The Time Traveler’s Almanac is the latest in a long line of thrilling science fiction literature that deals with the absorbing genre of time travel. Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, the world-renowned anthologists have subsequently compiled almost seventy short stories from more than a century of classic time travel tales into one definitive gem of a collection.
Synopsis of The Time Traveler’s Almanac
The sheer variety of this book is one of its biggest strengths, with some beloved time travel classics included among a myriad of excellent contemporary installments. The Time Traveler’s Almanac contains 65 short stories and 5 essays in total, divided into four neat sections as follows:
1: Experiments – “Stories in which individuals or organizations are experimenting with time travel or are subjects of experimentation”. Stories include “Ripples in the Dirac Sea” by Geoffrey A. Landis, “Triceratops Summer” by Michael Swanwick, “The Gernsback Continuum” by William Gibson, and “Pale Roses” by Michael Moorcock.
2: Reactionaries and Revolutionaries – “Stories in which people are trying to protect the past from change or because they are curious tourists or academicians and want to accurately document different times”. Stories include “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury, “Vintage Season” by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore, “Fire Watch” by Connie Willis, “On the Watchtower at Plataea” by Garry Kilworth, and “Enoch Soames: A Memory of the Eighteen-Nineties” by Max Beerbohm.
3: Maps and Traps – “Stories in which the paradox of time travel is front-and-center, and characters become trapped in those paradoxes”. Stories include “Yesterday Was Monday” by Theodore Sturgeon, “The Clock That Went Backward” by Edward Page Mitchell, “Lost Continent” by Greg Egan, and “The Waitabits” by Eric Frank Russell.
4: Communiqués – “Stories about people trying to get a message to either someone in the past or in the future—out of their own time”. Stories include “Swing Time” by Carrie Vaughn, “Bad Timing” by Molly Brown, “3 RMS, Good View” by Karen Haber, and “Loob” by Bob Leman.
Verdict: A Time Travel Fiction Treasure
Time travel offers so many story telling possibilities and the potential to engage and captivate readers in the most extraordinary ways. Similarly, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Hugo Award–winning and Hugo–nominated authors respectively, have compiled a compendium of exemplary time travel stories across its nearly 1,000 pages. The Time Traveler’s Almanac is notable in both the variety and style of its stories. These range from its earliest inclusion, Enoch Soames: A Memory of the Eighteen-Nineties (1916) to as recent as The Clock That Went Backward (2013), which itself is actually a variant of The Clock That Went Backwards (1881).
In conclusion, these any other hugely imaginative stories will keep the reader absorbed and entertained for weeks. Naturally, some of the stories included are of a higher quality and full of more surprises than others. Also, some readers will question the absence of such classic works as “–All You Zombies–” by Robert Heinlein, or “The Albertine Notes” by Rick Moody. Overall, however, this book would make a very fine addition to any time travel fan’s collection. (Available on Amazon)