Thursday, February 25, 2016

Books on tea, books on time travel...

Team Darjeeling 

Books on tea, books on time travel...

Continuing the discussion of the wonder of books, I wanted to share a bit about the time travel books in our Gentlemen's Tea tablescape.

The books were on a "best time travel books" list I found. I had read a couple, and especially loved A Wrinkle in Time, part of a children's series The Time Quintet by Madeleine L'Engle, which I'd read with my son as a boy and we both loved the series. But I knew little about the others so did some research. After several hours on the Internet, reading and wading through histories and commentaries, I thought I'd share some time travel tidbits. I'm sipping Irish Breakfast tea from the Traveling Tardis as I write.

First let me say that the concept of time travel fascinates me, even though I'm not a science fiction fan. But the idea of moving about in time, possibly influencing your own future is pretty intriguing, and that is a premise of several of the books. On the other hand, some stories on time travel insist that the travelers must NOT influence events. This is, in fact, often a dilemma with Doctor Who and his companions. While some time travel books are considered hard science fiction, others are classified as romance or spiritual, or even just popular literature.

It's fascinating that the earliest written books on the list are from the 1880s and 1890s! Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee and HG Wells' The Time Machine were critical of the contemporary society and popular ideas- Twain of romanticized chivalry, especially during the Civil War, and Wells of class structure in Victorian England. The other book from 1887, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, is about a young Bostonian who goes into a hypnotic sleep and awakens in the year 2000 in a socialist utopia of no war, crime or personal want.  All three books were widely popular in their day and very influential to the genre of time travel literature, especially HG Wells. I'm sure there must have been a Dr Who episode with HGWells!

How people travel through time in these books varies a lot. Some go into hypnotic states, some travel through portals of space and time, like in The Outlander by Diane Gabaldon, 11/22/63 by Stephen King and Kindred by Octavia E. Butler.  And others travel in time machines- first described by Wells but also used in The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Time and Again by Jack Finney, The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov and The Door into Summer by Robert Heinlein. A new twist on time travel is in The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger- he had a genetic affliction called Chrono- Impairment, causing him to travel involuntarily through his own past and future! This actually is similar to Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, where the hero becomes 'unstuck' in time and simultaneously lives through phases of his life.

Some of the books are classics with great influence on the genre of science fiction and time travel.  Some have been widely popular beyond science fiction readers and many have been made into movies or television series- Outlander, The Time Machine, Time Traveler's Wife,  Connecticcut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Slaughterhouse Five, Time After Time and the latest is 11/22/63 on Cable TV.

Learning about these books was an unintentional side benefit of our Gentlemen's Tea, but I was enthralled by the differences, commonalities, politics and technologies used in these time travel books written over the last 150 years. A few are now on my To-Read list. I hope you enjoyed this very brief lesson on Time Travel literature. It is only the tip of the iceberg in the fascinating variances of time travel imaginings.


  1. Thanks for the list of time travel books. I have enjoyed The Outlander series on time travel and know I would enjoy more on this list.

  2. What a wealth of ideas! Thank you for sharing your favorites with us, Colleen. Congratulations on another {lovely} blog post.

  3. Thanks for all your input on the books, Colleen. It is very interesting . I will be taking Wells book with me to read tomorrow during some down time.

  4. What a interesting reading list! I often wish I could bring my ancestors to a current day - just to see their face when they step from a cozy bed onto soft carpet and soak in a nice bubble bath.
    Sips and Smiles,

  5. Nice reporting.
    Rochelle, ATAA

  6. Thank you for sharing! I've been enjoying arm chair time travel myself!