The Psychology of Time Travel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

I adore time travel narratives, it's one of those things that will always make me pick up a book. We all have those positive "triggers" that will makes us choose one book over the other. And I am certainly glad that I got to read this one. For one, Kate Mascarenhas is from the Midlands, where I live. I always love to read books by local authors, such a thrill to find the same places you know in a book. Also, I liked the premise that four women invented time travel. Not a man in sight. And yes, this book is full of wonderful women, not a single cardboard cut out in sight, they are all different, some nice, some conflicted, some young, some old and in between, some are mothers, some are not. It made me realise how rare this is: A reflection on all sorts of women, women at the core of the book. And then there is the time travel: Interesting premise in that the time travel cannot alter outcomes. Mind-bending. Also a super on the edge mystery. I absolutely loved this.
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There was a lot to like about this book but it didn't hit the five star spot for me. Quite a lot of repetition which I think a good edit could have cleared up. It's a mix of genre and pretty undefinable, sci-fi meets family saga meets murder mystery and intrigue. There is a long cast of female characters and not so many men. The dynamics are interesting. It is well written and I enjoyed Kate Mascarenhas's style and use of language.
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Imagine being part of a team that fulfilled it's greatest imaginings. It's a tight knit group of female scientists who have applied their knowledge to making time travel possible. Imagine the trauma of being excluded through no fault of your own and being forgotten by your team who you thought were friends.

Barbara one of the inventors over time travel has to live her life without ever travelling again. She has to turn her back and live her life in a linear way with no access to the pool of eternity.

Margaret Norton having exiled Barabara creates a whole time travel industry. It's like Piccadilly Circus with the travellers meeting their past and future selves. Maragaret also tries to ensure that they never have another ‘Barbara’ event by creating an elaborate testing regime for would be recruits.

Barbara’s grandaughter,  Ruby, receives a warning about a future event and is drawn into the worlds of the time travellers.

Odette Sophola discovers a body and the ensuing trauma makes her determined to unlock its mystery.

This is an excellent story placing women protagonists at the centre of the plot. Careful manipulation of the timelines feeds us the story in fragments and leads to a very satisfying conclusion. It does use well known ideas about time travel but also adds its own quirks. This is a more emotionally invested than many other time travel tales with more than one protagonist to engage with and root for.

The Psychology of Time Travel slots together like a blurry jigsaw that finally comes into focus at the end. Then you just want to go back to the beginning to enjoy its construction all over again. Or you could read it backwards for the full effect.
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Thank you to netgalley.co.uk for providing me with a free copy of this novel in exchange for an open and honest review.

I thought this was an odd story when I first started reading it, but I found it interesting as I got further into the book. But what I like about this book is that it is dealing with four strong female characters. I enjoyed the idea of time-travel as I don't think I have read anything modern about this kind of topic. The book regularly jumped around in time which can probably be confusing for the reader, but I did not think this was. The author, Kate Mascarenhas has been able to keep me interested and on track throughout the book. I enjoyed reading about the characters and their relationships with each other.
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I enjoyed this book. I was drawn to it as I liked the idea of the story. The idea of being able to go backwards and forwards in time is fascinating. This is an easy read with a lot of novel plot ideas.  This is escapism. It is a lovely way to forget about life for a few hours. I found the plot was engaging and I was interested in the fate of the characters. I would definitely read more books by this author.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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The premise of the book intriguied me, a murder and time travel. The book starts off the rise of time travel and the original pioneers. The castration of a pioneer for having mental health issues and Bee always wanting to be a part of it again. We see past and present move fluidly in the book, building backgrounds of characters and how the conclave organisation became into being. I enjoyed reading the characters.past and how this changed their future.there didn't seem to be one main character- the book split into several characters personal verse all adding to the overall story. I will be honest and say there were concepts scientifically speaking that were lost on me but this didn't make the story any less interesting. The victim and murderer both hidden until the final reveal. I enjoyed the book and how bridges in time are joined, that love can endure ages and even in something so powerful games are still to be played. I will definitely be interested in reading more of this authors work and see how her writing style develops in future books.
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What a strange and engaging story. Time is so different when you know what is going to happen in the future. Time travellers meet up with their future selves and share knowledge. An organisation controls the law regarding time travel and time travellers, normal law doesn't encapsulate those who exist across different time lines. This gives the opportunity for those who travel across timelines to conduct business outside normal legal boundaries. And the odd chance to deal with old adversaries. But who is the person who has been dealt with and who was it that dealt the telling stroke?
Odette wants to find out. She found the body and she wants to find out who did it. But how can she? And Ruby wants to ensure that her Grandmother Bee knows that she loves her and lives a lovely long life. But has Bee just been sent a message signalling her death? Ruby needs to know and intends to find out.
I enjoyed reading this story based across multi time lines and characters. There was nothing that I found off putting and it was fun to read. I don't know if there is any way that a sequel could be produced, but if there was I would be very interested to read it.
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I really enjoyed this, and the female characters are nicely drawn and the group dynamic works well. And the cover is gorgeous!
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I was sent an uncorrected manuscript of The Psychology of time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
to read and review by NetGalley.
I enjoyed this book very much.  I liked the prose, I liked the premise of time travel and the ideas surrounding it that the author imagined.  I liked the psychological aspect and the fact that the scientists, and most of the rest of the cast, were women.  All in all a great read, although it could get a little confusing at times with so many different characters in different eras (inevitable really!) which was why the novel didn’t quite make the 5 star mark for me.  But I whizzed through it avidly and have no qualms about recommending it to other readers.  Hopefully they’ll enjoy it just as much as I did!
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The premise for this book is interesting and there were many ways this story could go but for me there were just too many characters, and some felt pointless. 

