The Psychology of Time Travel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

A vibrant tale about four female scientists who successfully create a time machine, and a mysterious murder years later. It should be a celebration  of feminist innovation, but is let down by embarrassing moments such as when the four hold hands going in to the time machine, or share a bed to keep warm (would you ever write those things if the characters were four male scientists?) That said, all the time travel stuff is extremely fun and amusing, and the novel delves into mental health, acknowledging the changing attitudes over time and the way in which stigma hurts everyone.
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Very intriguing and unique premise. Love to read any book that centres round time travel. However did drag at times and was also hard to follow. In parts was an enjoyable read but not a page turner.
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This book was wonderful! It combines all of my favourite elements in a story - strong female characters, science fiction and deep and believable friendships. I really enjoyed how the different timelines and characters came together, and I found the way the time travel actually worked really clever. This is an amazingly crafted novel and I am impressed this is the author's debut. I really look forward to reading more from her.
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You had me at time travel...

My (somewhat over-active) imagination has always been thrilled at the idea of time travel - however unlikely it is ever to happen, my mind refuses to give up on the idea.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book - bursting with ideas and hypotheses on the various impacts that time travel would  have on us, interwoven with an intriguing plot, and populated by strong characters - some more likeable than others.

I hope that this will be the start of a series - the possibilities are as infinite as time itself!

My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC in return for my honest review.
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good easy read . storyline easy to gollow. look forward to reading more books from this author. 4 star read.
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If you're a fan of a murder mystery, how cool does a time travel murder mystery sound? The Psychology of Time Travel, the debut novel by Kate Mascarenhas, is exactly that, and much more. 

In 2018, archaeology student Odette finds a dead body in the basement of the toy museum where she volunteers. The elderly woman is riddled with bullets, but no one knows who she is. The door was locked from the inside and there's no weapon. Odette replays the scene in her mind and becomes obsessed with solving the mystery - who is the victim? And who is the murderer?

In 1967, four female scientists invent time travel. Margaret, Grace, Lucille and Barbara invite the BBC to witness their achievement but the interview goes horribly wrong when Barbara, for whom time travel has taken its toll, has a mental health breakdown. Soon everyone is talking about 'the time traveller who went mad' and Margaret encourages the other scientists to permanently shut Barbara out or risk jeopardising their whole operation. 


In 2017, Barbara and her psychologist granddaughter, Ruby, receive a mysterious letter foretelling the death of a woman five months into the future. Who sent the letter and how do they know about a death that hasn't happened yet? Worse still, does the letter predict the death of Barbara (Granny Bee)?

In her debut novel, Kate Mascarenhas has created a detailed and absorbing alternate version of reality. Time travel is controlled by an organisation called the Conclave, headed by power-hungry Margaret. Time travellers wear a tracker watch that counts heartbeats to determine what year they'd be in if they'd lived their life in chronological order. Multiple selves co-exist in the same timeline including several versions of oneself attending their own funeral. There's also a bacteria called macromonas, generated by time travel and which can be fatal. 

The novel explores the consequences of time travel including its impact on mental health and how it is dealt with. In an interview with Head of Zeus, chartered psychologist Mascarenhas has said she was influenced by psychological screening tests conducted by NASA and an appendix at the end of the book contains a detailed psychometric test for time travellers indicates just how thorough Mascarenhas has been in her world building for this novel. 

It also delves into attitudes towards death. As time travellers can visit loved ones, and versions of themselves after they have passed away, the Conclave introduces compulsory initiation rituals for new time travellers (known as 'wenches') to neutralise their responses to death. The impact of these rites is that time travellers become alienated from others, as one character muses: "I like watching people have emotions I don't feel anymore." 

The Psychology of Time Travel is noteworthy for its large cast of entirely female viewpoint characters, all of whom are diverse and representational. The story is strengthened by the core relationships between these characters including familial (mother/daughter, grandmother/granddaughter) and romantic, particularly the relationship between present-day Ruby and past Grace which references a beautifully written allegory - 'my life is a ring of a very strange shape'. 

