The Accidental Time Machine
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Grad- school dropout Matt Fuller is toiling as a lowly research assistant at MIT when he inadvertently creates a time machine. With a dead-end job and a girlfriend who left him for another man, Matt has nothing to lose in taking a time-machine trip himself?or so he thinks.

Customer Reviews:

  • Had potential but blew it in the last half to third of the book.
    There are lots of reviews here with plenty of detail. I'll be brief and say that I had high hopes for this book and enjoyed the beginning of it. As it went on, it fell apart. I really was left with the impression that the author didn't know what to do at the end and just copped out and did what was obvious and had been do so often before with time travel. I can't understand why writers find the need to wrap up everything so simply with nice neat and tidy endings. Sometimes things are messy and I'd expect my stories to sometimes end that way. Either way, there were so many more potential outcomes with this that would have been far superior to where it ended up.

    Bottom line: Great idea, great beginning, bad ending....more info
  • Accelerating Toward the Future
    The Accidental Time Machine (2007) is a standalone SF novel. It is a time travel tale, set initially in the near future and then further uptime.

    In this novel, Matthew Fuller is a geek and a graduate assistant at MIT. While he is working for Dr. Marsh, Matt builds a calibrator -- it emits one photon per chronon -- that also happens to travel in time. Whenever he pushes the reset button, it disappears and then reappears.

    The first time it disappears, Matt calls for Marsh to come see, but the calibrator returns before his boss responds. Marsh thinks he has been awake too long and suggests that he get some rest. Then Marsh leaves to get a little sleep himself.

    Matt figures that thirty hours without sleep is not unreasonable and starts testing the device. The next time he presses the button, the device is gone for over ten seconds. Oops!

    He decides to get a little more precise in the timing. For the third trial, he checks his watch before pushing the button and the box is gone for slightly less than three minutes. For the next trial, he clocks the disappearance with the stopwatch function: 34 minutes, 33.22 seconds.

    When Matt plots the intervals between disappearance and reappearance on semi-log paper, they seem to be increasing in a logarithmic function. Each event takes about twelve times as long as the previous event. He calculates that the next interval probably would be around six hours, so he decides to check it at home.

    In this story, Matt blocks the reset button and wraps the device in two trash-can liners. Then he carries the device through the snow to the Red Line and then from the East Lexington station to his apartment. Naturally, he hasn't worn his boots and the sneakers got soaked.

    Once he is in his apartment, Matt sets the calibrator on his couch. Then he takes a beer out of the fridge, picks up the latest Physical Review Letters and carries them into the bathroom. He runs a few inches of hot water into the tub, takes off his sneakers, and puts his feet in to soak.

    While Matt is thawing out, drinking the beer and reading the journal, his mother calls him and fusses about his bathroom phone. Matt tells her an edited version of his activities, but leaves out all mention of the time machine and his breakup with Kara.

    After hanging up the phone, someone knocks on his door. Before he can finish wiping his feet, the door is opened from the outside to let in Kara. She has come to pick up a forgotten item. She does comment about his clean feet prior to giving him the key and walking out to her ride.

    This story shows Matt learning how to use the calibrator to transport himself into the future. It also shows him getting into more and more trouble as he travels uptime. His boss reasons out how the device works as a time machine, but Matt only finds out why the device works in the far future.

    Matt really doesn't like the future very much and wants to return to his home time. So the tale is basically a quest for knowledge about controlling the device. The time machine itself is not very original, although the terminology used in the story may have some relation to reality (see the Author's Note). So the gist of the story is Matt's relationships with other people; initially very poor, but improving in time.

    Recommended for Haldeman fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of time travel, strange futures, and human relationships.

    -Arthur W. Jordin...more info
  • Undercooked time travel novel
    The Accidental Time Machine, by Joe Haldeman.

    Coincidentally, I was recently talking about a Poul Anderson short story, "Flight to Forever", which has some resemblance to this novel.

