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40 Best Time Travel Books To Read Right Now (2024)

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Travel back in time with the best time travel books, including engrossing thrillers, romance, contemporary lit, and mind-bending sci-fi.

Best Time Travel Books featured image with clock like structure with blue and green electric lightning coming out of it

Table of Contents

Best Time Travel Books

Books about time travel promise to not only transport you across time periods and space – Doctor Who-style – but also tesser you into new dimensions and around the world. Most readers already know about classics like The Time Traveler’s Wife , A Christmas Carol , and The Time Machine .

For romance time travel, grab In A Holidaze or One Last Stop . For contemporary and new time travel books, Haig’s The Midnight Library and Serle’s In Five Years captivated our hearts and minds.

Recursion re-kindled our love for science fiction, and Ruby Red transported us to 18th-century London. Books like Displacement promise intuitive and raw commentary about generational trauma and racism in graphic novel form.

Below, find the best time travel novels across genres for adults and teens, including history, romance, classics, sci-fi, YA, and thrilling fiction. Get ready to travel in the blink of an eye, and be sure to let us know your favorites in the comments. Let’s get started!

Contemporary & Literary Fiction

If you enjoy contemporary and literary fiction filled with strong main characters, these are some of the best books in the time travel genre. Uncover new releases as well as books on the bestseller lists. Of course, we’ll share a few lesser-known gems too.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle book cover with sketched city of New York City

Would your life change if you had one seemingly real dream or premonition? What if some key facts were missing but you had no idea? Can we change the future?

One of the best books about time travel and friendship, don’t skip In Five Years . In fact, we read this New York City-based novel in half a day. Have the tissue box ready.

Dannie nails an important job interview and is hoping to get engaged. Of course, this is all a part of her perfect 5-year plan. Dannie has arranged every minute of her life ever since her brother died in a drunk driving accident.

On the night of Dannie’s “scheduled” engagement, she falls asleep only to have a vision of herself 5 years into the future in the arms of another man. Did she just time travel or could this be a dream? When Dannie arrives back in 2020, her life goes back to normal. …That is until she meets the man from her dream.

We were expecting In Five Years to be a time travel romance story; however, this is a different type of love and one of the best books about strong friendships .

Read In Five Years : Amazon | Goodreads | In Five Years Book Information

Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi book cover with two chairs, blue wallpaper, and cat on the ground

Translated by Geoffrey Trousselot | We just love Japanese literature . One of the most debated time travel books among our readers – you’ll either love it or hate it – Before the coffee gets cold takes place at a cafe in Tokyo, Japan.

Along with coffee, this 140-year-old, back-alley cafe lets visitors travel back in time. Four visitors at the cafe are hoping to time travel to see someone for the last (or first) time. The way each patron views the cafe says a lot about them. The details and repetition are everything.

True to the title, visits may only last as long as it takes for the coffee to grow cold. If they don’t finish their coffee in time, there are ghostly consequences.

Before the coffee gets cold asks, who would you want to see one last time, and what issues you would confront?

Along with the many rules of time travel, these visitors are warned that the present will not change. Would you still travel back knowing this? Can something, anything, still change – even within you?

The story has a drop of humor with a beautiful message. We shed a tear or two. Discover even more terrific and thought-provoking Japanese fantasy novels here .

Read Before the coffee gets cold : Amazon | Goodreads

If you are looking for the most inspiring take on time travel in books, Haig’s The Midnight Library is it. This is one of those profound stories that make you think more deeply . TWs for pet death (early on) and suicide ideation.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig deep blue book cover with large library structure

Imagine if you could see your other possible lives and fix your regrets. Would that path be better? Would these changes make you happier?

Set in Bedford, England, and at a library , Nora answers these questions as she intentionally overdoses on pills. Caught in the Midnight Library – a purgatory of sorts – Nora explores books filled with the ways her life could have turned out. She tries on these alternative lives, pursuing different dreams, marrying different people, and realizing that some parts of her root life were not as they seemed on the surface.

Find hope and simplicity in one of the most authentic and heaviest time travel novels on this list. Haig addresses mental health through a new lens that is both beautiful and moving.

With a team full of avid readers and librarians, discover our top selections featuring more books about books .

Read The Midnight Library : Amazon | Goodreads | The Midnight Library Book Information

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver book cover with silhouette of two people embraced and kissing next to bike with basket

Some of the best time travel books are those with alternate realities, including The Two Lives of Lydia Bird . There are content warnings for prescription pill addiction and more.

Set in England, Lydia and Freddie are planning their marriage when the unthinkable happens. Freddie dies in a car accident on the way to Lydia’s birthday dinner. In a matter of seconds, Lydia’s world falls apart. She isn’t sure how she will survive. When Lydia starts taking magical pink sleeping pills, she enters an alternate universe where Freddie is alive and well.

Caught between her dream world and real life, Lydia must decide if she will give in to her addiction – living in a temporary fantasy world – or give it up completely.

While the repetitive and predictable plot drags a bit – slightly hurting the pacing – the overall story shows emotional growth and the nature of healing after loss. And, as Lydia soon learns via her dreams, no love is perfect. Maybe her future was destined to be different anyway, which is reminiscent of Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library .

Read The Two Lives of Lydia Bird Jose Silver : Amazon | Goodreads | The Two Loves of Lydia Bird book information

The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August by Claire North

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North book cover with young boy holding a series of rectangular mirrors that grow progressively smaller

If you are looking for more suspenseful books about time travel and like Groundhog Day , check out The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. However, this is not just one day on repeat; instead, this is a lifetime.

Harry August is repeatedly reborn into the same life, retaining his memories each time. No matter what Harry does or says, when he lands on his deathbed, he always returns back to his childhood, again and again. On the verge of his eleventh death, though, a girl changes the course of his life. He must use his accumulated wisdom to prevent catastrophe.

Read The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August : Amazon | Goodreads

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim book cover with blue cloudy like shy and dots in circular pattern

When it comes to time travel books, An Ocean of Minutes is one of the most original takes about time travel’s effects on alternate history.

Polly and Frank are deeply in love in 1981 when a pandemic devastates the planet. By the end of 1981, time travel (invented in this alternate reality in 1993) has been made available.

Because of this invention, individuals can sign on to work for the TimeRaiser corporation in order to escape or save their loved ones in the present. Due to a flaw in the technology, though, they can only transport people for 12 years. This prevents them from stopping the pandemic by just 6 months.

When Frank gets ill, Polly signs up, both agreeing they will meet back up in 1993. Now alone in the future, Polly has to learn to navigate a world she has less than zero preparation for. In this world, she is a time refugee, bonded to TimeRaiser without a physical cent to her name.

Lim uses the time travel mechanic to cleverly explore the subject of immigration, forcing the reader to follow Polly blindly into a world they should know, but don’t. This is what makes An Ocean of Minutes one of the most unique time travel novels on this reading list.

Read An Ocean of Minutes : Amazon | Goodreads

Time Travel In Science Fiction

For fantasy and sci-fi lovers, take a quantum leap into fictional worlds, quantum physics, possible futures, black holes, and endless possibilities. See if you can tell the difference between the real world and new dimensions.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch book cover with infinity symbol and yellow lettering for title on gray cover

Recursion is one of our all-time favorite time travel books to gift to dads who love sci-fi. Can you tell what we gave our dad for Christmas one year?

In Recursion, no one actually physically time travels – well, sort of. Instead, memories become the time-traveling reality.

Detective Barry Sutton is investigating False Memory Syndrome. Neuroscientist Helena Smith might have the answers he needs. The disease drives people crazy – and to their deaths – by causing them to remember entire lives that aren’t theirs. Or are they!?

All goes to heck when the government gets its hands on this mind-blowing technology. Can Barry and Helena stop this endless loop?

Recursion is also a (2019) Goodreads Best Book for Science Fiction.

Read Recursion : Amazon | Goodreads

This Is How You Lose The War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar 

Best Time Travel Books, This Is How You Lose The War Max Gladstone book cover with red cardinal and blue jay

A Goodreads runner-up for one of the best science fiction novels (of 2019) – and one of the shortest time travel novels on this list – This Is How You Lose The Time War follows two warring time-traveling agents falling in love through a letter exchange.

Red and Blue have nothing in common except that they travel across time and space and are alone. Their growing and forbidden love is punishable by death and their agencies might be onto them.

In a somewhat beautiful yet bizarre story, we watch as Red and Blue slowly fall for each other and confess their love. They engage in playful banter and nicknames. Every shade of red and blue reminds them of each other.

The first half of the novel is a bit abstract. You might wonder what the heck you’ve gotten yourself into. However, once you get your feet planted firmly on the ground of the plot, the story picks up and starts making more sense.

We can’t promise you’ll love or even understand This Is How You Lose The Time War – we aren’t sure we do. However, this is truly one of the most unique sci-fi and LGBTQ+ time travel romance books on this reading list – written by two authors. Also, maybe crack out the dictionary…

Explore even more of the best LGBTQ+ fantasy books to read next.

Read This Is How You Lose The War : Amazon | Goodreads

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai book cover with bright yellow title

A debut novel, All Our Wrong Todays is both a humorous and entertaining time travel book that speaks to how we become who we are.

In 2016, technology perfected the world for Tom Barren. However, we all know that perfection doesn’t equate to happiness. Barren has lost his girlfriend, and he just happens to own a time machine… Now, Barren has to decide if he wants to keep his new, manipulated future or if he just wants to go back home to his depressing but normal life.

Read All Our Wrong Todays : Amazon | Goodreads

Here And Now And Then by Mike Chen

Here And Now And Then by Mike Chen book cover with person in gold running on infinity ribbon with city

Imagine getting trapped in time and starting over. That’s exactly what happens to IT worker, Kin Stewart, in one of the bestselling science fiction time travel books, Here And Now And Then .

Stewart has two lives since he is a displaced time-traveling agent stuck in San Francisco in the 1990s. He has a family that knows nothing about his past; or, should we say future. When a rescue team arrives to take him back, Stewart has to decide what he is willing to risk for his new family.

Here And Now And Then is a time travel book filled with emotional depth surrounding themes of bonds, identity, and sacrifice. Find even more books set in San Francisco, California (and more!).

Read Here And Now And Then : Amazon | Goodreads

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu book cover with sketched people on red background with gray section with words

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is one of the most unusual books about time travel out there.

Our protagonist Charles Yu lives in a world where time travel exists and is readily available to the average person. And yes, he is named after the author, and yes, it is as meta as it sounds; and yes, this is just the beginning of this speculative fiction time travel book.

Charles Yu’s day job is spent repairing time machines for Time Warner Time. But in his free time, he tries to help the people who use time travel to do so safely and to counsel them if things have gone wrong.

It’s no surprise that Charles’ entire life revolves around time travel since his father invented the technology many years ago. And then he disappeared. In fact, Charles is also trying to find out just what happened to his dad, and where – or when – he’s gone.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe won’t be for everyone, but it’s one of the best time travel books if you want delightfully meta, fantastically non-linear, and very very weird.

Read How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe : Amazon | Goodreads

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez book cover with purple, yellow, and red circular swirls

For beautiful, lyrical time travel novels about found family and love, The Vanished Birds is a must-read.

Nia Imani exists outside of time and space. She travels in and out of the world through a pocket of time with her space crew. They emerge to trade or sell goods every eight months. But eight months for them is 15 years for everyone else.

She has lived this way for hundreds of years. Though she has her crew, and there are people she shares connections with sporadically throughout their lives, she is lonely. And although she barely ages, she watches friends and lovers grow old and die.

One such person is Kaeda, who meets Nia for the first time when he is 7. The next time he sees her, he has aged 15 years, while she is only months older. She continues to come every 15 years of his life, always looking the same.

Then one day a mysterious, mute boy falls from the sky into Nia’s life. His name is Ahro, and there’s something extra special about him. Something that could revolutionize space travel forever. And now there might be people after Ahro who won’t love him the way Nia does.

If you love a character-driven book with exquisite prose – and a few time warps – this is one of the best time travel books for you.

Read The Vanished Birds : Amazon | Goodreads

Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

Night Watch by Terry Pratchett book cover with illustrated people in purple walking down street with green and yellow hued houses

Night Watch is one of the most fun and thrilling books about time travel. It’s also a bit ridiculous and very very British.

Why can’t policing just be simple? All Sam Vimes wanted to do was capture and arrest a dangerous murderer. But thanks to those damned wizards and their experiments, he and the killer have both been accidentally thrown back in time thirty years.

And to top it off, the man who would have become a mentor to young Sam Vimes in the past has been killed in the process! How’s Vimes going to get this all sorted out?

The City Watch he’s spent years improving is just a bunch of semi-competent volunteers at this point. He’s got no money, no clothes, and no friends. But at least he’s making enemies fast. Can he catch the killer, stop history from not repeating itself, and get home to his family? Oh, and the city’s about to dissolve into civil war. Typical.

Night Watch is perfect if you prefer your time travel books to be fantasy-based.

P.S. There may be mild spoilers for previous books in the Discworld series, but this can be read as a standalone. And if you only ever read one Discworld novel, this is one of the best there is – and so far the only one of the Discworld books with time travel!

Read Night Watch : Amazon | Goodreads

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz book cover with purple, gray, and green lettering for title

The Future of Another Timeline is one of the few time travel books to explore history through a feminist lens.

In 1992, Beth – a high school senior – and her friends Heather, Lizzy, and Soojin attend a riot grrl concert with Heather’s boyfriend Scott. But afterward, one of Scott’s not-so-funny sexist jokes gets out of hand and Lizzy accidentally kills him. Now they’re on the run, and the bodies just keep piling up.

Meanwhile, in 2022, Tess is part of a group of women and non-binary people working together to change history. They have the use of five time devices which only allow them to travel backward and back to the present day – but never forwards.

Beth and Tess come from two wildly different times (1992, and 2022, respectively). But, while Beth is busy making history, Tess is quite literally trying to change it. However, both of them want the same thing: a better world. When their worlds collide, will they be able to save each other – and the world?

The Future of Another Timeline is a time travel fiction celebration of feminism and queerness with lots of sci-fi and punk rock thrown in. This is one of the best time travel novels for those who enjoy stellar women making history .

Read The Future of Another Timeline : Amazon | Goodreads

The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley

The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley book cover with ladder like spiral swirl

The Kingdoms is wildly imaginative and sure to enchant fans of time travel books, alternative history stories, and tales about parallel universes.

In 1898 Joe Tournier steps off a train and suddenly can’t remember anything that comes before that moment. The world he now finds himself in is as foreign to him as it is to us: an alternate history/reality where the UK lost the Battle of Trafalgar and is now a French colony.

In this world, the British are kept as slaves. Napoleon is a popular name for pets, and tartan is outlawed. Since Joe arrives on a train from Glasgow speaking English and wearing tartan, there is some speculation he might be from The Saints, a terrorist group based in Edinburgh fighting for freedom.

But all Joe remembers is the fading image of a woman and the name Madeline. Although he is identified by his owner and brought “home,” Joe is determined to find this Madeline. And his resolve is only strengthened when he receives a postcard signed ‘– M’ and dated 90 years in the past.

Discover even more books about Scottish culture, history, and everyday life .

Read The Kingdoms : Amazon | Goodreads

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley book cover with human like person in gear and lit hole with blue radiating from it

The Light Brigade is one of the best time travel stories for anyone who loves character-driven tales or books about war and conflict.

As war wages on Mars, the military has devised the perfect soldier to fight on the frontlines: being made of light. The Light Brigade, as they’re called back home, is made up of soldiers who have undergone a procedure that breaks them down into atoms capable of traveling at the speed of light. They are the perfect soldiers, but broken people.

The book follows one such soldier, Dietz, an eager new recruit who is experiencing battle out of sync with everyone else. Because of this, she – and we – see a different reality of the war than the one presented by the Corporate Corps. As Dietz becomes more and more unstuck in time, she becomes more and more unsure of her own sanity and the role she is playing in this war.

Read The Light Brigade : Amazon | Goodreads

The Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way

The Umbrella Academy Vol. 1 by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba book cover with illustrated image of person's body meshed with a guitar

You Look Like Death Volume 1 | Now a popular (and excellent) Netflix TV show, The Umbrella Academy is one of the best time travel books of all time.

One day, forty-seven children are suddenly and inexplicably born to women who were not previously pregnant. Eccentric millionaire Reginald Hargreeves goes around the world buying as many of the surviving children as he possibly can. He is able to get seven.

These children, it turns out, all have superpowers (except, it seems, for the unremarkable Number Seven aka Vanya). They become the crime-fighting group: The Umbrella Academy.

Fast forward several years, and Number Five, whose special power is that he can travel in time a few seconds or minutes per go, has mysteriously appeared after Hargreeves dies. And now he brings warning of an apocalypse – one which he insists none of his siblings will survive.

The Umbrella Academy series currently has three volumes, all packed with tales of time travel, parallel worlds, family drama, and lots of epic battles. We’ve absolutely loved this time travel book series so far; we can’t wait to see what Gerard Way does with future installments.

Discover even more great books with music, musicians, and bands .

Read The Umbrella Academy : Amazon | Goodreads

Historical Fiction

Travel back in time to witness wars and history. See what happens if you try to rewrite the future. Many of these historical fiction books with time travel promise to teach you more.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton book cover with black background and gold writing

We have a plethora of Agatha Christie fans amongst our Uncorked Readers , and Turton’s The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evenlyn Hardcastle is inspired by Christie.

Similar to Levithan’s Every Day , each day, Aiden wakes up in a different body from the guests of the Blackheath Manor. Trapped in a time loop, Aiden must solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder to escape. In the process, he navigates the tangled web of secrets, lies, and interconnected lives of the guests. Can he identify the killer and break the cycle?

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an award-winning historical thriller and one of the best time travel novels if you enjoy Downton Abbey and Groundhog’s Day . Discover even more great books set at hotels, mansions, and more .

Read The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle : Amazon | Goodreads

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander Series Diane Gabaldon book cover with old building on blue background

Travel back in time to Scotland in one of the most well-known time travel book series (and now TV series) of all time. Outlander is a part of pop culture. A New York Times bestseller and one of the top 10 most loved books according to The Great America Read, get ready to enter Scotland in 1743.

Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, walks through an ancient circle of stones and is transported into a world of love, death, and war. This is a place of political intrigue, clan conflicts, and romantic entanglements. Claire must navigate the unfamiliar landscape while grappling with her feelings for the dashing Jamie Fraser.

Encounter even more cult-classic books from the ’90s like A Game Of Thrones , which is perfect for fantasy map lovers .

Read Outlander : Amazon | Goodreads | Outlander book information

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King

Best Time Travel Books 11/22/63: A Novel book cover with newspaper clipping of JFK being slain in Dallas

Written by bestselling author, Stephen King, 11/22/63 is one of the best award-winning time travel books for historical fiction lovers. Set in 1963 when President Kennedy is shot, 11/22/63 begs the question: what if you could go back in time and change history?

Enter Jake Epping in Lisbon Falls, Maine.  Epping asks his students to write about a time that altered the course of their lives. Inspired by one of those haunting essays, Epping enlists to prevent Kennedy’s assassination.  How is this time travel possible? With the discovery of a time portal in a local diner’s storeroom…

11/22/63 is one of the most thrilling and realistic books about time travel, according to both critics and readers.

Read 11/22/63 : Amazon | Goodreads

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Kindred by Octavia E Butler book cover with young black woman's face and wooden houses that she is looking down upon

If you are looking for historical fiction novels about time travel that address slavery and racism, be sure to check out Butler’s Kindred. This is also one of the best books published in the 1970s .

One minute Dana is celebrating her birthday in modern-day California. The next, she finds herself in the Antebellum South on a Pre-Civil War Maryland plantation. Dana is expected to save the plantation owner’s son from drowning. Each time Dana finds herself back in this time period as well as the slave quarters, her stays grow longer and longer as well as more dangerous.

Examine the haunting legacy and trauma of slavery across time. For younger readers, there is also a graphic novel adaptation . Discover more books that will transport you to the South .

Read Kindred : Amazon | Goodreads

What The Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

Best Historical Fiction Time Travel Books What The Wind Knows by Amy Harmon book cover with white woman's face with reddish brown hair and waves

A bestseller and Goodreads top choice book, if you devour historical Irish fiction, What The Wind Knows will transport you to Ireland in the 1920s.

Anne Gallagher heads to Ireland to spread her grandfather’s ashes. Devastated, her grief pulls her into another time. Ireland is on the verge of entering a war, and Anne embraces a case of mistaken identity. She finds herself pulled into Ireland’s fight for Independence at the risk of losing her future life. She also falls for another main character and doctor, Thomas Smith.

What The Wind Knows is one of the best time travel novels that both romance and fantasy readers can appreciate. Witness connections that transcend time.

Read What The Wind Knows : Amazon | Goodreads

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes book cover with person in skirt and stripped leggings glowing gold

Known for being one of the best time travel books for thriller lovers, The Shining Girls also has the reputation as the spookiest novel on this reading list.

Kirby Mazrachi is the last shining girl – a girl with a future and so much potential. Harper Curtis is a murderer from the past meant to kill Mazrachi. However, Kirby is not about to easily go out without a fight, leading her on one violent quantum leap through multiple decades.

As Kirby races against time to track down a serial killer and unravel the mysteries of the House, encounter themes of resilience, fate, and the shining spirit that can transcend even the darkest forces.

Read The Shining Girls : Amazon | Goodreads

Time Travel Romance Books

We love a good time-travel romance novel, but we also understand how hard it can be to hold onto love when time is so unstable. From queer love stories set on trains to holiday celebrations, fall in love across time with these books.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston book cover with one woman on a pink train and another walking by

From bestselling author, Casey McQuiston of Red, White, & Royal Blue – one of our favorite LGBTQ+ books for new adults – don’t miss the most-talked-about book (from 2021), One Last Stop.

Twenty-three-year-old August is quite the cynic and living in New York City. Up until now, August has jumped schools and towns as often as you change a pair of socks. August has also never been in a serious relationship and wants to find “her person.” August’s life suddenly changes, though, when she meets a beautiful and mysterious woman on the train.

Jane looks a little…out of date… and for good reason; she’s from the 1970s and trapped in the train’s energy. August wants nothing more than to help Jane leave the train, but does that mean leaving her too?

A feel-good, older coming-of-age story, laugh out loud and be utterly dazzled as you follow love across time and space. You’ll cozy (and drink) up in the parties and community surrounding August. One Last Stop is one of the all-time best LGBTQ+ time travel books – and perfect if you enjoy books that take place on trains .

Read One Last Stop : Amazon | Goodreads

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Best Time Travel Books Fiction The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger book cover with young girl's legs with long white socks and black shoes next to men's pair of brown shoes

The Time Traveler’s Wife is one the top time travel romance novels – and not just because the story features a librarian . We are so biased.

Henry and Clare have loved each other pretty much forever. Unfortunately, Henry has Chrono-Displacement Disorder, sporadically misplacing him in time. Of course, this time-traveling dilemma makes Clare’s and Henry’s marriage and future together pretty darn interesting.

Grab some Kleenex as they attempt to live normal lives and survive impending devastation. The Time Traveler’s Wife has also been made into a romantic movie classic . Watch even more fantasy movies with romance .

Read The Time Traveler’s Wife : Amazon | Goodreads

In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren green book cover with holiday lights

If you are looking for a sweet and sexy holiday rom-com set in Utah, grab In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren.

Mae leaves her family and friend’s Christmas vacation home after drunkenly making out with an old childhood friend. Blame the spiked eggnog. Unfortunately, Mae’s secretly in love with her best friend’s brother, Andrew. On the ride to the airport, Mae wishes for happiness just as a truck hits her parent’s car. 

Mae lands in a time-travel loop where her dreams start coming true.  Is it too good to last?   What happens when she isn’t happy once again? Is she trapped?

For holiday books about time travel, this one is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit if you enjoy movies like Holidates  or  Groundhog’s Day . It’s light with a happy ending – typical of this author duo. We also recommend In A Holidaze if you are looking for Christmas family gathering books – a big request we see here at TUL.

P.S. Did you know that Christina Lauren is a pen name for a writing duo, Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings? Christina Lauren also wrote The Unhoneymooners , which was also hilariously enjoyable and set on an island .

Read In A Holidaze : Amazon | Goodreads | In A Holidaze book information

A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

Time Travel Romance A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux book cover with pretty beige stucco house with yard and flowering bushes

For cozy time travel romance books and a feminist tale set abroad, try A Knight In Shining Armor .

Dougless Montgomery is weeping on top of a tombstone when Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck, appears. Although this armor-clad hunk allegedly died in 1564, he stands before her about to embark on a journey to clear his name. Convicted of treason, Montgomery vows to help her soon-to-be lover find his accuser and set the record straight.

Read A Knight In Shining Armor : Amazon | Goodreads

The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz book cover with lighthouse

Set in South Carolina, if you love lighthouses and beach vibes, you’ll find something enjoyable in the time travel romance, The Night Mark .

After Faye’s husband dies, she cannot move on and recover. Accepting a photographer job in SC, Faye becomes obsessed with the local lighthouse’s myth, The Lady of the Light.

Back in 1921, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter mysteriously drowned. Faye is drawn into a love story that isn’t hers and becomes entangled in a passionate and forbidden love affair.

Read The Night Mark : Amazon | Goodreads

The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston

The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston book cover with two people standing around title on yellow background

Anyone who likes their time travel books to have a magical love story should pick up The Seven Year Slip for their next read. It’s one of our favorite magical realism novels .

When Clementine’s aunt dies, she inherits her fancy New York apartment on the Upper East Side. Although Clementine would really rather have her aunt back and can’t imagine living in her home, she eventually forces herself to move in and inhabit her aunt’s space.

