Time travel is my new favorite thing to read about. In fact, my most recently writing project has elements of travelling through time in it.
The first book I want to talk about is:
The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn
In some undetermined/unmentioned period of time a mysterious institute recruits people to travel back in time during different periods. Two of these people are recruited to go back to 1851 to meet Jane Austen and find an unpublished manuscript of hers for the leader of the institute. Rachel is a doctor and her partner Liam is an actor. Unceremoniously dropped in a field outside of London, the two have to use their wits and limited resources to secure entrée into the world of the Austen family. It’s always fun to have modern people in a time period so unlike their own. It shows how resourceful one can be.
They befriend Jane’s brother, Henry and work towards their goal of finding the manuscript and letters from the family to Jane. Rachel and her “brother” Liam end up firmly entrenched in the Austen family, even going so far as to lead them on romantically, all the while keeping their relationship (or lack thereof) a secret. The time period they are sent to is also about the time Jane got sick, prior to her death. Rachel then has to determine if she uses her medical knowledge to diagnose Jane’s illness and change the future of possibly one of the world’s greatest writers, or let history play out the way it was.
The book plays on a lot of different themes, and it’s interesting to see how what one does in the past might affect the future at large. Plus, Jane Austen is awesome.
The second book is quite a bit different and involves time travel and magic.
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
This takes a similar pretense, travel back in time to change the future, but involves much more science and witches. The science was mind-numbing, but basically some dude made a machine that allowed witches to practice magic, but it was now going to be used by a government agency to send people back in time and “tweak” things for a favorable outcome. (Once such case was never having Russia as part of the Crimea, so that whole war thing never happened). This involves going to pre-Shakespeare London, pre-American Revolution Massachusetts, and the 13th century Constantinople.
The premise is that magic disappeared in 1851, possibly by the advent of photography. D.O.D.O (Department of Diachronic Operations) is created to make a network of witches and complete missions throughout history. As the department progress, it become bogged down in bureaucracy and governmental red-tape, which I’m familiar with after working with the government for years. It’s a long book, and the final 200 pages are the best in my opinion because it turns into a heist book with the time travel and magic throw in.
So if that’s your thing, it’s a good hefty read.