Time Travel Books

Time Travel books, TV shows, and movies are fun. I love them. They open our minds to new possibilities and makes us think. Below is the ultimate list of best time travel books.

Best Time Travel Books

Memoirs of the Twentieth Century (1733) by Samuel Madden. Plot: A guardian angel travels to the year 1728 with letters from 1997 and 1998.

Anno 7603 (1781) by Johan Herman Wessel. Plot: A good fairy sends people to the year 7603 AD. The people find themselves in a society where gender roles are reversed. Only women are soldiers.

Rip Van Winkle (1819) by Washington Irving. Plot: A man falls asleep on a mountainside and wakes twenty years in the future. He finds he has been forgotten, his wife has died and his daughter is no longer a child.

Read: 5 Time Travel Movies You Need To See

The Clock that Went Backward (1881) by Edward Page Mitchell. Plot: A clock takes people back in time.

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 (1887) by Edward Bellamy. Plot: In the late 19th century, Julian West falls into a deep, hypnosis-induced sleep and wakes 113 years later.

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 (1887) by Edward Bellamy. Plot: In the late 19th century, Julian West falls into a deep, hypnosis-induced sleep and wakes 113 years later.

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 (1887) by Edward Bellamy. Plot: In the late 19th century, Julian West falls into a deep, hypnosis-induced sleep and wakes 113 years later.

A Dream of John Ball (1888) by William Morris. Plot: John Ball travels between medieval and contemporary worlds.

The Chronic Argonauts (1888) by H. G. Wells. Plot: An inventor takes a companion in his time machine. He then leaves for a time where he will be more at home.

Sylvie and Bruno (1889) by Lewis Carroll. Plot: A watch both tells and determines time.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889) by Mark Twain. Plot: A man of the 19th century travels to 528 AD in King Arthur’s time.

Tourmalin’s Time Cheques (1891) by Thomas A. Gutherie. Plot: Time travel and the paradoxes that can result from it.

Golf in the Year 2000 (1892) by J. McCullough. Plot: A man falls asleep in 1892 and wakes up in the year 2000. Noted for its accurate predictions of the year 2000.

The Time Machine (1895) by H. G. Wells. Plot: An inventor creates a time machine and travels to the year 802,701 AD. There, humans have evolved into two species, Morlocks and Eloi.

Enoch Soames (1919) by Max Beerbohm. Plot: Enoch is transported from 1897 to 1997 to know whether he became a great writer. His tale involves a Faustian pact.

Armageddon 2419 A.D. (1929) by Philip Francis Nowlan. Plot: A strange cave gas transports Anthony Rogers to 2419 AD. This story was the basis of the comic strip Buck Rogers.

Burnt Norton (1936) by T. S. Eliot. Plot: The book’s thesis is “Time present and time past / Are both perhaps present in time future…”

Lest Darkness Fall (1939) by L. Sprague de Camp. Plot: An archaeologist is transported from Rome in the time of Mussolini to the 6th century and tries to prevent the fall of the Roman Empire.

By His Bootstraps (1941) by Robert A. Heinlein. Plot: A Circular paradox-character is brought to the future where he later operates a time machine to bring himself to the future.

All-Star Comics #10 (1942) Plot: The Justice Society of America uses a time ray to travel 500 years into the future in order to secure an effective defense system with which to protect America against bombing attacks.

Future Times Three (1944) by René Barjavel. Plot: Two scientists invent a substance which allows time travel. They travel to the future, where humanity has branched into different species each with their own particular tasks, and then to the past. The story was adapted to movie form in 1982.

Vintage Season (1946) by Lawrence O’Donnell (aka joint pseudonym of C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner). Plot: Time travelers from the future experience wonderful seasons and spectacular events in the past.

All-Star Comics #35  (1947). Plot: The villain, Per Degaton murders a scientist who has invented a time machine. Degaton then attempts to use the time machine to alter history. He does this so that modern technology cannot defeat his bid to conquer America.

Pebble in the Sky (1950) by Isaac Asimov. Plot: In the mid-twentieth century, a man who is a retired tailor is accidentally sent to the future.

The Gauntlet (1951) by Ronald Welch. Plot: After putting on a gauntlet, a boy is transported to 1326 in Wales.

A Sound of Thunder (1952) by Ray Bradbury. Plot: Showcases the Butterfly effect which means changes made in the past will affect the future.