And not long after, she wakes up to discover a strange man in her living room… except it’s not her living room, it’s her aunt’s… from seven years ago. Clementine’s aunt always said her apartment held a touch of magic; sometimes it created time slips that brought two people together when they were at a crossroads.

But what happens when you start to fall for someone stuck seven years in the past? Clementine knows there’s no future together, but she also can’t let go of this link to her aunt.

Like her previous speculative fiction romance, The Dead Romantics , Ashely Poston’s unique time travel tale is full of heartache and grief. However, it will also make you swoon. Basically, this one is a must if you are a fan of time travel romance books.

Read The Seven Year Slip : Amazon | Goodreads

Classic Books

No time travel reading list would be complete without the classics. Below, uncover just a few great time travel novels that started it all.

The End of Eternity by Issac Asimov

The End of Eternity by Issac Asimov book cover with turquoise strip

The End of Eternity is said to be one of Asimov’s science fiction masterpieces. This is also one of the most spellbinding books about time travel – although some criticize the story for its loopholes.

Harlan is a member of the elite future known as an Eternal. He lives and works in Eternity, which like any good time travel novel, is located separately from time and space.

Harlan makes small changes in the timeline in order to better history. Of course, altering the course of the world is dangerous and comes with repercussions, especially when Harlan falls in love.

Read The End of Eternity : Amazon | Goodreads

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Classic Time Travel books, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens with man carrying a young boy with cane on his back

It goes without saying that Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is one of the most famous and best time travel books for classic lovers – and a literary canon-worthy Christmas novel .

Ebenezer Scrooge is a greedy, lonely, and cruel man who truly has no Christmas spirit. Haunted by the ghosts of the past, present, and future, Scrooge must find the ultimate redemption before it’s too late. Does he have a heart?

Find even more classic and contemporary ghost books , including a few unique takes on ghosts.

Read A Christmas Carol : Amazon | Goodreads

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut book cover with yellow skull on red background

Slaughterhouse-Five is a somewhat bizarre time travel book about finding meaning in our sometimes fractured and broken lives. It’s also one of the most popular books published in the ’60s .

Similar to The Time Traveler’s Wife, Billy Pilgrim is “unstuck” in time in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Drafted into World War II, Pilgrim serves as a Chaplain’s assistant until he is captured by the Germans. He survives the bombing at Dresden and ultimately becomes a married optometrist. Things get a little wild…

Suffering from PTSD, Billy claims that he is kidnapped by aliens in a different dimension. Like most time travel novels, the story is out of order and Billy travels to different parts of his life.

Aliens come in all shapes and sizes; have more alien encounters with this reading list .

Read Slaughterhouse-Five : Amazon | Goodreads

A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain book cover with young man in suit looking at knights on horses

First published in 1889, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is one of the most popular classic and satirical time travel novels that’s set close to our childhood home. Having grown up in CT close to the old Colt factory, this story makes us smile.

Hank Morgan supervises the gun factory and is knocked unconscious. Upon waking, he finds himself in Britain about to be executed by the Knights of King Arthur’s Round Table in Camelot.

Morgan uses his future knowledge to his advantage, making him a powerful and revered wizard, which unfortunately doesn’t quite save him as he hopes. Not to mention that Morgan tries to introduce modern-day conveniences and luxuries to a time period that isn’t quite ready for them.

Read A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court : Amazon | Goodreads

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Classic Time Travel novels The Time Machine by H.G. Wells book cover with shapes

The Time Machine is one of the best frontrunner time travel books of all time. Published in 1895, the Time Traveler recalls his exhausting time travel adventures to incredulous believers. He even disappears in front of them.

Blended with fantasy and science fiction over the course of 800,000 years, the Time Traveler battles “bad guys.” He also loses his time machine, debatably falls in love, and meets the underground dwelling Morlocks.

Read The Time Machine : Amazon | Goodreads

Young Adults Books

For young adults and teens – plus adults who appreciate YA – read the best middle-grade and high school time travel books. We’ve included more time travel graphic novels and manga here too.

Displacement by Kiku Hughes

Displacement by Kiku Hughes book cover with illustrated two people walking away from each other but both looking back and fire tower along fence in the background

For historical YA graphic novels , Displacement is one of the must-read books about time travel that will teach young readers about generational trauma, racism, politics, and war.

Follow Kiku, who is displaced in time, back to the period of U.S. Japanese incarceration [internment] camps – essentially glorified prisons – during WW2. Kiku begins learning more about her deceased grandmother’s history, which mirrors the horrid actions under former President Donald Trump. How can Kiku help stop the past from repeating itself, and more so, how can we?

In a simplistic but powerful style of storytelling, Hughes’s emotional YA WW2 book is accessible to young readers. Displacement is also one of the shorter and quicker books with time travel on this list. Find even more LGBT+ graphic novels to read – one of our favorite genres.

Read Displacement : Amazon | Goodreads

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

YA Time Travel Books The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig with red sailed shop on water and woman looking through a crack

Changing the past can be pretty tempting. We’ve even seen that The Flash cannot resist. However, altering the course of history can be dangerous…

The first of two YA time travel books, Nix is the daughter of a time traveler. Her dad can sail anywhere on his ship, The Temptation. Her dad has his own temptation, though: to travel back to Honolulu in 1868, the year before her mom dies in childbirth. Nix’s father threatens to possibly erase her life and destroy a relationship with her only friend.

Discover even more great books about maps . Or, travel via armchair with these ship books .

Read The Girl From Everywhere : Amazon | Goodreads

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

YA Time Travel Books Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier book cover with jewels and portrait of a woman from the 18 century England on red background

Translated by Anthea Bell | If you are looking for time travel in books and enjoy YA historical fiction, try Ruby Red , which is the first in the Ruby Red Trilogy.

Gwyneth Shepherd quickly learns that she can easily time travel, unlike her cousin who has been preparing her entire life for the feat. Gwyneth wants to know why such a secret was kept from her. There are so many lies. Gwyneth time travels with the handsome Gideon back and forth between modern-day and 18th-century London to uncover secrets from the past.

Back in our MLIS and library days, Ruby Red was one of our favorite YA time travel books to recommend since so few knew about the series. Just a small warning that this enemies-to-lovers trope is a tad sexist, though. Find books like Ruby Red on our books with red (and more colors) in the title reading list .

Read Ruby Red : Amazon | Goodreads

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs book cover with levitating young girl on black and white cover

A little creepier for young adult time travel novels, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is all about time loops. We’ve only read the first in this eerie series that mixes manipulated vintage photography with a suspenseful and chilling story.

Jacob discovers a decaying orphanage on a mysterious island off the coast of Wales. Known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the building isn’t exactly abandoned… Jacob runs into peculiar children who might be more than just ghosts.

If you are looking for Kurt Vonnegut-esque time travel books for teenagers, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is for you. Find even more great adult and YA haunted house books to add to your reading list .

Read Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children : Amazon | Goodreads

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle book cover with space

One of the most well-known books about time travel for families – made even more popular by Oprah and Mindy Kaling, A Wrinkle In Time , is the first book in The Time Quintet .

Although a time travel book series for elementary and middle-grade students – and also a 1963 Newbery Medal winner – adults will love the lessons and whimsical sci-fi quality of A Wrinkle In Time.

Meg Murray and her brother, Charles Wallace, go on an adventure in time to find and rescue their father. Their dad disappeared while working for the government on a mysterious tesseract project.

Watch this thrilling time travel adventure mixed with a coming-of-age story and a little girl power, too.

Read A Wrinkle in Time : Amazon | Goodreads

Orange by Ichigo Takano

Orange by Ichigo Takano book cover with illustrated three people wearing brown slacks and green blazers with trees behind them

Translated by Lasse Christian Christiansen and Amber Tamosaitis | This YA sci-fi romance manga is one of the most endearing time travel books you’ll ever read.

On the first day of 11th grade, Naho oversleeps for the first time ever. She also receives a letter that claims to be sent from herself 10 years in the future. The letter tells her both of the two big things that will happen to her that day as proof of sender: she will be late, and there will be a new kid in class named Naruse Kakeru from Tokyo who will sit next to her.

Naho is unsure if she trusts the letter, or whether or not she should heed its warnings – especially since it talks about past regrets and trying to undo them.

Orange is an adorable, but heartbreaking time travel manga that teaches us the meaning of friendship, love, regret, and so much more. If you’re looking for the best books about time travel for teens, Orange is the perfect option (and adults will love it too).

Read Orange : Amazon | Goodreads

If you devour the time travel genre, don’t miss these great movies…

If you enjoy books that take you back in time, you might also appreciate these top movies with time loops . Would you be able to fix past mistakes, fall in love, and you know, maybe not die this time? Find out if these protagonists succeed.

Travel Back In Time With These Reading Lists:

  • Best ’90s Books
  • Iconic ’80s Books
  • Top World War 2 Novels Across The World
  • Best WWII Historical Fiction

Christine Owner The Uncorked Librarian LLC with white brunette female in pink dress sitting in chair with glass of white wine and open book

Christine Frascarelli

Christine (she/her) is the owner, lead editor, and tipsy book sommelier of The Uncorked Librarian LLC, an online literary publication showcasing books and movies to inspire travel and home to the famed Uncorked Reading Challenge.

With a BA in English & History from Smith College, an MLIS from USF-Tampa, and a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship in Christine's back pocket, there isn't a bookstore, library, or winery that can hide from her. Christine loves brewery yoga, adopting all of the kitties, and a glass of oaked Chardonnay. Charcuterie is her favorite food group.

Writer Dagney McKinney white female with light brown hair wearing a purple shirt and smiling

Dagney McKinney

Dagney (pronouns: any) is a neurodivergent writer and book nerd who is drawn to all things weird and macabre. She also loves anything to do with fast cars, unhinged anti-heroes, and salt. When she isn’t working or reading, you’re likely to find her eating Indian food, playing board games, or hiding out somewhere dark and quiet, stuck down an internet rabbit hole. The easiest way to win her over is through cats and camels.

43 Comments

Hi, nice list but just FYI you have one of the novels named incorrectly: it should be All Our Wrong Todays, not All Our Wrongs Today.

Thanks for letting us know! Every year, this list grows, and sometimes we miss a few mistakes.

Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain is an engrossing time travel book that I enjoyed immensely.

Our readers and contributors are big Diane Chamberlain fans. Thanks!

A huge time travel fan. A great list. Another time travel book recommendation: Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montemore. Wonderful story.

Thank you so much for the kind words and recommendation! We’ll have to check it out.

Great list, thanks. I also love seeing all the recommendations in the comments. I would add the Chronos Files series to your list. And, of course, the film ABOUT TIME, which is fantastic!

Thanks so much for the recommendations. We appreciate it!

You missed Jack FINNEY’s book, Time and Again. Best time travel book ever!

Thanks for sharing your favorite time travel book. We appreciate it.

Dinosaur Beach by Keith Laumer The Big Time by Fritz Leiber The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers The Jesus Incident by Frank Herbert Timeline by Michael Crichton

Thank you for the great time travel book suggestions!

The Other Me, by Sarah Zachrich Jeng. I didn’t know this was going to be a time travel book when I started, as it was listed in an intriguing review of “Thrillers about Women Breaking Free, Losing Control, and Taking Charge”. Very imaginative and well done story about a woman who walks into a bathroom at an art opening in Chicago and suddenly finds herself at a birthday party in an Italian restaurant in central Michigan.

This sounds like an awesome time travel book — it wasn’t on our radar. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

On my time travel TBR is a middle grade called Saving Lucas Biggs, a YA called Time Travel for Love and Profit, and either time Travelers wife or here and now and then.

Time Travel For Love and Profit sounds really sweet. If I have extra time this month, I want to read it! Thanks so much for the recommendation.

One of my biggest recs for time travel is Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor – I read it as an arc a few years ago and absolutely adored it. It’s one of those really underrated books that I love to recommend!

I haven’t read that one yet — and you know how much I love time travel stories! I’ll have to check it out; thanks so much for the rec!

I loved “A Wrinkle in Time” when I was a kid. Now as an old kid, I love “the Invisible Library” series by Genevieve Cogman. : -)

Me too — and I enjoyed the movie! I’ll have to check out The Invisible Library series. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

Not sure how you missed Jack Finney’s “Time and again”, my absolute favorite time travel book of all time. Finney has written others, but don’t miss this one! Simply, non-mechanical “travel” with photos of New York City as the protagonist sees it. Simply magical.

Thanks so much for sharing your favorite time travel novel! We appreciate it.

@M.A., YES! This was the best time travel novel I ever read! It has been one of my favourite genres ever since.

Great list! I love The Time Traveler’s Wife. A terrific book is A Scientific Romance by Canadian author Ronald Wright. We assume that the future will be more advanced but this book turns that notion on its head. It plays off an H. G. Wells mystery and environmental disaster. I love libraries so much. My childhood vacations involved a huge box of library books and a tent.

Thanks so much for the book recommendation. A Scientific Romance sounds really good. I definitely love and appreciate the library, too. A tent with books sounds fabulous. I think we might need this in adulthood still.

I know Crystal has told you…but *OUTLANDER.* Not sure what else to add, aside from that I have put these books on my list…and you really must read Outlander…it takes a bit to sink into…but it’s worth it. I started the show before I read the book, in fact when my husband was at a bachelor party. Next thing you know, we’re visiting the Outlander tourist spots in Scotland! xx

Yes, hahaha. Whenever I do a contributor guest post, everyone puts Outlander on it too. I haven’t seen the show yet–that or GOTs , ekkkk!!! That’s hilarious that you started Outlander while your husband was at a bachelor party. Scotland is on my to-see list! So what do you fangirl more? HP or Outlander ?

Thank you so much for this wonderful list, Christine! Time travel is a subgenre that I absolutely adore. So many of my favorite movies and novels stream from this concept and I always have such fun reading about them! I’ll definitely have to add a few of these to my to-be-read list. What the Wind Knows sounds especially intriguing! <3

Me too–I just love time travel books. While I love love love The Time Traveler’s Wife , I think Recursion might be one of my new favorites. All of the YA ones are also really good. I hope you find a few new time travel reads and enjoy them. Please let me know what you end up reading.

@Christine, I have Time traveller’s wife and Recursion on the TBR shelf. I will move them both to my bedside table.

I hope you enjoy Recursion — I know you enjoy sci-fi, and that one fits the genre a bit more than many of the other time travel books on this list.

So many things to read!!! I love time travel books and fantasy. Outlander, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and even Vonnegut (haven’t read him for a long time — he’s a must-reread!). But so many I haven’t read. I think I’ll put Kindred next on my to-do time travel list. But I wonder if I’d actually time travel myself if I had the chance 🙂

Time travel books are one of my favorite genres because they not only allow readers to travel across time but also internationally–which is totally my jam. Vonnegut is an author that I read way more of in HS and college. Kindred is a great time travel book that addresses so many pertinent issues, even today. I hope you like it!

I love time travel stories! I think Back to the Future probably got me into it. I wish we could time travel! Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my favorite books ever. I wish I could read it for the first time again. It was epic! I got hooked on watching Outlander too. Going to watch the new season on Netflix soon! Your list is awesome. I have so many new books I need to read now. I will definitely be referring back. I’ve also read a cheesy, good romantic time traveler story called A Murder in Time. I read the 2nd book too and just now realized that the 3rd one is available!

Awesome list!

HAHA, I grew up with Back To The Future. I feel that! Complete 80s time travel classic.

Ohhhh, thanks for the new book suggestion! You are definitely my go-to for romance. I loved loved loved The Time Traveler’s Wife , and I so very much wanted a different outcome for the ending.

A Christmas Carol is such a classic!! I actually intended to reread it this year during the festive season, but I never got around to it. A Time Traveler’s Wife & A Wrinkle in Time are books I’ve been intending to read for agessss, this was a great reminder 🙂

I hope you get to read A Time Traveler’s Wife and A Wrinkle In Time . Both are great books! A Christmas Carol is definitely perfect around the holidays.

Oh, this is such a fun topic. I love your list. Another great one to try is Timeline by Michael Crichton.

I love talking about time travel books. Yessss!!! That’s a great recommendation; I’d been eyeing Timeline. Thanks!

Outlander, so good! I haven’t read a Wrinkle in Time but I watched the movie with Oprah and my queen Mindy Kaling but I hated it! I assume the book is a million times better though! Kindred sounds up my alley – I think I will check it out next. I absolutely love time travel stories! I wish it was a real thing because I would love to travel back in time!

I read a Wrinkle in Time as a kid first and then again as an adult. The author is a Smithie so I am also a little biased. Mindy Kaling is amazing, and I love Oprah so much . I had read somewhere that the book was actually denied something like 86 times (don’t quote me on that number but it was *very* high) before being published years and years later. I guess others hated it too.

I read Kindred back in college or one HS summer–it’s definitely a unique and important time travel book.

Thank you! I’d love to be Dr. Who–a girl can dream, right?!

I’m a sucker for time travel books! Especially if they involve romance. Time Traveler’s Wife and Outlander are two of my favorites. I also loved the movie and TV series. I did watch the TV show 1963 and now I’m pleasantly surprised to find it’s a book – I need to read!

Seriously though, I had no idea Outlander was a book series until I watched the show. Then I started to look into it and was shocked that the first book was published (I think) the year I was born. I started reading and was hooked the moment she goes back into time. I fell in love with the characters. If anything, I’ll read the new books just to see where the author has taken them. The first few books were my favorite.

I feel like I’ve read other time travel books but I can’t remember the titles right now.

Love this list. It will be a popular one.

Right?! I feel like we all have this guilty, amazing pleasure for time travel romance.

I really need to *try* to get more into these historical series: Outlander, Game of Thrones, or even Downton Abbey. For some reason, I am more of a comic girl, lol. Maybe Marvel or DC need to run them…

I’m sure I’ll have 100 more time travel fiction books to add to this list all year. I couldn’t think of them all either. There are SO MANY! I really need to add some indie time travel books, too.

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The 35 Best Books About Time Travel

Here's what to read after you finish Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

best books about time travel

Every item on this page was chosen by a Town & Country editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

Gabaldon first published Outlander —the book that would eventually inspire the television series starring Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Sam Heughan as Jamie —in 1991, and the ninth novel in the series, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone , came out in November 2021.

Ahead of the seventh season of Outlander , now's the perfect time (ha) to dive into time travel books. From time traveling romance to alternate realities to murder mysteries, there's something for everyone here.

The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife

Any list about time travel books must begin with The Time Traveler's Wife , right? This bestselling novel tells the love story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Plot sound familiar? The book was adapted into a 2009 film starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, and a 2022 TV show starring Theo James and Rose Leslie .

Read more: 20 of the best Time Travel Films Ever Made

A Murder in Time

A Murder in Time

Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI, until one disastrous raid when half her team is murdered and a mole in the FBI is uncovered. After she recovers from her wounds, she's determined to find the man responsible for the death of her team—yet upon her arrival in England, she stumbles back in time to 1815. Mistaken for a lady's maid, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the period as she figures out how to get back to her own timeline. There are five books in the Kendra Donovan series , so if you love a time travel mystery, don't miss these.

Kindred

Author Octavia Butler is a queen of science fiction, and Kindred is her bestselling novel about time travel. In it, she tells the story of Dana, a Black woman, who is celebrating her 26th birthday in 1976. Abruptly, she's transported back to Maryland, circa 1815, where she's on a plantation and has to save Rufus, the white son of the plantation owner. It's not just a time travel book, but one that expertly weaves in narratives of enslaved people and explores the Antebellum South.

Faye, Faraway

Faye, Faraway

Diana Gabaldon herself called Faye, Faraway "a lovely, deeply moving story of loss and love and memory made real , " so you know it's going to be good. The plot focuses on Faye, a mother of two, who lost her own mother, Jeanie, when she was just 8 years old. When Faye suddenly finds herself transported back in time, she befriends her mother—but doesn't let on who she really is. Eventually, she has to choose between her past and her future.

The Eyre Affair

The Eyre Affair

In this version of Great Britain circa 1985, time travel is routine. Our protagonist is Thursday Next, a literary detective, who is placed on a case when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë's novel.

Bonus: The Eyre Affair is the first in a seven book series following Thursday.

The River of No Return: A Novel

The River of No Return: A Novel

Lord Nicholas Davenant is about to die in the Napoleonic Wars in 1812, and wakes up 200 years later. But he longs to return back in time to his love, Julia. When he arrives in modern society, a mysterious organization called the Guild tells him "there is no return," until one day, they summon him to London and he learns it's possible to travel back through time. A spy thriller that's also historical romance that's also time travel... Say less.

One Last Stop

One Last Stop

Casey McQuiston's second novel ( following Red, White, and Royal blue, which is going to be a major motion picture this summer ) is a queer time-loop romance set on the Q train in New York City, and it's riveting. August is 23, working at a 24-hour diner, and meets a gorgeous, charming girl on the train: Jane. But she can't seem to meet up with her off the Q train—until they figure out Jane is stuck in time from the 1970s. How did she travel through time? Can August get Jane unstuck? Will they live happily ever after!? The questions abound.

What the Wind Knows

What the Wind Knows

Anne Gallagher grew up hearing her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. When she returns to the country to spread his ashes, she is transported back in time to 1921—and is drawn into the struggle for Irish independence. There, she meets Dr. Thomas Smith, and must decide whether or not she should return to her own timeline or stay in the past. As one reviewer wrote on Amazon, What the Wind Knows is a "spectacular time travel journey filled with love and loss."

The Midnight Library: A Novel

The Midnight Library: A Novel

Imagine a library with an infinite number of books—each containing an alternate reality about your life. That's the plot of The Midnight Library , where our protagonist Nora Seed enters different versions of her life. She undoes old breakups, follows her dream of becoming a glaciologist, and so much more—but what happens to her original life?

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel

In this novel from Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland, magic existed—until 1851. A secret government organization, the Department of Diachronic Operations (or D.O.D.O. for short), is dedicated to bringing magic back, and its members will travel through time to change history to do so. As Kirkus Reviews wrote , the novel "blend[s] time travel with Bourne-worthy skulduggery." It's a delight for any fans of science fiction, with a slow burn romance between military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons and linguist Melisande Stokes.

This Is How You Lose the Time War

This Is How You Lose the Time War

Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, this epistolary romantic novel tells the story of two time-traveling rivals who fall in love. Agents Red and Blue travel back and forth throughout time, trying to alter universes on behalf of their warring empires—and start to leave each other messages. The messages begin taunting but soon turn flirtatious—and when Red's commander discovers her affection for Blue, they soon embark down a timeline they can't change.

The House on the Strand

The House on the Strand

Set at an ancient Cornish house called Kilmarth, where Daphne du Maurier lived from 1967, The House on the Strand story follows Dick Young, who has been offered use of Kilmarth by an old college friend, Magnus Lane. Magnus, a biophysicist, is developing a drug that enables people to travel back to the 14th century, and Dick reluctantly agrees to be a test subject. The catch: If you touch anyone, you're transported back to the present. As the story goes on, Dick's visits back to the 1300s become more frequent, and his life back in the modern world becomes unstable.

The Kingdoms

The Kingdoms

It’s 1898 and there’s a man named Joe, who lives in London, which is, in this alternate historical, a part of the French Empire as in this version of the past, Britain lost the Napoleonic Wars. Joe has gotten off a train from Scotland and cannot remember anything about who he is or where he’s from. He soon returns to his work, and after a few years, he is sent to repair a lighthouse in Eilean Mor in the Outer Hebrides. Joe then finds himself a century earlier, on a British boat with a mysterious captain, fighting the French and hoping for a future that is different than the one he came from. If you're into time travel and queer romance and alternate history, this is for you.

The Future of Another Timeline

The Future of Another Timeline

In 1992, 17-year-old Beth agrees to help hide the dead body of her friend's abusive boyfriend. The murder sets Beth and her friends on "a path of escalating violence and vengeance" to protect other young women. In 2022, Tess decides to use time travel to fight for change around key moments in history. When Tess believes she's found a way to make an edit to history that actually sticks, she encounters a group of time travelers bent on stopping her at any cost. Tess and Beth's lives intertwine, and war breaks out across the timeline.

Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night

The sequel to A Discovery of Witches , the plot of Shadow of Night picks up right where the story left off: With Matthew, a vampire, and Diana, a witch, traveling back in time to Elizabethan London to search for an enchanted manuscript. You really need to read the first book before reading Shadow of Night , but the series by Deborah Harkness is a swoony magical romance.

And: It's now a TV show! ( Season one is streaming on Amazon Prime Video .)

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

In The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, the same day happens again and again. Each day, Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered at 11:00 p.m at Blackheath. And each day, our protagonist Aiden Bishop wakes up in the body of a different witness—and tries to solve her murder. He only has eight days, and it's a race against time to solve Evelyn's murder and to escape the time loop.

Recursion: A Novel

Recursion: A Novel

In 2018 New York City, detective Barry Sutton fails to talk Ann out of jumping off a building. But before Ann falls to her death, she tells him she is suffering from False Memory Syndrome—a new neurological disease where people are afflicted with memories of lives they never lived. The dissonance between their present and these memories drives them to death. This is best read unspoiled, but it's undoubtedly a time travel story you haven't read before.

The Mirror

On the eve of her wedding day, Shay Garrett looks into her grandmother's antique mirror and faints. When she wakes up, she's in the same house—but in the body of her grandmother, Brandy, as a young woman in 1900. And Brandy awakens in Shay's body in the present day in 1978. It's like Freaky Friday , but with time travel to the Victorian era.

