The 10 Best Time Travel Books

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This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in March of 2018. From stopping Hitler to the catastrophic consequences of the butterfly effect, the idea of wandering through the centuries remains an enduring escapist theme. If you’re in the mood to hop out of your surroundings, then you’ll love getting lost with one of the time travel books on this list. These thought-provoking novels will have you pondering paradoxes and what-ifs yesterday. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. 11/22/63

2. What the Wind Knows

3. All You Need Is Kill

Editor's Notes

April 21, 2020:

Time travel books can be very versatile, often doubling as thrillers, historical fiction, or romance novels. They give authors a unique opportunity to blend genres and subvert tropes, although often these books come with their own set of cliches, too. That being said, our list was curated with selections that take a fresh look at the idea of traversing space and time, with artfully crafted, well-paced narratives that faithfully reflect the eras they take place in while using them to expound on themes both heavy and light.

If you're looking for fast and furious volumes with futuristic plots, consider Pilot X and All You Need Is Kill. Each of these deals with warring factions, admirable heroes, and mind-bending realities. Those interested in something reflective and thoughtful will appreciate All Our Wrong Todays, Edward Aubry's "Unhappenings", and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, while The Ship Beyond Time is perfect for YA readers.

In today's update, we decided to say goodbye to The Time Traveler's Wife and Ghost Country to make room for new selections that bring more emotional depth to this list. The first is Octavia E. Butler's "Kindred", which has a black woman directly facing the horrors and implications of slavery in America. It examines complex themes of space and time, as well as the very real, earthly issues of racism and sexism. The lead is a woman from the 1970s, which adds another layer of rumination for modern readers comparing eras.

The second novel added today is What the Wind Knows. This selection looks at familial bonds in a way that is deeply touching while also weaving in romance and the fascinating history of Ireland as it struggled for independence in the early 20th century. This book particularly shines when it comes to character development and mostly manages to evade sappiness as it explores love in many forms.

Special Honors

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court First Edition Originally published in December of 1889, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain is a comedic novel that revolves around Hank Morgan, an American from the 19th century who receives a severe blow to the head and is transported to England during the reign of King Arthur. This first edition from Raptis Rare Books sports the original title and green pictorial cloth, gilt titling, and tooling to the spine and front panel. It also bears two first printing issues and is in near fine condition.

Project Gutenberg Whether you're looking for sci-fi, fantasy, or romance novels, Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks that can be downloaded or read online. Much of the world's great literature is there, with a focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread each work for enjoyment and education.

4. Pilot X

5. Octavia E. Butler's "Kindred"

6. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

7. All Our Wrong Todays

8. Do You Realize?

9. Edward Aubry's "Unhappenings"

10. The Ship Beyond Time

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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