Bring the Jubilee (1953) by Ward Moore. Plot: A time traveler from an alternate reality appears at the Battle of Gettysburg and changes his own future into ours.

Experiment (1954) by Fredric Brown. Plot: An experiment involving the time travel of a small brass cube results in disaster.

The End of Eternity (1955) by Isaac Asimov. Plot: Time guardians carry out strategic actions, called Reality Changes, in order to minimize human suffering as integrated over the whole of (future) human history.

Time Patrol Series (1955-1995) by Poul Anderson. Plot: Time Patrol is a series of eleven novels about the Time Patrol, an organization which protects the past.

Extempore (1956) by Damon Knight. Plot: Mankind learns how to travel through time.

The Stars My Destination (1956) by Alfred Bester. Plot: Gully Foyle lives in a future where self-teleportation is common. He learns to teleport through time.

Wythnos yng Nghymru Fydd (A Week in the Wales of the Future) (1957) by Islwyn Ffowc Elis. Plot: A novel in the Welsh language, in which the narrator travels twice to Wales in the year 2033. Each time he encounters a different future.

The Door into Summer (1957) by Robert A. Heinlein. Plot: A man has been trapped in suspended animation for thirty years. After his release, he uses a time machine to travel back in time and exact revenge on his friend and his fiancée who stole his business.

The Last Word (1957) by Damon Knight. Plot: A tale of Armageddon and the Devil.

Soldier from Tomorrow (1957) by Harlan Ellison. Plot: A soldier travels from back from the future to warn the world of its path towards global conflict.

The Men Who Murdered Mohammed (1958) by Alfred Bester. Plot: This work is a comedy which examines time travel in a short story format. A professor travels back in time. There, he kills his contemporary’s grandfather in order to kill the man. However, the results confound him.

Tom’s Midnight Garden (1958) by Philippa Pearce. Plot: In this children’s novel, a boy is living in medical quarantine in a 1950s apartment building. He finds himself in the building’s garden of the 1880s and there is a girl there with whom he can play.

All You Zombies (1959) by Robert A. Heinlein. Plot: A classic on time-travel paradox. The movie Predestination is based on this novel. In a circular paradox where a time traveler, undergoes gender transition, manipulates his younger selves to become his own mother and father.

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960) by Alan Garner. Plot: Through the caves of Alderley Edge in Cheshire Colin and Susan go back in time in a story involving a crystal bracelet and a magical great wolf.

Danny Dunn, Time Traveler (1961) by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams. Plot: Two teenagers use their professor’s time machine to study the history of the United States of America.

Fantastic Four Vol. 1 No. #19 (1961) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Plot: The Fantastic Four travel to Ancient Egypt. There, they meet Pharaoh Rama-Tut. The pharaoh, it transpires, is a time traveler from the 31st century. This was the first appearance of the Marvel Comics time-travelling villain, Kang.

Doctor Who (1963–present) by various writers. Plot: Doctor Who gave rise to more than 530 original novels and novelisations based on the popular science fiction television show.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (1967) by Yasutaka Tsutsui. Plot: This is the story of a high-school girl who accidentally acquires the ability to travel through time.

Jessamy (1967) by Barbara Sleigh. Plot: A children’s mystery set in England where the main protagonist travels to the time of the First World War.

The Technicolor Time Machine (1967) by Harry Harrison. Plot: A bankrupt film studio and a mediocre film director make a movie of the founding of Vinland. Using a time travel machine, they cast real Vikings.

Hawksbill Station (1968) by Robert Silverberg. Plot: An oppressive government uses a time machine to deport their political prisoners to the Pre-Cambrian, billions of year in the past.

Charlotte Sometimes (1969) by Barbara Sleigh. Plot: A boarding-school story where the protagonist, Charlotte travels back in time to be Claire in 1918.

Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut. Plot: A man is randomly traveling through time, jumping from one event to another in no particular order.

Up the Line (1969) by Robert Silverberg. Plot: A novel based on a concept guided tours to historical events.

The House on the Strand (1969) by Daphne du Maurier. Plot: A drug-induced journey to a Cornish village in the 14th century.

Behold the Man (1969) by Michael Moorcock. Plot: A man uses a time machine to travel to 28 AD in the hope of meeting Jesus.

Time and Again (1970) by Jack Finney. Plot: Hypnosis allows travel through time.

The Year of the Quiet Sun (1970) by Wilson Tucker. Plot: A government uses a forward time traveling machine to survey the future and then adjust its policies based on what it sees.