Here and Now and Then

Here and Now and Then

Kin Stewart is a time traveler from 2142, stuck in 1990s suburban San Francisco. A rescue team arrives to bring Kin back to his timeline—but 18 years too late. Does Kin stay with his "new" family, and the life he's built for himself in San Francisco, or does he return to his original timeline? He's stuck between two families—and ultimately, this is a time travel tale about fatherhood.

A Knight in Shining Armor

A Knight in Shining Armor

Originally published in 1989, this romance novel features a present-day heroine and a knight from the 16th century who fall in love. Per the book's description: "Abandoned by a cruel fate, lovely Dougless Montgomery lies weeping upon a cold tombstone in an English church. Suddenly, the most extraordinary man appears. It is Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck…and according to his tombstone he died in 1564. Drawn to his side by a bond so sudden and compelling it overshadows reason, Dougless knows that Nicholas is nothing less than a miracle: a man who does not seek to change her, who finds her perfect, fascinating, just as she is. What Dougless never imagined was how strong the chains are that tie them to the past…or the grand adventure that lay before them."

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Emily Burack (she/her) is the Senior News Editor for Town & Country, where she covers entertainment, culture, the royals, and a range of other subjects. Before joining T&C, she was the deputy managing editor at Hey Alma , a Jewish culture site. Follow her @emburack on Twitter and Instagram .

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Top Sci-fi Books

25 of the Best Time Travel Books

Welcome to Top Sci Fi’s countdown of the 25 best time travel books on the market. A mix of classics and modern novels have been chosen. The books offer unique and thought-provoking twists on time travel. If you like the sound of any of the books on the list, you can enjoy two for free by signing up for Audible's one month free trial .

The Time Machine

By HG Wells

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HG Wells is one of the true titans of the scifi genre and The Time Machine is one of his finest stories. This time travel tale focuses on the story of a Time Traveller who has ventured hundreds of thousands of years beyond his own time. The level of imagination shown in the story is especially impressive when the reader considers Wells published The Time Machine in 1895. The story was the first to help Wells breakthrough as an author and remains essential reading for time travel fans.

By Stephen King

Stephen King is well known as a horror author, but in 11/22/63 he shows is a more than capable master of time travel fiction. This is a story which explores one of the most interesting chapters in American history and showcases the humanity behind the history books. As always, King presents a gripping, character-focused story full of twists and turns guaranteed to keep you guessing until the very last page.

Slaughterhouse 5

By Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 is proof that time travel fiction can be critically acclaimed and have literary merit at the same time. Slaughterhouse 5 is a time travel book with a powerful antiwar message. Vonnegut entertains while making his point through the use of masterfully crafted characters including memorable members of the British military. Slaughterhouse 5 is the ideal time travel novel for a reader with discerning literary taste.

A Wrinkle in Time

By Madeleine L'Engle

The Time Quintet series begins with A Wrinkle in Time. This time travel novel tells the story of a family who are interrupted by a mysterious visitor. The fact that the father of the family has been carrying out mysterious scientific work is no coincidence. A Wrinkle in Time is a captivating story of rescue and time travel which is the perfect introduction to L’Engle’s series.

By Michael Crichton

Timeline is a combination of classic time travel fiction with pure page turner thriller elements. A group of brave men and women are sent back six centuries into the fast with a vital mission. They are fighting for far more than their own survival. Timeline has been praised for making some of the complex scientific theories which would make time travel possible understandable for a layman reader.

The End of Eternity

By Isaac Asimov

The End of Eternity is a classic take on the time travel genre by science fiction mastermind Isaac Asimov. The book’s main character is Andrew Harlan, a man tasked with the cosmic role of Eternal. This job requires Andrew to travel back and forth through time, making adjustments to its course where needed. However, Andrew soon makes the decision to begin twisting the direction of time for his own purposes.

The Accidental Time Machine

By Joe Haldeman

Joe Haldeman is one of the most talented modern science fiction writers, and The Accidental Time Machine is perfect for those new to his work, as well as existing fans. The story tells the tale of a scientific researcher who accidentally creates a time machine. Deciding that time travel is more alluring than his present life, the scientist sets off on a time traveling adventure that scifi fans are sure to love.

Somewhere in Time

By Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson tells the story of a man seeking his soulmate by traveling back in time to iconic past eras. Somewhere in Time is a story of mortality, love, and the concept of a soulmate. The story is an interesting take on the time travel genre, and was popular enough at the time of publication to be adapted into a major movie.

Flashforward

By Robert J Sawyer

Robert J Sawyer makes use of a fascinating premise to tell the story of Flashforward. This time travel novel is based in a world where everyone has blacked out for a couple of minutes. This naturally causes widespread death and destruction and significantly disrupts life on Earth. However, the people who survive the blackout have been given glimpses of their own future, drastically altering their behavior as a result.

The Time Ships

By Stephen Baxter

The Time Ships is Stephen Baxter’s homage to classic time travel science fiction. This time travel novel makes use of classic ideas, characters, and concepts from the world of science fiction. The Time Ships is an authorised and direct sequel to HG Wells’ classic The Time Machine. Updating such a classic text is a mammoth task, but Baxter has managed it, much to the delight of time travel fans.

The Anubis Gates

By Tim Powers

Tim Powers imagines a world where time traveling is such a commonplace activity that it requires guides to accompany those who make the journey. Brendan Doyle is one such guide who manages to get stranded in the past during the course of a routine journey. Stuck in an ancient time which is far from his own, Doyle becomes mixed up in a complex plot where his actions will have a crucial role to play in the final outcome.

By Rysa Walker

Rysa Walker begins The Chronos Files with Timebound, a story of genetic time travelers who must use their ability to positively impact events in the present. Timebound explores the complexities that come with altering the past, and the way that doing so can have unintended consequences for the present day. Timebound is a superb time travel novel as it makes the personal implications of changing time relatable and moving.

The Devil's Arithmetic

By Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen offers a time travel novel with genuine depth in The Devil’s Arithmetic. The story is about the Holocaust and presents an unflinching look at the atrocities which took place. Although the story is often presented to young adults, readers of any age are sure to find meaning and interest in its pages. Although the subject matter is upsetting, this story of a young American Jewish girl traveling back in time is an important read.

The Chronoliths

By William Gibson

Robert Charles Wilson’s The Chronoliths is a time travel novel telling the story of a slacker called Scott Warden. Scott is drifting through life when a major event happens which disrupts humanity and its collective understanding of the nature of reality. Although Scott Warden is only interested in looking out for himself, he keeps getting drawn into the story’s events, and it soon becomes clear why.

By Arthur C Clarke and Stephen Baxter

The first installment in A Time Odyssey is Time’s Eye, a collaborative work from two masterful time travel writers, Stephen Baxter and Arthur C Clarke. Time’s Eye looks at what happens when a mysterious group of beings known as The Firstborn plunge the Earth into chaos, mixing up many different timelines into a single ‘present’. Historical figures and relatable everyday characters all have a role to play in getting to the bottom of these strange events.

Up The Line

By Robert Silverberg

Up The Line is a time travel novel considering the practicalities and temptations faced by a Time Courier, someone whose job it is to accompany time tourists back to a significant historical event, again and again. The book’s main character, Judson, eventually learns that it is possible to break the rules, and Up The Line explores the consequences when this occurs.

Time Travelers Never Die

By Jack McDevitt

Time Travelers Never Die sees a linguist and the son of a scientist embarking on an unexpected adventure through time. The two are in search of a missing scientist who is feared to be lost somewhere in time. Many significant periods from Earth’s history feature in their quest. The two have a rule to never visit the future - a rule which is eventually violated with significant ramifications.

Now Wait for Last Year

By Philip K Dick

Philip K Dick is one of the most significant authors in the science fiction genre, and Now Wait for Last Year is a time travel tale which causes you to question the very nature of time itself. The story is exciting and features an intergalactic war as well as engaging and relatable human characters. This is one of the more obscure Philip K Dick novels and is one of his most imaginative and creative.

Faces in Time

By Lewis Aleman

Lewis Aleman makes his mark on the time travel genre with Faces in Time, the story of a man racing back through history to prevent the woman he loves making a massive mistake. He ends up making plenty of enemies along the way, and finds himself chased by an ever growing cast of adversaries. Faces in Time explores the vast personal cost which can be associated with time travel, and explores what would motivate us to take such a drastic journey.

Time on My Hands

By Peter Delacorte

Time on My Hands is a time travel novel exploring what happens when a travel writer is offered a trip like no other - a trip through time. In order to receive this journey, the writer is given a task to carry out. Time on my Hands looks at both the big picture implications of traveling back in time with knowledge of the future, and also considers the personal questions we would have to answer.

Towards Yesterday

By Paul Antony Jones

Towards Yesterday is a fascinating spin on the time travel genre, as it deals with an entire human population being sent back in time, rather than the usual situation of one or two individuals. The entire population of 2042 are sent a quarter of a century back into the past. Towards Yesterday has an incredible set of unconventional characters, coupled with a unique premise, and is guaranteed to be hard to put down for all fans of time travel science fiction.

All Our Yesterdays

By Christin Terrill

Cristin Terrill uses All Our Yesterdays to tell the story of Em. Em is trapped in her present reality, at least until she finds a very unusual note. The note is from none other than her future self and orders her back in time to prevent an event from taking place. All Our Yesterdays is a Young Adult time travel tale which is likely to appeal to fans of the genre of any age. Christin Terrill offers a gripping look at the personal implications of a mission spanning the eras of time.

If I Never Get Back

By Darryl Brock

If I Never Get Back is a true treat for fans of baseball and fans of time travel science fiction. The story is based around a dissatisfied reporter who is sent back through time, and soon finds the past to be very much to his taste. Darryl Brock’s vivid descriptions of some of the most classic times in baseball history make the reader feel as if they have actually been on the journey!

Shadow of Ashland

By Terence M Green

The first book in the Ashland series, Shadow of Ashland, explores the implications of the Great Depression and how it resonates on through the ages. The book’s main character is Leo Nolan, who must keep his promise to his dying mother. His discovery is fascinating and leads him down the path of complex family discovery which will keep readers hanging on for the next book in the series.

The Shadow Hunter

By Pat Murphy

The Shadow Hunter is an incredibly imaginative time travel tale which mixes futuristic technology with the very earliest ancestors on Earth. Pat Murphy has updated the story since its original publication to more faithfully represent the story of The Shadow Hunter. This time travel novel is a fascinating mix of spirituality and science fiction which is sure to leave an impression on the reader long after the story ends.

Time Travel: Science Fiction or Fantasy

If you had to categorize time travel into a specific genre, what would it be? Many hardcore genre enthusiasts would be hard pressed to give you an answer. The casual passing fan will more than likely call science fiction. This may be due largely in part to the H.G. Wells Classic, The Time Machine . 

But does that mean all time travel books are SciFi?

Depends on how you look at it. There's a particular school of thought I like to follow. The question is not "What is it?" but "What's the methodology?". If we're hopping the timeline via Tardis, genetic ability, or a souped up DeLorean... then we're talking SciFi. 

But if spells, ancient beings, artifacts, or other forms of wizardry are employed... Fantasy. However, the lines tend to get blurred more often than not with both Fantasy geeks and SciFi nerds clamoring for control of the genre . 

Either way that does not change the fact that Time Travel books are freaking awesome and should be part of any bookavore's diet.

A Brief History of Time Travel in Science Fiction

Time loops, slips, and paradoxes: what's what.

When approaching a time travel theme, authors have so many to choose from. But what are the different angles they can take? What's the difference?

First, time loops. Books with time loops are rather interesting. This is where the character's repeatedly experience the same time period. Many times with the hopes of escaping via some redeemable action or changing the way events are to unfold. Remember that Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day ? Time loop.

Next up: Time slips. What are time slips? This is where the character travels through time often unexpectedly for an indeterminate amount of time. Books about time machines often times are NOT time slips. Time machines normally allow for a controlled venture throughout the timeline with a destination both in space and time predetermined. However, time slips occur due to seemingly random events and are either corrected by another seemingly random event. Or the character is just stuck and must learn to get by. Oh well.

Lastly, everybody loves a good time paradox. Time paradoxes are really neat stuff. This is when a character travels through time (normally to the past) to change an event and alter the future. These are primarily disruptive events and even have their own classification of paradox known as The Grandfather Paradox . Pretty much... What would happen if you went back in time and killed your own grandparents? Sorry Grandma. 

The Butterfly Effect

Not all time travel is just based purely on science fiction (or fantasy), but on some real world magic.

Mathematics.

The Butterfly Effect is one often used in time travel stories. Based off of real-life Chaos Theory , the butterfly effect states that even the simplest of actions causes a ripple in time. These ripples then eventually grow into waves which mature into tsunamis. 

For instance, if you were to go back in time and kill one locust during the dinosaur days... that may lead to the a mass hunger among certain flying lizards. This could cause those lizards to migrate towards the ocean for food. Which then causes them to evolve to be ocean creatures. That leading to survival after the extinction event. Leading to reptilian creatures to swarm the gene pool. Yadda yadda yadda... Lizard people. 

There's actually a movie dedicated to this called (That's right. You guessed it.) The Butterfly Effect starring Ashton Kutcher. But the most notable example of the butterfly effect in science fiction literature is A Sound of Thunder written by SciFi legend Ray Bradbury .    

Get These Best SciFi Time Travel Books for Free!

If you are interested in getting some of these science fiction cyberpunk books for free here are two ways in which you can do that: 

1. Audible's One Month Free Trial : You can download any two of the time travel books found on this list by signing up for Audible’s free trial. Audible is arguably the best audiobook service on the market. Even if you cancel your trial and decide not to continue with a membership, you can still keep the two books you chose.

1 thought on “25 of the Best Time Travel Books”

How the book “Time and Again” by Jack Finney is not on this list is beyond me. It’s like leaving babe Ruth off the list as one of the 25 greatest baseball players of all time

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Best Time Travel Books

Embark on a journey through time with this list of widely acclaimed time travel books. whether for adventure, historical exploration, or quantum conundrums, these titles have been recognized and repeatedly highlighted by top science fiction reviewers and readers alike..

Best Time Travel Books

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50 Best Time Travel Books of All Time

best time travel books

I love the concept of time travel in books (and movies!). It just opens up so many creative possibilities, which make them so fun to read. So, here’s my list of the 50 Best Time Travel books!

This list includes titles released at any point in time, but has a slight preference for newer titles. It’s divided up into General Time Travel, Literary, Romance and Young Adult titles .

And feel free to drop a comment if you have a favorite time travel book that belongs on this list!

General Time Travel

Literary time travel, time travel romance, young adult, other time travel books.

best time travel books romance sci-fi young adult

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Wow. What a great list. I have only read a handful of these and have added another big handful to my TBR list. So glad to see Kindred here. It is a favorite of mine. Thanks for the post.

thanks rosi, glad you liked it! :)

I’m really interested in time travel nowadays, especially going into the past. I always wonder how I would manage 100, 200, 500 years ago. Life was so different!

yes! and I love how the change in time periods make for interesting perspective clashes that are a lot of fun to read about :)

An amazing list, thank you.

One of the best recent additions to the time travel genre is Novikov Windows: A Time Travel Novel, by Chris Cosmain.

The 21 best books about time travel, from science fiction classics to time loop romances

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  • Time travel is a popular subgenre amongst science fiction readers .
  • Authors have used time travel to tell incredible stories, from romances to historic events.
  • These are 21 of the best time travel books, from ' Outlander ' to Octavia Butler's ' Kindred .'

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Science fiction is a broad and exciting genre with plenty of fun subgenres for readers to explore, such as space operas where readers travel across galaxies or dystopian novels that provide a glimpse at terrifying possible futures. 

One popular science fiction subgenre is time travel, where characters cross time and space using parallel universes, advanced technology, or simply unexplainable magic. Time travel novels let readers imagine the limitless pasts and futures where anything is possible. 

To gather these recommendations, we looked at bestseller lists and popular recommendations from Amazon , Bookshop , and Goodreads . From epic romances to genre-bending classics, here are the best time travel books to take you on a reading adventure through time. 

The best time travel books to read in 2022:

An epic time travel love story.

the best time travel novels

"Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.19

In this series that inspired a beloved TV show of the same name, Claire Randall and her husband are enjoying a second honeymoon after she returns from serving as a combat nurse in WWII. Their celebration is cut short, however, when Claire suddenly finds herself thrust back through time to 1743 Scotland. An outlander in this strange time, Claire meets a young warrior named James Fraser, whose love tears her heart between two times.

A modern time travel classic

the best time travel novels

"The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $13.79

This contemporary time travel novel has quickly become a classic love story between Clare and Henry, who gravitate towards each other despite Henry's Chrono-Displacement Disorder, which causes him to be misplaced through time. Imaginative and original, " The Time Traveler's Wife " uses multiple points of view to tell an emotional story of love, friendship, and the effects of time on both.

A romantic time travel read

the best time travel novels

"This Is How You Lose the Time War" by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $13.15

" This Is How You Lose the Time War " is a new, award-winning novel about rival agents Red and Blue who leave each other secret messages as they travel through time, altering history on behalf of their warring home empires. Though the messages begin as playful taunting, they soon become much more in this Queer, sci-fi romance .

A time travel novel from the king of horror

the best time travel novels

"11/22/63" by Stephen King, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $15

This nearly-1,000 page historical science fiction read is a gripping time travel thriller  — and one of the highest-reviewed Stephen King books . Jake Epping is a high school English teacher who discovers a secret portal to 1958 and is enlisted to go back in time and try to stop the Kennedy assassination, the effects of which can't be known until Jake either succeeds or fails.

A classic time travel tale

the best time travel novels

"Kindred" by Octavia E. Butler, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $10.39

When Dana, a young, Black writer, is inexplicably thrust backward in time from 1976 to a pre-Civil War Maryland plantation, she's met with the drowning of a young white boy, whom she tries but fails to save. As she continues to drift between the past and present, Dana is accused of murdering the child, meets her ancestors, and is forced into slavery, all while trying to find her way back to the present.

A journey to the Medieval times

the best time travel novels

"Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.27

Beginning in near-future London, time travel technology is used by universities to send historians back in time for research purposes. When Kivrin is sent to the past to experience a Medieval village, everything goes immediately wrong and Kivrin is stuck with no way to return home, a mysterious illness, and disaster coming her way in this page-turning novel that won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards in 1993.

An equally devastating and remarkable time travel novel

the best time travel novels

"Recursion" by Blake Crouch, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $11.99

When a technology emerges that allows humans to return and re-experience their most precious and emotional memories, the effects begin to devastate the world as parallel worlds collide, unraveling society and threatening humanity in its entirety. " Recursion " is one of my all-time favorite novels, an undeniable page-turner that completely engrossed countless readers with Blake Crouch's masterful writing.

A non-linear time travel classic

the best time travel novels

"Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.35

" Slaughterhouse-Five " is an American classic and considered one of the greatest novels of all time . First published in 1969, this science fiction novel follows Billy Pilgrim from childhood through his time as a soldier during World War II,] and beyond as he travels back and forth through time and tells his story with messages about war, post-traumatic stress, life, and love.

A time travel love story

the best time travel novels

"How to Stop Time" by Matt Haig, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $15.30

Tom Hazard has lived through many centuries but is ready to settle down as a high school history teacher and live a normal life. Because of his condition, he must not fall in love, but when the French teacher at school catches his eye, Tom flashes back through his many lives to help him figure out how to live in the present.

A time loop romance

the best time travel novels

"One Last Stop" by Casey McQuiston, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $10.25

When cynical August moves to New York City, she doesn't believe in magical love stories, until she meets Jane on the Q train. As August continues to ride the Q train as often as she can to spend time with Jane, the two realize Jane is stuck there on a strange time loop, displaced from the 1970s and in desperate need of August's help to get her unstuck.

An original time travel novel featuring magical realism

the best time travel novels

"Oona Out of Order" by Margarita Montimore, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $15.99

On New Year's Eve in 1982, Oona Lockhart is minutes away from turning 19 and has a life of opportunities ahead of her, until the clock strikes midnight and Oona wakes up on her 51st birthday. Destined to travel back and forth through time and live her life out of order, Oona must figure out how to navigate life, love, and everything in between.

A holiday-themed time travel read

the best time travel novels

"In a Holidaze" by Christina Lauren, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $11.59

This holiday read is a rom-com fan-favorite about Maelyn Jones, who is on her way to the airport after a final family vacation at their beloved Utah cabin when she sees a truck hurtling towards their car. Just before the truck can hit them, Mae wakes up on the airplane headed to the cabin, stuck in a cycle of reliving the trip over and over until she can discover what makes her happy.

A devastating middle-grade time travel read

the best time travel novels

"The Shape of Thunder" by Jasmine Warga, available at Amazon, $14.49

Cora and Quinn are next-door neighbors and best friends who haven't spoken to each other in a year since a tragedy changed both of their lives forever. When Quinn decides the only way to bridge the distance between them is by going back in time to stop that horrible day from ever happening, the two try to unravel the mysteries of time travel in this middle-grade novel about trauma, loss, and healing.

A time travel graphic novel about true events

the best time travel novels

"Displacement" by Kiku Hughes, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $16.55

This incredible graphic novel is about Kiku Hughes, who is on vacation in San Francisco when she's abruptly transported back in time to witness the internment camp into which her grandmother was forcibly relocated during World War II. Unsure how or if she will be able to return to the present, Kiku learns her grandmother's true history and begins to see the long-term effects her experiences had on their family and countless other Japanese Americans.

A young adult time loop fantasy novel

the best time travel novels

"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $13.79

In this best-selling young adult fantasy book , Jacob Magellan Portman is taken to a remote island off the coast of Wales to deal with his trauma after a horrible family tragedy. Though the home is allegedly haunted by the inhabitants who died on September 3, 1940, Jacob discovers peculiar children stuck in a time loop, cared for by the equally peculiar Miss Peregrine.

A classic time travel story

the best time travel novels

"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $5.35

On a dark and stormy night, Meg Murry, along with her brother and her friend, set out on a dangerous but extraordinary adventure to rescue her father who mysteriously disappeared. With the help of supernatural friends, the group uses a tesseract to travel through space and time in this 1962 story of love, evil, and purpose.

A young adult novel about time travel and love

the best time travel novels

"Opposite of Always" by Justin A. Reynolds, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $10.99

Jack and Kate are immediately drawn to each other when they meet at a party and begin to fall in love in the weeks that follow. When Kate tragically dies from a genetic disease, Jack finds himself back at the moment they met, determined to do anything to prevent her death, even if it means hurting others in the process.

A magical time travel manga

the best time travel novels

"Tokyo Revengers" by Ken Wakui, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.99

Takemichi Hanagaki is stuck in his less-than-thrilling life when he learns his middle school girlfriend, Hinata, has been killed by a villainous gang. When an accident sends him 12 years back in time to middle school, Takemichi is determined to change his life and save Hinata in this time travel manga .

A time travel story of a father and son

the best time travel novels

"How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" by Charles Yu, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $11.69

Charles Yu lives in a science fiction reality, working as a time machine repairman and searching for his father, who invented time travel and has since disappeared. In this heartfelt read , Charles must navigate the universe with his companions to find a moment where he and his father can meet in memory.

A feminist time travel novel

the best time travel novels

"The Future of Another Timeline" by Annalee Newitz, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $17.47

Told through alternating first-person narratives, this time travel story focuses on two main timelines as Beth finds herself in 1992 with a front-row seat to a murder while Tess is determined to use time travel to fight for a change in 2022. As the two stories intertwine across time, war threatens to destroy time travel in this smart, feminist read .

An irresistible time travel read

the best time travel novels

"Here and Now and Then" by Mike Chen, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.49

Kin Stewart may seem like an average man but has a secret: He's actually a time-traveling secret agent from the year 2142, stuck in the present ever since a mission failed 18 years ago. When his rescue team finally arrives, Kin is torn between his two families, trying to keep them both, until a risk to his daughter's existence stretches Kin's love across time to save her.

the best time travel novels

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the best time travel novels

11 Time Travel Novels That Will Transport You

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Anne Mai Yee Jansen

Anne Mai Yee Jansen is a literature and ethnic studies professor and a lifelong story addict. She exists on a steady diet of books and hot chocolate, with a heaping side of travel whenever possible. Originally hailing from the sun and sandstone of southern California, she currently resides with her partner, offspring, and feline companion in the sleepy mountains of western North Carolina.

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This unique ability of time travel novels means that these books either harken back to the past or project into the future (or, sometimes, both). If you’re interested in spending a little more time thinking about this, give the essay “Time Traveling Books: Historical Fiction or Speculative Fiction?” a read.

And while many time travel novels often feature complex mechanisms for time travel (such as Charles Yu’s fascinating How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe ), not all time travel requires a time machine. Take Octavia Butler’s Kindred — a true classic! Butler’s protagonist finds herself unwittingly thrust into the past at unpredictable moments in her life…an extremely perilous situation for a Black American woman who keeps finding herself in the antebellum South.

The future of literary time travel is just as exciting as its past and present. You can expect Stephen Graham Jones’s “historical slasher” comic series Earthdivers to premier this October. (Incidentally, some of Jones’ other books — like Ledfeather and The Bird is Gone — also dabble in time travel.) No matter when you look for it, there’s always a good time travel novel to be found.

Long Division by Kiese Laymon book cover

Long Division by Kiese Laymon

Originally published in 2013, Kiese Laymon’s time warping novel about racism across the decades was republished in 2021. It’s the story of “City” Coldson, a teenager who spectacularly fails at a nationally televised spelling contest. His timeline begins in 2013, but shortly after being sent to stay with his grandmother in a small southern town things get…weird. Things take a metafictional turn for the character when he discovers a book called Long Division written in the 1980s by an author with his same name. And then 1964 makes an appearance, and before you know it, Laymon has taken you on a wild ride spanning half a century and confronting racism across the years.

