The Psychology of Time Travel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

I haven't finished the book just yet, but I'm already encouraging everyone to read it! So far it's a fantastic combination of time-travel, a murder mystery, and smart independent women.
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If there was one song that I would attribute to The Psychology of Time Travel it would be Beyonce's female anthem; 'Run the world (girls)'. I really enjoyed the dynamic characters and the premise of this book, and I was quick to recommend it to others who shared a love of time travel, murder mystery, and girl power.

Alternating between three points of view, The psychology of Time Travel is a book that delves into family, friendship and trusting yourself. I really enjoyed learning about the female scientists Margaret, Lucille, Grace, and Barbara - who were all so different and complex.

Having said that, there were one or two moments in the beginning when I was a little bored as Mascarenhas set the scene, but for the most part, I was intrigued enough about the characters and was driven by the need to know how the unidentified woman came to be murdered behind a locked door.

I think if you are after a read that contains strong female characters and have ever wondered what it would be like if mankind discovered and utilized time travel, then you will really enjoy this book.
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A really interesting read with lots of time-hopping, mystery and unique characters. I haven’t read any books that included time travel as a normal part of society and it was really intriguing to see how it worked with some people choosing to become time travellers and how they become desensitised to normal human parts of like such as death.
The writing is wonderful too, making this book a joy to read and I couldn’t put it down once I started it.
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Having read just about every time travel novel there is I was wondering how different this tale could be. As soon as I began to read it I had no need to wonder any more - this is a unique novel containing time travel with so many fabulous ideas.

I was sucked in straight away - rather than just someone hoping about in time this book has a time travel HQ called The Conclave - it's recognised by the world at large that time travel exists and you can sign up to be a time traveller. 

Even when I was reading this book I was thinking about it - the author really created a whole other world. The time travellers have their own vocabulary and also they can meet and interact with themselves in future or past times, sometimes many versions of them at once!

If that wasn't all enough there is also a murder mystery to solve too. Really this book ended far too soon for me. My only reservation was that I was unable to read it for long periods and so at times I had forgotten who was who. However, I realised that some of the time you didn't know who was who as you hadn't met them yet!

I would caution against this book for those who do not subscribe to the theory of time travelling existing, as you will not like the book, or think it believable; but for someone like me it was a joy to read.

I'm giving this remarkable book five out of five stars. My thanks to netgalley for an ARC to review.
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Things I liked about this book:

Firstly, I think the cover of this book is gorgeous. When I was in Waterstones last month I saw it on a table and my eye was immediately drawn, so I’m surprised it doesn’t seem to have hit any charts. It looks like an embroidery piece which you understand the relevance of when you read the novel.
I thought the book started really strongly. For the first 20% or so, it was easy to keep track of the story and timelines, and I cared about who the murdered body belonged to and why someone had killed them.
The discrimination against mental health sufferers felt quite real to me. Although it wasn’t easy to read about people being discriminated against because of their MH, that sort of thing happens all the time.
There was a lot of diversity with skin colour, MH, ages etc. and I also loved that all 4 of the scientists were female. I think this book’s idea was in the right place and it was trying to do something good.


Things I didn’t like about this book:

There were too many things to keep track of while I was reading. There are at least 4 main characters I can think of, and the chapters dance between the characters very frequently. I have read novels that have done this successfully but I didn’t think any of the “main” characters had an individual enough voice that I could remember who was supposed to have said what, when. I couldn’t relate to any of the characters enough because I was trying to keep track of everything.
While I think the book was trying to do good with all its representation, it was hard to remember which characters were gay, POC, MH sufferers… There were too many names to remember with actions that were all too similar to each other.
Adding to the confusion even further (!), the time periods were also difficult to remember. One minute we were in 1960-something, then 2018, 1960s again and then the 80’s, yet there was little to separate the time periods.
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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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