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"Time Travel for Dummies"? Not exactly...

  • Jul 4, 2010

My first exposure to David Gerrold was on the original Star Trek series; he's the guy who wrote "The Trouble With Tribbles." The first of his novels that I read was When H.A.R.L.I.E. Was One, which is itself a delightful read. This one, however, was an absolute kick in the rubber parts. Gerrold wrote what I call "the last time travel novel." After this one, I didn't think the genre could ever be broached again.

With the aid of a belt inherited from his uncle, our hero slowly learns how to travel through time. At first, he moves a day ahead, hoping to get some money by playing the ponies. When he pops into tomorrow, he finds himself -- another one of himself, a day older, of course -- who has already done all this, thus knows everything that will happen. After 24 hours, time catches up, and he finds his younger self popping in, and our hero is now The Guy Who Knows Everything. Kind of a power trip, huh?

This, then, is Gerrold's answer to the famous question: What happens if you travel in time and meet yourself? No worries -- you just folded the timeline a bit (hence the title of the book), and the two of you can go have lunch together. However, the more you fold, the more of you there are. The more of you there are, the more they might diverge from yourself, make other choices, become other sorts of people... and that's when it starts getting complicated. Remember: Each one of you has his own belt...

No spoilers -- I won't tell you what happens. Not only is it too much fun to read and discover it for yourself, it's also so complicated that I couldn't begin to explain! What makes this book so much fun is the philosophical approach to time travel. What do you change, or should you? What can you improve, or help with, or for that matter, what can you get away with? Some of the local film buffs might ask WWBD? (What Would Bueller Do?)

It's a candy shop of possibility, and our hero nibbles on just about every variety out there (twice on the good stuff), and you're along for the ride. As you read, ask yourself: Would you put on that belt? And just how much trouble would you want to stir up? Read the book -- with its nice bit of surprise ending -- and see for yourself!

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More The Man Who Folded Himself reviews
review by . February 10, 2009
The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold
Originally written in 1972, 'The Man Who Folded Himself' was revised by the author David Gerrold in 2003, to include current events such as the 9/11 disaster. So even if you read this book in the 70's, it's worth picking up to read again.     Daniel Jamieson Eakins is a twenty-one year old college student when his Uncle Jim arrives for a visit. Uncle Jim offers to increase Danny's monthly allowance from $1,000 to $2,000 if Danny begins to keep a diary ... only for himself. Of …
review by . May 03, 2009
This is an interesting time travel book but it is difficult to say anything about the plot without creating spoilers. I really enjoyed it though it was riddled with paradoxes that seemed to make it difficult at times to understand the timeline of Daniel Eakin, the main character.     Daniel inherits a time travel belt from his Uncle Jim. He uses it to travel through time constantly and through paradoxes, create thousands of versions of himself. Daniel ends up living his life …
review by . April 10, 2009
Book Cover
Brief Synopsis:  The main character (and one of the only characters), Daniel Eakins is presented with a unique belt that was entrusted to him after his Uncle Jim passed away. Daniel discovers the belt has the ability to transport the wearer throughout time, which Daniel quickly learns how to use. After using his time machine for the first significant time, he is greeted by himself, one day later. During his first temporal jump, Daniel goes with himself (referred to as Don) to the racetrack …
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Tristan MacAvery ()
Ranked #592
   Master of all trades and jack of none. Published author (novels, collections, screenplays, articles, etc.), actor/improvist, director, trainer/coach, certified mediator, and reader of Tarot. … more
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Product Description
This classic work of science fiction is widely considered to be the ultimate time-travel novel. When Daniel Eakins inherits a time machine, he soon realizes that he has enormous power to shape the course of history. He can foil terrorists, prevent assassinations, or just make some fast money at the racetrack. And if he doesn't like the results of the change, he can simply go back in time and talk himself out of making it! But Dan soon finds that there are limits to his powers and forces beyond his control.

About the Author
David Gerrold is the author of Jumping Off the Planet and When HARLIE Was One, which was nominated for Hugo and Nebula awards. He lives in Northridge, California. Geoffrey Klempner is the director of studies for the International Society of Philosophers.
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ISBN-10: 1932100067
ISBN-13: 978-1932100068
Author: David Gerrold
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Benbella Books; Limited edition (July 2003)
Date Published: 1972
Format: Hardcover: 160 pages, Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.8 inches
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