A thought-provoking and deeply original novel that will leave you believing anything is possible.
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The beautiful cover drew to me to this book like a moth to a flame, however, I slightly misunderstood what this book was going to entail. I mistakenly thought it was going to be a dual time/ Historical travel into the past type novel. But what I got is a quirky and clever sci-fi book populated by women scientists.

The characters are nearly all female and clever/ strong so there is a bit of a feminist leaning to it which is a bit different to most male-dominated science fiction. 

It's about a group of women who invent a time-travel machine which can only travel forward in time and it does jump forward to 2017/ 2018 and back to the original period of 1967quite a lot. I found it a bit confusing and there is a very long drawn out bit in the middle which nearly lost my attention. However, there are plenty of twists and a mystery to solve if you stick with this credible debut novel.
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I found this book very easy to get into.  I like that in the first few chapters when we meet the pioneers the author doesn't go too far into the science of time travel, and keeps things interesting but light.  As the story progresses I enjoyed seeing a different take on time travel to some that I've read before.  I particularly liked how Mascarenhas covered topics such as wages and taxes, and how relationships could work between time travellers and non travellers.  The fact that she went to the trouble of creating terms for different types of relationships (between past and future people) showed she had given this serious thought.  I also enjoyed the questionnaires at the end of the book for the same reason.

Character wise I thought the characters were well drawn.  I intensely disliked Margaret from very early on, and this didn't improve as the book went on. I always think that disliking characters to that level shows that I've really engaged with the book, and with all of the characters involved, almost as if they are real people.  

In terms of the ending I was definitely happy. Without giving too much away, I liked that the author didn't leave us with a promise of the time travel industry being magically fixed, but did provide a plan for how to improve things.

I did have one other thought whilst reading this book, and that was that I noticed that the male characters were all very minor, and in general the time travellers and other large groups of people were always referred to as women.  At first I thought this was a little odd, but as I thought about the idea more I realised that if that was the other way around it probably wouldn't be questioned.  This isn't a criticism of the author, or of the book, more a point of interest that I noticed, that made me question my preconceptions of how things should be.

Overall I'm going to give this 4*, I really enjoyed it and found it a refreshing take on time travel.  It's the first book by Kate Mascarenhas, and I'd definitely recommend it.  I'll be keeping an eye out for her next novel.
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An excellent use of time travel, multiverse and paradox loops. This is also a good thriller that brings you to a fitting climax
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I loved this book, what a wonderful story! It is brilliantly female-focused and outrageously twisty. I hope there will be more books about these characters. A great read for those who think sci-fi isn’t for them, and so much more positive and enjoyable than the “feminist dystopia” trend.
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Fascinating novel with lots of pace and tension. Part murder mystery, part sci-fi, where I half expected Doctor Who to turn up on the next page. Thoroughly recommend!

Full review to follow on STORGY.com
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The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas is the author's debut novel. I grabbed it because the blurb and cover grabbed me but I went in with a bit of trepidation, not knowing what to expect. As it turned out, I needed have worried. This was an excellent read and I highly recommend it to just about everyone.

1967: Four young female scientists invent a time travel machine in their remote lab in Cumbria. They become known as the pioneers: the women who led the world to a future where no knowledge is unattainable.

2016: Ruby Rebello knows that her beloved grandmother was one of the pioneers, but she refuses to talk about her past. Ruby's curiosity soon turns to fear however, when a newspaper clipping from four months in the future arrives in the post. The clipping reports the brutal murder of an unnamed elderly lady.

Could the woman be her Granny Bee?

This book is set in a world where time travel was invented in 1967 and is now, in the early twenty-first century, a normal part of life. It's a more common and established part of society than, say, space travel is, with a large British organisation overseeing the system and policing time travellers across the timeline. The story follows the inventors of time travel and some of the younger generation that come into contact with it one way or another.

A central plot element is a locked-room murder, which is discovered by one of the characters and for which both victim and perpetrator and initially mysterious. Mental illness and psychology are also central to the plot. The book examines the psychological effects of time travel and what underlying conditions they may exacerbate, as well as sensitively dealing with a traumatised character. There's also the psychology of time traveller culture, which is very interesting and disturbing and also central to the plot.