    The basic premise is similar with some twists. Matt, a grad student at MIT, accidental invents the eponymous time machine. Its only a one way device, and the "jumps" are logarithmically longer and longer, and so his journey quickly becomes a one way trip to the future, looking for a way to reverse the process and return to his own time.

    Along the way, he discovers strange cultures, picks up a passenger, and finally manages to return to the past, but not in the way or manner that he expects.

    So on the basics, its pretty similar to the story mentioned above. The concept as Haldeman executes it, though is a little more polished in the physics. Anderson's story was really a device for sending his protagonist through time. Haldeman takes some things into consideration that Anderson doesn't--for example the idea that the time machine's "landing location" might change through time thanks to the motion of celestial bodies.

    Like Anderson's story, we wind up with some strange future societies that Matt and his inadvertent fellow passenger whom he picks up encounter. A religious theocracy, a society which seems to be Ebay writ large, and a post-Singularity beings are among the challenges that Matt faces as he jumps through time.

    The novel is short, and aside from the religious theocracy and Matt's present (in the mid 21st century), we never really spend a lot of time getting to the nuts and bolts of the worlds. Haldeman could have spent endless pages on each of these stops, and in some cases, I would have liked to learn a little more about Matt's stops. Also, the ending is, frankly, a deus ex machina in an almost literal sense. There are also aspects to the narrative (the idea that there are multiple timelines, or multiple versions of Matt being sent back) that are mentioned in a few sentences and never really explored fully. Also, the explanation of just how the accidental time machine really worked is very much glossed over.

    So I have to say that I was disappointed in the novel overall, which unfortunately (after Forever Peace) means that I've now read two novels by Haldeman that I don't like in comparison to one (Forever War). I suppose that he is going to now drop off on the list of authors that I will read, sad to say. The Accidental Time Machine is not a *bad* novel, but its, to use culinary terminology, definitely a little undercooked and the flavors didn't meld well. It was a disappointment....more info
  • Dissapointing ending
    I was very excited when I read the dust jacket description of this story. I'm a sucker for time travel stories, and the idea of a time machine that only goes in one direction, and 12x further each time was novel. At my insistence, my wife bought the book for me for my birthday.

    But, I was very disappointed with the ending of the book. After the roller coaster ride of each jump being VERY different from the last, and the tension building between the characters, I thought that the author gave up having the main character think his way out of his predicament, and had omnipotent/all-powerful outside force come in to clean up the mess. Admittedly, having the main characters end up in their own past was a nice touch, but I still did not like the way the book ended....more info
  • To the far future and back
    A most interesting tale of a guy on a one way trip to the future, each jump taking him to a more strange era. There's a way back for him, but I won't spoil your fun....more info
  • A very fun read
    This is a very fun book. It's a great quick read, the kind of thing you sit down with at 3:00 in the afternoon, and put down at 8:00 pretty well satisfied. It's basically an adventure romp, and no more, but heck, those are fun.

    But I do want to comment on something I am seeing over and over with modern science fiction-- what's with all the fundamentalist Christian totalitarian theocracies? Over and over... is there some kind of agreed upon cabal that this theme shall appear in every single book? Is this how you make you "serious sci-fi writer" bones or what?

