This past week I discovered there was not one, not two, but three upcoming time travel television shows. NBC, ABC, and Fox have all green-lit shows the center around time travel—although all three come at it from a different angle. Fox’s Making History looks like a comedy, where three friends, from two centuries try to change American history. Whereas NBC’s Timeless focuses on a team assembled by the US government trying to stop criminals from changing American history. And last, but not least is ABC’s Time After Time, which is the one I’m most looking forward to and the one with the most literary appeal. Based on the novel by Karl Alexander, it follows H. G. Wells as he travels into the future to track down Jack the Ripper. I didn’t even need to watch the trailer, as soon as I heard that premise I was in.
But the problem is we have to wait for all three. Thankfully, however, the television industry isn’t the only medium jumping on the time travel trend. The publishing industry is catching on as well. Here are six recently released or upcoming time travel novels to help tide you over until the season premieres.
Etta Spencer is a violin prodigy who suffers from crippling stage fright. But that may soon be the least of her problems when she suddenly finds herself sent back in time to 1776. It turns out her mother was also a time traveler and has hidden something very important, somewhere in time. In her travels, she meets Nicholas Carter, a sea captain who, as it happens, has some time traveling abilities of his own. Together they travel around the world and throughout time, trying to follow the clues and find the hidden object before it falls into the wrong hands.
Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor (HMH Books for Young Readers)
This is the book to read if you prefer your time travel stories more Outlander than Doctor Who. Like Outlander’s Claire Beauchamp, Hope Walton also finds herself in Scotland. Her mother has recently been pronounced dead, and her father has sent her there to live with her grandmother. As she explores the family home, she stumbles across a few family secrets and soon finds herself back in twelfth century London. If that wasn’t surprising enough, she also learns that maybe her mother isn’t dead after all. So instead of heading home, back to her own time, she finds herself searching for clues, battling her own anxieties and phobias, and even finding time for a bit of romance.
This book was pitched as The Time Traveller’s Wife meets Friday Night Lights, which is a combination I didn’t know I wanted until I was holding it in my hands.
It’s Natalie Cleary’s last summer in her small Kentucky town, before she heads off to attend Brown University. But her plans are turned upside down one night when she meets Beau, a boy she’s never seen before, in the high school football field. She is instantly and intensely drawn to him, but it’s not all love, romance, and happy endings. She’s also visited by an apparition that warns her that she “only has three months to save him.” Filled with Native American mythology, heart-melting romance, and beautiful writing, this book is sure to be on many “best of” lists this year.
A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain
Kendra Donovan is a FBI agent on the road to success—that is until half her team is murdered and she finds herself on the run from an assassin. Fearing for her life, she steps into a stairway in Aldrich Castle to hide, and when she emerges she finds herself, unexpectedly, in 1815. Posing as a man, she tries to keep a low profile and blend in to her new surroundings until she can find a way home again. But her plans are interrupted when another girl in the castle is killed. Kendra is unable to stay out of it, and she soon finds herself trying to adapt her skills to a very different time and place to try to see justice served.
Unfortunately, this book isn’t out until October 25th, but I couldn’t help including it on this list. It just sounds so good. The protagonist of this novel is a girl named Reiko, and she is one angry and depressed teenager. Her desperate parents feel like there is nothing they can do to control her, so after she attempts to commit suicide, they finally decide to send her to Japan to stay with family for the summer. But while she’s there she visits Kuramagi, a village set up to resemble the nineteenth century Edo period, and she finds herself traveling back to that period, into the mind of another angry young girl named Miyu. The story alternates back and forth between the present day and nineteenth century Japan as Reiko fights Miyu’s demons as well as her own.
Time Travel by James Gleick
The above books are all novels, but if non-riction is more your speed than Pantheon has you covered this fall. Starting at the turn of the twentieth century with H. G. Wells (perfect for those waiting for Time After Time), Gleick explore the history of time travel—both in literature and in science—and how it’s shaped our collective understanding of time itself. He looks at time travel from Doctor Who to Jorge Luis Borges and everything in between. Time Travel will be released on September 27th, and it’s a must read for anyone that considers themselves a fan of the subgenre.
What new or upcoming time travel stories will you be reading this year?