As might be expected from a book about time travel, The Psychology of Time Travel is told out of chronological order, with relatively short chapters that are only a scene or two long. While the purpose of each chapter wasn't necessarily obvious while reading it, they quickly slotted together to form a larger picture. The book is also well-written enough so as to be interesting even when I wasn't sure how a particular scene was linked to the whole. This intricate mosaic of story is what impressed me most about this book and made for an unexpectedly excellent read.

One last thing I want to mention is what the author has done with the gender distribution of characters. Basically, she's written a gender swapped reality so that all the key characters — all four time travel pioneers and all the other point of view characters — are female. I can only think of one male character that wasn't there as someone's father or husband, including most of the background characters (though there were a couple of male secretaries). I didn't realise this immediately, but it was a fun change of pace to play "spot the male character" rather than the reverse.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Psychology of Time Travel and found it to be an excellent read. I recommend it to anyone who doesn't hate time travel or women and enjoys some psychological exploration in their reads. It's particularly impressive for a debut novel and I am very interested to see what Mascarenhas brings us in the future.

5 / 5 stars

First published: August 2018, Head of Zeus
Series: No
Format read: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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#ThePsychologyOfTimeTravel #NetGalley

I liked the story. Very light and funny. This is a good book to read during the weekend or during a travel. I wished to see more leadership of certain characters and more details of the scientific process.
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This is a wonderfully interesting murder mystery in a world where time travel was invented in 1967 and is now a completely normal profession. The story centres on three complex characters: Bea, one of the pioneers of time travel, Bea’s granddaughter Ruby, and Odette, who discovers a body in mysterious circumstances. 

The story switches between the three points of view and three years of 1967, 2017 and 2018. This is a clever and well-executed way of telling the story. 

Time travel is not only big business, but there are seemingly few rules. Those who are employed as time travellers often exploit the privilege for personal use and there is no rule about not seeing or interacting with past and future selves. This leads to some investing interactions between character’s selves and other characters from other timelines. I thought this was a really imaginative way to explore the idea of time travel. 

As the title of the novel suggests, there is a heavy focus of the psychology of the characters as a result of the effects of time travel. I liked the exploration of how some characters’ mental health was negatively impacted, not just by the act of time travel, but by the institution which governs it. Time travel has changed from an amazing feat of technology and science from a group of amazing minds, to a soulless profession where bullying and peer pressure are rife. 

I really liked that character was just as important as plot. The three main characters are strong characters with interesting depths and flaws and I was deeply invested in their stories.

This book is much more than a sci-fi murder mystery, exploring the nature of time, fate, and love. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a unique, interesting read.
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Time travel is something that absolutely fascinates me. It's such a thrilling idea, being able to travel to the past or future. So, you can imagine that any book that features time travel appeals to me immensely and when I heard about The Psychology of Time Travel I was hooked straightaway. The beauty of the cover was just an added extra.

The book begins in 1967 with the four pioneers: Margaret, Lucille, Grace and Barbara. They are scientists who are inventing a time machine and they're on the verge of changing the world. We don't return to 1967 after this but we do travel around the years, mainly with Ruby, Barbara's granddaughter, and Odette, a young woman who discovers something that changes her life.

There are some wonderful characters in this book. Ruby and Odette are two wonderful women, very brave and determined. But I also loved Barbara and Grace. Something happens to Barbara in 1967 which takes her away from her beloved time travel, but she remains the clever woman that she was. And Grace is really quite fabulous and cryptic.

My particular favourite bits are where the past and future collide, where a mother can meet her grown up daughter from the future whilst thinking about what her young daughter in the present will have for tea. It's the sort of thing that has my jaw dropping as I try to process it. And then there are the parts where tears sprang into my eyes as people made contact with those they had lost. 

Time travel is very much a part of life in this book and yet it's not overused, not everyone does it. This makes it both unique and yet commonplace. 

The author has done an amazing job with this book. How she plotted it and put it all together I do not know but she's achieved something very special. I read this book with a sense of awe, for the fabulously complex plot, the villain of the piece, the heroines, and the emotions.