    Anyway, it's not too bad in this book-- it's not like some of the really snotty Christian-sneer stuff out there (Robert J. Sawyer, I'm looking at you), but it's a sort of surreality bubble in a book that otherwise seems fairly thoughtful. And from the Christian Totalitarian part (female circumcision, scholarly study of the holy book), I almost wonder if the author didn't originally have another religion written down, that got changed by a simple search-and-replace by some editor to be less controversial....more info
  • Good Book - seemed to get lost near the end
    I enjoyed this book and will definitely read more from the same author. My only complaint, and it really isnt much of one, is that the story seemed to sag just before the end. I recommend for sci-fi fans....more info
  • A Fun, Light-Hearted Romantic Sci-Fi Comedy
    The Nebula-nominated "Accidental Time Machine" is a fun, quick read that I started at 2am and finished at 5am. It's a terrible cure for insomnia, but immensely entertaining and action-packed. It starts off normal enough, with a time machine that can only go forward, but as the jumps become larger the book takes some bizarre twists. Some readers have noted that it doesn't have the levity of, say, "The Forever War," and that's true: It feels more like a Piers Anthony speculative romp, with the best zero-gravity hand-job scene ever....more info
  • One of my favorite books!
    This was one of my favorite sci-fi books. It had a great sense of humor and was very funny, but had great time-travel sci-fi elements as well. Just a fun, fun read that I wish I could read again for the first time. If only all new sci-fi novels were as fun... ...more info
  • Great time travel book!
    This is the first book by Joe Haldeman I read, and I finished it in just one day - I couldn't stop reading.. I liked the pace, the plot and the writing, enjoyed every moment!...more info
  • Book Review: The Accidental Time Machine
    Surprise. I normally review books on actual and not fictional technology, but I came across the hardcopy version of this book at my local library and, having not read a Haldeman novel in a couple of decades, decided to revisit science fiction as one might revisit an old girlfriend. I wanted to see how much my interest in the genre and specifically Haldeman's writing, had held up over time. I'm also kind of a sucker for time travel stories.

    It is a page turner. I reserved the novel as something to "wind down" with before going to bed and there were a few nights when I pushed my "reasonable consciousness" envelope by reading longer than I had intended. The beginning of the book introduces a mystery discovered by protagonist Matt Fuller, an MIT graduate student in the more or less near future. Watching Matt try to figure out how a simple piece of lab equipment he'd built had somehow developed the ability to move forward in time was a definite hook for me. He's a bright, but not brilliant underachiever who's given the opportunity for "greatness", but only if he keeps his discovery a secret. This means he must go the way of so many other "mad scientists" by using himself as the primary experimental subject.

    Each push of the button sends Matt further into the future in a geometric progression and Matt ends up about 15 years into his own future feeling more useless than in his own time. Hailed as a glorified lab rat and with his Professor taking all the credit for discovering this method of time travel, Matt eventually escapes the dead end of this existence by "stealing" the time machine (it was MIT property after all) and continuing to launch himself further forward in time.

    Unfortunately, once Matt leaves a future history that's any where near familiar to him (or the reader), the novel begins to fall apart. It is still quite readable, but Haldeman's social commentary becomes glaringly apparent. In this next jump, Matt encounters a future where "Christers" (Christians) have taken over the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. after the supposed return of Jesus. Haldeman is sadly transparent in portraying Christians (and probably all people of faith) as either conniving schemers, buffoons, or innocent pawns. I was hoping that Matt's encounter with the lovely and truly faithful Martha would have some sort of impact on his own state of faith (or lack thereof, since Matt is a self-declared Jewish atheist), but such is not the case. Haldeman uses this part of the book to make his case that any truly intelligent person will depend solely on scientific observation to explore and discover the universe, and that faith is merely surrendering to superstition.

    As a person of faith reading Haldeman's rendition of life "post-return" of Jesus, I had to determine that either he didn't do his Biblical homework, or he was making a point that Bible-believers will disregard what "the Word" actually says for a hand full of technologically generated miracles. The "faithful" in the Massachusetts of the 23rd Century blithely return to a world of a medieval religious rule with futuristic technology reserved for the ruling class. No Christian I know would have considered Jesus dropping in on the President of the United States as his first port of call to be even remotely valid, but somehow Haldeman portrays this as not a problem for the "elect". A rather simplistic view of people of faith which was one of the most disappointing parts of the book. I guess the author never met a believer that had a brain and perhaps the Scarecrow in the "Wizard of Oz" was the archetypal Christian, but I digress.

    It seems that Haldeman's pet peeves aren't reserved for Christianity though, in that Matt's next jump, some thousands of years into the future beyond the "Christers", takes him into a world where global society is based on eBay. A heroic but hapless Martha saves Matt's life while he's trying to escape her point in history, but at the cost of joining him on his journey into the future. While Matt confirms his understanding that Christ's return was a sham (it's now in the history books) put on by the government (talk about lack of separation between church and state), Martha, who manages to hold on to her faith for some time, eventually watches it crumble to dust as their journey forward through time continues.