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The Mexican Flyboy by Alfredo Veá Jr. book cover

The Mexican Flyboy by Alfredo Véa, Jr.

Simon Vegas acquired a time machine in Vietnam…and he’s been trying to get it in working order ever since. Once he gets it working, things get really wild really fast. Simon’s time machine has a focus: seeking out injustice and delivering its victims to a utopian afterlife. There are plenty of famous names sprinkled in there, but the real focus of this novel is on questions of power (or, perhaps more aptly, powerlessness), compassion and humanity, and trauma and justice. Since it’s Alfredo Véa, Jr. doing the writing, there’s a masterful blurring of genre lines and the larger question at the core of the time travel: is it real, or is it all in Simon’s head?

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim book cover

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

This is a time travel novel that feels uncannily timely. It’s a book that already gave readers a lot to think about, but given its release one year before the COVID-19 pandemic, the global context adds another layer of meaning. It’s 1981 and the U.S. is in the middle of a deadly pandemic. (Sound familiar?) Frank is sick, but people in the future mastered time travel in order to try to subvert the pandemic. So Polly has contracted out her future in order to save him. Of course, when love and time travel happen, nothing ever goes smoothly — their plan to be reunited at a set time in a set location is ruined when Polly gets sent too far into the future. As Polly tries to find Frank, Lim’s novel asks deep questions about love, connection, and these troubled times we live in.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig book cover

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Nix is a time traveler’s daughter, and she’s been seemingly everywhere and everywhen. It’s been a grand adventure…but then her dad is navigating toward an uncertain past: the year before Nix was born in the place where she was born. The problem is, Nix’s mother died in childbirth. The big question, then, is what her father intends to do when they get to when they’re going. And Kash, Nix’s mischievous love interest, throws another wrench into the works. Heilig’s novel is so hard to put down, and if you like The Girl From Everywhere , the second book of the duology, The Ship Beyond Time , is also available!

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone book cover

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

It’s nearly impossible to not be at least mildly interested in a semi-epistolary novel co-authored by the likes of Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. Their improbable protagonists are on opposite sides of a war: technology vs. biology (obvs, I’m being a bit reductive). And yet… love . Despite the improbability of it all, despite the war they’re caught up in, despite the very real danger their correspondence represents to each of them. Love .

The Perishing by Natashia Deón book cover

The Perishing by Natashia Deón

This is an unconventional time travel novel, for sure. For starters, protagonist Lou is immortal. She’s also, apparently, an amnesiac, having woken up in an alley with no memory of her past. Set in Los Angeles during the Great Depression, The Perishing follows Lou as she makes a name for herself and breaks all kinds of barriers as a professional journalist. But then she makes a new friend and is shocked to find that his face is one she’s been drawing for years. Deón crafts a fascinating mystery that will have you pondering all manner of ideas, big and small, long after you’ve finished the last page.

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen book cover

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen

How can you go wrong with a time travel novel featuring a secret agent protagonist? I would argue that you can’t. Kin Stewart is living the suburban lifestyle in San Francisco, but it’s not suburbia he needs to be rescued from. It’s his life, which is a facade while he waits for someone to come get him and return him to his real life over a century and a half in the future. But help takes almost two decades to show up, and in the meantime Kin has been living his life — complete with a wife and daughter. Chen’s novel is appealingly deep, exploring the many dynamics that define the self even as it entertains with its fresh take on time travel.

Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story by LeAnne Howe book cover

Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story by LeAnne Howe

Miko Kings is the oldest book on this list, but it’s a fascinating read. Howe’s novel follows an intriguing cast of characters as the Native American baseball team in Oklahoma, the Miko Kings, strive to win the championship. The year: 1907. Yup, that’s the same year Oklahoma (the majority of which was officially known as Indian Territory ) was granted statehood by the United States. With that political history looming in the background, Hope Little Leader is caught up in some events that are far larger than his role as pitcher for the team. And then there’s the odd and brilliant Ezol Day, whose theories on time are intertwined with linguistics and Indigenous epistemologies. This book has it all: conspiracy, romance, and political scheming. To top it off, you’ll find some wonderfully non-standard textual elements here, like newspaper clippings and handwritten journal entries.

A Bubble of Time by Pepper Pace book cover

A Bubble of Time by Pepper Pace

What would you do if, in your 50s, you suddenly found yourself reliving your high school years as your actual 16-year-old self? That’s exactly what happens to Kenya Daniels in Pepper Pace’s hilarious and smart time travel novel A Bubble of Time . She’s 16 again, but with all of her half-century of lived experience alive and well in her memory. There’s a truly comedic element here for anyone who lived through the ’80s, because it’s pretty entertaining to follow Kenya as she is forced to revisit the wild decade as her younger self. But Pace’s time travel novel is also at turns thoughtful, heartwarming, and unexpected, too.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi book cover

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

What would you do if you could travel through time? What if you could travel through time, but only for a very short duration and without the ability to change the present? In Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s time travel novel, there’s a cafe in a basement in Tokyo where this is possible. But only from the cafe. With these interesting constraints on their time, patrons (and staffers) in the cafe time travel for small but profound reasons. It’s a strikingly beautiful meditation on the little regrets we carry with us throughout our lives. If you’re a fan of this book, you’ll be happy to know that it’s the first part of a trilogy; Tales from the Cafe came out two years ago and the third book, Before Your Memory Fades , is scheduled for release this November!

The Kingdoms by Natahsa Pulley book cover

The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley

The Kingdoms is a wild ride! It’s historical fiction as much as it is a time travel novel. It opens with Joe Tournier’s confused arrival in 19th century England, but this is a very different England than the one you might have learned about in the history books: this England is a French colony. Shortly after his arrival, a mysterious postcard arrives. Not only is it written in English (a forbidden language in this alternate reality), but it’s addressed to him. As Joe seeks answers, he travels into Scotland (which is also an alternate Scotland) and beyond. It’s a captivating read — if you’ve ever read Pulley’s other works, this will come as no surprise.

Wanna buy yourself more time?

Get yourself stuck in a literary time loop by checking out the books on this list of time loop books . Or, if you’re feeling lovey, try a selection from this list of romantic time travel novels . And of course, you can’t go wrong with any of the options on this list of must-read time travel books !

the best time travel novels

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25 Best Time Travel Books That Defy Time and Genre

By looking at the earliest iterations of traveling through time to the modern interpretations, we’ve collected the best time travel books. These best books vary from classic middle grade to contemporary romance. Each book defies a single timeline and a single defining genre.

25 Best Time Travel Books

The following books all feature time travel as a foundational element to the plot. In some, time travel is a narrative device which reveals more about the main character. Meanwhile, in others it is the hard-and-fast time machine that perhaps springs to mind. The inner workings of how the time travels functions are explained, or not explained, to various degrees.

Books about time travel have been around for more than a century and dip into almost every other genre. The picks on this list can also be categorized as romance or thriller, from middle grade to young adult to adult.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but is our recommendations for the best time travel books. If your favorite book about time travel isn’t on this list, leave a comment below to let other readers know your recommendation.

The-Shining-Girls-Lauren-Beukes

25. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Most time traveling books imbue a lesson about life and the importance of the small moments. This often occurs through a protagonist who, even if they aren’t perfect, is trying to be better. But what if the ability to travel through time landed in the hands of someone evil? That’s what Lauren Beukes explores in The Shining Girls.

This horror sci-fi is about a killer who finds a portal to the past. He then uses it to track, visit, and murder his victims.

Except one victim, Kirby Mazrachi, survives his attack. Now Kirby will do whatever it takes, no matter how improbable, to bring her attacker to justice.

Wrong-Place-Wrong-Time-Book-Cover

24. Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

In a similar vein, Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister is a combination of the 1993 movie Groundhog Day and murder. That’s because the main character is up late waiting for her son to return home when she sees the impossible. Her son kills a stranger right in front of their house.

With her son in custody and a million questions swirling in her mind, the main character goes to sleep and wakes up the day before yesterday. Each morning she wakes up one day earlier searching for the reason her son committed the murder, determined to find it.

Ruby-Red-Best-Time-Travel-Books

23. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

The first book in the Ruby Red Trilogy veers slightly from the previous mystery thriller recommendations. That’s because Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier is a young adult romance with a historical fiction timeline. The trilogy is translated into English by Anthea Bell.

It follows sixteen-year-old Gwen who lives with her eccentric family in London. A time traveling gene runs through the female half of her lineage. However, Gwen was never introduced to the secrets of time travel as the gene was supposed to have skipped Gwen.

So, she is completely unprepared when she starts taking uncontrolled leaps into the past. Gwen needs to learn the ropes fast, while also dealing with her incredibly attractive time traveling partner Gideon.

Recursion-Blake-Crouch

22. Recursion by Blake Crouch

The time travel in the world of Recursion by Blake Crouch is slightly different than other recommendations, but the importance of memory is still paramount in this setting.

Barry Sutton, a cop in New York City, is investigating False Memory Syndrome. This is a new phenomenon that is driving victims to insanity.

The mysterious affliction is inserting memories into the minds of its victims. Most cannot cope with the onslaught of trauma. Barry and neuroscientist Helena Smith are the only ones who stand a chance at defeating this terrifying opponent.

Hyperion-Best-Time-Travel-Books

21. Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Next in our list of the best time travel books is a classic: Hyperion by Dan Simmons. This is a sci-fi space opera which takes place on the world of Hyperion. It is the first book in a quartet with an additional prequel and sequel.

In this world there is a creature called the Shrike. Some worship it, some fear it, and some wish to destroy it. Structures move backward through time in the Valley of the Time Tombs and this is where the Shrike waits.

But on the eve of Armageddon, seven pilgrims set forth to Hyperion. They seek answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each pilgrim carries hope and a secret, and one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.

An-Ocean-of-Minutes-Book-Cover

20. An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

This is a story about love and the endurance of humanity. It unfolds against a backdrop of time travel, a flu pandemic, and sacrifice. An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim follows two people separated by time.

When Polly’s boyfriend Frank catches the deadly flu virus that is rampaging its way across America, she will do anything to save him. Even agree to a radical contract with a company that has invented time travel to work as a bonded laborer. If she agrees, the company will pay for Frank’s treatment.

Polly and Frank agree to meet in twelve years’ time in Galveston, Texas. But when Polly is sent an additional five years in the future, everything is thrown into question. Now Polly must try to find Frank, see if he is alive, and if their love still rings true.

The-Rose-Garden-Susanna-Kearsley

19. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley is another romance that involves themes of loss, grief, and identity.

Eva and Katrina spent their summers as children in Cornwall, so when Katrina dies that is where Eva returns to spread her ashes. But Eva must confront the metaphorical ghosts of her past. As well as the very real ghosts she finds in the home where she is staying.

That’s because in this home Eva can travel through time back to the eighteenth century. She finds herself interacting with the inhabitants who lived there then. She also finds herself falling for one of them, Daniel Butler, and needing to choose between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.

This-Is-How-You-Lose-the-Time-War-Book-Cover

18. This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Another romance, This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is equally ethereal and unexpected. It is written in the form of letters between two enemies from opposing sides of a war who slowly, through their shared correspondence, fall in love.

Known only as Red and Blue, their letters begin as taunts, then praise, and then something more. The prose in this book feels more like poetry. As Red and Blue traverse the strands of time and history to weave their own attacks in this War or snip others, we learn more about them, the intimacy of their correspondence, and the chances of their happily-ever-after.

Outlander-Diana-Gabaldon-Best-Time-Travel-Books

17. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

No list of the best time travel books would be complete without Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, because it has become a beloved modern classic. Claire and Jamie’s love story has sold millions of copies and sprung from the pages into a hit TV adaptation. But this is where it all began.

In 1945, as Claire enjoys a second honeymoon with her husband in Scotland, she walks through an ancient stone circle and finds herself in 1743. Claire does not understand the forces which propelled her back in time, nor does she fully understand the fiery passion she feels for James Fraser, who has her questioning her vows of holy matrimony.

The-Time-Travelers-Wife-Best-Time-Travel-Books

16. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Another book that has become synonymous with time travel and likely immediately springs to mind is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It too has a popular screen adaptation with a 2009 movie and a more recent 2022 television series.

It follows the love story of Clare and Henry as they try to navigate their lives with Henry’s genetic condition that causes him to travel sporadically through time. They first met when Clare was six and Henry 36, then married when Clare was 22 and Henry was 30. Their fight for each other is moving and unforgettable.

All-Our-Wrong-Todays-Book-Cover

15. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

The future imagined by those in the 1950s was remarkable. In the world of All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai, it was also accurate. What we think of as the real world is actually an offshoot that feels like a dystopian wasteland when Tom Barren finds himself in our version of 2016 after a time traveling mishap.

But in this alternate reality Tom finds versions of his family, his career, and the love of his life. Now, Tom must make a decision on whether to he needs to fix his mistake, or if he should forge out a new life in this unpredictable reality.

The-Impossible-Lives-of-Great-Wells-Andrew-Sean-Greer

14. The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer opens in 1985 and depicts the various lives Greta might have lived, if she had been born in a different time.

It all starts when Greta begins psychiatric treatment for her depression after the death of her twin brother and a difficult break up. Through her treatment she begins to experience alternative versions of her life in 1918 and 1941. Each comes with its own hardships and losses, but if she had a chance to choose, where would Greta stay?

Just-One-Damned-Thing-After-Another-Book-Cover

13. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

The next recommendation in our list of the best time travel books is the first in The Chronicles of St Mary’s series. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor follows a group of time traveling historians who try to stay under the radar, but don’t always succeed. It is a fun adventure-filled read.

That’s because the members of St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research have a penchant for disaster as they investigate major historical events in contemporary time. While they always intend to observe quietly, they quickly realize it’s not just History they’re fighting.

Doomsday-Book-Best-Time-Travel-Books

12. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

This is another book which follows scholars and academics through time travel and is also the first book in a series. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis is the first book in the Oxford Time Travel series. It explores universal themes of evil, suffering, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Kivrin prepared for her next on-site study by receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth-century and crafting an alibi for a woman traveling alone. Her instructors in the modern day were busy with the painstaking calculations to send her to where she needed to be.

But then a crisis strands Kivrin in a time of superstition and fear. She finds herself becoming an unlikely angel of hope to those around her.

Time-and-Again-Jack-Finney

11. Time and Again by Jack Finney

Time and Again is the first book in the Time duology by Jack Finney. It follows a young man who is enlisted into a secret government experiment.

Si Morley finds himself transported from mid-twentieth century New York City to 1882. While enchanted by the city he solves a 20th-century mystery by finding its 19th-century roots. He also falls in love with a beautiful young woman and must choose between the past or the present.

The-Kingdoms-Best-Time-Travel-Books

10. The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley

An alternative history standalone, The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley asks the question of whether it is worth changing the past to save the future when it costs you everyone you’ve ever loved.

Joe Tournier doesn’t remember anything about his life before he stepped off a train onto the soil of 19th-century England, which is a French colony. The only clue he has is an old postcard of a Scottish lighthouse from 100 years ago. The post card is written in English, which is illegal, and signed with an M.

His search for his identity begins with who wrote this postcard. It will see Joe travel from French-ruled London to rebel-owned Scotland. He will remake history, and himself.

The-River-of-No-Return-Book-Cover

9. The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

More than halfway through our list of the best time travel books is The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway. It presents another alternative history between London and France.

Lord Nicholas Falcott was dying on a Napoleonic battlefield when he suddenly awoke in 21st-century London. A secretive group of time travelers, The Guild, told him there is no return. But Nick’s heart belongs to Julia Percy back in 1815 and Nick is willing to gamble everything against the rules of time itself for their reunion.

One-Italian-Summer-Rebecca-Serle

8. One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

After quite a few romantic time traveling stories, this recommendation ventures into a different type of relationship and form of love. One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle follows Katy to the Amalfi Coast of Italy as she grieves the loss of her mother.

Katy and her mother, Carol, were supposed to travel to Positano together; it is a town where Carol spent the summer before she met Katy’s father. While Katy travels to Italy alone, she soon feels her mother’s spirit all around her, and then she finds her mother walking through the streets, somehow 30 years old again.

Katy has gotten her mother back and has one Italian summer to get to know her as a young woman. But Katy will have to reconcile her version of her mother who knew everything with the young woman before her still figuring it out.

The-Midnight-Library-Book-Cover

7. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

This next recommendation quickly became a beloved favorite following its publication, but before you read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig you may want to check out the detailed content warnings as it does have themes of suicide ideation and depression.

Despite the heavy themes, Haig is able to create a world that is lyrical, poignant, and strangely uplifting. Between life and death in this world there is a library which holds all the different variations of your life: The might-have-beens.

Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library with the possibility to change her life for a new one. As she travels through the stacks she must decide what is truly fulfilling in life and what makes life worth living in the first place.

Stephen-King-Best-Time-Travel-Books

6. 11/22/63 by Stephen King

While he is known as the King of Horror, Stephen King has a grasp on writing that shines through in any genre he tackles. That much is true for 11/22/63 which takes place in two timelines as an English teacher from Maine attempts to stop the Kennedy assassination.

It begins in 2011 as Jake Epping’s friend shares with him the time traveling portal in the back of his diner. Jake agrees to this daring, and seemingly impossible, mission to prevent the Kennedy assassination. But in this world of a bygone era, Jake falls in love with a high school librarian and then encounters a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald…

Slaughterhouse-Five-Kurt-Vonnegut

5. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

As we begin counting down the top five best time travel books, this is where we start to feature the classics that undoubtedly affected the course of the genre. The first of these classics is Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

The time travelling aspect of this book is part of the narrative and how Billy Pilgrim relives his life in a slightly disorienting and non-linear way. Centering on the infamous bombing of Dresden during the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear the most.

The-End-of-Eternity-Book-Cover

4. The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov

Our fourth pick for the best time travel book is The End of Eternity by Issac Asimov. This is a dystopian science fiction in which humanity is split between Eternals and non-Eternals.

Andrew Harlan is an Eternal, which means it is his job to travel through the past and present to monitor Time and, when necessary, change it. But when he falls in love with a non-Eternal woman, he decides to use the powers at his disposal to twist time for his own purposes, so he and the woman he loves can carve out a life together.

A-Wrinkle-in-Time-Madeleine-LEngle

3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This next best time travel book is an evocative story about friendship and family. A Wrinkle in Time is the first book in the Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle, which is a middle grade classic.

It begins at the Murry house when a stranger beckons Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe on a dangerous and extraordinary adventure. It is a journey through time that will threaten their lives and our universe, but the life of Meg’s father hangs in the balance.

Kindred-Book-Cover

2. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Our penultimate pick for the best time travel book explores a theme that has not yet featured on our list, which is how time travel can be an incredibly different experience with the dangers of racism. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler is heralded as the first science fiction novel written by a Black woman; Butler and this novel have become a cornerstone of the genre.

In 1976 California, on her 26th birthday, Dana finds herself hurtled through time to antebellum Maryland. She saves a drowning white boy, but finds herself staring down the barrel of a shotgun. She escapes with her life when she is inexplicably transported back to the present, but this is just the beginning of multiple time traveling experiences with the same young man, which makes Dana realize the challenge she has been given.

The-Time-Machine-Best-Time-Travel-Books

1. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Finally, our best time travel book is the 1895 classic that literally coined the term which has now become universal: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Even though it was written more than a century ago, Wells’s novel remains a striking commentary on the duality of human nature.

It is a first-hand account of the main character’s journey from Victorian England to 800,000 years in the future. There the Time Traveller encounters an Earth that is slowly dying and populated by two races: The ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks. It depicts humanity’s greatest hopes, and its darkest fears.

Final thoughts on the best time travel books

In conclusion, here is a recap of our picks for the best time travel books. These recommendations span more than a century of literature. This list includes the first instances of time travel in fiction and other cornerstone classics that shaped this trope.

Books about time travel can go in countless directions, which makes it a building block for so many other genres: Middle grade, young adult, romance, or mystery. Regardless of whichever genre these time travel books share, each one offers a poignant reflection into the psyche of humanity. Each book on this list explores a what-if and the conclusions reveal a little bit more about our lived reality.

  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (1895)
  • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (1979)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1962)
  • The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov (1955)
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King (2011)
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (2020)
  • One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle (2022)
  • The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway (2013)
  • The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley (2021)
  • Time and Again by Jack Finney (1970)
  • Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1992)
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor (2013)
  • The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer (2013)
  • All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (2017)
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (2003)
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1991)
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (2019)
  • The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley (2011)
  • An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim (2018)
  • Hyperion by Dan Simmons (1989)
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch (2019)
  • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (2009)
  • Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister (2022)
  • The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (2013)

More Book Recommendation Resources

  • 21 Best Psychological Thriller Books
  • 15 Best Historical Fiction Books
  • 17 Best Science Fiction Books
  • 30 Best YA Fantasy Books

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The 10 best time travel novels

Posted by Mal Warwick | Reading Recommendations , Science Fiction | 0

The 10 best time travel novels

Time travel  is one of the most familiar tropes in science fiction. Many scholars trace the idea to Charles Dickens in  A Christmas Carol  (1843) and Mark Twain in  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court  (1889). ( Others differ , finding antecedents as early as 1733 in Samuel Madden’s  Memoirs of the Twentieth Century .) But time travel’s first occurrence in modern science fiction came in 1895 with the publication of H.G. Wells’  The Time Machine .

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

Early in the Golden Age of Science Fiction , time travel anchored popular works such as L. Sprague de Camp’s novel,  Lest Darkness Fall  (1939), Robert Heinlein’s  By His Bootstraps  (1941), and A.E. van Vogt’s  The Seesaw  (1941). Prominent later examples include Isaac Asimov’s  A Pebble in Time  (1950), Ray Bradbury’s  A Sound of Thunder  (1952), Alfred Bester’s  The Stars My Destination  (1956), Harry Harrison’s  The Technicolor Time Machine  (1967), and Robert Silverberg’s  Hawksbill Station  (1968). During the first half-century of modern science fiction, it was rare for any well-established author not to write at least one time travel novel. Many wrote several. 

Having read many of the time travel stories published during the genre’s early years, I’ve concentrated largely on more recent works. Below I’m listing the best of those I’ve encountered so far. They’re listed in alphabetical order by the authors’ last names. 

This post was updated on November 13, 2023.

The best time travel novels

Cover image of "Timescape," one of the best time travel novels I've ever read

Timescape  by Gregory Benford (1980) 514 pages ★★★★☆ –  An ingenious twist on time travel

Physics can drive you crazy.  Solid matter isn’t solid .  Black holes  don’t just make matter and light disappear; they suck up information, too. And  Schrödinger’s cat  is both alive and dead at the same time. Go figure. And if paradoxes like these rattle your nerves, you may want to avoid reading Gregory Benford’s masterful hard-science-fiction novel about time travel,  Timescape . It’s a brilliant story, and gracefully written. But it will challenge your reading comprehension unless you’re well versed in contemporary physics.

Timescape is a story of unintended consequences, of husbands and wives, of environmental collapse, and of academic politics. But above all it’s an account of how scientific research is conducted in the age of Big Science. And Benford indulges his characters’ tendency to think aloud about the most profound questions in theoretical physics. It’s far above the level of most people’s understanding, or at least above mine. But the story at the core of this novel is suspenseful to a fault and beautifully executed. Read more . 

Cover image of "Fata Morgana," a time travel novel

Fata Morgana  by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney (2017) 384 pages ★★★★☆ –  Clever plot twists in a time travel tale

Science fiction authors love time travel stories, because it affords them abundant opportunities to build plots full of clever  plot twists  and turns. Sometimes the surprises are really anything but shocking. But that’s not the case with the ingenious tale  Steven R. Boyett  and  Ken Mitchroney  have written under the title  Fata Morgana . Perhaps someone more discerning than I am could suss out the plot twists in advance, but I was taken aback when the reality descended on me of what really happens in this well-paced story. 

In several opening chapters, Boyett and Mitchroney paint a detailed and engrossing picture of the experience of an American bomber crew based in England during World War II. Those chapters read like a well-researched and capably written war story. I read a great deal about World War II, but what I found here was revealing. In fact, both the beginning and the end of this book, which deal with the bomber crew’s experiences during the war, are exceptionally good. And the clever plot twists add a layer of fun. Read more . 

Cover image of "Here and Now and Then," one of the best time travel novels in recent years

Here and Now and Then  by Mike Chen (2019) 336 pages ★★★★☆ –  A novel treatment of time travel in this promising science fiction debut

Time travel is one of the themes most commonly found in classic science fiction. But it’s taken a back seat in recent years to dystopian novels and space opera, not to mention epic fantasy (which I don’t consider science fiction at all). Of course, time travel back to the past has no basis in known science (although relativity makes time travel forward quite easy). But the paradoxes that open up in any logical treatment of the subject offer a wealth of possible plots. That’s the opening for suspense that  Mike Chen  found in his promising science fiction debut,  Here and Now and Then .  Read more .

Cover image of "New Pompeii"

New Pompeii  by Daniel Godfrey (2016) 352 pages ★★★★☆ – It’s not time travel. But it looks like it.

In a brief prologue, we meet Manius Calpurnius Barbatus, duumvir (co-ruler) of Pompeii, and his young adult daughter, Calpurnia. They are cowering in the mounting ashfall from Mt. Vesuvius as it gradually buries their town. Much will happen before we meet them again. But then they will play major roles in this intriguing story.

On one track in the story, a young woman named Kirsten Chapman faces years of terror. She repeatedly finds herself submerged in a bathtub in a locked room, only to be jerked back there soon after she emerges. On the other, major track, a young history graduate student named Nick Houghton faces the ruin of his career. Cutbacks decimate the faculty and fellowship funds at his “third-rate university” in England, and he is certain to lose his stipend. But Nick is not trapped in his depressing reality. For suddenly he finds himself employed by a company called Novus Particles UK LLP, or NovusPart, which has somehow muddled into a way to meddle with the timeline. Read more .