Time Enough for Love (1973) by Robert A. Heinlein. Plot: Lazarus Long travels back in time to 1916 and falls in love with his own mother.

The Man Who Folded Himself (1973) by David Gerrold. Plot: A man receives a belt that allows him to travel through time.

Crusade in Jeans (1973) by Thea Beckman. Plot: Rudolf Hefting is a 14-year-old boy who volunteers for an experiment with a time machine. The experiment goes well, but he is accidentally stranded in the 13th century. He saves the life of Leonardo Fibonacci without realizing who he is, and together they join the German Children’s Crusade, where he aids the children and manages to save most of them from horrible fates with the aid of his twentieth-century knowledge and a couple of items from the future (such as a box of matches).

Bid Time Return (1975) by Richard Matheson. Plot: A young man sees an old photograph of a woman. Through hypnosis, he travels back in time from 1980 to 1912 to meet her. The story was the basis of the 1980 film Somewhere in Time. Winner of the 1976 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

An Infinite Summer (1976) by Christopher Priest. Plot: Time travelers from the future journey through the 20th century and use a device to “freeze” small groups of people into “tableaux” which they find interesting. The people in each tableau then become invisible and permeable to others, until the effect wears off, sometimes after many years.

Rotating Cylinders and the Possibility of Global Causality Violation (1977) by Larry Niven. Plot: A half-finished Tipler cylinder is discovered by a future human explorer. When the leader decides to complete it, his civilization is destroyed by a nova.

Time After Time (1979) by Karl Alexander. Plot: H. G. Wells builds a time machine, which is stolen by Jack the Ripper so he can escape the authorities and continue his killing spree in the future.

Morlock Night (1979) by K. W. Jeter. Plot: What happens when H. G. Wells’ time machine returns from the future.

Timescape (1980) by Gregory Benford. Plot: This story is about the use of tachyons to warn scientists of the past about an upcoming disaster. Winner of the 1980 Nebula and British Science Fiction Awards and the 1981 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

Thrice Upon a Time (1980) by James P. Hogan. Plot: Messages are sent back through time. This deletes the timeline in which they exist.

A Rebel in Time (1980) by Harry Harrison. Plot: A story about time machine misuse. A rogue US colonel plans to aid the Confederacy with submachine gun plans and is pursued by a black cop.

Kindred (1980) by Octavia Butler. Plot: Dana, an African-American woman, is inexplicably transported from 1976 Los Angeles to early 19th century Maryland. She meets her ancestors: Rufus, a white slave holder, and Alice, an African-American woman who was born free, but was forced into slavery later in life.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980) by Douglas Adams. Plot: Milliways is frozen in the last moment before the universe succumbs to final entropy. Time travel is required to reach it. Menu prices are astronomical so patrons are advised to deposit a penny in a bank account. By the time a patron reaches the restaurant, compound interest will have transformed the penny into a fortune large enough to pay the bill.

The Many-Colored Land Series (1981) by Julian May. Plot: Time travelers from the late twenty-first to the early twenty-second century go through a one-way time portal to the Earth’s Pliocene period. There, the world is controlled by humanoid extra-terrestrials.

Life, the Universe and Everything (1982) by Douglas Adams. Plot: Time travel paradoxes form the basis of this broad comedy, as in the case of the ancient poet Lallafa.

Millennium (1983) by John Varley. Plot: In the far distant future, a team of time travelers snatch the passengers of a crashed airplane. They leave behind prefabricated bodies for rescue teams to find. The novel is the basis of the 1989 film.

The Anubis Gates (1983) by Tim Powers. Plot: In 1983, a millionaire discovers time-travel gates and organizes a trip to 1810 to attend a lecture given by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. A professor hired by the millionaire is trapped in 19th-century London.

The Toynbee Convector (1984) by Ray Bradbury. Plot: A stagnating civilization of the 1980s is revitalized when a man produces evidence of a future utopia, obtained through time travel. Mankind is inspired by the evidence to achieve this utopia.

The Proteus Operation (1985) by James P. Hogan. Plot: In a world dominated by a victorious Third Reich, the besieged forces of freedom mount a covert military mission to 1939 in a desperate attempt to alter the outcome of World War II.

Sphere (1987) by Michael Crichton. Plot: A man-made space ship from the far future passes through a wormhole. It crashes onto the Earth where it is thought to be an alien vessel.

