The best books about time travel from an expert on time

Who am I?

I’m an award-winning astronomy author, writer, and speaker who has talked to over half a million people about the universe, including schools, the public, and businesses. My eighteen books have sold more than 350,000 copies worldwide and have been translated into 21 languages. I’ve written over 200 popular science articles for publications including The Guardian, New Scientist, The Wall Street Journal, and European Space Agency. In recognition of my efforts to popularise astronomy, the asteroid (15347) Colinstuart is named after me. I also won The Margaret Mallett Award for Children’s Non-Fiction in 2020, was a runner-up in the European Astronomy Journalism Prize and am a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.


I wrote...

Time: 10 Things You Should Know

By Colin Stuart,

Book cover of Time: 10 Things You Should Know

What is my book about?

As a subject, it has perplexed and fascinated generations of scientists, historians and more, and continues to spark the most intriguing questions being asked in science today. Can time be stopped? Is time travel possible? Does time even exist...?

In these ten bite-sized essays, Colin Stuart delves into these big questions and uncovers the most awe-inspiring and revealing things we should all know about time. Perfect for readers of Carlo Rovelli and anyone fascinated by space and the universe, this is a must-read for those short on time, but not curiosity.

The books I picked & why

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All You Zombies: Five Classic Stories

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Book cover of All You Zombies: Five Classic Stories

Why this book?

If there's one book that sums up the mind-bending and downright contradictory notions of travelling through time then this is it. Heinlein – the king of science fiction – wickedly and expertly messes with everything you consider to be possible. What's more, he only needs a short story to do it. It's utter genius at work. You'll still be thinking about it long after finishing the last page.

All You Zombies: Five Classic Stories

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All You Zombies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story "All You Zombies—" is the basis for PREDESTINATION from Sony Pictures, just released in the US on January 9, 2015, starring Ethan Hawke, directed and written by the Spierig Brothers.

Robert A. Heinlein's brilliance and diverse talents are on display in this collection of five short stories that range from mind-twisters ("All You Zombies—"), paranoia and surprise ("They—"), hilarious engineering conundrums ("—And They Built a Crooked House"), fantasies ("Our Fair City), and the beautiful, heart-breaking "The Man Who Travelled in Elephants".

"Not only America's premier writer of speculative fiction, but the greatest writer of such fiction in the…


The Time Machine

By H.G. Wells,

Book cover of The Time Machine

Why this book?

The phrase “time machine” has been ushered into everyday language, but often we forget it was Wells who coined it. His time travel masterpiece does what all good science fiction should do: it holds up a mirror to modern society. It also shows us the psychological differences between travelling to the past – where events are already known – and zipping forwards to future where you have no idea what awaits you.

The Time Machine

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Time Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brilliant scientist constructs a machine, which, with the pull of a lever, propels him to the year AD 802,701.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition of The Time Machine features an introduction by Dr Mark Bould.

The Time Traveller finds himself in a verdant, seemingly idyllic landscape where he is greeted by the diminutive Eloi people. The Eloi are beautiful but weak and indolent, and the explorer is perplexed by…


The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

By Douglas Adams,

Book cover of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Why this book?

The eponymous eatery is Milliways, which exists in a time-bubble near the end of the universe. Adams likely needs no introduction, but it is hard to find anyone to match his wit, humour, and way with words. It's no wonder Elon Musk decided to put a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the glovebox of the Tesla Roadster he launched into space back in February 2018. 

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

By Douglas Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Restaurant at the End of the Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Following the smash-hit sci-fi comedy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is the second part in Douglas Adams' multi-media phenomenon and cult classic series.

This edition includes exclusive bonus material from the Douglas Adams archives, and an introduction by Monty Python star, Terry Jones.

If you've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the end of the Universe?

Which is exactly what Arthur Dent and the crew of the Heart of Gold plan to do. There's just the small matter of…


The Science of Doctor Who: The Scientific Facts Behind the Time Warps and Space Travels of the Doctor

By Mark Brake,

Book cover of The Science of Doctor Who: The Scientific Facts Behind the Time Warps and Space Travels of the Doctor

Why this book?

I'm a sucker for time travel stories and they don't come much more bountiful than in the long-running TV show Doctor Who. I love it, particularly the juxtaposition between the ancient Gallifreyan's boundless enthusiasm and deep emotional trauma from seeing everyone he (and now she) loves come and go over time. Over the last 60 years, the show has tackled pretty much every paradox and possibility. Brake's book weaves the physics behind the TARDIS into backstage insights into the show.

The Science of Doctor Who: The Scientific Facts Behind the Time Warps and Space Travels of the Doctor

By Mark Brake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Science of Doctor Who as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Geek out over the TARDIS, aliens, alternate timelines, parallel worlds, and all your favorite characters from the Doctor Who Universe!

Doctor Who arrived with the Space Age, when the Doctor first began exploring the universe in a time-traveling spaceship. Over half a century since, the Doctor has gone global. Millions of people across this planet enjoy Doctor Who in worldwide simulcast and cinema extravaganzas. Doctor Who has infused our minds and our language and made it much richer.

What a fantastic world we inhabit through the Doctor. The program boils over withballsy women, bisexual companions, scientific passion, and a billion…


The Order of Time

By Carlo Rovelli, Carlo Rovelli,

Book cover of The Order of Time

Why this book?

I've been lucky enough to interview Rovelli in the past and he is as much a poet as he is a theoretical physicist. Working at the coal-face of modern physics research, he's helping to develop a theory called loop quantum gravity. The Order of Time is a beautifully written contemplation on the physics of time, including the astounding notion that time may not even exist.

The Order of Time

By Carlo Rovelli, Carlo Rovelli,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Order of Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

One of TIME's Ten Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade

'Captivating, fascinating, profoundly beautiful. . . Rovelli is a wonderfully humane, gentle and witty guide for he is as much philosopher and poet as he is a scientist' John Banville

'We are time. We are this space, this clearing opened by the traces of memory inside the connections between our neurons. We are memory. We are nostalgia. We are longing for a future that will not come'

Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists and poets have long explored…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in time travel, Doctor Who, and interstellar travel?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about time travel, Doctor Who, and interstellar travel.

Time Travel Explore 203 books about time travel
Doctor Who Explore 7 books about Doctor Who
Interstellar Travel Explore 43 books about interstellar travel

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like A Clockwork Orange, 1984, and The Descent Of Man if you like this list.