Cover image of "Sea of Tranquility"

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel (2022) 218 pages ★★★★★ – Emily St. John Mandel writes about a pandemic again

Emily St. John Mandel came to the attention of millions of readers worldwide with the publication of her third novel, Station Eleven . The book has sold at least 1.5 million copies and elevated Mandel to the ranks of superstar status in the literary firmament. Perhaps it was foreordained that a beautifully written novel about a pandemic would sell so well while COVID-19 ran rampant across the globe. And, with COVID still upending lives everywhere, we might expect that her sixth novel, Sea of Tranquility , which is also about a pandemic, would hit the bestseller lists, too.

Mandel writes science fiction with the science largely in the background. In Sea of Tranquility , she uses the time-honored sci-fi device of time travel to illuminate the lives of a handful of characters who are linked together across five centuries. Time travel is a given in the story, simply an artifact of the reality Mandel imagines. It’s the characters we care about as we shuttle back and forth from 1912 to 2020 to 2203 to 2401. The story hangs on a pandemic, but it, too, is merely a pivot in the plot.

Cover image of "The Future of Another Timeline," a superb time travel novel

The Future of Another Timeline  by Annalee Newitz (2019) 344 pages ★★★★☆ –  Alternate feminist history by a gifted science fiction author

What is history, and how does it work? We know, of course, that history isn’t fixed and immutable. It’s subject to the revision and reinterpretation of successive waves of scholars. Sometimes the fresh approach is based on new information that comes to light. But more often what we call history is merely a story historians tell us using carefully selected facts filtered through the cloudy lens of their own values and beliefs. We know, too, that history doesn’t travel in straight lines. But what makes it swerve? Indeed, how does change happen? Is it the product of the individual genius of so-called  Great Men  or the inevitable outcome of the ideas and social movements that engage a nation or an era? These are among the questions explored in Annalee Newitz’s thought-provoking feminist alternate history,  The Future of Another Timeline .  Read more .

Cover image of "The Continuum," one of the best best time travel novels I've read

The Continuum (Place in Time #1)  by Wendy Nikel (2018) 174 pages ★★★★☆ –  An ingenious take on time travel

Novels about time travel frequently twist themselves into knots about the paradox that comes into play when travelers attempt to change something in the past that might mean they would never have been born. In  The Continuum , the first of a series by science fiction newcomer Wendy Nikel, the  grandfather paradox  never surfaces . . . but somehow it seems that it ought to. The novel is a truly original take on time travel.

Here’s what you need to know about Wendy Nikel’s universe:

  • The discoverer of time travel, a certain Dr. Wells, has opened the Place in Time Travel Agency, or PITTA.
  • You can only travel back in time to dates that are one or more centuries in the past on precisely the same day, time, and place from which you leave.
  • To return to the present, you press your thumb on a small spherical device called a Wormhole. So, be sure not to lose it! (As I said, this is an original take on time travel.)
  • But you’re not supposed to travel back to key turning points in history. Those are Black Dates. They’re a no-no.
  • The heroine of this novel is young Elise Morley, who is a Retrieval Specialist for PITTA. Her job it is to rescue clients who have disregarded the rules by going to when they shouldn’t or attempting to overstay their time in the past. Read more .

Cover image of "mammoth"

Mammoth  by John Varley— A novel about time travel featuring wooly mammoths and an eccentric billionaire

The concept of time travel as it’s typically treated in science fiction is a straightforward affair. You’ll find that in almost any novel about time travel. Somebody figures out how to build a “time machine,” steps into the chamber, and—presto, change-o—ends up somewhere back or forward in time. Maybe a hundred years in the past or future, maybe 100,000. In any case, it’s all a matter of finding a way to locate a particular spot on the continuum of time and violating the laws of physics to get there. Well, if you’re skeptical, as I certainly am, you’ll find an entirely different view of time and time travel in John Varley’s supremely entertaining novel, Mammoth . And along the way you’ll learn a good deal about the spectacular fauna of North America in the Pleistocene Era more than 12,000 years ago. Oh, and by the way, there’s also hidden in the text a novel explanation for UFOs, or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. Read more .

Cover image of "The Doomsday Book," a time travel novel about the Black Death

Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel #2 of 5)  by Connie Willis— A time travel novel about the Black Death

What do we know about the past, and how do we know it? Historians rely largely on the contemporaneous written records they call primary sources . But other disciplines make important contributions to history as well, including archaeology, physics, and genetics. Still, what they learn comes exclusively from what remains of the past. What if historians could learn first-hand by sending scholars into previous centuries to compare the historical record to the reality? Award-winning author Connie Willis explores that idea in her monumental 1992 science fiction tale, The Doomsday Book , a novel about the Black Death.

Kivrin Engle is a bright and adventurous first-year student in medieval history at Oxford’s Brasenose College . In the mid-21st century, time travel is well established as a method for historians to study conditions over the past four or five hundred years, and Kivrin is eager to explore 14th-century England. Together with the acting head of medieval studies, Mr. Gilchrist, and her history tutor at Balliol College , Mr. Dunworthy, she develops a plan for a two-week visit in 1320, farther back than others have previously gone. Her target is the village of Skendgate, near the city of Bath in the country’s far southwest. Unfortunately for all concerned, everything goes wrong when Kivrin sets out for the past. Read more .

Cover image of "Blackout," one of the best time travel novels

Blackout (Oxford Time Travel #4 of 5)  by Connie Willis (2010) 650 pages ★★★★☆— Historians study World War II in person

History is often an unreliable guide to the past. Documents go missing or remain classified. Records may be erroneous—or even have been written to be misleading. And historians inevitably build their own prejudices and expectations into their interpretation of past events. How extraordinary it might be, then, for an historian to travel back in time and observe those events in person as they unfold. That’s the conceit at the heart of Connie Willis ‘ award-winning novels about mid-21st century Oxford historians who do exactly that. Blackout is the first of a pair of those novels that trace the adventures of three young historians as they travel in time to study World War II as it happened. Read more .

Time travel novels that didn’t make the grade

Of course, I’ve read a lot more time travel stories than these few. I’m listing above only the best ones I’ve come across in recent years. Below, however, are several additional time travel novels I’ve read and reviewed that don’t merit inclusion above. 

Permafrost  by Alastair Reynolds (2019) 178 pages ★★★☆☆ –  Time travel and the apocalypse

The Corridors of Time  by Poul Anderson (1965) 186 pages ★★★☆☆ –  A legendary sci-fi author makes a mess of time travel

Feedback (First Contact # 3)  by Peter Cawdron (2014) 462 pages ★★★☆☆ –  Time travel dominates this tale of First Contact

Quantum Time (Quantum #3)  by Douglas Phillips (2019) 371 pages ★★★★☆— An entertaining tale of time travel

Hawksbill Station by Robert Silverberg (1967) 166 pages ★★★★☆ – A science fiction Grand Master gets it wrong about the future

Just One Damned Thing After Another (Chronicles of St. Mary’s #1) by Jodi Taylor (2013) 324 pages ★★★★☆ – Historians blunder about in the past in this time travel story

In addition to these five novels I gave lower ratings, there are two highly touted books I couldn’t even finish. Connie Willis’ All Clear , the sequel to Blackout , won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. But I couldn’t get past chapter 3. And Time and Again by Jack Finney, which Stephen King calls “the time travel novel,” was so filled with trivial detail that I gave up about halfway through.

For related reading

For more good reading, check out:

  • These novels won both Hugo and Nebula Awards
  • The ultimate guide to the all-time best science fiction novels
  • 10 top science fiction novels
  • The five best First Contact novels
  • Seven new science fiction authors worth reading
  • The top 10 dystopian novels

And you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, on the  Home Page .

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Books and Bao

13 Best Time Travel Books Ever (Modern and Classic)

By: Author Jess Esa and Willow Heath

Posted on Last updated: 26th June 2023

Time travel is an element of storytelling that offers potentially limitless possibilities, allowing writers to explore politics, romance, warfare, discovery, and more in ways we might never expect.

Since 1895, with the publication of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (below), time travel stories in modern fiction have inspired and captivated readers around the world.

It isn’t only the genre of science fiction that utilises time travel, however. Many of the best time travel books are love stories, crime thrillers, and even fantasy novels.

time travel books

Essential Time Travel Books

Because of the breadth of scope and possibility that time travel can offer, what you’ll find here is a spectrum of genres and styles from writers of all different walks of life.

Some of these time travel books are deeply allegorical and political, using time travel to make strong and noble points about modern society.

Others use time travel as a savvy storytelling technique to present readers with fantastic romance and thriller narratives.

There’s something for everyone here in this selection of the best time travel books ever written.

This Is How You Lose the Time Way by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

the best time travel novels

This is How You Lose the Time War is a stunning piece of time travel science fiction, co-written by two celebrated sci-fi authors.

Here’s one of the most unique time travel romance books you’ll ever read. Our protagonists, known only as Red and Blue, are deadly agents who operate for rival factions which are fighting for control of multiple timelines.

While wandering the remains of a mecha battlefield, Red finds a letter left for her by Blue.

The letter taunts and teases Red, but also hints that Blue is becoming disenchanted by this ceaseless and seemingly endless, ultimately pointless war between their factions.

From this point on, we shift narratives between both characters’ perspectives, and those perspectives are separated by letters they leave for each other to find.

As they move through various strands of time that shift back and forth through possible pasts and futures, each finds a letter left by the other, and these letters steadily take on a different, more poetic and romantic tone.

From flirtatious taunts to passionate declarations of love, the letters steadily spell out the intense addiction that these two opposing women have developed for one another.

This is one of those time travel books with larger-than-life concepts that involve time manipulation and riding the threads of time, taking us from Plato’s Greece to mech wars on distant planets.

This is a wildly exciting time travel romance novel that shows us how, no matter the scale of the world, no matter the advancements in technology, love can still win in the end.

Buy a copy of This is How You Lose the Time War here!

Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Translated from the Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot

before the coffee gets cold

In a Tokyo café that has stood since the Edo period sits is a chair at the furthest point from the door. Local legend says this chair can transport you back through time, provided you follow a specific set of rules.

The legend is true, as Fumiko soon discovers when her boyfriend abruptly leaves her for a job in the US and she’s willing to do anything to go back in time and stop him.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold opens with Fumiko meeting with her boyfriend for what he calls a ‘serious conversation’. She hopes for a proposal, but he hits her with a break-up instead.

Goro moves to the US and a week goes by for the pining, mourning Fumiko, who continues to visit the café.

When Fumiko recalls the local urban myth surrounding the time-travelling chair, she asks the café’s staff if there’s any truth to it.

There is, but if the rules aren’t adhered to, there are dire consequences.

First, you cannot leave the chair. Second, whatever you say or do will not alter the present.

Finally, there is a time limit: the journey through time begins when the coffee is poured, and you must finish it before the coffee gets cold.

If you don’t, you take the place of the woman who is almost always sat in that chair; a woman who turns out to be a ghost. She leaves the chair to visit the toilet once a day, and that’s when you can sit and travel back.

Try to move her by force and she will curse you, as Fumiko finds out. This woman was the last person who let the coffee go cold, and now remains there always as a ghost.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold isn’t only one of the most unique and compelling time travel books of recent years, but is also one of the most celebrated Japanese novels of our time.

Buy a copy of Before the Coffee Gets Cold here!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

outlander diana gabaldon

Outlander is an enormous success story; a series of time travel books that have an ongoing history of more than thirty years. Add to this the huge popularity of the Outlander TV series.

The first novel in the series introduces us to protagonist Claire Randall, a British Army nurse who served during World War II.

Having been reunited with her husband after the end of the war, the two take a second honeymoon to Inverness, Scotland.

While gathering plants, Claire is drawn to, and touches, a standing stone (solitary monoliths known as a menhir, which date back to Bronze Age Scotland).

Upon touching the stone, Claire passes out and wakes up centuries into the past, in the year 1743.

This is a world she doesn’t know, one torn apart by politics, warfare, and bloodshed. There, she will be tempted by love as she falls for a man who is everything her 20th century husband is not.

Outlander has become one of the great and iconic time travel romance books of our time, and the series’ popularity only continues to grow.

Buy a copy of Outlander here!

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

the time machine hg wells

This is where modern time travel stories began, with H.G. Wells’ sci-fi masterpiece, The Time Machine , which has been adapted to film twice.

As a side note, the original 1960 film starring Rod Taylor remains a fantastic piece of sci-fi cinema; a must-watch classic.

Wells’ original novel was published in 1895 and set the stage for all the best time travel books that would follow.

The premise is simple: an inventor builds himself a time machine, and that machine carries him forward in time.

But while most time travel books focus on a future that remains relatable, understandable, and potentially possible, The Time Machine goes far beyond any of that.

Our scientist arrives in the year 802701 CE, an eerie future in which human evolution split into two very different groups.

The first group are the naive, child-like Eloi, who live in blissful peace and harmony, with all their needs provided to them.

The other group live underground, and they are the cannibalistic Morlocks, who feed on the Eloi.

As a socialist, Wells was critical of many aspects of European society during his time, and his novels were allegorical of the things he disagreed with.

This can be seen in The War of the Worlds , an anti-colonialism story. And it can also be seen here, with The Time Machine being a critique of class disparity and social inequality.

The Time Machine remains one of the most valuable time travel books ever written, by the godfather of modern science fiction .

Buy a copy of The Time Machine here!

11/22/63 by Stephen King

11 22 63 stephen king

Stephen King is best known for his twisted horror novels — many of which have been adapted to film and TV — as well as his surreal fantasy epic , The Dark Tower .

But King has also penned a few excellent thrillers , and this is one of his very best. Beyond that, it’s also one of the coolest time travel books of this century.

In 11/22/63 , an English teacher named Jake is shown a wormhole that leads to the late 1950s.

A friend convinces him to use his time in the past to attempt the noble task of stopping the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Jake and the reader soon learn that the past may be changed for the better but the future may not react so positively. 

Another great aspect to this time travel book is the relationship between Jake and his love interest, Sadie.

Both bring incredible warmth to a novel which, rather than just being a tense thriller, becomes one of the most surprising time travel romance books to boot.

Buy a copy of 11/22/63 here!

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

the seven deaths of evelyn hardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a puzzle box of a mystery novel that employs time travel and time loop rules to deliver one of the smartest, most captivating mystery plots you’ll ever read.

We begin halfway through a word that has just left the mouth of our nameless, amnesia-stricken protagonist. It is as though he has just woken up inside his own body.

He is in a forest, shouting a name he doesn’t know, and he is alone. That’s all we know, and it’s all he knows, too.

He walks, and eventually arrives at a manor house. The people there tell him he is their friend, that he is a doctor, and that he’s there for a party, just like they are.

The next morning, he wakes up as a different person in the house, and it is then that he learns that he will continue to jump from body to body for eight days, tasked with solving and preventing the death of the titular Evelyn Hardcastle.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a dizzying mystery novel, masterfully crafted and thrilling at every turn. Of all the time travel books you’ll ever read, none handle the mechanics of time like this one does.

Buy a copy of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle here!

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

kindred octavia butler

A generation-defining science fiction novel and one of the best pieces of American fiction ever written, Kindred is a true masterpiece amongst time travel books, and science fiction in general.

When the novel begins, Dana and Kevin are unpacking after moving to a new house in California, when she finds herself teleported back 150 years to a plantation in 1815 Maryland and the sight of a drowning red-headed boy.

Dana saves the boy from drowning and immediately finds herself facing down the barrel of a white man’s gun, before being yanked back through time to her present in the 1970s.

As it transpires, the drowning boy is Rufus, an ancestor of Dana’s who will father a child with one of his family’s slaves, and Dana is now caught in a loop: any time Rufus’ life is threatened, she is pulled in time back to save him.

Similarly, if she is put in harm’s way while in the past, she is sent back to 1976. On her third journey back to 1815, her husband is dragged back with her by accident, raising the stakes even higher.

Being a Black woman married to a white man, Dana is assumed a slave, and Kevin her owner. Kindred is a sci-fi time travel novel about cruelty and compassion, about the importance of education and empathy.

A true masterpiece amongst time travel books by one of the USA’s most important literary voices, Octavia Butler’s Kindred is one of the most important American novels you’ll ever read; a masterpiece of time travel sci-fi.

Buy a copy of Kindred here!

Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

night watch terry pratchett

Terry Pratchett was a genius author, of that there is no debate . His Discworld series of fantasy books provided an enormous, expansive, satirical world of possibilities and endless narrative potential.

As we journey across the Discworld, we follow a handful of different protagonists, including Death himself. One of the most beloved protagonists is Sam Vimes, captain of the Ankh Morpork city watch.

In Night Watch , while Sam Vimes’ wife is in labour and he is in heroic pursuit of a known criminal, the city watch captain is hit by lightning and sent backwards in time.

Vimes is quickly arrested by a younger, less experienced version of himself, and in the cell beside his is the very criminal he was chasing across the rooftops in his own present day.

Night Watch is another fantastic Discworld novel, presenting an entirely new side to a fan-favourite protagonist, and is one of the most creative and hilarious time travel books you’ll ever read.

Buy a copy of Night Watch here!

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel

sea of tranqulity mandel

With Sea of Tranquility , beloved contemporary author Emily St. John Mandel has written a phenomenal piece of time travel science fiction which surpasses even Station Eleven , her most successful novel.

Cleverly tied to her literary thriller The Glass Hotel with recurring events and characters from that novel, this is a book that unfurls gradually and strangely, creating a kind of symmetry with itself by the final page.

We begin in 1912, with an English nobleman exiled to the rural wilds of western Canada by his family. Then we move to the modern day, with characters from The Glass Hotel revealing what almost seems like a glitch in the world.

Next is the life of an author who grew up on a moon colony and is now doing a global book tour in 2203, just as a pandemic is about to sweep the planet.

Finally, at the book’s halfway point, we meet our true protagonist: a man named Gaspery, whose sister works for a time travel agency.

From here, we begin to move backwards through the time periods and lives we’ve already seen, as the truth gradually gets revealed and explored.

All of these lives become stitched together as this time travel novel progresses, in ways that will blow your mind over and over again. The plotting of this novel is beaten only by its incredibly revelations.

Sea of Tranquility is a true masterpiece of plotting and tone, moving with speed and grace. One of the best time travel books you’ll ever read.

Buy a copy of Sea of Tranquility here!

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

slaughterhouse five

No other author has ever written, or even thought, like Kurt Vonnegut did. He was a masterful satirist who used science fiction to explore the deep, dark political themes of the 20th century.

Written during the Vietnam War, and displaying aggressively blatant anti-war themes and messaging, Slaughterhouse-Five remains Vonnegut’s most celebrated novel, and for very good reasons.

Based in part on Vonnegut’s own life as a serviceman during World War II, Slaughterhouse-Five follows the life of a man named Billy Pilgrim.

Pilgrim was an American PoW who experienced and survived the firebombing of Dresden, and who later was abducted by aliens and taken to a planet called Tralfamadore.

We spend some of the novel living through Billy’s experiences through World War II, then his life back home post-war, and finally his abduction by aliens and the time-twisting that follows.

It’s a strange time travel sci-fi novel that throws out surreal and dreamlike concepts about seeing in four dimensions, travelling through memories, and being held in an alien zoo.

Considered a work of postmodernism, Slaughterhouse-Five is an expressly anti-war book that explores this perspective through surreal science fiction and satire.

Blending war fiction , satire, science fiction, and time travel, Slaughterhouse Five does a lot of different things, and it does them all splendidly.

Buy a copy of Slaughterhouse Five here!

Hyperion by Dan Simmons

hyperion dan simmons

Dan Simmons excels at writing within and beyond the bounds of various different genres, from thrillers to historical fiction, to this: a time travel sci-fi novel based on The Canterbury Tales .

Set in a far-future in which a spacefaring human empire exists known as the Hegemony of Man, Hyperion follows a group of pilgrims who have arrived on the planet of Hyperion.

Hyperion is home to strange Time Tombs which move backwards in time, and are guarded by a strange native creature called the Shrike.

Modelled after Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales , Dan Simmons’ Hyperion is a time travel book that presents us with each pilgrim’s backstory, and what led them to the titular planet of Hyperion.

A wonderful exercise in world-building and sci-fi storytelling, Hyperion is a a trippy and strange novel, and one of the coolest, most experimental time travel books you’ll ever read.

Buy a copy of Hyperion here!

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffinger

The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffinger

This 2003 novel has become an absolute classic amongst time travel romance books, and time travel books in general, propelled into the public consciousness by its film and TV adaptations.

Our dual protagonists are husband-and-wife pair Henry and Clare. Henry suffers from a strange disorder which the novel calls “Chrono-Impairment”. This disorder causes Henry to become frequently unshackled from time.

From a very young age, Henry has been periodically shot backwards in time. Each episode is entirely unpredictable, as is where he will go and how long he will be trapped there for.

Clare and Henry’s meetings have happened out of order, with Henry first laying eyes on her at the library where he works when they are both in their twenties. This, however, was not the first time Clare met Henry.

After they meet in the present, Henry begins to travel back into Clare’s past. Eventually, he provides her a with list that will tell her when in her life he will appear. He also reveals to young Clare that they will eventually be married.

Inspired by the author’s own romantic disappointments, The Time Traveler’s Wife has become one of the best-known, best-selling time travel books of all time.

Buy a copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife here!

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

Our protagonist, Jen, is waiting for her teenage son Todd to come home. He’s late; it’s after midnight, and when he eventually appears outside, Jen watches her son kill someone with her own eyes.

The police arrive, Todd is in possession of the knife, has the victim’s blood on his clothes, and his own mother saw it happen. What doubt could there be that Todd did what he did, even if we don’t know why?

But this isn’t where it ends. In fact, from this moment, Jen goes to sleep and wakes up a day earlier.

Every single night she goes to sleep and wakes up a day earlier, rather than later, as time steadily reverses day by day and she is given a chance to follow this thread back to its beginning, and its revelation.

A dizzying thriller that plays with the tropes of time travel in fun new ways. Mixing time travel and thrillers is nothing new, but the way that McAllister does it is fresh and addictive.

The time travel gimmick is one that’s arguably best utilised by thrillers and mystery novels, and this is a glowing example. One of the most addictive time travel books of recent years.

Buy a copy of Wrong Place Wrong Time here!

Best time travel books 🕰️

Curated by our reviewers this week

MONDAY 29th JANUARY, 2024

Time travel, the movement (time corrector series book 2).

A sequel just as lyrical, engaging and beautiful as the original volume

Reviewed by Adam Wright

The Timepiece and the Girl Who Went Astray

Ollie Simmonds

An exciting book with in-depth characters that demonstrates a great written narrative mixed with an interesting and original st...

Reviewed by Daniel Crocker

The Normandy Club

Bill Walker

A German blitz brings war to Avalon. Can two imperfect heroes erase an alternate history to restore the past?

Reviewed by Abby Lane

Sunder of Time

Kristin McTiernan

Sunder of Time by Kristin McTiernan was such a pleasant surprise that's perfect for fans of Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.

Reviewed by Lauren Stoolfire

The Whisper

Jared Millet

If you're a fan of classic Hollywood film noir, Flash Gordon, The Shadow, and Back to the Future, I have a feeling you'll enjoy...

Outsmarting Time

Laura Hanks Kline

OUTSMARTING TIME does exactly what a sci-fi should do; it messes with your head and feeds you pieces of information in a race t...

Reviewed by Alexia Chantel

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the best time travel novels

Alexia Chantel

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the best time travel novels

Adam Wright

I am an avid reader. I love books and discovering something new to recommend to people. I love epic fantasy and horror the most but I will read anything as long as it is good quality.

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Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics

The 35 Best Books About Time Travel

Posted: September 1, 2023 | Last updated: September 1, 2023

<p class="body-dropcap">Diana Gabaldon's <em>Outlander</em> series is an incredible introduction to the time travel genre. In the books, Claire Randall's entire life shifts when <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/a24953698/outlander-how-many-time-travelers/">she travels back in time</a> through the <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/travel-guide/a28541882/outlander-craigh-na-dun-stones-real-life-travel-guide/">stones at Craigh na Dun</a>, arriving in Scotland in 1743. There, she meets her 18th-century husband, Highland warrior Jamie Fraser, and their epic love story spans centuries.</p><p class="body-text"> Gabaldon first published <em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Outlander-Diana-Gabaldon/dp/0385319959/?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10067.g.39354601%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Outlander</a></em>—the book that would eventually inspire the television series starring <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/g38950449/sam-heughan-caitriona-balfe-photos/">Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Sam Heughan as Jamie</a>—in 1991, and the ninth novel in the series, <em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0593497198?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10067.g.39354601%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone</a></em>, came out in November 2021. </p><p>Ahead of the <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/a30549801/outlander-season-7/">seventh season of <em>Outlander</em></a>, now's the perfect time (ha) to dive into time travel books. From time traveling romance to alternate realities to murder mysteries, there's something for everyone here.</p>

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series is an incredible introduction to the time travel genre. In the books, Claire Randall's entire life shifts when she travels back in time through the stones at Craigh na Dun , arriving in Scotland in 1743. There, she meets her 18th-century husband, Highland warrior Jamie Fraser, and their epic love story spans centuries.

Gabaldon first published Outlander —the book that would eventually inspire the television series starring Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Sam Heughan as Jamie —in 1991, and the ninth novel in the series, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone , came out in November 2021.

Ahead of the seventh season of Outlander , now's the perfect time (ha) to dive into time travel books. From time traveling romance to alternate realities to murder mysteries, there's something for everyone here.