    Matt and Martha do encounter a "savior" of a sort, both in their dreams and during each jump forward in time as they become unwitting victims of an artificial intelligence who needs Matt to help her (yes, it's a gendered intelligence) escape the boredom of running the "eBay society". For some mysterious reason (which is never revealed), this intelligence believes that seeking the ultimate end of the universe is the answer to a "life" of governing a bunch of wealthy but mentally vacant shopping drones.

    I could say that the book becomes less and less plausible from there, but when predicting the future, how can you say what will or won't happen? Matt struggles with his liberal ideals, especially towards women. On the one hand, he ends up explaining the various sexist aspects of the Bible to Martha and, on the other hand, arguing with himself about whether he should seduce the lovely and virginal Martha, or "act like a man" and protect her from the surrounding dangers, which includes himself.

    The book has a happy ending of sorts. Matt and Martha are rescued, both from their virtual captor and from forward time traveling, and given a choice of returning to a specific place or a specific time, not both. Without blatantly revealing the ending, Matt discovers several things (but not how time travel actually works). He does discover that he really loves Martha and treats her honorably, ultimately marrying her. He also discovers his "niche" if you will, by becoming a brilliant scientist, but only in the past. It's a little easier to be, or at least seem brilliant, if you know what scientific discoveries are about to be made.

    Martha discovers more, but for me, one discovery was sad. She loses her faith, but does fall in love and marry Matt. I suppose never seeing the return of Christ (or the coming of the Messiah, from Matt's perspective) would have to lead to the conclusion that the Bible, both Christian and Jewish, is just a collection of morality tales, not much different than the novel I'm reviewing. Martha leaves Christ behind and earns a degree in one of the sciences before "settling down" and having babies. Matt considers this an achievement far greater than his own. He achieves "greatness" by virtue of using what any 21st century physics grad student would know in a past where that knowledge was just on the cusp of being discovered. Matt (and thus Haldeman) considers Martha earning an undergraduate degree more significant, because he had to leave the fantasy of her faith behind to do it. Are education and faith truly mutually exclusive?

    The young couple finally take the one piece of advice Matt's father ever gave him, which was to "play the cards you're dealt". Sans time machine, Matt and Martha make a life for themselves in the time and place they were sent to by their saviors from the far future. At this point, domestic bliss is almost irrelevant and the next several decades are described in mere paragraphs. This unhappily bypasses the opportunity for both Matt and Martha to narrate their impressions on a history that the audience would have either lived through (the 20th century) or at least have heard about from their parents (or people like me). It could have been the most significant part of the novel but Haldeman treats it as an afterthought.

    The ending is ultimately unsatisfying to me. While Matt and Martha happily set up their household and family at some point in the near (historically speaking) past, their fate is as much accidental as anything else in this tale. The novel seems to reveal a certain truth about secularist and atheist thought; that life is random and ultimately meaningless. You end up where you end up, live, breathe, work, have babies, and then die without a point. There really are no lessons learned unless you take into consideration that a mediocre mid-21st century MIT grad student finds his purpose only by going into the past where foreknowledge makes him seem "cutting edge". Aren't we all like that though, at least in our fantasies? Who hasn't said to themselves, "If only I could go back with what I know now..."

    Sorry, Mr. Haldeman. This is a nice little piece of fantasy with liberal (politically and otherwise) amounts of personal and social commentary, but not your best work. Of course, if I re-read The Forever War after so long, would I be as disappointed?

    Originally published at the A Million Chimpanzees blog:
    [...]...more info
  • 75% great, final 25% is disapointing
    It really had me going until they went to the theocracy, then I had to wonder if he just handed off the story to someone else. ...more info
  • Unwinding the time paradox
    Since H.G. Well's The Time Machine, we've been fascinated by the idea of being able to travel into our past or even our own future. And for decades, science fiction authors have speculated on how this could be done, despite having Einstein throw a wet blanket over the whole theory.

