Friday, July 13, 2018

Five novels dealing with time travel

Prentis Rollins has over twenty years of experience working as a writer and artist in the comics industry. The Furnace is his debut full-length graphic novel. One of his five top novels dealing with time travel, as shared at

Kindred (1979) by Octavia E. Butler is the outlier. It is often classified as science fiction simply because it is a time-travel story; probably it is best thought of as time-travel fantasy (Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court would be another example of this). A young African-American woman named Dana Franklin is a writer living in present-day Los Angeles. One day she suddenly feels strange, swoons, and finds herself transported back to a plantation in antebellum Maryland, where she has to live as a slave—until she just as suddenly jumps back to the present and normality. Her life becomes a nightmare as these time-shifting leaps continue to happen—she never knows when they are going to happen, or for how long she’ll be trapped in this particularly hellish past. At one point her white husband, Kevin, goes back with her—he becomes trapped in the past for five years. The question of how the time leaps are being accomplished (are they somehow being caused by Dana’s mind? Are they a natural phenomenon? Has Dana been chosen for some inscrutable reason?) is never addressed—and it really doesn’t matter; that’s not what the book is about. What the book is about (among other things) is the hideousness of slavery—how it blighted the lives of the slaves, of course, but also the ruinous and degrading effect it had on the slaveholders. It remains an enthralling, disturbing modern classic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Kindred is among Caroline O'Donoghue's top ten lost women's classics.

--Marshal Zeringue