<p><strong>$12.39</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/1476764832?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10060.g.44963345%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>Any list about time travel books must begin with <em>The Time Traveler's Wife</em>, right? This bestselling novel tells the love story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Plot sound familiar? The book was adapted into a 2009 film starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, and <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/a35681128/rose-leslie-theo-james-time-travelers-wife-hbo/">a 2022 TV show starring Theo James and Rose Leslie</a>.</p><p><a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/g25951014/best-time-travel-movies/">Read more: 20 of the best Time Travel Films Ever Made</a></p>

1) The Time Traveler's Wife

Any list about time travel books must begin with The Time Traveler's Wife , right? This bestselling novel tells the love story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Plot sound familiar? The book was adapted into a 2009 film starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, and a 2022 TV show starring Theo James and Rose Leslie .

Read more: 20 of the best Time Travel Films Ever Made

<p><strong>$12.99</strong></p><p>Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI, until one disastrous raid when half her team is murdered and a mole in the FBI is uncovered. After she recovers from her wounds, she's determined to find the man responsible for the death of her team—yet upon her arrival in England, she stumbles back in time to 1815. Mistaken for a lady's maid, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the period as she figures out how to get back to her own timeline. There are <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0882QWTBQ?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10067.g.39354601%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">five books in the Kendra Donovan series</a>, so if you love a time travel mystery, don't miss these.</p>

2) A Murder in Time

Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI, until one disastrous raid when half her team is murdered and a mole in the FBI is uncovered. After she recovers from her wounds, she's determined to find the man responsible for the death of her team—yet upon her arrival in England, she stumbles back in time to 1815. Mistaken for a lady's maid, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the period as she figures out how to get back to her own timeline. There are five books in the Kendra Donovan series , so if you love a time travel mystery, don't miss these.

<p><strong>$9.74</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/0807083690?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10060.g.44963345%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>Author Octavia Butler is a queen of science fiction, and <em>Kindred </em>is her bestselling novel about time travel. In it, she tells the story of Dana, a Black woman, who is celebrating her 26th birthday in 1976. Abruptly, she's transported back to Maryland, circa 1815, where she's on a plantation and has to save Rufus, the white son of the plantation owner. It's not just a time travel book, but one that expertly weaves in narratives of enslaved people and explores the Antebellum South. </p>

Author Octavia Butler is a queen of science fiction, and Kindred is her bestselling novel about time travel. In it, she tells the story of Dana, a Black woman, who is celebrating her 26th birthday in 1976. Abruptly, she's transported back to Maryland, circa 1815, where she's on a plantation and has to save Rufus, the white son of the plantation owner. It's not just a time travel book, but one that expertly weaves in narratives of enslaved people and explores the Antebellum South.

<p><strong>$12.39</strong></p><p>Diana Gabaldon herself called <em>Faye, Faraway </em>"a lovely, deeply moving story of loss and love and memory made real<em>,</em>"so you know it's going to be good. The plot focuses on Faye, a mother of two, who lost her own mother, Jeanie, when she was just 8 years old. When Faye suddenly finds herself transported back in time, she befriends her mother—but doesn't let on who she really is. Eventually, she has to choose between her past and her future. </p>

4) Faye, Faraway

Diana Gabaldon herself called Faye, Faraway "a lovely, deeply moving story of loss and love and memory made real , "so you know it's going to be good. The plot focuses on Faye, a mother of two, who lost her own mother, Jeanie, when she was just 8 years old. When Faye suddenly finds herself transported back in time, she befriends her mother—but doesn't let on who she really is. Eventually, she has to choose between her past and her future.

<p><strong>$15.81</strong></p><p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbookshop.org%2Fbooks%2Fthe-eyre-affair%2F9780142001806&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.townandcountrymag.com%2Fleisure%2Farts-and-culture%2Fg39354601%2Fbest-time-travel-books%2F">Shop Now</a></p><p>In this version of Great Britain circa 1985, time travel is routine. Our protagonist is Thursday Next, a literary detective, who is placed on a case when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë's novel. </p><p>Bonus: <em>The Eyre Affair </em>is the first in <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074CFP1Q6?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10067.g.39354601%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">a seven book series</a> following Thursday.</p>

5) The Eyre Affair

In this version of Great Britain circa 1985, time travel is routine. Our protagonist is Thursday Next, a literary detective, who is placed on a case when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë's novel.

Bonus: The Eyre Affair is the first in a seven book series following Thursday.

<p><strong>$9.99</strong></p><p>Lord Nicholas Davenant is about to die in the Napoleonic Wars in 1812, and wakes up 200 years later. But he longs to return back in time to his love, Julia. When he arrives in modern society, a mysterious organization called the Guild tells him "there is no return," until one day, they summon him to London and he learns it's possible to travel back through time. A spy thriller that's also historical romance that's also time travel... Say less.</p>

6) The River of No Return: A Novel

Lord Nicholas Davenant is about to die in the Napoleonic Wars in 1812, and wakes up 200 years later. But he longs to return back in time to his love, Julia. When he arrives in modern society, a mysterious organization called the Guild tells him "there is no return," until one day, they summon him to London and he learns it's possible to travel back through time. A spy thriller that's also historical romance that's also time travel... Say less.

<p><strong>$12.15</strong></p><p>Casey McQuiston's second novel (<a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/a40178259/red-white-and-royal-blue-movie-cast-release-date-trailer/">following <em>Red, White, and Royal </em>blue, which is going to be a major motion picture this summer</a>) is a queer time-loop romance set on the Q train in New York City, and it's riveting. August is 23, working at a 24-hour diner, and meets a gorgeous, charming girl on the train: Jane. But she can't seem to meet up with her off the Q train—until they figure out Jane is stuck in time from the 1970s. How did she travel through time? Can August get Jane unstuck? Will they live happily ever after!? The questions abound.</p>

7) One Last Stop

Casey McQuiston's second novel ( following Red, White, and Royal blue, which is going to be a major motion picture this summer ) is a queer time-loop romance set on the Q train in New York City, and it's riveting. August is 23, working at a 24-hour diner, and meets a gorgeous, charming girl on the train: Jane. But she can't seem to meet up with her off the Q train—until they figure out Jane is stuck in time from the 1970s. How did she travel through time? Can August get Jane unstuck? Will they live happily ever after!? The questions abound.

<p><strong>$8.29</strong></p><p>Anne Gallagher grew up hearing her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. When she returns to the country to spread his ashes, she is transported back in time to 1921—and is drawn into the struggle for Irish independence. There, she meets Dr. Thomas Smith, and must decide whether or not she should return to her own timeline or stay in the past. As one reviewer wrote on Amazon, <em>What the Wind Knows </em>is a "spectacular time travel journey filled with love and loss." </p>

8) What the Wind Knows

Anne Gallagher grew up hearing her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. When she returns to the country to spread his ashes, she is transported back in time to 1921—and is drawn into the struggle for Irish independence. There, she meets Dr. Thomas Smith, and must decide whether or not she should return to her own timeline or stay in the past. As one reviewer wrote on Amazon, What the Wind Knows is a "spectacular time travel journey filled with love and loss."

<p><strong>$13.29</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/0525559477?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10067.g.39354601%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>Imagine a library with an infinite number of books—each containing an alternate reality about your life. That's the plot of <em>The Midnight Library</em>, where our protagonist Nora Seed enters different versions of her life. She undoes old breakups, follows her dream of becoming a glaciologist, and so much more—but what happens to her original life?</p>

9) The Midnight Library: A Novel

Imagine a library with an infinite number of books—each containing an alternate reality about your life. That's the plot of The Midnight Library , where our protagonist Nora Seed enters different versions of her life. She undoes old breakups, follows her dream of becoming a glaciologist, and so much more—but what happens to her original life?

<p><strong>$10.69</strong></p><p>In this novel from Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland, magic existed—until 1851. A secret government organization, the Department of Diachronic Operations (or D.O.D.O. for short), is dedicated to bringing magic back, and its members will travel through time to change history to do so. As <em>Kirkus Reviews</em> <a href="https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/neal-stephenson/the-rise-and-fall-of-dodo/">wrote</a>, the novel "blend[s] time travel with Bourne-worthy skulduggery." It's a delight for any fans of science fiction, with a slow burn romance between military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons and linguist Melisande Stokes. </p>

10) The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel

In this novel from Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland, magic existed—until 1851. A secret government organization, the Department of Diachronic Operations (or D.O.D.O. for short), is dedicated to bringing magic back, and its members will travel through time to change history to do so. As Kirkus Reviews wrote , the novel "blend[s] time travel with Bourne-worthy skulduggery." It's a delight for any fans of science fiction, with a slow burn romance between military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons and linguist Melisande Stokes.

<p><strong>$9.39</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/1534430997?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10060.g.44963345%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, this epistolary romantic novel tells the story of two time-traveling rivals who fall in love. Agents Red and Blue travel back and forth throughout time, trying to alter universes on behalf of their warring empires—and start to leave each other messages. The messages begin taunting but soon turn flirtatious—and when Red's commander discovers her affection for Blue, they soon embark down a timeline they can't change.</p>

11) This Is How You Lose the Time War

Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, this epistolary romantic novel tells the story of two time-traveling rivals who fall in love. Agents Red and Blue travel back and forth throughout time, trying to alter universes on behalf of their warring empires—and start to leave each other messages. The messages begin taunting but soon turn flirtatious—and when Red's commander discovers her affection for Blue, they soon embark down a timeline they can't change.

<p><strong>$14.50</strong></p><p>Set at an ancient Cornish house called Kilmarth, where Daphne du Maurier lived from 1967, <em>The House on the Strand</em> story follows Dick Young, who has been offered use of Kilmarth by an old college friend, Magnus Lane. Magnus, a biophysicist, is developing a drug that enables people to travel back to the 14th century, and Dick reluctantly agrees to be a test subject. The catch: If you touch anyone, you're transported back to the present. As the story goes on, Dick's visits back to the 1300s become more frequent, and his life back in the modern world becomes unstable.</p>

12) The House on the Strand

Set at an ancient Cornish house called Kilmarth, where Daphne du Maurier lived from 1967, The House on the Strand story follows Dick Young, who has been offered use of Kilmarth by an old college friend, Magnus Lane. Magnus, a biophysicist, is developing a drug that enables people to travel back to the 14th century, and Dick reluctantly agrees to be a test subject. The catch: If you touch anyone, you're transported back to the present. As the story goes on, Dick's visits back to the 1300s become more frequent, and his life back in the modern world becomes unstable.

<p><strong>$15.00</strong></p><p>It’s 1898 and there’s a man named Joe, who lives in London, which is, in this alternate historical, a part of the French Empire as in this version of the past, Britain lost the Napoleonic Wars. Joe has gotten off a train from Scotland and cannot remember anything about who he is or where he’s from. He soon returns to his work, and after a few years, he is sent to repair a lighthouse in Eilean Mor in the Outer Hebrides. Joe then finds himself a century earlier, on a British boat with a mysterious captain, fighting the French and hoping for a future that is different than the one he came from. If you're into time travel <em>and </em>queer romance <em>and </em>alternate history, this is for you.</p>

13) The Kingdoms

It’s 1898 and there’s a man named Joe, who lives in London, which is, in this alternate historical, a part of the French Empire as in this version of the past, Britain lost the Napoleonic Wars. Joe has gotten off a train from Scotland and cannot remember anything about who he is or where he’s from. He soon returns to his work, and after a few years, he is sent to repair a lighthouse in Eilean Mor in the Outer Hebrides. Joe then finds himself a century earlier, on a British boat with a mysterious captain, fighting the French and hoping for a future that is different than the one he came from. If you're into time travel and queer romance and alternate history, this is for you.

<p><strong>$17.66</strong></p><p>In 1992, 17-year-old Beth agrees to help hide the dead body of her friend's abusive boyfriend. The murder sets Beth and her friends on "a path of escalating violence and vengeance" to protect other young women. In 2022, Tess decides to use time travel to fight for change around key moments in history. When Tess believes she's found a way to make an edit to history that actually sticks, she encounters a group of time travelers bent on stopping her at any cost. Tess and Beth's lives intertwine, and war breaks out across the timeline. </p>

14) The Future of Another Timeline

In 1992, 17-year-old Beth agrees to help hide the dead body of her friend's abusive boyfriend. The murder sets Beth and her friends on "a path of escalating violence and vengeance" to protect other young women. In 2022, Tess decides to use time travel to fight for change around key moments in history. When Tess believes she's found a way to make an edit to history that actually sticks, she encounters a group of time travelers bent on stopping her at any cost. Tess and Beth's lives intertwine, and war breaks out across the timeline.

<p><strong>$17.46</strong></p><p>The sequel to <em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0670022411?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10067.g.39354601%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">A Discovery of Witches</a></em>, the plot of <em>Shadow of Night </em>picks up right where the story left off: With Matthew, a vampire, and Diana, a witch, traveling back in time to Elizabethan London to search for an enchanted manuscript. You really need to read the first book before reading <em>Shadow of Night</em>, but the series by Deborah Harkness is a swoony magical romance. </p><p>And: It's now a TV show! (<a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B07M926M85/ref=atv_dp_season_select_s1?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10067.g.39354601%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Season one is streaming on Amazon Prime Video</a>.)</p>

15) Shadow of Night

The sequel to A Discovery of Witches , the plot of Shadow of Night picks up right where the story left off: With Matthew, a vampire, and Diana, a witch, traveling back in time to Elizabethan London to search for an enchanted manuscript. You really need to read the first book before reading Shadow of Night , but the series by Deborah Harkness is a swoony magical romance.

And: It's now a TV show! ( Season one is streaming on Amazon Prime Video .)

<p><strong>$15.80</strong></p><p>In <em>The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle,</em> the same day happens again and again. Each day, Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered at 11:00 p.m at Blackheath. And each day, our protagonist Aiden Bishop wakes up in the body of a different witness—and tries to solve her murder. He only has eight days, and it's a race against time to solve Evelyn's murder and to escape the time loop. </p>

16) The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

In The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, the same day happens again and again. Each day, Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered at 11:00 p.m at Blackheath. And each day, our protagonist Aiden Bishop wakes up in the body of a different witness—and tries to solve her murder. He only has eight days, and it's a race against time to solve Evelyn's murder and to escape the time loop.

<p><strong>$11.99</strong></p><p>In 2018 New York City, detective Barry Sutton fails to talk Ann out of jumping off a building. But before Ann falls to her death, she tells him she is suffering from False Memory Syndrome—a new neurological disease where people are afflicted with memories of lives they never lived. The dissonance between their present and these memories drives them to death. This is best read unspoiled, but it's undoubtedly a time travel story you haven't read before.</p>

17) Recursion: A Novel

In 2018 New York City, detective Barry Sutton fails to talk Ann out of jumping off a building. But before Ann falls to her death, she tells him she is suffering from False Memory Syndrome—a new neurological disease where people are afflicted with memories of lives they never lived. The dissonance between their present and these memories drives them to death. This is best read unspoiled, but it's undoubtedly a time travel story you haven't read before.

<p><strong>$20.99</strong></p><p>On the eve of her wedding day, Shay Garrett looks into her grandmother's antique mirror and faints. When she wakes up, she's in the same house—but in the body of her grandmother, Brandy, as a young woman in 1900. And Brandy awakens in Shay's body in the present day in 1978. It's like <em>Freaky Friday</em>, but with time travel to the Victorian era.</p>

18) The Mirror

On the eve of her wedding day, Shay Garrett looks into her grandmother's antique mirror and faints. When she wakes up, she's in the same house—but in the body of her grandmother, Brandy, as a young woman in 1900. And Brandy awakens in Shay's body in the present day in 1978. It's like Freaky Friday , but with time travel to the Victorian era.

<p><strong>$12.29</strong></p><p>Kin Stewart is a time traveler from 2142, stuck in 1990s suburban San Francisco. A rescue team arrives to bring Kin back to his timeline—but 18 years too late. Does Kin stay with his "new" family, and the life he's built for himself in San Francisco, or does he return to his original timeline? He's stuck between two families—and ultimately, this is a time travel tale about fatherhood.</p>

19) Here and Now and Then

Kin Stewart is a time traveler from 2142, stuck in 1990s suburban San Francisco. A rescue team arrives to bring Kin back to his timeline—but 18 years too late. Does Kin stay with his "new" family, and the life he's built for himself in San Francisco, or does he return to his original timeline? He's stuck between two families—and ultimately, this is a time travel tale about fatherhood.

<p><strong>$7.99</strong></p><p>Originally published in 1989, this romance novel features a present-day heroine and a knight from the 16th century who fall in love. Per the book's description: "Abandoned by a cruel fate, lovely Dougless Montgomery lies weeping upon a cold tombstone in an English church. Suddenly, the most extraordinary man appears. It is Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck…and according to his tombstone he died in 1564. Drawn to his side by a bond so sudden and compelling it overshadows reason, Dougless knows that Nicholas is nothing less than a miracle: a man who does not seek to change her, who finds her perfect, fascinating, just as she is. What Dougless never imagined was how strong the chains are that tie them to the past…or the grand adventure that lay before them."</p>

20) A Knight in Shining Armor

Originally published in 1989, this romance novel features a present-day heroine and a knight from the 16th century who fall in love. Per the book's description: "Abandoned by a cruel fate, lovely Dougless Montgomery lies weeping upon a cold tombstone in an English church. Suddenly, the most extraordinary man appears. It is Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck…and according to his tombstone he died in 1564. Drawn to his side by a bond so sudden and compelling it overshadows reason, Dougless knows that Nicholas is nothing less than a miracle: a man who does not seek to change her, who finds her perfect, fascinating, just as she is. What Dougless never imagined was how strong the chains are that tie them to the past…or the grand adventure that lay before them."

<p><strong>$15.76</strong></p><p>In <em>A Spy in Time</em>, South African writer Imraan Coovadia addresses the question of time traveling while Black. Part crime thriller, part Afrofuturist novel, part time travel story, Coovadia's novel follows Enver Eleven, a 25-year-old agent for a mysterious organization as he travels from 23rd-century Johannesburg back to 1950s Marrakesh. When his handler is kidnapped, Enver sets out on a mission to save their future. </p><p>"The past is a really different place depending on who you are," Coovadia <a href="https://crimereads.com/where-spy-fiction-meets-afrofuturism/">told <em>Crime Reads</em>.</a> "Time travel writers, I’m not sure that they really exploited or looked into that problem as much as they could have." </p>

21) A Spy in Time

In A Spy in Time , South African writer Imraan Coovadia addresses the question of time traveling while Black. Part crime thriller, part Afrofuturist novel, part time travel story, Coovadia's novel follows Enver Eleven, a 25-year-old agent for a mysterious organization as he travels from 23rd-century Johannesburg back to 1950s Marrakesh. When his handler is kidnapped, Enver sets out on a mission to save their future.

"The past is a really different place depending on who you are," Coovadia told Crime Reads . "Time travel writers, I’m not sure that they really exploited or looked into that problem as much as they could have."

<p><strong>$16.74</strong></p><p>In <em>Time and Again</em>, Advertising artist Simon "Si" Morley is recruited to join a covert government operation exploring the possibility of time travel, and he jumps at the chance to leave his mundane 20th-century existence and step into the past. Si travels to 1882 New York City, and he falls in love with a woman he meets there. Soon after, he must choose whether he should stay in 1880s New York, or return to his present. Want to read the reviews before you dive in? Start here: Stephen King called this 1970 novel "the greatest time-travel story." </p>

22) Time and Again

In Time and Again , Advertising artist Simon "Si" Morley is recruited to join a covert government operation exploring the possibility of time travel, and he jumps at the chance to leave his mundane 20th-century existence and step into the past. Si travels to 1882 New York City, and he falls in love with a woman he meets there. Soon after, he must choose whether he should stay in 1880s New York, or return to his present. Want to read the reviews before you dive in? Start here: Stephen King called this 1970 novel "the greatest time-travel story."

<p><strong>$9.99</strong></p><p><em>The Rose Garden, </em>per its book description,"drops a modern woman into the middle of a historical fiction novel when she's thrown back to 18th century Cornwall—only to find that might just be where she belongs." The time travel romance follows Eva Ward, who leaves Hollywood for her hometown of Cornwall, only to find herself falling in love with Daniel Butler, a man lost in time.</p><p><em>Outlander </em>fans, Diana Gabaldon blurbed <em>The Rose Garden</em>, writing, <strong>"</strong>I've loved every one of Susanna's books! She has bedrock research and a butterfly's delicate touch with characters—sure recipe for historical fiction that sucks you in and won't let go!"</p>

23) The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden, per its book description, "drops a modern woman into the middle of a historical fiction novel when she's thrown back to 18th century Cornwall—only to find that might just be where she belongs." The time travel romance follows Eva Ward, who leaves Hollywood for her hometown of Cornwall, only to find herself falling in love with Daniel Butler, a man lost in time.

Outlander fans, Diana Gabaldon blurbed The Rose Garden , writing, " I've loved every one of Susanna's books! She has bedrock research and a butterfly's delicate touch with characters—sure recipe for historical fiction that sucks you in and won't let go!"

<p><strong>$11.69</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/0307739457?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10067.g.39354601%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>The blurb of this novel is extremely compelling: "Every day in Minor Universe 31 people get into time machines and try to change the past. That's where Charles Yu, time travel technician, steps in. He helps save people from themselves. Literally. When he's not taking client calls, Yu visits his mother and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. The key to locating his father may be found in a book. It's called <em>How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe</em>, and somewhere inside it is information that will help him. It may even save his life."</p>

24) How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel

The blurb of this novel is extremely compelling: "Every day in Minor Universe 31 people get into time machines and try to change the past. That's where Charles Yu, time travel technician, steps in. He helps save people from themselves. Literally. When he's not taking client calls, Yu visits his mother and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. The key to locating his father may be found in a book. It's called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe , and somewhere inside it is information that will help him. It may even save his life."

<p><strong>$14.24</strong></p><p>The logline of <em>Shining Girls </em>is "the girl who wouldn't die hunts the killer who shouldn't exist." Harper Curtis is a serial killer who travels through time—vanishing after committing each murder—and Kirby Mazrachi was one of his victims. Until she survives. Determined to bring Harper to justice, she realizes that he's doing the impossible. It's an extremely scary take on the time travel genre.</p>

25) Shining Girls

The logline of Shining Girls is "the girl who wouldn't die hunts the killer who shouldn't exist." Harper Curtis is a serial killer who travels through time—vanishing after committing each murder—and Kirby Mazrachi was one of his victims. Until she survives. Determined to bring Harper to justice, she realizes that he's doing the impossible. It's an extremely scary take on the time travel genre.

<p><strong>$27.89</strong></p><p> A must-read for any fans of time travel fiction, <em>The Time Traveler's Almanac</em> is "the largest and most definitive collection of time travel stories ever assembled." In it, editors Ann and Jeff VanderMeer compile more than a century's worth of literary travels—with stories from Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, H. G. Wells, Connie Willis, and more.</p>

26) The Time Traveler's Almanac

A must-read for any fans of time travel fiction, The Time Traveler's Almanac is "the largest and most definitive collection of time travel stories ever assembled." In it, editors Ann and Jeff VanderMeer compile more than a century's worth of literary travels—with stories from Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, H. G. Wells, Connie Willis, and more.

<p><strong>$13.99</strong></p><p>"If you could go back, who would you want to meet?" asks the book <em>Before the Coffee Gets Cold</em>."In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers something else besides coffee—the chance to travel back in time." Over the course of Toshikazu Kawaguchi's novel, four customers visit the café in hopes of traveling back in time. But it isn't that simple... </p>

27) Before the Coffee Gets Cold

"If you could go back, who would you want to meet?" asks the book Before the Coffee Gets Cold . "In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers something else besides coffee—the chance to travel back in time." Over the course of Toshikazu Kawaguchi's novel, four customers visit the café in hopes of traveling back in time. But it isn't that simple...

<p><strong>$18.97</strong></p><p>It's 2072 and January Cole is in charge of security at the Paradox Hotel, a place where tourists stay before their travels to different time periods, like Ancient Egypt or the Battle of Gettysburg. She used to be a time-traveling detective for the Time Enforcement Agency, but too much time spent time traveling is bad for one person. Soon, accidents start happening at the Paradox Hotel, and only January can solve it.</p>

28) The Paradox Hotel

It's 2072 and January Cole is in charge of security at the Paradox Hotel, a place where tourists stay before their travels to different time periods, like Ancient Egypt or the Battle of Gettysburg. She used to be a time-traveling detective for the Time Enforcement Agency, but too much time spent time traveling is bad for one person. Soon, accidents start happening at the Paradox Hotel, and only January can solve it.

<p><strong>$11.99</strong></p><p>On New Year's Eve 1982, Oona Lockhart faints and awakens 32 years into her future. She soon learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. A fascinating take on the time travel narrative: what would happen if you live your life out of order?</p>

29) Oona Out of Order

On New Year's Eve 1982, Oona Lockhart faints and awakens 32 years into her future. She soon learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. A fascinating take on the time travel narrative: what would happen if you live your life out of order?

<p><strong>$14.15</strong></p><p>In an alternate 2016, technology has solved all of humanity's problems. Our protagonist, Tom Barren, isn't happy. Rather, he's heartbroken to have lost the girl of his dreams—and he has access to a time machine. He gets stuck in our version of 2016 (with <em>all </em>the problems), and is desperate to return back to his reality. As the blurb reads: "Now Tom faces an impossible choice. Go back to his perfect but loveless life. Or stay in our messy reality with a soulmate by his side. His search for the answer takes him across continents and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future<em>—</em>our future<em>—</em>is supposed to be." </p>

30) All Our Wrong Todays: A Novel

In an alternate 2016, technology has solved all of humanity's problems. Our protagonist, Tom Barren, isn't happy. Rather, he's heartbroken to have lost the girl of his dreams—and he has access to a time machine. He gets stuck in our version of 2016 (with all the problems), and is desperate to return back to his reality. As the blurb reads: "Now Tom faces an impossible choice. Go back to his perfect but loveless life. Or stay in our messy reality with a soulmate by his side. His search for the answer takes him across continents and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future — our future — is supposed to be."

