The Psychology of Time Travel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

An well  thought look in how time travel would  impact the personality of human beings. Great female lead.  The author truly is talented to not make the reader lost in a time travel story. Not a suspenseful in fact the entire book tone is calm. Still a great fascinating read.
Was this review helpful?
Huh. Ok. I loved this. I did have a bit of trouble keeping the characters straight, but that might be user error. I can't imagine being the editor on this one. Oof.

Thanks to the author, publisher, and netgalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
trigger warnings: cheating, mild gore, psychological abuse, workplace harassment , eating disorders , mental illness 

Time travel stories can very quickly and easily go awry and become confusing to the reader. I found that the majority of this book avoided that issue and kept me interested and on my toes. 
This novel explored some interesting themes and had a very engaging plot, my only issue is that there were slightly too many characters and whilst i am all in favour of strong female leads i found myself getting a bit mixed up with some of the characters.
Was this review helpful?
Four women invented time travel in 1967. Three went on to become rich and famous. One went on to have a breakdown and be cut off from her friends. The Psychology of Time Travel is clearly science fiction, but it’s also a murder mystery and even more about women and their relationships.

I’m in general not a big time travel fan. It can so easily turn wonky. Here time travel is treated almost cavalierly. It was invented and people exploit it. Time travelers themselves regularly get together with their “green selves” and “silver selves,” sometimes having over a dozen of themselves in the same place at the same time. It does allow for some interesting interactions and to see how time travel affects individuals. Because that’s what the book is about, how time travel affects people, mentally and emotionally, not about how it works or how it affects cultures or politics.

The murder mystery bit was interesting. It’s a locked room mystery essentially but time travel devices mean it takes some digging to figure out what really happened and why. But if you’re coming at this one solely as a mystery lover, it’s not worth your time.

Almost all of the characters are women, but there are a lot of them. Mothers and daughters, friends and lovers, it can get a bit confusing. And with the sheer number of characters, some don’t get as much attention as they deserve. I did enjoy seeing how they each got along, how their relationships changed over and through time, how past actions continue to echo.

Overall, The Psychology of Time Travel was a good read. Yes, it requires a fair amount of suspension of disbelief, but I enjoyed it.
Was this review helpful?
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas, Synopsis sounded great, Book cover is amazing...story was just OK for me. I really wanted to love it, but I couldn't get into the book.  Characters were very one dimensional.. 3/5 stars
Was this review helpful?
DNF AT 10%

The writing style wasn't for me. I really tried to get through this book but I was really bored by the slow pacing and the bland dialogue. This one has a great premise and maybe I could have learned to love the characters but alas, my patience just quickly ran out.
Was this review helpful?
An interesting twist on time travel, a fave of mine, with four women scientists in 1967 constructing the first time travel machine. Girl Power, indeed! Hampered at times by confusing plotting and a plethora of characters, but love that cover! 4 of 5 Stars. 

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine. Pub Date 12 Feb 2019.
#ThePsychologyOfTimeTravel #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
Time travel is a favorite genre of mine and I thought I would devour this book, but I surprisingly found it difficult to get through. I didn’t feel connected with any of the characters and didn’t care what was going to happen. It felt too long and jumbled. I loved the book cover though, so that counts for something.
Was this review helpful?
Such an awesome time travel book. There was a moment or two where I was left wondering who a person was, but I think that was more my fault for putting this book down too often. This is a time travel book with the resulting time travel craziness and a decent number of characters, so it's probably better read with more continuity than I did.
Was this review helpful?
In this science fiction-mystery, people move back and forth in time as easily as taking a bus. Thus time travelers can go back and hang out with their past selves or leap ahead and spend time with their future selves.

Wedding festivities can be celebrated by a slew of 'silvers' (future incarnations of oneself) and funerals can be attended by a batch of 'greens' (past incarnations of oneself). 

