The best time travel stories that have stood the test of… er… time

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British author with a lifetime’s love of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I have a particular love for stories that explore both sides of the fantastical abilities they introduce us to, where the heroes battle with their own personal demons alongside the actual bad guys, and where the invented science is so plausible that I can lose myself in the strange world and not be popped out of the story thinking “well, that couldn’t work, because…” The potential for disastrous consequences is ever-present in time travel stories, one of the main reasons they hold such fascination for me. 


I wrote...

Gatekeeper

By John Beresford,

Book cover of Gatekeeper

What is my book about?

Jann Argent has no memory of committing the murder that landed him in prison. So when he’s offered a chance at freedom, he accepts the price of exile to humanity’s first colony planet. But when the ship crash lands on the new world, he’s shocked to discover an indigenous population and a strange sense of familiarity.

Stunned when he and several other shipmates develop mystical powers, Jann discovers previous colonists have all joined one of two rival native houses. And with a tyrant’s power-play set to devastate the realm, he’s about to become the lynchpin in a magical war that could destroy him.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Time Machine

John Beresford Why did I love this book?

The first time-travel book I read, which is kind of appropriate, since it’s widely regarded as the first one written, and inspired many later works. It showed me that a great science fiction story, at its heart, is simply a great story set in a world that is somehow “other.” As a budding writer, I loved the freedom that a far distant future gave the author to imagine what might happen to the human race over the course of several hundred thousand years, and present a picture of an apparent utopia that had a hidden, and much darker, side. 

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Time Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, and 10.

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…


Book cover of The End of Eternity

John Beresford Why did I love this book?

I found the breadth and depth of invented science in Asimov’s work breathtaking. The idea of a group of engineers who live outside time, calculating the “Minimum Necessary Change” in any situation to allow them to reset the passage of history in ways they believed benefited mankind is strangely compelling. The powerful lesson, that social engineering undertaken for the best of motives can have unforeseen and devastating consequences, has stayed with me my whole life. Lovers of science fiction often dream of setting off to explore the stars, yet here was a story of how our own naïve “cleverness” would ultimately defeat that dream and leave humanity alone in a dead universe.

By Isaac Asimov,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The End of Eternity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A spellbinding novel set in the universe of Isaac Asimov’s classic Galactic Empire series and Foundation series

Due to circumstances within our control . . . tomorrow will be canceled.

The Eternals, the ruling class of the Future, had the power of life and death not only over every human being but over the very centuries into which they were born. Past, Present, and Future could be created or destroyed at will.

You had to be special to become an Eternal. Andrew Harlan was special. Until he committed the one unforgivable sin—falling in love.

Eternals weren’t supposed to have feelings.…


Book cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

John Beresford Why did I love this book?

I loved this book for so many reasons. Not normally a reader of romance, I picked it up because of its title, and immediately became lost in the story: the very epitome of a “great story in an unusual setting.” I was delighted with its fresh take on time travel, when I had thought the subject had nothing left to surprise me with. I found the characters well-drawn and easy to like, and the trials they face, as a result of the randomness of Henry’s time slips, are described with humour, pathos, wit, and high drama. The ending, with its poignant uncertainty, would normally have left me annoyed at the lack of resolution, but instead seemed to me to be the perfect way to close what is an extraordinarily original story.

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked The Time Traveler's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a series on HBO starring Rose Leslie and Theo James!

The iconic time travel love story and mega-bestselling first novel from Audrey Niffenegger is "a soaring celebration of the victory of love over time" (Chicago Tribune).

Henry DeTamble is a dashing, adventurous librarian who is at the mercy of his random time time-traveling abilities. Clare Abshire is an artist whose life moves through a natural sequential course. This is the celebrated and timeless tale of their love. Henry and Clare's passionate affair is built and endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap…


Book cover of The Many-Colored Land

John Beresford Why did I love this book?

Perhaps more of a “portal” story than strictly time travel, May’s Saga of the Exiles spurred my imagination from the very start, and was at least partly responsible for inspiring my own work. The scale is vast, and I found the mental (“metapsychic”) powers the Exiles develop cleverly categorized and utilized in the stories, both here and in the following Galactic Milieu trilogy. I was so wrapped up in these stories that, perhaps more than any other series I’ve read, I was sorry to leave them behind and have returned to reread them many times.

The time-travel aspect of the story – the Pliocene Gateway – is given an interesting set of temporal and geographical limitations which I found refreshingly realistic when compared with other tales of time travel.

By Julian May,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Many-Colored Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the year 2034, Theo Quderian, a French physicist, made an amusing but impractical discovery: the means to use a one-way, fixed-focus time warp that opened into a place in the Rhone River valley during the idyllic Pliocene Epoch, six million years ago. But, as time went on, a certain usefulness developed. The misfits and mavericks of the future—many of them brilliant people—began to seek this exit door to a mysterious past. In 2110, a particularly strange and interesting group was preparing to make the journey—a starship captain, a girl athlete, a paleontologist, a woman priest, and others who had…


Book cover of 11/22/63

John Beresford Why did I love this book?

What I loved about this is the way King, an acknowledged master of horror who is equally at home with SF thrillers, takes two long-standing tropes of time travel – that “the universe” will resist any attempt to change the course of time; and the law of unintended consequences that will trip up the unwary time traveler – and gives them a unique twist. Once again the time travel element has a limitation which both helps and hinders the protagonist as the stakes ratchet up throughout the story in ways I found both thrilling and entertaining, but the story is so much more than that, cleverly weaving in historical elements, a love story, and sub-plots that see the hero trying to solve multiple problems during his final trip to the past.

I have returned to reread this many times, finding something new in the story on each occasion. And after recommending it to my book club it currently sits in 21st place in their league table of 176 books read over more than 15 years.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked 11/22/63 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major TV series from JJ Abrams and Stephen King, starring James Franco (Hulu US, Fox UK and Europe, Stan Australia, SKY New Zealand).

WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless . . .

King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of…


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By Sam Baldwin,

Book cover of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

Sam Baldwin Author Of For Fukui’s Sake: Two years In Rural Japan

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Why am I passionate about this?

Author Author Snow lover Fish out of water Traveller

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What is my book about?

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house, but what was meant as a pitstop becomes life-changing when he decides to stay. Along the way, he meets a colourful cross-section of Slovene society: from dormouse hunters, moonshine makers, beekeepers, and bitcoin miners, to a man who swam the Amazon, and a hilltop matriarch who teaches him the meaning of being 'priden'.

Struggling with Slovene, a language with grammar so complex it can cause brain damage, and battling bureaucracy, he explores the culture and characters of this underappreciated ex-Yugoslav republic, its wild beauty, and its wild animals.

A love letter to Slovenia, this rare, adventurous account follows a foreigner trying to build a new life — and rebuild an old house — in a young country still finding its own place in the world.

Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

By Sam Baldwin,

What is this book about?

'Charming, funny, insightful, and moving. The perfect book for any Slovenophile' - Noah Charney, BBC presenter

'A rollicking and very affectionate tour' - Steve Fallon, author of Lonely Planet Slovenia

'Delivers discovery and adventure...captivating!' - Bartosz Stefaniak, editor, 3 Seas Europe

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house but what was meant as…


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