    One of the biggest hurdles of time travel is The Paradox. That traveling, especially to your past, would cause too many paradox's, thus causing a possible unwinding of the universe, ala Back to the Future.

    One theory is that if time travel was feasible, we could only go forwards, never back.

    That's the premise of Joe Haldeman's The Accidental Time Machine, a whimsical comic tale of Grad-school dropout Matt Fuller, who while toiling as a lowly MIT assistant researcher, accidentally creates, through no fault of his own, a time machine while studying the quantum relationship between gravity and light. When he hits its reset button, the box disappears, only to reappear a second later. Soon Matt discovers every time he hits the reset buttom, the machince goes missing twelve times longer.

    After a few expeirments, he discovers he can attach a metal box to it and then send objects -like a store bought turtle - into the future. This leads to the idea of taking himself into the future. Borrowing an old car from a friend, Matt sends himself into the near future, only to discover he is a wanted man in the murder of the friend he borrowed the car from (he dropped dead of a heart attack when he saw Matt vanish before his eyes). Bailed out by a man -apparently - who could pass for an older version of himself, Matt decides to beat the rap by traveling further into the future, in hope of finding a safe haven.

    The Accidental Time Machine is a swift read, a hallmark of Haldeman's sf style. He can create such a vivid world full of bright and wonderful ideas, yet present them in prose that need not go on forever. However, at times, you would've hoped he stayed in some the future worlds of Earth, like a society ruled by religion, with a strange blend of high and low technology, or the one where bartering is an artform and AI commonplace.

    There is a deus ex machina towards the end which could be off putting, but its a small issue. Plus, while sort of saw the ending, you always knew that the time travel was one way -despite the broadly suggested idea that somewhere in the future, Matt did travel back.
    ...more info
  • Intriguing Premise, Dull Exposition
    Time travel is a common theme in science fiction, providing authors an opportunity to explore multiple future scenarios and the possible consequences of moving back and forth in time. In this book, the author, an MIT professor, tells of a graduate lab assistant who discovers that an apparatus he has built for quantum research travels into the future every time he activates it. Moreover, it takes anything connected to it along and each jump is exponentially further into the future. Unfortunately, not much is made of the possible impact of this travel (although in one future the student discovers that someone else has taken credit for his "discovery") and the imagined futures are dreadfully dull. The protagonist spends way too much time in a future where religion has become accepted as science, including at MIT. Haldeman fails to use his MIT connections to to explore the quantum physics that could theoretically make time travel possible....more info
  • Great start!
    I enjoyed this book very much until the last few chapters. I really would have liked more information about the characters lives when they got back to a more normal time and place. I have noticed a trend with a lot of books that just can't seem to find great end game to match their great beginnings?

    ...more info
  • Uninspiring
    A story doesn't have to have a great meaning or some grand theme. It doesn't need to have strong character development. A good story can thrive simply on keeping the reader in suspense. But, if this is the path the author takes, you characters must be placed in peril and they must at the very least loose a few battles before winning the war (or win a few battles before losing the war). Unfortunately, the main character wins (or in the worst cases ties) every encounter. Save for one occasion in this book there is no point at which you can even have any concern over the characters well being. The ending also appeared very rushed. ...more info
  • nice and simple...
    Haldeman's time travel novel really doesn't offer much in the way of originality, but then again, I'm not sure how many possibilities are left in the realm of time travel. You're bound to see a "present," followed be either a revision of the past or a speculation on the future.

    In the near future, a student at MIT stumbles on a time travel device that propels itself into the future at exponential intervals. When he decides it is time to try the machine out, however, he finds the future holds more problems than solutions. Haldeman does offer some interesting takes on the possible progression of our world, including a future where the Messiah has returned (but with a twist, of course), but what I mostly got out of this novel was a blend of Philip Dick and H. G. Wells, not in prose, but in plot development.

    The thing that sold me on this, is that the novel is relatively light-hearted and reads very quickly. At no point did I feel like I was being dragged through irrelevant character interaction, or wading through a work of fiction some high brow physics professor has attempted. Instead, Haldeman blends subtle romance, humor, and action to tell a simple, feel-good story.

