23 October, 2021

The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman - [Book Review]

 Book Details:

Title: The Accidental Time Machine 

Author: Joe Haldeman

Genre: Science Fiction (Sci-fi)

Publisher: Gateway

Print length: 222 pages

Source: A copy from the local library

Blurb :

Grad-school dropout Matt Fuller is toiling as a lowly research assistant at MIT when, while measuring quantum relationships between gravity and light, his calibrator disappears - and reappears, one second later. In fact, every time Matt hits the reset button, the machine goes missing twelve times longer.

After tinkering with the calibrator, Matt is convinced that what he has in his possession is a time machine. And by simply attaching a metal box to it, he learns to send things through time - including a pet-store turtle, which comes back no worse for wear.

With a dead-end job and a girlfriend who left him for another man, Matt has nothing to lose by taking a time machine trip for himself. So he borrows an old car, stocks it with food and water, and ends up in the near future - under arrest for the murder of the car's original owner, who dropped dead after seeing Matt disappear before his eyes. The only way to beat the rap is to continue time traveling until he finds a place in time safe enough to stop for good. But such a place may not exist...

Purchase Link:

My Review :

This is different from the books I usually pick to read. Sci-fi is not my favorite genre but wanted to give it a try this time. 

Matt Fuller, a research assistant at MIT accidentally discovers a time machine from a faulty calibrator that he builts. The premise is funny. Every time when he hits the reset button in the calibrator, it travels to a timeframe in a linear pattern - like the first time - a few seconds, the second time - a few days, the next time - a few years, and so on.

Thus, he travels through different times in the future, even reaching the moon and different galaxies. But, coming back is complicated. Since he doesn't know how to do that, he continues going to the future until someone helps him to come back to his past. 

Matt meets different people from the future, and one person, at last, helps him to go back, but not to his time. 

The narrative is interesting and the premise is pretty simple though the explanation about how the calibrator traveled through time is not much clear. The story becomes a bit complex and unrealistic as we move to the future. There are many loose ends to clarify by the end.

The climax is very satisfying and relatable. 

My Rating:


About the Author:

Haldeman is the author of 20 novels and five collections. The Forever War won the Nebula, Hugo and Ditmar Awards for best science fiction novel in 1975. Other notable titles include Camouflage, The Accidental Time Machine and Marsbound as well as the short works "Graves," "Tricentennial" and "The Hemingway Hoax." Starbound is scheduled for a January release. SFWA president Russell Davis called Haldeman "an extraordinarily talented writer, a respected teacher and mentor in our community, and a good friend."

Haldeman officially received the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master for 2010 by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at the Nebula Awards Weekend in May, 2010 in Hollywood, Fla.

Until next time,

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