<p><strong>$16.73</strong></p><p>When Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London for a fresh start, they take over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe discovers she can sense the past of antiques she touches, and when she finds a beautiful silver chatelaine, she can more than sense its past—she travels back in time to 1605, where she's tasked with saving a young girl's life. There, she meets architect Samuel, and you can guess how things go... </p>

31) The Little Shop of Found Things

When Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London for a fresh start, they take over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe discovers she can sense the past of antiques she touches, and when she finds a beautiful silver chatelaine, she can more than sense its past—she travels back in time to 1605, where she's tasked with saving a young girl's life. There, she meets architect Samuel, and you can guess how things go...

<p><strong>$12.99</strong></p><p>It's 1981 America, and there's a deadly flu pandemic ravaging the nation. Oh, and time travel exists. Polly and Frank are a couple, and Frank has caught the virus. So they decide that Polly will time travel—if she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future as a bonded laborer, the company will pay for Frank's treatment. So when Polly leaves Frank in Houston in 1981, they agree to meet again in 12 years. But Polly is re-routed an extra five years in to the future, and can't find Frank. Can their love stand the test of time? </p>

32) An Ocean of Minutes

It's 1981 America, and there's a deadly flu pandemic ravaging the nation. Oh, and time travel exists. Polly and Frank are a couple, and Frank has caught the virus. So they decide that Polly will time travel—if she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future as a bonded laborer, the company will pay for Frank's treatment. So when Polly leaves Frank in Houston in 1981, they agree to meet again in 12 years. But Polly is re-routed an extra five years in to the future, and can't find Frank. Can their love stand the test of time?

<p><strong>$16.99</strong></p><p>After the death of her beloved twin brother and the abandonment of her long-time lover, Greta Wells undergoes electroshock therapy. While getting this treatment, she is repeatedly sent to 1918, 1941, and back to the present in 1985—and in each timeline, Greta is living a completely different life. Which will she choose? Though the lives have similar threads, each has its own pros and cons. As her final treatment approaches, she must decide where to stay.</p>

33) The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells

After the death of her beloved twin brother and the abandonment of her long-time lover, Greta Wells undergoes electroshock therapy. While getting this treatment, she is repeatedly sent to 1918, 1941, and back to the present in 1985—and in each timeline, Greta is living a completely different life. Which will she choose? Though the lives have similar threads, each has its own pros and cons. As her final treatment approaches, she must decide where to stay.

<p><strong>$6.99</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/0312367546?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10067.g.39354601%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>Last but certainly not least: Madeleine L 'Engle's classic young adult novel about traveling through time. The 1963 coming-of-age story focuses on Meg, who embarks on a journey through space and time with her brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin O 'Keefe, as she sets out to save her father.</p>

35) A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet)

Last but certainly not least: Madeleine L'Engle's classic young adult novel about traveling through time. The 1963 coming-of-age story focuses on Meg, who embarks on a journey through space and time with her brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin O'Keefe, as she sets out to save her father.

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The 9 Best Time Travel Novels You Should Read Now

Time travel has long been a favorite theme in literature, offering readers an escape to different eras and the enticing possibility of changing the past or glimpsing into the future. From the classics that laid the foundation for the genre to contemporary novels that push its boundaries, we’ve compiled a list of the 9 best time travel novels you should read now. Join us as we journey through time with these captivating stories.

A Journey Through Time: The Appeal of Time Travel Novels

Time travel has been a popular theme in literature for centuries, captivating readers with its endless possibilities and potential consequences. From H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” to Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” time travel novels have continued to captivate readers with their unique blend of science fiction, history, and adventure.

Before diving into our top picks, it’s important to understand the enduring appeal of time travel novels. What is it about traveling through time that captures our imagination and keeps us coming back for more?

The Fascination with Time Travel

Time travel allows us to explore what-ifs and alternate histories, enabling readers to ponder the consequences of their actions and the importance of choices. It also provides a means to explore different cultural, historical, and societal contexts, in which characters from the present (or future) can bear witness to events of the past.

For example, in Diana Gabaldon’s “ Outlander ” series, protagonist Claire Randall travels back in time to 18th century Scotland, where she witnesses the Jacobite risings and the harsh realities of life in the Scottish Highlands. Through her experiences, we gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of Scottish history and culture, as well as the impact of colonialism and imperialism.

The concept of time travel can also serve as an allegory for personal growth and transformation. By visiting different times and places, characters learn valuable life lessons, often returning to their present-day selves wiser and more self-aware.

The Power of Storytelling in Time Travel Fiction

The strength of time travel narratives often lies in the author’s ability to make the unbelievable believable. By creating complex rules and weaving intricate storylines, skilled writers take us on thrilling adventures through the vast continuum of time.

For instance, in Stephen King’s “11/22/63,” protagonist Jake Epping travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. However, he soon discovers that changing the past has unforeseen consequences, leading him on a dangerous and unpredictable journey through time.

Moreover, time travel fiction can transcend genre boundaries, encompassing elements of science fiction, historical fiction, romance, and even comedy. This diversity in storytelling possibilities ensures that time travel novels remain fresh and engaging, as authors continue to find new ways to explore this fascinating theme.

So whether you’re a fan of historical fiction or science fiction, or simply enjoy a good adventure, time travel novels offer a captivating and endlessly fascinating journey through time.

The Classics: Timeless Time Travel Tales

Let’s begin our journey with the classics. These time travel novels have withstood the test of time, earning their place as true literary gems. But what makes them so enduring? Let’s dive deeper into each of these novels to find out.

H.G. Wells “The Time Machine”

Widely regarded as the first time travel novel, H.G. Wells’ 1895 masterpiece, “ The Time Machine ,” introduces us to the Time Traveller, an unnamed inventor who journeys to the distant future. Throughout his adventures, the protagonist encounters two distinct races, the Eloi and the Morlocks, whose existence serves as a chilling commentary on class divisions and the perils of human evolution.

But what sets “The Time Machine” apart from other science fiction works of the time is its philosophical depth. Wells uses time travel as a tool to explore the nature of humanity, asking fundamental questions about the meaning of existence and the inevitability of progress. The novel’s haunting conclusion leaves readers contemplating the fate of humanity long after the final page.

Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five”

At once a reflection on the destructive nature of war and a darkly humorous, enigmatic exploration of time, “ Slaughterhouse-Five ” is an unforgettable novel by Kurt Vonnegut. The protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, becomes “unstuck in time,” drifting uncontrollably in and out of various stages of his life, including his traumatic experiences as a POW during World War II.

But “Slaughterhouse-Five” is more than just a time travel novel. Vonnegut’s use of nonlinear storytelling and metafictional techniques creates a narrative that is both disorienting and thought-provoking. The novel’s anti-war message is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1969, and its exploration of the human psyche in the face of trauma is both raw and deeply moving.

Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife”

A poignant love story that transcends the boundaries of time, “ The Time Traveler’s Wife ” centers on the star-crossed romance between Clare, an artist, and Henry, an adventurous librarian with an involuntary ability to time travel. Through skilled storytelling and compelling character development, Niffenegger weaves a tale that is both heart-wrenching and hopeful.

But “The Time Traveler’s Wife” is more than just a love story. Niffenegger explores the complexities of time travel, from the practical challenges of living a life out of order to the emotional toll it takes on those left behind. The novel’s exploration of free will and fate, and the role they play in shaping our lives, is both profound and thought-provoking.

With its beautifully crafted prose and unforgettable characters, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” has captured the hearts of readers worldwide, cementing its place as a modern classic.

Modern Masterpieces: Contemporary Time Travel Novels

With the foundation laid by the classics, contemporary authors have pushed the boundaries of time travel fiction, experimenting with new storytelling techniques and imaginative twists on familiar tropes. Here are our top picks among recent releases.

Blake Crouch’s “Recursion”

At the intersection of time travel and memory manipulation lies “ Recursion ,” a mind-bending science fiction thriller by Blake Crouch. The novel follows neuroscientist Helena Smith and NYPD detective Barry Sutton as they grapple with a devastating phenomenon known as False Memory Syndrome.

The concept of false memories is not new, but Crouch takes it to a whole new level in “Recursion.” He explores the idea that our memories are not just a record of the past, but a constantly evolving entity that can be manipulated and altered. This raises profound questions about the nature of identity and the role of memory in shaping who we are.

Blending elements of sci-fi and suspense, “Recursion” is a gripping novel that challenges our conception of reality and the nature of time itself. It is a must-read for anyone who loves mind-bending stories that leave you questioning everything you thought you knew.

Elan Mastai’s “All Our Wrong Todays”

A fresh and witty account of time travel gone awry, “ All Our Wrong Todays ” centers on Tom Barren, a man from an alternate utopian 2016 who inadvertently finds himself stranded in our less-than-ideal reality. Faced with the choice between his perfect former life and the promise of new love, Tom must navigate the complexities of time and destiny.

What makes “All Our Wrong Todays” stand out is Mastai’s ability to weave humor into a story that is ultimately about loss and regret. Tom’s journey is both entertaining and poignant, as he comes to terms with the consequences of his actions and learns to appreciate the imperfect world he now inhabits.

With its engaging narrative, comedic flair, and thought-provoking themes, “All Our Wrong Todays” is a captivating addition to the time travel genre. It is a reminder that even in the most fantastical of stories, there is always a kernel of truth that resonates with readers.

Kate Mascarenhas “The Psychology of Time Travel”

Delving into the social, ethical, and psychological implications of time travel, “ The Psychology of Time Travel ” introduces the reader to a world where time travel has become a reality, thanks to four pioneering female scientists. As a mystery unfolds across multiple timelines, the novel examines the impact of time manipulation on personal relationships and mental health.

Mascarenhas tackles some weighty topics in “The Psychology of Time Travel,” including the ethics of altering the past and the toll that time travel takes on the human psyche. She also explores the role of women in science and the challenges they face in a male-dominated field.

Rich in both scientific detail and emotional depth, “The Psychology of Time Travel” is a unique time travel saga not to be missed. It is a testament to the power of storytelling to illuminate the human experience and inspire us to think more deeply about the world around us.

Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Time Travel Stories

Finally, let’s uncover a few hidden gems in the time travel genre . While these novels may not have the same level of widespread recognition as our other picks, they are no less deserving of a place on any time travel enthusiast’s bookshelf.

Octavia Butler’s “Kindred”

This groundbreaking novel by science fiction legend Octavia Butler tells the story of Dana, a black woman living in 1970s California who finds herself transported to the antebellum South, where she must repeatedly save the life of her white ancestor. A riveting exploration of racial violence, love, and the human capacity for survival, “ Kindred ” combines time travel with historical fiction to create a truly unforgettable read.

Connie Willis “To Say Nothing of the Dog”

A delightful blend of comedy, history, and time travel, “ To Say Nothing of the Dog ” centers on Oxford historian Ned Henry, who is sent back to Victorian England as part of an elaborate plan to retrieve a lost artifact. Combining the lighthearted tone of a comedy of manners with the intricate plotting of a time travel adventure, Willis’ novel is sure to charm and entertain.

Jack Finney’s “Time and Again”

Lastly, we have “ Time and Again ,” the enchanting story of Simon Morley, an advertising artist recruited by a secret government project to travel back in time to New York City in 1882. As he becomes embroiled in the world of the past, Simon is forced to grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and fate.

An immersive tale filled with atmospheric details and vividly drawn characters, “Time and Again” stands as proof that the road less traveled can sometimes lead to the most rewarding destinations.

There you have it: our definitive list of the 10 best time travel novels you should read now. From the foundational classics to fresh perspectives and hidden gems, these masterworks of time travel literature will transport you to new worlds, invite you to confront thought-provoking questions and treat you to unforgettable adventures through the ages.

Is the film The Time Traveler’s Wife based on a book?

Yes, the movie was an adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s novel of the same name.

Has Stephen King written any time travel books?

He wrote one alternate history novel called 11/22/63 which features time travel. It follows a protagonist who sets out to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

What is a heavy sci-fi time travel novel?

H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine is a great sci-fi novel that centers around time travel.

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The 21 Best Time Travel Books You Haven’t Read Yet

Take a quantum leap into the world of time travel lit.

time_travel_books

  • Photo Credit: Uros Jovicic / Unsplash

Time travel, like robots, cryosleep and aliens, is one of the tropes that makes the sci-fi genre so much fun—especially because every author is able to add their own rules to the mind-bending phenomenon. With that in mind, reading a new time-travel book is like finding a whole new dimension: the portals leading to brilliantly imagined worlds are infinite. 

Take a quantum leap with us as we explore the best time travel books you haven’t read, but should definitely check out. Where we’re going, you don’t need roads—but you do need a fully charged e-reader.

Needle in a Timestack

Needle in a Timestack

By Robert Silverberg

This collection of short stories explores many common themes of science fiction, from time travel to space travel. In the title story, a woman's marriage is in jeopardy when her jealous ex-husband decides to change time. This story is also the inspiration for a new movie starring Leslie Odom Jr., Cynthia Erivo and Orlando Bloom.

The Book of Kells

The Book of Kells

By R. A. MacAvoy

An enchanting adventure through Celtic mythology, R.A. MacAvoy’s Book of Kells is as lush in character development and fantastical imagery as the real-life hills of Ireland’s verdant countryside. MacAvoy’s hero, the meekly mannered John Thornburn, and heroine, the strong-willed Derval, travel back to 10th-century Ireland to avenge a Viking attack. Part fantasy, part science fiction and completely captivating, this book will make you feel as though you've been transported back 11 centuries, too.

RELATED: 10 More Books to Read if You Like Game of Thrones

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

By Mark Twain

Though it’s not quite as famous as Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer , Mark Twain’s forays into time travel are just as deserving of your attention, especially if you’re a sci-fi fan. In fact, this 1889 satire is often lauded as one of the foundational works of the subgenre—for reference, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine , the first novel to imagine a time travel apparatus, wouldn’t be published for another 6 years. This novel sends Hank Morgan, a supervisor at a Connecticut firearms factory, back to the year 528. Once there, he must deal with churlish knights, fears of science, and the little issue of having been sentenced to burn at the stake. 

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The Sterkarm Handshake

The Sterkarm Handshake

By Susan Price

A sort of time-traveling star-crossed lovers’ tale, Susan Price’s Sterkarm Handshake introduces you to protagonist Andrea Mitchell, a young anthropologist who’s been sent from 21st-century Great Britain to 16th-century Scotland to deal with the Sterkarms, a primitive tribe standing in the way of her corporation’s access to Scotland’s unlimited and untouched natural resources. Love, loss, and where-do-your-liberties-lie await.

Shadow of Ashland

Shadow of Ashland

By Terence M. Green

A small-town Kentucky mystery that will keep you guessing until the final chapter, Shadow of Ashland is Terence M. Green’s time-shifting novel that Entertainment Weekly simply touts as “THE BOOK YOU HAVE TO READ.” It all begins with Leo Nolan’s dying mother asking him to find her brother who went missing 50 years prior. Lucky for Leo, his uncle has just sent him a letter. The odd part: It’s postmarked 1934. So begins Leo’s journey.

RELATED: 8 Historical Mystery Novels That Will Transport You Back in Time

Everyone Says That at the End of the World

Everyone Says That at the End of the World

By Owen Egerton

This humorous, absurdist take on science fiction starts about four days before the world’s end—apparently, the world is an asylum for the incurably insane, and it’s about to be shut down. Milton and Rica, a couple who are expecting their first child, decide to attempt survival and wind up on a cross-country trip that involves ghosts, angels, inter-dimensional time travelers and a whole lot more. With a whole lot of luck, they just might make it out alive.

Time and Again

Time and Again

By Clifford D. Simak

A staple on any sci-fi fiend’s bookshelf, Clifford Simak is a virtuoso and Grandmaster when it comes to crafting sci-fi as stimulating as it is imaginative. In Time and Again , a multilayered space odyssey originally written in 1951, cosmic voyager Asher Sutton resurfaces after 20 years of being lost in space. His destiny: to change the world. Obvious, right? But how will he do it and what is the secret he’s harboring? Now, that just may blow your mind.

The Shadow Hunter

The Shadow Hunter

By Pat Murphy

Nebula Award-winning author Pat Murphy unlocks the mysteries of time with her debut, a faunal sci-fi novel called The Shadow Hunter . Following a Neanderthal boy who’s transported from the ancient past into a futuristic dimension beyond his understanding, The Shadow Hunter plays with culture conflicts and clashes to deliver a survival tale that’s at once enthralling and spiritual.

RELATED: 13 Groundbreaking Female Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors  

The Cat's Pajamas

The Cat's Pajamas

By James Morrow

James Morrow was once called “the most provocative satiric voice in science fiction” by the Washington Post , and it’s not hard to see why. This collection of 13 short stories runs the gamut from a New Jersey suburb being overrun by the dead (don’t worry, they’re do-gooders), to Columbus “discovering” a modern-day New York City, to a doctor gifting his mutant creatures with ethical superiority. 

Time Loves a Hero

Time Loves a Hero

By Allen Steele

Allen Steele, a two-time Hugo Award winner, expands upon his award-winning novella ... Where Angels Fear to Tread , fleshing out his thrilling narrative with what happens before, during, and after a pair of time-traveling operatives travel from the 24th century to study the cause of the Hindenburg explosion. Brilliant yet consumable hard sci-fi, Time Loves a Hero— a.k.a. Chronospace—weaves historical fact with UFO fiction to create a 340-page wormhole you’ll happily be sucked into.

The Far Arena

The Far Arena

By Richard Ben Sapir

Here's the gist: Lucius Aurelius Eugenianus, a Roman champion gladiator encased in ice, is dug up by a Texan doing research in the Arctic. We know what you’re thinking: Sounds like Maximus Decimus Meridius meets Encino Man . But trust us, Richard Ben Sapir’s time-jumping genre-blender is way more thought-provoking than a couple of blockbusters. An old soul in a modern age, Eugeni and his colorful cast of accompanying characters turn a completely implausible story into a plausible one, thanks to Sapir’s deft use of history and fantasy.

RELATED: 15 Authors Like Dan Brown

The Dancer from Atlantis

The Dancer from Atlantis

By Poul Anderson

In this historical-romance-meets-time-travel novel, a malfunctioning future time machine sends four people from four different timelines to the year 4000 BCE, on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. Among them are American architect Duncan Reid, who came all the way from the 20th century, and Erissa, a priestess from Atlantis who has only traveled a few decades through time. Erissa is their best chance of getting back to their respective dimensions—but in order to do so, they must put themselves in grave danger.

Bones of the Earth

Bones of the Earth

By Michael Swanwick

Paleo-nerds, ready the virtual shelf for Jurassic sci-fi of epic proportions. Michael Swanwick crafts a rewarding (albeit taxing and challenging) read that spans hundreds of millions of years. When Smithsonian paleontologist Richard Leyster is presented with the head of a freshly killed Stegosaurus and the opportunity to go back in time to study dinosaurs, the action begins. And, thus, the paying of attention on your part.

RELATED: 13 of the Best Dragons in Science Fiction  

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How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

By Charles Yu

Welcome to an incomplete and unpolished world where the laws of physics are abandoned and the inhabitants consider themselves unfinished. It’s called Minor Universe 31, and it’s the epicenter of which the action revolves in Charles Yu’s quirky how-to featuring his aptly named hero, Charles Yu; Charles’s hypothetical dog; and the apple of Charles’s eye: his feminine AI interface. Bonus: There are pictures.

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Man in the Empty Suit

By Sean Ferrell

If you like a little murder mystery with your time travel, this novel is for you. Each year, the time-traveling narrator spends his birthday in a New York hotel room with all the past and future versions of himself. Unfortunately, the party gets derailed on his 39th birthday, when he finds his 40-year-old self killed by a gunshot to the head. Now, he has one year to figure out who his killer is—or else he and all the other versions of himself will cease to exist.  

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The End of Eternity

By Isaac Asimov

If ever the declaration of loving someone to the end of eternity were most poignant, it’d be here, in Isaac Asimov’s time-jumping seminal novel about an Eternal whose relationship with a woman outside his elite world threatens to destroy Eternity. Considered one of the “Big Three” during his time, Asimov constructs a tale just about everyone considers “a monument of the flowering of SF.”

RELATED: 8 Heart-Racing Mystery Romance Books  

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Planet of the Apes

By Pierre Boulle

Yes, that Planet of the Apes . The mega motion-picture franchise that launched in the late 60s (and again in 2001, and then 2011e) wouldn’t be a blip on the radar without the 1963 French classic from sci-fi writer Pierre Boulle. Though you may be familiar with the plot thanks to Charlton Heston’s interstellar journey to an ape-ruled planet, Boulle’s original hurls through 274 pages to a shocking climax that’s nothing like what you’ve seen on the big screen.

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The Time Ships

By Stephen Baxter

In this modern-day sequel, hard SF author Stephen Baxter sets out to answer the question of what would happen had the time machine in H. G. Wells’ same-name classic fallen into the hands of the government. Baxter plays with pasts, presents, and futures to create a compelling damsel-in-distress tale with the Wells’ Eloi-Morlocks conflict at its core. 

RELATED: 7 Alternate History Books  

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The Shining Girls

By Lauren Beukes

There’s a serial killer on the loose in Lauren Beukes' avant-garde time-travel novel. But he’s like no other hunter you’ve ever read about. Harper Curtis is the perfect murderer who strikes, then escapes across time. But Harper is about to meet his match: Kirby Mazrachi. And unlike his previous victims, Kirby doesn’t die. And, thus, Harper becomes the hunted. Need more enticement? Gillian Flynn is a fan. 

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The Many-Colored Land

By Julian May

Julian May’s The Many-Colored Land is a literary thriller that deals not with other worlds, but with the one we all know: Earth. The year is 2034, and humans have discovered a time warp that transports them to a Pliocene Europe 6 million years in the past. Home to the Tanu and Firvulag, two opposing races, the humans work with the dwarfish Firvulag to free the world from the Tanu clutches—think time-traveling Tolkien.

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Doomsday Book

By Connie Willis

A Hugo and Nebula Award winner, Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book took her five years to perfect. It’s about an Oxford history student named Kivrin who is erroneously transported from the year 2048 to the 14th century’s Black Plague, where she’s taken in by an English family and exposed to the never-ending suffering pertaining to the dark times. An action-packed drama, this one’s not. Rather, Willis is more concerned with characterizations and the will of the human spirit. And bravo for it.

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Featured photo: Uros Jovicic / Unsplash  

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  • Nation & World
  • What’s the cheapest day of the week to book a flight?

When it comes to the cheapest days to book flights, you should know there’s no single rule that applies all the time. In fact, so many factors go into the cost of flights that it’s hard to know what prices will be from one day to the next, let alone over the course of a year or on any given day of a single month.

That said, there are some recognizable patterns when you look at the costs for airfare over a long enough timeline, and some organizations have done studies to find out the cheapest day of the week to book flights. This includes Expedia’s 2024 Air Travel Hacks Report, which used actual flight data to help consumers decide on the most affordable times to book airfare or fly the friendly skies within the U.S. or overseas.

If you’re hoping to save on airfare this year and are curious when you should book and which days of the week to fly, read on to learn more.

Cheapest day of the week to book a flight

Expedia used data compiled by the Airlines Reporting Corporation, which has information on 15 billion flights across 490 airlines.

While the cheapest day to actually pay for airfare can vary from one week to the next, Expedia data shows consumers who book airfare on Sundays instead of Fridays tend to save approximately 5% on domestic and international economy class flights. For domestic business class flights, consumers can expect to save around 7%, and for international business class flights, consumers can expect to save around 24%.

Expedia also notes that Sunday was the cheapest day to book flights in 2021, 2022 and 2023, but savings rates have varied year to year.

If you want to save more, data from Expedia’s report shows you should book domestic flights at least a month in advance to save an average of 24% compared to those who booked last-minute.

Meanwhile, booking international airfare around 60 days out tends to yield the best results, with Expedia data showing savings of around 10% for those who booked around that time. However, because average ticket prices peaked around four months out from departure, they also recommend booking no earlier than four months out. This is a clear change from Expedia’s 2023 report, which recommended booking international flights around six months out from departure date.

Most affordable day of the week to travel

While booking your flight on a Sunday helps you get the lowest price, actually flying on a Thursday may help you save an average of 16% off airfare. Data shows that, almost across the board, travelers who flew on Thursdays instead of Sunday saved this much on both domestic and international flights.

However, consumers flying domestically can also see significant savings of around 13% if they fly out on Saturday instead of Sunday.

What factors impact flight prices?

A range of factors can impact the cost of flights, but most of it boils down to supply and demand. For example, costs for airfare tend to be less expensive during off-peak season to any destination, whereas prices surge during peak travel times when demand is higher.

Fuel costs can also impact flight costs, along with the cost of labor, labor shortages and other underlying issues for airlines. Ultimately, airlines use complex algorithms to determine pricing for their fares, and these factors are just part of the equation.

Tips for finding cheap flights

To get the best deal on domestic or international airfare in 2024, you should:

Book airfare on Sunday. As previously mentioned, booking airfare on Sunday is cheaper than other days of the week, especially Fridays.

Be willing to fly midweek. Since Thursdays tend to be the cheapest day to fly, see if you can tweak your travel plans so you depart and fly home during the week instead of on weekend days.

