Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Top 10 time travel books

Charles Yu's debut novel is How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. He received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award for his story collection Third Class Superhero, and he has also received the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award. His work has been published in the Harvard Review, The Gettysburg Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Mississippi Review, and Mid-American Review, among other journals.

He named his top ten time travel books for the Guardian. One novel on the list:
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr

Vonnegut's classic about a protagonist who comes "unstuck in time" is a four-dimensional cross-section (a novel) of a four-dimensional object (a life). A discontinuous, non-chronological examination of Billy Pilgrim's temporal existence, especially his time in the war and the fire-bombing of Dresden. Plus, Trafalmadorians. As Professor Jack Gladney says, in Don DeLillo's White Noise, "All plots tend to move deathward." The truth of this statement is never more clear than in a time travel narrative, and particularly in Slaughterhouse-Five. Even though we are rarely moving in a straight, forward direction in time through this book, we are always, in every story, inevitably moving toward The End.
Read about the other entries on Yu's list.

Slaughterhouse-5 also made Sebastian Beaumont's top 10 list of books about psychological journeys and Tiffany Murray's top ten black comedies list.

Also see Linda Buckley-Archer's top ten time-travelling stories.

--Marshal Zeringue