This is a book about women, celebrating their intelligence, their astuteness. Men feature but there are few of them and they take a back seat. It's quite clear that the author intended to showcase women with this book and good on her, I say!

I simply cannot do justice to this book in my review. All I can suggest is that you read it yourself. There's a mystery surrounding a death at the heart of it and lots and lots of time travel. What more could you possibly want?
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My first thought when reading Kate Mascarenhas's The Psychology of Time Travel was I bet this is her first novel. Then, as this is a published work, why wasn't the editor harsher? The amount of telling, not showing, became a real stinker for me. Likewise the jumps in PoV. Both mistakes are easily made, but they should also be mistakes easily corrected.

That said, this was a good book. Most time travel books have a predictable set of characters - predominately male with the odd women for a love interest. This was the opposite - almost entirely a female cast (IMHO a bit too much so - varying the cast adds dimension that can create story arcs). 

I think the strength of this book is the thought given to what a world with time travel would look like - how it should be controlled, policed, financed, salaried, etc, and how time travel would affect the attitudes of those involved, seeing yourself in different stages of your life, knowing how and when you would die. What would death mean at all if you could chat with the departed the day after their funeral? This was all very well done (with a few exceptions - the trial being the biggest oddity).

Still, better than a 4, not quite a 5...

Book kindly supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
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A trickythriller that's just what the title promises, this fascinating never l does away with many of the paradoxes inherent in the conundrum of time travel - for instance, the ease with which the characters not only confront but befriend their younger and older selves, visiting and even phoning each other across the wormholes of space and time. But what's unique in this genre is the insight gained by the reader, if not the characters, into their drives, motivations and passions. The book doesn't always make sense and the female protagonists don't have as much depth and complexity as one might wish for but it's worth reading anyway.
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I am not adverse to fantasy books, so I had an open mind to this one being about time travel..  My Book Club like to stay with reality, so the opportunity to read this and review The Psychology of Time Travel for #NetGalley was perfect.
In the 1960s four women scientists were instrumental in developing a way of travelling through time. I was very taken with the feminism of the book and appreciated that the main characters were all women and that they had realistic relationships even within the world of time travel. The book was good at showing how hard it is to maintain a relationship when you know what is coming, and particularly if only one of you is a time traveller. 
The concept was well written and didn't lose me with scientific jargon and detail about how time travel was possible (I was not interested and would have been completely lost!)  If you are reading a book about time travel you have to suspend any disbelief. It is the authors first novel, and it is impressive as she worked over a large number of time periods, with a number of characters going backwards and forwards. She didn't lose me at all. This was a scientific feat in itself. 
The book for me was about friendship, relationships, mental health and growing up. It is definitely worth a read. 
Thank you for the opportunity to read it and review it. #NetGalley #ThePsychologyofTimeTravel and Kate Mascarenhas.
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In 1967, time travelling was invented by four female scientists - Barbara, Margaret, Estelle and Grace. Just before they were to introduce their invention to the world, Barbara suffers a nervous breakdown on live TV and is ejected from the project by Margaret. Soon after "the Conclave" is created by the remaining three pioneers, monopolised, with its own laws and different rules applied organisation to control time travelling and all the things it involves.
In 2017 Barbara and her granddaughter Ruby find an origami rabbit on their doorstep - a body of a woman will be found. Who is this woman? How far is she linked to the Conclave?
In 2018, a young student Odette stumbles upon a body in a toy museum. It affects her much more than she's supposed it's going to and so she decides to investigate - who was this woman, why was she murdered and how. All the threads lead to the Conclave - she joins it and becomes a time traveller, hoping to discover more about the death. She doesn't know that she's going to discover much more...