Set price alerts. Use a tool like the app Hopper to set up price alerts that notify you when airfare prices drop significantly, or when their technology says it’s the cheapest day to book. Expedia also offers Price Drop Protection in their app for a fee or for free if you’re a Gold or Platinum tier One Key member. If you book a flight that becomes cheaper later on and you have Price Drop Protection, Expedia will refund you the difference.

Avoid peak travel times. Not only can traveling off-peak help you score significant savings on airfare and hotels, but Expedia data shows that off-peak travel comes with fewer cancellations and delays overall. Booking early morning flights as opposed to afternoon flights will also make it less likely for you to see delays.

Earn airline miles. Consider signing up for frequent flyer programs that let you book airfare with miles you earn for flying and other activities. You can also start racking up miles for airfare with a co-branded airline credit card or travel credit card.

The bottom line

The cheapest days to book flights may be different from one week to the next, and the same is true for the day you actually travel. However, taking a full view of the data shows that some travel dates tend to be less expensive on the booking end and the traveling end — at least most of the time.

Arming yourself with this information is one of the best ways to save on airfare over the long run, but it’s not the only way. If you combine savvy shopping with a huge stash of airline miles, you can pay even less for airfare all year long.

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Everything you need to know about Costco Travel — and why I love it for saving money

Madison Blancaflor

Costco isn't just the place where you can buy toilet paper in bulk, inexpensive gas, cheap hot dogs and gift cards. You can also book great trips via the company's online travel agency, Costco Travel.

I know, I know: At TPG, we're often staunchly against booking travel through third-party sites , as there can be tradeoffs versus booking directly. But in recent years, I've become a big fan of the travel deals I can find via Costco Travel.

When planning our annual beach trip back in 2022, my best friend found a few options for Mexican all-inclusive resorts on Costco Travel and shared the links with me. I promptly told her we'd probably be better off booking directly and brushed off the idea of booking through Costco — neither of us even had a membership at the time.

However, comparing the prices and benefits at a few of the resorts proved my initial reaction wrong.

I actually got a Costco membership to book the deal since the cost of the membership was less than what we'd save by booking through Costco. We saved around $300 on a three-night stay at TRS Coral near Cancun (one of TPG's best all-inclusive resorts in Cancun ), not including the free hydrotherapy spa circuit and the $241 Digital Costco Shop Card included in the package.

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Madison Blancaflor (@madison_ave18)

Our stay was fantastic, and I officially became a Costco Travel convert.

If you're curious about how to use Costco Travel to find deals, here's everything you need to know about Costco Travel — and why I love it for saving money on travel.

What is Costco Travel?

the best time travel novels

All Costco members have access to the Costco Travel booking platform, where you can find and book a wide range of travel — from vacation packages to hotels, cruises and rental cars. You can even book theme park vacation packages to Disney and Universal or specialty vacations such as an African safari.

Related: Costco cruise deals: How to save money booking travel at a warehouse club

Once you log in to Costco Travel, you can search for specific dates or destinations or browse through available deals and featured destinations. I personally love perusing the limited-time deals when I know I want to plan a getaway but don't have a specific destination in mind.

Trips booked through Costco Travel are often discounted and/or include perks and benefits you may not get by booking directly or through other booking portals. Usually, a trip booked through Costco Travel will also include a Digital Costco Shop Card (essentially a type of Costco gift card) of varying value.

What travel can you book through Costco Travel?

You can book hotels, cruises, rental cars and vacation packages through Costco Travel. Vacation packages range from hotel-only offers to all-encompassing packages that include airfare, hotel stays and rental cars. You can even build your own package.

the best time travel novels

However, one thing to note is that you can't book stand-alone flights via Costco Travel. There is an option to book flights through some vacation packages, but if you're only looking for airfare, you'll want to head to Google Flights to check out your options and book.

You can book Costco Travel offers both online and by phone.

Do you have to be a Costco member to use Costco Travel?

Yes. Costco Travel is an exclusive service for Costco members.

There are two personal membership levels: Gold Star and Executive. Gold Star costs $60 per year, while an Executive membership costs $120. The basic membership will give you access to all of Costco's services, including Costco Travel, while the Executive membership also comes with a 2% reward on all Costco (and Costco Travel) purchases.

I've found that the Costco Travel deals alone are worth paying the $60 Gold Star annual membership fee, even though I don't regularly use Costco for my grocery store runs.

Check sites like Groupon for discount Costco memberships, as you can sometimes save on that rate — or get an included gift card that helps offset the cost.

Is Costo Travel worth it?

Costco Travel has its pros and cons, but there are definitely times when it's worth it.

For example, let's look at a five-night stay in Maui in early April. At the time of writing, Costco is currently offering a hotel and rental car package for Hotel Wailea, a Relais & Chateaux affiliated property and one of TPG's favorite Maui hotels .

Here's one cost comparison breakdown of Costco Travel's deal versus booking directly:

the best time travel novels

Even without including the additional benefits, you're already saving more than $400 via the Costco deal. Add in the value you get from the card, daily breakfast and resort credit (which is more than $1,000 in value if you maximize all benefits), and you're looking at $1,442.45 in savings by booking through Costco Travel versus directly.

And since Hotel Wailea isn't a member of any major hotel loyalty program, booking through Costco Travel wouldn't mean missing out on elite night credits or other loyalty program benefits.

Here's another example — this time for a Universal Orlando theme park trip from June 4-6 for one adult and two children from Houston. The total cost when booking each part (hotel, tickets and airfare) individually came to $2,701.35, while booking it as a package via Costco saved just over $300.

the best time travel novels

That's a fair amount of savings you could use for some frozen butterbeer or even a new wand inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter .

When is Costco Travel not worth it?

Not every offer on Costco is worth booking.

For one, you won't necessarily find the same availability on Costco Travel. For example, flights booked through Costco may have some seats blocked off, and certain dates for hotel stays may be unavailable. Additionally, not all rental car companies are bookable through Costco Travel (such as Hertz*, which is my preferred rental car company due to the perks I get through my Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card ).

Plus, some hotel stays have a minimum stay requirement. If you're on the hunt for a long weekend getaway, you may not be able to take advantage of some Costco Travel deals.

the best time travel novels

Even when you do find availability, you should always price-check what you can find by booking directly or through your credit card travel portal and hotel programs.

After booking our fantastic stay at TRS Coral just north of Cancun through Costco, I looked at booking through Costco again in 2023 when planning our annual beach vacation.

While Costco had a deal available for the same resort, we happened to be booking when the resort chain was having a Mother's Day sale for anyone booking directly. We were able to try out a new TRS resort closer to Playa Del Carmen, TRS Yucatan; we saved more than $100 on an even nicer suite than Costco Travel offered by booking directly (even when considering the Digital Shop Card we would have gotten by booking with Costco).

Something else to consider when booking hotels through Costco Travel is loyalty program rewards and elite status. There are a lot of hotels available to book through Costco Travel that are part of major loyalty programs, from Hyatt Honors to Marriott Bonvoy to IHG One Rewards and more. But booking through Costco Travel — just like booking through most other third-party services such as Expedia — means you likely won't earn loyalty rewards, elite night credits or have any elite night benefits honored.

You'll also have to use Costco customer service if you run into any issues rather than going directly to the brand. This is especially important when considering booking a vacation package that includes flights, given the higher potential for delays or cancellations.

Why I love Costco Travel

I am typically a staunch proponent of booking directly, but Costco Travel is an exception. I've found that the benefits I can get by booking some trips via Costco outweigh the cons (some of which include having to go through Costco for any customer service help or occasionally losing out on elite night credits).

Digital Costco Shop Cards

My favorite thing about booking trips through Costco Travel is the Digital Costco Shop Card I get after booking. The card's value varies from trip to trip (generally depending on how expensive the package you book), but you can get hundreds of dollars back to use at Costco.

The Digital Costco Shop Cards can be used for Costco warehouse purchases (a game changer with grocery prices so high due to inflation), but you can also use them toward future Costco Travel bookings. And remember — Costco doesn't just carry bulk grocery items. You could use a Digital Costco Shop Card to buy a new flat-screen TV for movie nights and game days, a new outdoor patio setup ahead of summer or even Costco Pharmacy prescriptions.

I admittedly don't use Costco for groceries often (buying in bulk doesn't make a lot of sense for someone who lives alone), but I have used shop cards to help pay for Christmas presents and future Costco Travel trips. I've actually been looking into using my most recent Digital Costco Shop Card on a new pair of AirPods and a new TV mount for my living room.

Deals on non-points hotel stays and all-inclusive resorts

When I'm looking at booking a hotel stay at a brand like Hyatt or Marriott, I generally choose to book directly in order to earn elite night credits and points. However, when looking at properties not part of a major loyalty program, Costco Travel is often a go-to anytime I can find a deal.

Costco Travel has a nice deals section, and I usually look there first if I'm not sold on a specific destination for a getaway. While deals found on Costco generally have a narrow booking window, I've found that many offer a lot of flexibility for the actual trip dates.

A few examples of limited-time deals for January include Hotel Wailea from the example earlier in this guide, all-inclusive resorts in Mexico's Riviera Maya, and Disney and Universal theme park packages.

the best time travel novels

Simplifying group vacations

I'm often the travel planner in my friend group (which makes sense, considering what I do for a living), but not everyone is an avid points and miles user like myself. For group trips where we're splitting the cost of hotel rooms among multiple people, it often doesn't make sense to use points and miles to book.

Costco Travel vacation packages offer a way for all of us to save money, and it makes narrowing down potential destinations and hotels easier. Rather than everyone having to spend hours researching ideas and prices from across the internet — which might be my idea of a fun Wednesday night but isn't for some of my friends — I typically just send them to Costco Travel to see if any of the featured deals catch their eye.

Having reservation information for multiple aspects of a trip, such as a hotel and rental car package, makes sharing and saving the itineraries a breeze.

Bottom line

Whether or not you currently have a Costco membership, you shouldn't dismiss Costco Travel as just another online travel agency.

If you know where to look and are willing to price-check the deals you find, you can save a lot of money with Costco Travel deals. I've personally had a lot of success booking friends getaways to popular destinations like Mexico through Costco. Using the service has helped me save on other expenses with the Digital Costco Shop Card I've gotten with my bookings.

For me, the $60 annual membership fee to Costco has been more than worth it to utilize Costco Travel.

*Upon enrollment, accessible through the Capital One website or mobile app, eligible cardholders will remain at upgraded status level through Dec. 31, 2024. Please note, enrolling through the normal Hertz Gold Plus Rewards enrollment process (e.g. at Hertz.com) will not automatically detect a cardholder as being eligible for the program and cardholders will not be automatically upgraded to the applicable status tier. Additional terms apply.

Related reading:

  • Key travel tips you need to know — whether you're a beginner or expert traveler
  • The best travel credit cards
  • How my Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi is a workhorse when it comes to cash back
  • Where to go in 2024: The 16 best places to travel
  • 6 real-life strategies you can use when your flight is canceled or delayed
  • 8 of the best credit cards for general travel purchases
  • 13 must-have items the TPG team can't travel without

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The world’s best beaches have been crowned for 2024

Lonely Planet’s latest book includes everywhere from the Scottish Highlands to the Australian coast

Liv Kelly

There’s a lot of variety when it comes to beaches. Sure, the palm-tree-lined shores of Thailand  are great and all, but what about the windy bays of Wales or the secluded sands of Japan ’s outlying islands?

One thing’s for sure – whether you’re partial to hikes along a rugged coast or sunbathing on powder-white sands next to some lovely lapping waves, pretty much all of us can appreciate a beach in one form or another. So it’s no wonder Lonely Planet ’s new book contains such a huge mixture of beaches from all over the world. 

In  Africa , you have the likes of  Cape Town ’s Camps Bay beach , a renowned party destination set against the city’s mountainous backdrop, and from Asia , there’s the dazzlingly postcard-worthy Maremegmeg Beach in the Philippines . 

In Europe there’s plenty of recognition for the Mediterranean coast, but Rhossili Bay in Wales was included, too – read more about the UK beaches that made the list right here . 

Qalansiyah Beach in Yemen is one entry for the Middle East, which is populated by small, warm natural pools, while  Red Frog Beach in Panama  and  Blue Lagoon Beach in Fiji are another two paradise-like destinations to make the list, representing the Americas and Oceania respectively. But there’s plenty more what they came from. Shall we have a look at them all?

Here are the 100 best beaches in the world for 2024, according to Lonely Planet. 

  • Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
  • Mnemba Island, Zanzibar
  • Le Morne Beach, Black River, Mauritius
  • Nosy Iranja, Madagascar
  • Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue, Seychelles

Camps Bay Beach, South Africa

  • Radhanagar, Swaraj Deep, Andaman Islands, India
  • Palolem Beach, Goa , India
  • Papanasham Beach, Varkala, Kerala, India
  • White Sandy Beach, Fulhadoo Island, Northern Atolls, Maldives
  • Pink Beach, Padar Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia
  • Diamond Beach, Nusa Penida, Bali , Indonesia
  • Titop Beach, Halong Bay, Quang Ninh, Vietnam
  • Pacifico Beach, Siargao, Surigao del Norte, Philippines
  • Maremegmeg Beach, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
  • Secret Beach, Mirissa, Matara District, Sri Lanka
  • Hat Tham Phra Nang, Railay, Krabi, Thailand
  • Ao Maya, Ko Phi-Phi Leh, Krabi, Thailand
  • Secret Beach, Ko Kradan, Trang Islands, Trang, Thailand
  • Sunayama Beach, Miyakojima Island, Okinawa, Japan

Maremegmeg Beach, Philippines

  • Zlatni Rat Beach, Bol, Brač, Croatia
  • Punta Rata Beach, Brela, Makarska Riviera, Croatia
  • Rhossili Bay, Gower, Wales
  • Rauðasandur, Westfjords, Iceland
  • Calanque d’En-Vau, Cassis, Provence, France
  • Plage des Poulains, Belle-Île-en-Mer, Brittany, France
  • Plage de Palombaggia, Porto-Vecchio, Corsica, France
  • Playa de Torimbia, Llanes, Asturias, Spain
  • Platja Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain
  • Playa de Famara, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain 
  • Paralia Tis Grias to Pidima, Andros, Cyclades, Greece
  • Cala Estreta, Costa Brava, Catalonia, Spain
  • Punta Paloma, Tarifa, Cádiz, Spain
  • Sylt, North Frisian Islands, Germany
  • Kokkinokastro, Alonnisos, Sporades, Greece
  • Elafonisi, Hania, Crete , Greece
  • Myrtos Beach, Kefallonia, Ionians, Greece
  • Sarakiniko, Milos, Cyclades, Greece
  • Baia di Ieranto, Nerano, Amalfi Coast, Italy
  • Cala Goloritzé, Golfo di Orosei, Sardinia , Italy
  • Cala Capreria, Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, Sicily , Italy
  • Sveti Stefan Beach, Budva, Montenegro
  • Haukland Beach, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway
  • Durdle Door Beach, Lulworth, Dorset , England
  • Kynance Cove, Lizard, Cornwall , England
  • Keem Bay Beach, Keel, County Mayo, Ireland
  • Dueodde, Nexø, Bornholm, Denmark
  • Praia do Camilo, Lagos, Algarve, Portugal
  • West Beach, Berneray, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
  • Kabak Beach, Muğla, Türkiye

Rhossili Bay, Wales

The Middle East 

  • Fuwairit Kite Beach, Al Shamal, Qatar
  • Mahmya Island, Giftun Islands, Red Sea Governate, Egypt
  • Qalansiyah Beach, Qalansiyah, Socotra, Yemen

Qalansiyah Beach, Yemen

North and South America

  • Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro , Brazil
  • Baía dos Porcos, Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco, Brazil
  • Gardner Bay, Isla Española, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  • Playa Manuel Antonio, Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
  • Bahía de las Águilas, Pedernales, Dominican Republic
  • Playa Holbox, Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • Tulum , Yucatán Peninsula, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • Playa Balandra, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
  • Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • Máncora Beach, Máncora, Piura, Peru
  • St Andrews Bay, South Georgia, Antarctica
  • Cabo San Juan del Guía, Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, Colombia
  • Frenchman’s Cove, Portland, Jamaica
  • Sugar Beach, Soufrière, St Lucia
  • Red Frog Beach, Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro, Panama
  • Bottom Bay, Saint Philip, Barbados
  • Chesterman Beach, Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
  • Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island National Park, Prince Edward Island, Canada
  • Driftwood Beach, Golden Isles, Georgia , USA
  • Grayton Beach, Grayton Beach State Park, Florida , USA
  • South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, USA
  • Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California , USA
  • El Matador State Beach, Malibu, California, USA
  • Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California, USA
  • Cannon Beach, Oregon , USA
  • Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe, Nevada , USA
  • Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland & Virginia, USA
  • Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i, Hawaii , USA
  • Oneloa Beach/Big Beach, Maui , Hawaii, USA
  • Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington , USA
  • Playa Tortuga/Turtle Beach, Isla Culebrita, Puerto Rico
  • Trunk Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands, USA

Red Frog Beach, Panama

  • Blue Lagoon Beach, Nanuya Lailai, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
  • Lalomanu Beach, Upolu, Samoa
  • Tapuaeta’i/One Foot Island Beach, Aitutaki, Cook Islands
  • Ta’ahiamanu Beach, Mo’orea, French Polynesia
  • Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Peninsula, North Island, New Zealand
  • Awaroa Beach, Abel Tasman National Park, South Island, New Zealand
  • The Pass, Byron Bay, New South Wales,  Australia
  • Bells Beach, Surf Coast, Victoria, Australia
  • Cable Beach/Walmanyjun, Broome, Western Australia, Australia
  • Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania, Australia
  • Bondi Beach, Sydney , New South Wales, Australia
  • Lucky Bay/Kepa Kurl, Cape Le Grand National Park/Mandoowernup, Western Australia, Australia
  • Squeaky Beach, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia
  • Tangalooma Beach, Moreton Island/ Moorgumpin, Queensland, Australia
  • Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia

Blue Lagoon Beach, Fiji

If you’d like to find out more about the world’s best beaches, read our guides to  very best beaches in Europe and across the world right here . 

Did you see that ‘The White Lotus’ season three hotels have been revealed ?

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  1. 50 Best Time Travel Books of All Time

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  2. Best time travel books

    the best time travel novels

  3. Are you looking for top time travel books? Find some of the best time

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  4. 50 Best Time Travel Books of All Time

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  5. The 10 Best Time Travel Romance Novels for Fans of Outlander

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  6. 22 Of The Best Time Travel Books

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  1. 40 Best Time Travel Books To Read Right Now (2024)

    Contemporary & Literary Fiction Time Travel In Science Fiction Best Time Travel Books Books about time travel promise to not only transport you across time periods and space - Doctor Who-style - but also tesser you into new dimensions and around the world.

  2. The Best Time Travel Books of All Time (783 books)

    flag All Votes Add Books To This List ← Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next → 783 books · 1,699 voters · list created January 8th, 2010 by Mark P. Jacobs (votes) .

  3. 20 Of The Best Time Travel Books

    Dana Lee Nov 25, 2019 This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Hear me out, there's a sub-genre of sci-fi that that has a touch of anything you could ever want: time travel books.

  4. The 35 Best Books About Time Travel

    Leisure Arts & Culture The 35 Best Books About Time Travel Here's what to read after you finish Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. By Emily Burack Published: Jun 14, 2023 2:20 PM EST Save...

  5. 25 of the Best Time Travel Books

    1. The Time Machine By HG Wells No products found. HG Wells is one of the true titans of the scifi genre and The Time Machine is one of his finest stories. This time travel tale focuses on the story of a Time Traveller who has ventured hundreds of thousands of years beyond his own time.

  6. 100 Best Time Travel Books

    A.R. Moxon Preeti Shenoy View on Amazon View Details Add to library 11/22/63 A Novel Stephen King - Nov 08, 2011 Goodreads Rating 4.3 (531k) Fiction Historical Fiction Science Fiction Time Travel Fantasy Travel back in time to prevent the JFK assassination in this suspenseful novel.

  7. 22 Best Time Travel Books to Read in 2023

    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon Outlander is the first in an ongoing series that's now a hugely popular TV series as well. It was initially (and for the author, begrudgingly) classified as a romance...

  8. Best Time-Travel Novels (422 books)

    Best Time-Travel Novels (422 books) Discover new books on Goodreads Meet your next favorite book Join Goodreads Listopia Best Time-Travel Novels flag All Votes Add Books To This List ← Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next → 422 books · 451 voters · list created March 22nd, 2013 by M.E. Lorde (votes) .

  9. 50 Best Time Travel Books of All Time

    While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father's sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family... Publication Date: November 8, 2011 4.33 out of 5 on Goodreads stephen king historical fiction science fiction See it on Amazon

  10. The 21 Best Books About Time Travel, From 'Outlander' to 'Kindred'

    These are 21 of the best time travel books, from ' Outlander ' to Octavia Butler's ' Kindred .' NEW LOOK Sign up to get the inside scoop on today's biggest stories in markets, tech, and...

  11. 11 Time Travel Novels That Will Transport You

    (Sound familiar?) Frank is sick, but people in the future mastered time travel in order to try to subvert the pandemic. So Polly has contracted out her future in order to save him.

  12. 37 Mind-Bending Time Travel Books

    When you think of the best books about time travel, Audrey Niffenegger's debut novel comes to mind. In this classic love story, art student Clare and librarian Henry try for a sense of normalcy as Henry time shifts through their life.

  13. 30 Best Time Travel & Time Loop Books To Escape Reality

    Samantha · Book Corner Book Lists · June 16, 2023 · Last updated: September 26, 2023 Home Book Corner Every product on this page was carefully chosen. I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through a link. See my full disclosure. Are you a fan of the mysterious and the unknown? Do you dream of exploring different eras and cultures?

  14. 25 Best Time Travel Books That Defy Time and Genre

    25 Best Time Travel Books. The following books all feature time travel as a foundational element to the plot. In some, time travel is a narrative device which reveals more about the main character. Meanwhile, in others it is the hard-and-fast time machine that perhaps springs to mind. The inner workings of how the time travels functions are ...

  15. The 10 best time travel novels

    Early in the Golden Age of Science Fiction, time travel anchored popular works such as L. Sprague de Camp's novel, Lest Darkness Fall (1939), Robert Heinlein's By His Bootstraps (1941), and A.E. van Vogt's The Seesaw (1941).

  16. Best Time Travel Fiction (1880 books)

    Best Time Travel Fiction. Fiction (of any genre) where the plot involves time travel. flag. All Votes Add Books To This List. 1. The Time Traveler's Wife. by. Audrey Niffenegger (Goodreads Author) 3.99 avg rating — 1,773,467 ratings.

  17. 13 Best Time Travel Books Ever (Modern and Classic)

    The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. This is where modern time travel stories began, with H.G. Wells' sci-fi masterpiece, The Time Machine, which has been adapted to film twice. As a side note, the original 1960 film starring Rod Taylor remains a fantastic piece of sci-fi cinema; a must-watch classic.

  18. Discovery: The best new Time Travel books

    Reviewed by Lauren Stoolfire Time Travel The Whisper Jared Millet If you're a fan of classic Hollywood film noir, Flash Gordon, The Shadow, and Back to the Future, I have a feeling you'll enjoy... Reviewed by Lauren Stoolfire Outsmarting Time Laura Hanks Kline Reviewed by Alexia Chantel Welcome our new time travel reviewers 👋

  19. The 35 Best Books About Time Travel

    $9.74. Shop Now. Author Octavia Butler is a queen of science fiction, and Kindred is her bestselling novel about time travel.In it, she tells the story of Dana, a Black woman, who is celebrating ...

  20. The 9 Best Time Travel Novels You Should Read Now

    Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five" At once a reflection on the destructive nature of war and a darkly humorous, enigmatic exploration of time, " Slaughterhouse-Five " is an unforgettable novel by Kurt Vonnegut.

  21. The 21 Best Time Travel Books You Haven't Read Yet

    Time travel, like robots, cryosleep and aliens, is one of the tropes that makes the sci-fi genre so much fun—especially because every author is able to add their own rules to the mind-bending phenomenon.

  22. 50 Best Travel Books Of All Time

    50 Best Travel Books Of All Time Road Affair is reader-supported and may earn commission from purchases made through links in this article. Reading can really take you anywhere, and there's nothing better than a good book to pass the time on a long flight, road trip, or train ride.

  23. The Best Travel Books of All Time, According to Authors

    An Area of Darkness, V. S. Naipaul (1965) This is old-school Naipaul—the travelogue that made his name and expertly defined the India of the early sixties (even the writer's former protégé turned...

  24. What's the cheapest day of the week to book a flight?

    Most affordable day of the week to travel. While booking your flight on a Sunday helps you get the lowest price, actually flying on a Thursday may help you save an average of 16% off airfare. Data ...

  25. The Best Time-Travel Romance Novels (954 books)

    Listopia The Best Time-Travel Romance Novels List your favorite time-travel romances...novels that feature time-travel or a dual-time storyline and have a romance theme. If the novel is part of a time travel-romance series, please only vote for the first book. flag All Votes Add Books To This List ← Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next →

  26. Everything you need to know about Costco Travel (and why I love it

    The best travel credit cards; How my Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi is a workhorse when it comes to cash back; Where to go in 2024: The 16 best places to travel; 6 real-life strategies you can use when your flight is canceled or delayed; 8 of the best credit cards for general travel purchases; 13 must-have items the TPG team can't travel without

  27. Lonely Planet Announces World's Best Beaches for 2024

    There's a lot of variety when it comes to beaches. Sure, the palm-tree-lined shores of Thailand are great and all, but what about the windy bays of Wales or the secluded sands of Japan's ...