I also struggled with the idea that people can bump into their past/future selves while time traveling.  I understand that this time travel paradox is something that has only been perpetuated in other science fiction and has no basis in fact, yet that really bothered me.

The 4 main characters were also difficult to really get a grasp on and I ended up skim reading a lot.

This was just not the type of science fiction I like to read and wont actively recommend the book.
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The premiss for this book is really interesting and the story fascinating.  There were many ways this story could go and this could easily be the beginning of a series of books about different characters and their journeys. .for me there were took many characters and some I felt were pointless. I struggled to keep up with so many characters and in so many different times. . I feel this would have been improved by a little simplifying. The beginning had me hooked and I loved the first few characters but as it became more complicated I got lost.  I may have to read this again.
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I loved this book even though it was a little confusing. I'm going to read it again now I have the characters sorted in my mind. Beautifully written with fabulous characters. The time traveling paradoxes are well dealt with as well as fascinating. The terminology around time travel is really well done with its whole lexicon of words and their meanings. Beautiful.
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This is a story about time travel, and without giving away any spoilers, time travel changes people. Much like growing older, your green self can be very different from your silver self. Somehow this book captures that feeling, and then some! It did start off a bit clunky, yay lady scientists and "go feminism!" but fortunately it developed into a much better story, and more importantly a feeling that while I could anticipate some of the plot, I still wanted to experience it. Perhaps that is normal for anything you choose to read, but when you find out more about the actual psychology of time travel, you'll realise how clever it is. A meta-theme that the author kindly names "completion". Then in consideration of some of the mental health sub-plots, and the way the story ties together while jumping through time, it's just fantastically impressive. Reminds me of Dark Matter but more human. A very good read.
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The Psychology of Time Travel explores some aspects of time travel in a way that I found fresh and new. Before I get to that, let me talk about the standard stuff.

The novel is told from three different "time-points", some of them advancing faster than others. The first is with the invention of time travel in the 1967. The second time-point starts in 2017 when a mysterious message from the future is received. The third time-point starts only a year later, in 2018, when a young woman discovers a dead body.

As with most time travel stories, there's a mystery to solve, and it gets a bit complicated. At times, some people might find it difficult to hold all the moving pieces in their head and follow what's going on as the plot resolves, but the pay-off is worth the extra attention.

What I found to be refreshing is that, while most books spend all their time talking about the mechanics of time travel, or act as glorified historical set-pieces, this novel spends more time evaluating the psychology of the people involved. What does time travel do to people? How do time travellers behave when they can move about willy nilly? I especially liked some of the conjectures about how time travellers might deal with death, both of their own demise and that of others.

One thing that jarred a little, was how matriarchal the society seemed to be, especially in 1967. There were precious few males in the story, all of whom were mere background characters. I think this helped to cement the story as an alternate history, not to mention the fact that time travel is a well-known phenomenon to the populace at large, starting in 1967.

