Time Travel: A History - by James Gleick

Joe's GoodReads Rating

"Impossible, concludes the philosopher. No one can travel into the future or the past on Mr. Wells's time machine. We must find other ways of dealing with the past and future, every day of our lives."

Time Travel: A History by James Gleick is a nonfictional account of the development of literature and culture around the concept of Time Travel. Gleick lays out a comprehensive network of ideas strung together by poets, philosophers and physicists starting with The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, which seems to have been the first written account of the concept. If you think this sounds like dry reading, you would be wrong.

I loved this book. The author’s voice carries you on a train of thought through a system of very complex ideas, from multiple dimensions to the nature of consciousness, but puts them into language that is comfortable to read. At times it felt like a hurricane of facts and concepts being thrown at me, but I couldn’t put the book down. This is the type of book that makes you question your own reality.

What is the Present, anyways? How long is it in terms of duration of Time? All definitions of Time include words and phrases that are themselves derived from the concept of Time (e.g. duration). All descriptions of Time are actually metaphors (flow, save, waste,spend). Does Time really exist? Or, is Time simply the way that a human consciousness sorts and categorizes change. In that case, what really is human consciousness? Gleick posits that perhaps our own consciousness is like a flashlight identifying change (cause and effect) and then putting change into a context of Time. If you find yourself thinking about these sorts of questions, you will love this book.

I found this book at a book store when I was actually looking for another book by James Gleick titled Chaos: Making a New Science. I later found that book at another book store and will read it soon.


Joe Enns

Joe Enns Art is a website showing the oil paintings of Joe Enns, an Oil Painter and Fisheries Biologist located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. This website is dedicated to showing the beauty of the natural world, developing oil painting skills, as well as, fisheries and stream conservation and restoration.