Travelers can hop into the future to see how a job interview or relationship turns out or visit the past to give themselves (or other people) things. Nevertheless, NO TIMELINE CAN BE CHANGED WHATSOEVER....NO MATTER WHAT. This premise makes no sense from the get-go (even bringing something to the past changes things) and the book requires a hefty suspension of disbelief. That said, I like the story, which is clever, unique, engaging, and women-centric.

*****
The story: 

In 1967 four brilliant women - Margaret, Grace, Lucille, and Barbara - invent time travel. The early experimental trips trigger mental illness in Barbara, so the other women - fearing bad publicity and loss of funding - ruthlessly eject her from the program. 

Over the years, time travel becomes a big enterprise run by the 'Conclave', which has very restrictive policies about who can take time-trips. Fearing even a whiff of 'mental instability', the Conclave subjects prospective employees/time travelers to written tests, interviews, and intentional harassment. 

Applicants are also assigned unpleasant tasks and required to participate in deadly games.....all to weed out the 'weaklings' who might be freaked out by seeing themselves or loved ones die, etc. In addition, anyone in the program who starts to show signs of mental deterioration is dismissed forthwith. 

This regimen is strictly enforced by Margaret, who's matured and become director of the Conclave. Unfortunately, Margaret has also become narcissistic and power hunger.

Jump to 2017 and former time traveler Barbara (Granny Bee) is a widow who lives with her granddaughter Ruby, a psychologist. 

When Ruby receives a newspaper clipping from the future, about the mysterious death of an elderly woman in 2018, she fears it refers to Granny Bee - and becomes determined to find out if this is the case. (People insist on believing they can change the future!)

Skip ahead once more to 2018, and Odette - a graduate student who works in the local museum - finds the body of an old woman in the building's basement.

The unidentified victim has been shot in a locked room - but there's no gun - and the scene is suffused with blood and plastic shards. Odette is freaked out, can't sleep or concentrate, and decides to investigate the murder to ease her mind.Thus Odette applies for a job as a detective for the Conclave, so she can go back in time to see what happened. 

As a potential employee, Odette meets Margaret and the other founders of the Conclave - Grace and Lucille - who still work for the organization. She also makes the acquaintance of more job candidates and additional employees. Over time Grace learns about the culture of time travelers - a conceited, clannish bunch who think of themselves as better than 'emus' (people who don't time travel, and thus pass through time in a single direction). 

Odette meets Ruby as well, when she becomes Ruby's patient for psychotherapy. Odette wants to stop the horrible flashbacks that (mentally) return her to the scene of the crime and interfere with her daily activities.

This is the bare bones of the plot, which is vastly complicated by the past and future Graces, Lucilles, and Margarets that pop up here and there; by additional people that jump back and forth in time; by romances among the characters; and so on. The romance angle is especially weird when it involves people that would normally reside in different time periods. Thus a person can have an affair with the younger version of a person who's currently in his/her dotage. Crazy, right? 😎

The Conclave has singular laws for time travelers, and there's a unique vocabulary for people who engage in time travel. Here are some words/expressions related to time travel: 

• Common chronology - the sequence of events experienced by non-time travelers. 

• Completion - to live an incident you've already read or heard about.

• Echoing - returning to an incident you've already experienced.

• Forecasting - intercourse with one's future self. (How cuckoo would that be?)

• Liebestod - A trip to see a lover for the last time before one's death.

• Personal chronology - The sequence of events experienced by an individual time traveler.

• Swim in the same cut - People whose personal chronologies match well, because they belong to the same team (at work).

• Wenches - Freshly recruited time travelers. 

• Zeitigzorn - Feeling angry with someone for things they won't do wrong for years. 

I applaud the author for creating the compelling, convoluted plot (she must have had walls covered with flow charts) - and for presenting the story in a comprehensible manner. The mystery element is especially intriguing, and I liked the solution to the crime. 

Though I enjoyed the story and (more or less) accepted the bizarre sci-fi facets of the plot, I did find one idea very troublesome - that past and future versions of oneself can hobnob together. I just don't see how this would work without generating a paradox. 

Still, I strongly recommend the book to fans of 'soft' science fiction, for its originality and inventiveness.

Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Kate Mascarenhas), and the publisher (Crooked Lane Books) for a copy of the book.
Was this review helpful?
I love the intentions of The Psychology of Time Travel. It presents an interesting take on a subject that's been done to death. I really wanted to like it more than I did, but I appreciate the effort. However, the execution is a little on the dry/boring side. For a first novel it's a great start, and I would absolutely read more from Kate Mascarenhas! ****FOUR STARS****
Was this review helpful?
This was a very interesting twist on your usual time travel story. Rather than focus on the mechanics of time travel itself – though they do mention some of it – it delves more into the both the logistics of it and the psychology. Such questions as: How do you keep track of yourself, how do you get paid if you work as a time traveler but obviously visit different time periods? And as travelers start appearing from other time periods, how do you deal with them? What laws apply to them? Who governs them?

I adored this aspect, which is so often overlooked in these stories, but are so essential. While there is a larger story being played out in the book, I felt slightly detached from the characters – some we journey alongside for almost all the book, others just pop in for a short segment, to add something to the overall discussion. Namely, what time travel does to your psyche. How do you deal with death – both your own, but also of all the people you love. Does it crush you, or do you become insensitive to it? What about relationships – how can you trust someone when there will always be a power imbalance, as one of you knows the future?

I could have spent much more time reading about these issues, as it was fascinating to think about, and some of them could have been much more expanded about, such as the relationship questions. It kind of of let me down in that aspect, and affected its rating. Still, I highly recommend this to anyone interested in these aspects of time travel, and it has some nice discussion of mental health around this subject as well.
Was this review helpful?
Time travel, who doesn't like a little time travel? This story begins in 1967 when 4 scientists, all women, discover the thrill of traveling through time. What they also  discover are the affects/tolls as well.  Well written, but confusing (as most time-jumping, plane-hopping can be). I got lost at times, almost needing a chart to keep up, or behind. Overall, I liked this debut novel. Definitely recommend to those who like time travel. 3.5 Stars
Was this review helpful?
An exciting premise but ultimately it didn't really grab me. The book dragged, despite being fairly short
Was this review helpful?
The Psychology of Time Travel has time travel being perfected by 4 women in 1967. There are rules - you cant travel back before the invention, you cant change anything, only observe.  The one that threw me for  a loop was that you can travel within your own lifetime and meet yourself, multiple selves.  That is very different from most time travel novels.  There are a lot of characters presented by the author, some more dimensional than others.  I thought some of them could have been consolidated. The pacing of the book is rather slow, it became too easy to stop and not as compelling to pick back up again. There is a mystery, however it's more a mystery to the characters than to the reader, so not a great deal of suspense.  Overall, I was entertained. 
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
Was this review helpful?
Overall, I enjoyed this book. At times it was a slow read but in the end it was definitely worth it. Kate was able to expertly craft a story that I became invested it and a world in which I believed that things could happen. I at times had to muddle my way through some slower parts but was always rewarded with twists and turns and tidbits I did not expect.
Was this review helpful?
DNF at 30% 

While it has an interesting premise, it did prove that but completely made a turn around at a point. I love that it has endless positivity when it comes to the world-building aspect. There are far more than you can do and play with things that could intrigue more readers in the future, the amount a sci-fi lover can get from this aspect alone was highly, highly recommended! The mystery gives off appeals quickly, though like I said had made a turn for me that did not sit well with me.

Honestly, I hate it when I mark books as a DNF. And if you would notice I have a low ratio of DNF books in my shelves. With that, I really feel bad doing this. And hear out why I did so too. I tried and tried to read, days turned into weeks until I really couldn't. I feel asleep reading this thrice. A lot had been saying that I really should stop. And when I gave it another try, I couldn't get into it.

It went this way for me: it began smoothly and compelling, there were four characters that introduces the readers with so much interest. They were all surely and progressing with much more gusto. And then the thing happened. I had no complaints about it. It was the beginning and was anticipating how the story unfolds, however, the pace changes and rushes to scenes I didn't even make sense. I still went on reading because maybe when I hit its momentum I will enjoy it further again. I did not. Hence falling asleep three times now... The characters I've grown to like feels like they were washed away. The new ones introduced didn't appeal as much. My interest waivers and then fading out. 