I was immediately hooked and immersed in the lives of those four strong women. They were all exceptional characters, innovative and strong, not afraid to take the initiative. Actually, all the women in this book were like this. They were intelligent and independent, not relying on men, and it was refreshing to read a book like this, where they achieved what they wanted on themselves. However, as much as I appreciated them, and no matter how well they were written, I couldn't completely connect with them. I think it's because of the number of the characters in this book, there were simply too many of them, and every few chapters we were introduced to a new one - in the present or in the future, and it was just doing my head. Nevertheless, I followed their stories with abated breath and actually enjoyed the diversity. Also, because of this time jumping we don't have enough time to spend with the main characters at one period of time, to get to know them, to see what makes them tick, what did they feel, what did they think.

It takes time to get into this book, guys. The introduction is a very, very long one but to be honest it couldn't be different. We need this time to really fully get into the heart of this story, to understand it. For me personally it really took of somewhere around the middle, when Odette applied for the job - the chapters turned into very short and the perspective changed almost on every page but it was easy to keep on track and to follow what's going on. One thing took me a little by surprise, to be honest. I'm not a sci - fi chick, Dr. Who is absolutely not my scenery but from what I've seen and read about time travel there is one thing that is a no - go for this genre, and it is seeing your other - not sure how to call it - versions. I mean, you travel in time, and you see your other selves, moreover, you maintain relations with them, you tell them your future - I don't think that it would work, do you? How confusing would that be, how dangerous. And, frankly, I didn't get the idea of the silver and green version, I don't know which one was supposed to be the real one.

The story follows many different threads and also it all the time jumps back and forth in time and changes points of view. However, guys, it doesn't feel confusing. every chapter is preceded with the date and the name of the character so it was easy to follow, even with some of the characters just popping out of the blue. The plot is one of the most complex ones that I've come across in books and I really appreciated that, and the way it was kept clear. It also focuses on such issues like mental health, OCD and anxiety so you can see that, next to the main plot of time travelling, it's really busy, and you expect it to flow. This element of mystery worked also really well. OK, it was actually the thing that made me feel confused, I think, it took me some time to completely understand when it happened and how it happened, but I liked it - if it were too straightforward the book would lost the tension and this element of mystery. The writing style was beautiful, very elegant and eloquent and the descriptions very detailed and vivid - they had to be, I think, to give us a chance to completely understand everything. However, what it doesn't explain is how the time paradoxes worked, and I still can't get over the seeing your other selves thing. Sorry. I'm repeating myself, I know, but it's just bugging me.

I was intrigued by the premise of this book alone, but I haven't expected that it's going to be so good. I loved the way Ms Mascarenhas explored time travelling and what it could do to people involved in it, how people's lives took a different shape, how it affected them and their mental health. Of course time travelling that allows to meet your other selves includes death and they are able to visit those who have died whenever they like (the dead are not surprised by those visit! See? Again, this time paradox), so it also deals with death, and maybe not taking people for granted. Altogether "The Psychology of Time Travel" is an excellent debut, mixing a variety of genres. It's partly science - fiction, partly mystery, partly thriller and it may sound complicated and unusual but it works perfectly. It was complex and challenging, highly unique and not as sci - fi as I was afraid it's going to be. Maybe one of the advantages is the fact that the four pioneers simply invited the time travelling machine, that there wasn't any whys and whats, it just happened, period. It was also about love and relationships - between friends, between mothers and daughters, exploring many of them in different ways and showing various variations of them. Highly recommended!
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I must admit that I was not sure I would like this book when I started reading it. The timelines jump around a lot and there are multiple characters to keep track of - some of them even the same people at different ages! The comparison to the much lauded Station Eleven also was a bit off-putting, as I found that book somewhat soulless and disappointing.

However, I found myself slowly being drawn into the web of threads that Kate Mascarenthas has skillfully written and found it hard to put the book down at all after a little while. You simply have to keep reading, until all the threads come together, and come together in a very satisfying way they do.

I love a time travel story and have read a lot of them, but nothing quite like this before. It really makes you question how time travel might affect a person's mental health and what sort of person they might become once the future (including their own fate) holds no mystery for them. The story is about the changes wrought on the characters themselves and what this leads to. There is plenty to think about here and it is one of those books that will leave an impression long after you have read it.

This is an intriguing book and is very cleverly crafted. The female characters are strong and drive the story, incuding the romantic element, which is very refreshing.

I look forward to more from this author.
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