    Simply put: a notch above trash fiction, but definitely below ground-breaking literary work....more info
  • Juvenile but interesting
    It seemed to me the book was written for the young crowd but I also found it was interesting and creative.

    I would not read this type book on a regular basis but every once in a while might be fun....more info
  • A Fun Light Read
    Having read all of JH's work, this is not his strongest book. The characters seemed flat and the writing somewhat pedestrian. Having said that, it is still better than 90% of the fiction out there, and a fun read, particularly if you know the locale in which it is set--Cambridge. The speculation as to future Earths, always difficult in the time travel genre, were interesting and as believable as any other speculations. I have to laugh, however, at some of the reviewers who complain, for example, that Hadleman did not do enough research about Christians because no Christian would believe that Jesus would first visit the President? Huh? These are the people that believe the Earth is 7,000 years old, men rode dinosaurs, the Bible is literally true, Jesus will fly down from the sky, and an all powerful being influences the outcome of sporting events. The entire concept of faith is the antithesis of reason and evidence, so what was Hadleman supposed to have researched--how many angels on the head of a pin? There is a long history of reason, science, and rationality in science fiction, e.g., Asimov, Clarke, and many others, and Hadleman thankfully continues that trend. The Christians, Muslims, Mormons, etc. have their books of speculative fiction, let those of us who value reason and science have ours. ...more info
  • Good Read
    This book reminds me a lot of the Time Machine by HG Wells.. the time machine itself isn't overly focused on, there is a simplistic feel to future generations and at the end I am left wanting more, which like the Time Machine isn't a bad thing.

    I think the only thing that disappointed me was that it lacked enough action... I know, I know not ever book needs tons of action, but for me this book felt like it was needed in several places, yet they just seemed to be missing.

    If there is ever a sequel I wouldnt think twice and would INSTANTLY buy it....more info
  • Read at your own may stay up all night!
    It's been a while since I was tempted to keep reading a book all night because the story was so engaging. Joe Haldeman's Accidental Time Machine almost ruined a good night's sleep, but as I have a 9-5 job, I was forced to resist the temptation.
    What a great story! Mr. Haldeman immediately grabs the reader with a tale of a small machine - built by a physics grad student at MIT - that can leap ever-increasing distances into the future, and then it returns to the present. How the student figures out how to ride along and then deals with unexpected outcomes is only part of the reason this book is so hard to put down. Another is the fascinating characters the student meets along the way. And also some surprising plot twists.
    My hat's off to Joe Haldeman for writing one of the best stories I've ever read (and I've been reading for nearly sixty years!).
    Bravo!...more info
  • Not the Work of a SciFi Master
    While reading this book I began to wonder whether Joe had planned this to be a 'young adult' novella? There are enough blank pages in this book to write another novel, and the printing and spacing is such to maximize the size of the novel. The story itself is nothing new and in many cases reads like H.G.Wells' or one of his contemporaries.

    The science is plausible but gets bogged down in technospeak to the point it is incomprehensible to the other characters. Sadly, Joe even writes a postscript to pat himself on the back for his use of 'gravitons' for the basis of his time travel because some scientists have published a paper that uses this as a basis for time-travel (woo hoo!). Though he explains the reason for the exponential time dilation (like that!), the "grey time" between jumps, never increases after the third jump, as if Joe forgot about that part of the equation. Granted that increasing the grey time would have ended the ability to time travel, there has to be a symmetry to the science.

    The story that follows the last couple of time jumps is so childish to be a parody of itself. Turning the AI 'La' into an evil cousin of 'HAL' was about as lame an idea that I could imagine, and that the "couple" in the book are sent 'back to the future' of an earlier time (by some descendants of theirs) is way too hokey.

    Poor job by a well thought of author, better you should read "Forever War"....more info
  • Not Free SF Reader
    Double hop device.

    A grad student flukes into a working graviton-based time machine, around the same time as losing his job and his girlfriend dumping him.

    Needless to say, he manages to get into trouble then.