I would still recommend it though, it may not work with me I am pretty sure to some it will. It has intricate world-building. Filled with every possibility. The great representation of women and women of color for that matter. And there is also sapphic romance in it.

Trigger Warning/Content: mental health issues, violence, murder, discrimination.
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of this story from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I waited a while to read this because I knew the time travel element would require some serious attention. And I'm so glad I waited until life was slower and I would really sink my teeth into this novel!

I've always been fascinated with time travel and stories about it so this was a no-brainer. And Kate Mascarenhas did such a wonderful job of making it seem like a seamless part of our history, of real life, that it was entirely plausible. All of the characters were amazing and unique. Grace was probably my favorite, with Ruby at a close second. And to evoke as visceral a reaction as I had to Margaret is a skill not many authors possess; well done, Kate!

I thoroughly enjoyed that the story was told through differing points-of-view. It gave me a glimpse into the lives of the time travelers and how they had to adapt. It gave the story that extra oomph! But at the same time, it was grounding to read the chapters told by the non-time travelers. It kept it real and all the more poignant for it.

I'd recommend this novel to anyone who:
- is curious about time travel
- enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife
- is looking for a fiction book with substance
Was this review helpful?
The Psychology of Time Travel is one of those books whose effect on me seems to grow over time after I’ve read it, rather than affecting me for a few days or weeks in a diminishing fashion. It’s been months since I finished it, and I find myself idly thinking about parts of it more days than not. Its weaving of timelines and plots and characters with divergent and overlapping motives is complicated — usually in a good way — and unravelling it is almost unsatisfying, because it’s the whole picture considered together that makes it so compelling.

At its most simplified, this is a novel about the fallout of four women inventing time travel in the 1960s. The effects of their decisions are not constrained to themselves, obviously, but the story remains tightly focused on the individual effects on a broad cast of (almost entirely female) characters. As a worldbuilding geek, I would have lamented the lack of consideration for the broader society-level effects if the tight frame hadn’t served the author’s style and purpose so well. It’s readily apparent that the author understands people as a trained psychologist and brings that perspective to bear on writing her characters. Her characters lie to themselves constantly, building their reality out of tightly woven falsehoods they’ve told themselves over and over. It builds a potent picture of narrative, and narrative’s role in our perception of history itself — a very fitting theme for a sci fi book.

I’d also like to reiterate that most characters in this novel are women. This fact casually handled and intensely refreshing, as were the romances between several of them. Calling it “casually handled” is not to say that the heavily-female cast served no narrative purpose, however — women experience unique challenges related to mental health and how it is viewed within society. This book reflects a number of those challenges, as well as less specifically gendered ones.

The Psychology of Time Travel is an ambitious, refreshing addition to the time travel sci fi canon.

Rating: 4/5
Was this review helpful?
It took me quite a while to finish this book, not because I did not like the story, in fact towards the end I loved it, sped through it, and now I want to read it again, but because this story changes perspective with every new chapter. The narrative is told through multiple characters in multiple different years and this threw me off immensely during the first ten percent of the book. I could not keep the time line straight. This ends up being the perfect example to show the readers how the time travelers live their lives in this story and I am only realizing the brilliance of this strategy now, whilst writing this review. 

To be honest, I could tell you everything I like about this book, but it would come out as a jumbled mess. The narrative is very scattered and only comes together towards the end, it is a murder mystery that you have to solve through several years and several people. This creates chaos, but also builds tension and excitement. I ended up finishing the second half of the book in a day, simply because the writing style is amazing and because I wanted to know the ending, figure out if I had the correct answers to all of the questions, I wanted to solve the puzzle.
Even though it is a murder mystery, I still think I would love rereading it, because this puzzle spans several years and is told through several people. With each reading you will probably find new hints, references, and connections, making the story richer each time you read it, and that sounds like a really fun book adventure to return back to.
Was this review helpful?