riot grrl concert triggers a fateful confrontation, leading seventeen-year-old Beth to find herself ensnared in the aftermath of her friend’s abusive boyfriend’s death. Bound by loyalty, she joins her friends in concealing the crime, setting them on a treacherous path of escalating violence and vengeance, fueled by the realization that countless young women need safeguarding. Fast forward to 2022, where Tess, driven by an unwavering determination to create a safer future, dedicates her life to journeying through pivotal historical moments, fighting for meaningful change through time travel. But manipulating the timeline proves arduous, and as she thinks she’s found a way to make a lasting impact, a dangerous group of opposing travelers emerges, hell-bent on stopping her at any cost. As war breaks out across time, threatening to dismantle time travel itself, Tess and Beth’s lives intertwine in a high-stakes struggle, one that could leave only a select few with the power to shape the course of history. Against the vast and intricate forces of the past and humanity, the question looms: Can a single individual’s actions resonate through the timeline, forever altering the fabric of reality?
7. An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
Shortlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize and lauded as the Best Book of the Year by Real Simple, the Globe and Mail, and the CBC, this novel follows the love story of Polly and Frank, who are separated by both weeks and years. Set in a deadly flu pandemic-stricken America, Polly embarks on a daring time-travel journey into the future to save Frank’s life, but when she arrives, he is nowhere to be found. Alone and penniless, Polly navigates a transformed America to find Frank and discover if their love endures. “An Ocean of Minutes” paints an intimate portrait of human relationships and the sacrifices made for love and the passage of time.
8. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
In this remarkable and enchanting tale, we delve into the lives of Clare and Henry. Their unique connection began when Clare was merely six years old, and Henry was thirty-six. Eventually, they tied the knot when Clare reached twenty-two, and Henry was thirty. The Time Traveler’s Wife beautifully portrays the impact of time travel on their deeply passionate and enduring love, infused with both grace and humor.
Read the book review here.
9. The River of No Return by Bee Ridgeway
In the ever-flowing river of time, imagine all you believed certain was an illusion. Lord Nicholas Falcott faces death in 1812 but inexplicably leaps nearly two centuries forward, taken in by The Guild with one condition: he can’t return home or tell anyone. Living as a New York socialite, he receives an enigmatic summons tied to his past. Meanwhile, in 1815, Julia Percy discovers her grandfather’s time manipulation secrets and finds solace with Nicholas. Together, they unravel the truth behind haunting last words – ‘Pretend.’ Bee Ridgeway’s The River Of No Return, an unforgettable debut, sweeps fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Night Circus into a captivating journey.
Which of these books on time travel you would love to read? Let us know in the comments below.