    The odd thing about his device is that it jumps logarithmically in time and space, and can't go the other way.

    The start is the most interesting, what happens after he starts using it gets a bit on the tedious side.

    ...more info
  • Not Haldeman's best - interesting science, fast paced, but shallow characters and disappointing ending
    An interesting quick read, but ultimately disappointing. Character development sputters out after a briefly interesting start. The story is fast paced, but appears to lose its way half way through.

    The Deus-ex-machina ending is completely unsatisfying and leaves more questions than it answers - why is backwards time travel suddenly an option? What happens to the paradoxical time loops mentioned earlier? Where do these all-powerful beings come from?

    If you are interested in great SF, try Haldeman's "All My Sins Remembered" which is less well known than "The Forever War", but orders of magnitude better than this book.

    All My Sins Remembered
    The Forever War...more info
  • Perfect for a quick read!
    I read the book in one sitting, took about two hours. I found smooth prose, likable characters, fun science, interesting notions about the future, and a story not written in first person! Plus, the synopsis on the back cover barely reveals the plot, which is so rare nowadays. In a broad way, I found the story very similar to Being John Malkovich, in that it unexpectedly continued in a fun, logical manner.

    The highest praise I can offer is that this book made me look forward to exploring Haldeman's other books....more info
  • This book was a lot of fun to read...
    I won't bother writing a summary of the story, as there are plenty of those to choose from. I'll just tell you what I liked about the book (and what I didn't), and let you decide whether or not you think it is worth reading (hint: IT IS!).

    The book was fast paced, easy to read, and a heck of a lot of fun. I didn't want to put it down (and indeed, finished it in 4 hours). The characters don't get a lot of treatment, but they are still given enough personality that you will find yourself rooting for certain outcomes as they move throughout the story (and time).

    This is not hard science fiction. You will not get a detailed description of how the time machine works (although, there is some discussion of temporal theory, paradoxes, multiverses, etc.). However, you will get an engaging story that makes you wish the book were at least twice as long. And you'll definitely find yourself wishing that you could travel with Matt Fuller (the protagonist) as he makes his jumps. Each time he presses the button (which makes him jump), you'll get excited.

    The author takes more than a few pokes at religion (Christianity in particular), and while I don't care for it, I've become rather used to it in Science Fiction novels. But there's nothing too offensive... and besides, he pokes fun at the scientific profession as well.

    Besides that, my only other complaints were that he left a lot of things unexplained (including a major, major loose end), and wrapped the book up far too quickly (puts many other dues ex machina endings to shame). The book could have gone on for another 200 pages easily (and maintained interest)...

    Overall, I would recommend this book for light reading. It's certainly not masterful, but it's very human. You'll like it, I promise! ...more info
  • A pleasant read
    The character development and ending was a bit weak but the story was entertaining. This lack of character development was especially obvious in the lesser time travelers. ...more info
  • Back to the sixties
    For me, this one felt a lot like SCI-FI from the fifties and seventies: poor style, a couple nice scenes and no more than one idea. This is a short story, blown up to a throughly disappointing novel without an ending....more info
  • A Great Summer Blockbuster
    This book is the literary equivalent to a great summer blockbuster. There is very little in the way of new ideas about technology, but classic ideas get recycled in very interesting ways. It's a very fast read with great characters, an epic-like story and lots of action and humor. If you want fun, this is it. If you want serious, deep and philosophical then read The Forever War instead.

    Summary: More time traveling fun from Haldeman. His third take on the topic won't win him any awards, but it sure is a great read. You'll have trouble putting it down for very long and the pages will pass by at faster than the speed of light....more info
  • Interesting but not great.
    I read the Kindle version of this book. I thought it was pretty good, but it could have been better. The storyline was interesting and the concept was great. It lacked the emotional depth that it could have had, though. There were lots of moments where the author could have gone into what the character was a going through a bit more, especially in the relationship with his female companion. The climax between those two never really gets explored.

    I thought it was a good, quick read. Worth picking up if you're into the time travel stuff....more info