A Tale of Time City (1987) by Diana Wynne Jones. Plot: Vivian Smith is a girl who is kidnapped while being evacuated from London during World War II. She is caught up in a struggle to preserve history.

Replay (1988) by Ken Grimwood. Plot: In 1988, a man suffers a heart attack and finds himself returned to his life in 1963.

Lightning (1988) by Dean Koontz. Plot: A time traveler from Nazi Germany interferes with the life of a young woman.

The Devil’s Arithmetic (1988) by Jane Yolen. Plot: During a Passover Seder, a woman is transported back to 1942 in Poland and is sent to a death camp.

Hyperion (1989) by Dan Simmons. Plot: The Shrike is a great warrior who is sent back from the future for reasons unknown.

Four Past Midnight: The Langoliers (1990) by Stephen King. Plot: An airplane accidentally flies through a rip in the space-time continuum. It appears in the “used time” of yesterday, where dreadful “Langoliers” eat the past.

Outlander Series (1991-ongoing) by Diana Gabaldon. Plot: This romance series begins with the novel Outlander, in which a woman time travels through the standing stones in Scotland from the 1940s to the 1740s.

The Guns of the South (1992) by Harry Turtledove. Plot: During the American Civil War, South African white supremacists give the Confederacy AK-47s.

Doomsday Book (1992) by Connie Willis. Plot: Travel through time from 2048 to 14th century, constrained by automatic avoidance of paradoxes.

The Cross-Time Engineer (1993) by Leo Frankowski. Plot: A 20th-century Polish engineer is transported back to 13th century Poland ten years before the Mongol invasion.

The Hundred-Light-Year-Diary (1995) by Greg Egan. Plot: After the invention of a method for sending messages back in time, the history of the future becomes common knowledge, and every person knows their own fate.

From Time to Time (1995) by Jack Finney. Plot: In this sequel to Time and Again, Simon Morley travels back in time to the year 1911 to prevent World War I. He has adventures including voyaging on the RMS Titanic.

The Time Ships (1995) by Stephen Baxter. Plot: The authorized sequel to H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine.

Timequake (1996) by Kurt Vonnegut. Plot: In 2001, people are transported to 1991 to relive their lives.

Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus (1996) by Orson Scott Card. Plot: Researchers look back in time to see Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World in order to save the world from ecological disaster.

Animorphs Series (1996-2001) by K. A. Applegate. Plot: Told in first person, with six main characters taking turns narrating the books through their own perspectives. Horror, war, dehumanization, sanity, morality, innocence, leadership, freedom, and growing up are the core themes of the series.

In the Garden of Iden (1997) by Kage Baker. Plot: This is the first book of Baker’s The Company series, all of which involve time travel.

Making History (1997) by Stephen Fry. Plot: Two men in the present attempt to prevent the birth of Adolf Hitler.

To Say Nothing of the Dog (1997) by Connie Willis. Plot: A comedy in which time travelers from 2048 travel back to the 19th century in order to find an artifact for a dictatorial wealthy woman; adventures occur in The Blitz and other occasions. The Transall Saga (1998) by Gary Paulsen. Plot: A boy gets transported to a weird world by a blue light, only to discover that it is the dark future of planet Earth.

Island in the Sea of Time (1998) by S. M. Stirling. Plot: Nantucket is transported 3000 years back in time because of a space disturbance.

The Sterkarm Handshake (1998) by Susan Price. Plot: A 21st-century corporation intends to use a Time Tube to exploit the natural resources of the past, but is outfoxed by a 16th-century Scottish clan.

King of Shadows (1999) by Susan Cooper. Plot: A modern-day boy switches places with a Shakespearean actor who needs to be cured by modern medicine so as to return to his own age and help Shakespeare to greater success on the stage.

Timeline (1999) by Michael Crichton. Plot: Historians travel to and become stuck in the Middle Ages.

The Light of Other Days (2000) by Arthur C. Clarke. Plot: Wormhole-based “time viewers” can observe people and events from any point throughout time and space.

1632 (2000) by Eric Flint. Plot: A West Virginia mining town is sent back to the Thirty Years’ War in Germany.

The Chronoliths (2001) by Robert Charles Wilson. Plot: Monuments from the future appear in the early 21st century, precipitating a global political collapse.

Thief of Time (2001) by Terry Pratchett. Plot: Unfreezing and freezing of time using a small mechanism.