I enjoyed this novel, and I would recommend it to anybody who might be interested in a different discussion of time travel and how it might affect the human condition.
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Took me a little longer then it usually would to finish this, but what a great read, the time travel aspect was brilliant, I loved the characters, the way it all worked together to come to a satisfactory conclusion, with no questions left unanswered.
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Everything I had heard about this book interested me.  I wanted very much to really like it.  It is a novel approach to the topic.  It is handled in a totally different way to other books on time travel, here the characters are indeed able to meet their older and younger selves.  I enjoyed reading the book.  The characters were interesting and the interrelationships fascinating.  However, I found the underlying plot simplistic and a little stereotypical.   Whilst science fiction and fantasy cannot be believable, we must be able to suspend disbelief and in this case I was unable to do this.
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I knew right away I was going to love this book. It opens in 1967 when four young women scientists - Margaret, Lucille, Grace and Barbara - are pioneering time travel (with the help of a rabbit called Patrick Troughton). What’s not to love? But it all goes a bit pear-shaped for them - at least from a public image point of view - when Barbara has a bit of a meltdown in front of the BBC.

By 2017 time travel is a day to day reality, overseen by the Time Travel Conclave, a powerful quango under Margaret’s directorship. Barbara, now a grandmother and long since excluded from any possibility of time travel, receives a cryptic message from the future and expresses a wish to time travel one more time. Barbara’s granddaughter Ruby, a psychologist, is concerned about what the message could mean and seeks some answers.

And Odette, a young student, stumbles upon the body of a woman in a mysteriously locked room, and finds herself unable to move on until she can understand what has happened. 

Time travel always ties my brain up in knots - I find it impossible to keep it straight in my head but I love it anyway. The plot here does become quite complex as the truth is gradually uncovered. But it’s the fully realised world Kate Mascarenhas has created here that is truly compelling - a world recognisably ours, yet fundamentally different. The Conclave itself operates outside of government jurisdiction, with its own laws and customs, led by the terrifying Margaret, who began to acquire a certain Thatcherishness in my imagination. 

At one point, Odette observes upon visiting the Conclave that most of the time travellers she sees appear to be women, and likewise almost every character of significance in this book is female; the handful of male characters - Barbara’s husband, Odette’s father, a journalist - appear only fleetingly. It’s quite refreshing, since science fiction has so often been the other way round.

The book is a hugely thought provoking read which has mystery, adventure, an unexpected romance and a Biblically apocalyptic ending (... kind of).

Like the books that somehow appear for each time traveller, received from their “silver selves”, there’s something unknowably mysterious about time travel. The Psychology of Time Travel is deeply intriguing speculative fiction about its effects on the human psyche. I loved it.
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Long review short, whilst I quite enjoyed reading this book, I truly have no idea what all the fuss has been about.
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Danger and intrigue lie at the heart of time travel. Since four women, Margaret, Barbara, Grace and Lucille, created a time machine just a couple of generations ago, there is now a Conclave dedicated to time travel where Conclave law rules. The four creators’ individual stories thread through the narrative as murder and romance play out. A brilliant and new exploration of this theme, interesting characters and lots of twists and turns. Couldn’t put this book down!
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This is one of the most profound and thought-provoking books I have read in a while. 

I didn’t know what to expect going into it – beyond, perhaps, a feminist time-travelling mystery - but what I got was so much more than that, and I loved the unique angle Mascarenhas took regarding time travel. Her version is not the glamorous one prevalent in pop culture, but rather a mediation on the impact of time travel on the morality – or amorality – of society. She posits that in an alternate world recognisably similar to our own, where time travel has become commonplace and select people can travel along their own and other’s timelines, things central to ordinary life (such as death, marriage or laws) cease to have any real meaning. Without meaning, it’s easy for one’s moral and emotional compass to become skewed and for society to become corrupted. The title of this book really could not be more apt, and I think the philosophical/psychological weight this perspective added to the book really elevated it beyond others in the time travel subgenre. 

This book is also very much a part of the growing trend for female-centric, culturally diverse and non-heteronormative narratives, and I am absolutely here for that. The relationships between the characters were convincingly written, and I felt myself becoming truly emotionally invested in their stories. Margaret was a particularly engaging and complex character; not since Dolores Umbridge have I loved to hate a character as much as I did Margaret. I also thought the story cohered surprisingly well, given how many different perspectives and time periods the book jumped between. 

All in all, I loved this book and look forward to Kate Mascarenhas’ next novel.
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