What better way to pass the time than reading a good book? Time travel books are especially good at capturing the imagination since they allow readers to experience past, present, and future events from different perspectives. To help you decide which time travel books are worth your time, here are our top 5 best time travel books!
The original. This 1895 novel is considered by many to be one of literature’s most influential time travel stories. Wells’ classic story is both a thought-provoking piece of science fiction and a critique of Victorian England, where he lived during his time as a writer. The plot follows an unnamed narrator who builds a time machine that enables him to travel through time, focusing on an imagined future human society divided into two groups: Morlocks (who are cannibalistic ape-like creatures that live underground) and Eloi (humanoid beings who live above ground). He lands in 802,701 AD, in what should be one of Earth’s golden ages but instead is bleak and desolate with two species at war.
Mark Twain’s classic story is one of literature’s finest explorations of time travel. A man from 19th century Connecticut finds himself in 6th century England and decides to take advantage of his new surroundings. Using his knowledge of modern technology, he transforms a medieval society into an industrial superpower (and takes on his nemesis, who happens to be a wizard). A great satire on medieval times. The humor is incredible and it’s also got great life lessons throughout. (Read review) (Listen on Audible)
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is a time travel book that starts off with Arthur Dent (who is already quite confused) waking up to a phone call from his friend Ford Prefect. Ford has traveled back in time and tells Arthur that there is an alien attack happening right then! When Arthur goes to see for himself, he ends up being whisked away by Ford and taken to a spaceship where he will travel through time. This book is hilarious, fun, and interesting with hilarious characters such as Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin, who are great ways to spend your free time. This book will have you laughing at every page; it’s truly one of a kind.
All You Zombies centers on time travel and features a soldier who travels back in time to kill his mother before she gives birth to him. It’s a classic tale that explores one of science fiction’s most perplexing paradoxes: if you go back in time and kill your father, wouldn’t you longer exist? So it’s not just about coming up with a good idea for a story—it’s about telling that story in an original way. And nobody does original-like Robert A. Heinlein. (Heinlein fans will love his timeless Stranger In A Strange Land; sci-fi lovers should also check out Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle.)
Chabon’s The Final Solution is, to date, one of my favorite time travel books. Chabon is a master at creating characters with depth and complexity, so even if you’re not into historical fiction, his work is worth your time. This novel follows Russian time tourists who attempt to change history in order to save their homeland from destruction at Hitler’s hands. They travel back in time hoping to capture German scientists and kill Hitler before he has a chance to start World War II. Even if you think time travel is silly (which it can be), there are deeper lessons here that speak to humanity and our complex relationship with progress and technology.