Bones of the Earth (2002) by Michael Swanwick. Plot: Paleontologists studying dinosaurs are trapped in the Mesozoic period, but also travel into the very distant future. The novel was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2002, and the Hugo Award, John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, and Locus Awards in 2003.

Night Watch (2002) by Terry Pratchett. Plot: The main character interacts with a younger version of himself.

Counting Up, Counting Down (2002) by Harry Turtledove. Plot: Time travel with the twin perspectives of a man who travels back in time for relationship stability.

Kaleidoscope Century (2002) by John Barnes. Plot: Takes place on Mars. A man has a virus that puts him to sleep every 15 years and he wakes 10 younger. He learns of a way to go back to the past.

The Eyre Affair (2002) by Jasper Fforde. Plot: The main character gets caught in overlapping vortices of time and alternate reality as a villain tries to eradicate a literary classic.

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003) by Audrey Niffenegger. Plot: A man with a rare genetic disorder unpredictably travels in time, living his life out of sequence.

Axis of Time (2004) by John Birmingham. Plot: A naval task force from 2021 is accidentally sent back to just before the Battle of Midway.

The Spark of God (2004) by Romain Sardou. Plot: The book describes the First Crusade and the beginning of the Knights Templar in the future.

All You Need Is Kill (2004) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Plot: When the aliens invade, Keiji Kiriya is a new recruit sent to fight. He dies on the battlefield, only to be reawaken the day before he was killed, to fight and die again and again. Tom Cruise’s  film Edge of Tomorrow is based on this.

Warcraft: War of the Ancients Trilogy (2004-05) by Richard A. Knaak. Plot: A human, a dragon, and an orc travel back in time to help save Azeroth from the Burning Legion.

Mammoth (2005) by John Varley. Plot: A multibillionaire clones a mammoth and sends it back in time.

The Plot to Save Socrates (2006) by Paul Levinson. Plot: Time travelers from 2042 try to prevent Socrates from consuming hemlock.

Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony (2006) by Eoin Colfer. Plot: Artemis must pair up with his old comrade Captain Holly Short to track down the missing demon, before the spell that holds a demon island, Hybras, in limbo dissolves completely and the lost demon colony returns violently to Earth. Artemis also ends up saving Holly by manipulating time.

Meet The Robinsons (2007) by Steve Anderson. Plot: The principal character meets his future son and then travels to the future to meet his family.

The Accidental Time Machine (2007) by Joe Haldeman. Plot: A research assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) accidentally creates a forward-traveling time machine. Each leap forward in time (to get out of trouble) lands him in deeper trouble.

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox (2008) by Eoin Colfer. Plot: After Angeline Fowl contracts spelltropy, Artemis travels back in time eight years to when he was ten years old to find a lemur that can help cure his mother. The plot twist in the end of the book creates a circular timeline that started the series.

Found (2008) by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Plot: Thirteen-year-olds Jonah and Chip find out that they are missing children from time and go on a journey, along with Jonah’s sister Katherine, to uncover many secrets.

Ruby Red (2009) by Kerstin Gier. Plot: Gwendolyn Shepherd can travel in time with a machine called a chronograph.

Sent (2009) by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Plot: Jonah, Katherine, Chip and Alex are sent back to 1483 to learn that Chip is actually King Edward V and Alex is his brother Richard, Duke of York.

Sabotaged (2010) by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Plot: Jonah and Katherine go on yet another mission to return a missing kid named Andrea (really Virginia Dare) to her time in the Roanoke Colony.

Blackout and All Clear (2010) by Connie Willis. Plot: A two parts novel. Time travelers from 2048 go to the London Blitz during World War II to observe and end up being part of it.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (2010) by Charles Yu. Plot: In search of his father, a time machine mechanic adventures through time accompanied by TAMMY and his ontologically valid dog, Ed, all while documenting his travels in a manual for future travelers.

11/22/63 (2011) by Stephen King. Plot: A man travels through a time portal to 1958, intending to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from shooting John F. Kennedy.

Fairy Tail (2011-2013) by Hiro Mashima. Plot: Two time travelers, Lucy Heartfilia and Rogue Cheney, both use a device called the Eclipse Gate from the Book of Zeref to travel back in time for different purposes.

Amber House (2012) by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, Larkin Reed. Plot: A teen girl uses psychometry to alter events in the past, changing the present and future.

Neverwas (2014) by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, Larkin Reed. Plot: An unforeseen change in the past necessitates the use of psychic abilities to reset the present and future.

*For a list of all time travel and time paradox movies, check here.