Cover Image: The Psychology of Time Travel

The Psychology of Time Travel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I love time travel stories - I love the cheesy, plot-driven ones and the hard science ones and the meandering cerebral ones. I now find it a bit odd that I don't recall ever reading one that concentrated so much on what traveling in time does to one's psychology. This was a solid and important entry into the time travel canon, with a great cast of characters, many of them female, and a romantic, melancholy, bittersweet tone that compliments the subject of time travel nicely. The device of new time travelers meeting and learning from their older counterparts, and the vast differences in their mindsets, is really affecting, as is seeing time travelers experience different moments in their lives from different points along the time spectrum. I could do without the whole having sex with different iterations of oneself, but let's be honest, if it was possible, you know it would be happening.
I love the Ellen Klages/Mary Robinette Kowal Astronaut Lady of Mars vibes here.
Was this review helpful?

My Review: Okay. This is hard. I can't explain why I didn't give this fascinating, layered, reality-twisting novel of ideas less than five full stars without spoilering the hell out of the ending.

Let me approach this from the side. I remember a few details from the past, when there was one digit in my age. I don't claim, at this late date, that they are factual and accurate; way too much time has passed, way too many things look completely different to my grandfatherly self than they *could* have to my kid self. So is that The Past, my version of the past, a fantastical creation of my imagination, some combination of these (and other) angles of view? Is something new created, something old altered, is there any way imaginable that this paradox could be resolved with technological time travel? Or would that just make things a lot worse?

Reader, this novel does not answer those questions. It does not approach your experience of its story universe from the position of *giving* you answers; it demands of you that you spend significant mental energy creating answers for yourself, using the story's elements (note I did not call them facts) to sort out who actually intended to be good and create happiness for the greatest number of souls.

The answer is not the one you expect it to be. Or it wasn't the one I expected it to be. So I think you're likely to be led down the strange and winding thread of the screw bolting the monster's head to their body, directly into a concrete slab, and left there to wonder just what exactly happened while you thought you were reading a fun little entertainment about women empowering themselves in the world of 1967.

And you'll like it.
Was this review helpful?
What do I say about a book that I didn’t particularly like, but that some of you might? The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas was this book, and while I found it to be of sound construction, it did not “float my boat.” However, the things I didn’t particularly enjoy or connect with might be the very things you would like. Let me tell you a little bit about it, then you can read it, and we’ll discuss. Maybe I’ll change my mind! That’s been known to happen.

What is Psychology of Time Travel About?
For those of you on the fence about sci-fi, or willing to venture just toe-deep into that genre, you might like this, just as you might like these other “soft” sci-fi books. As the title implies, it’s more concerned with the effects of time travel on the travelers than on the mechanics of time travel itself. The premise is that, in 1967, four female scientists build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut it, one of them suffers a mental breakdown, which puts the whole project—and the future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, the member that had the breakdown is exiled from the team.

Fifty years later, though, time travel becomes big business. Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was that exiled pioneer, though no one will tell her more, and Bee seems perfectly fine. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?

Book Review of The Psychology of Time Travel
Sounds like an interesting plot, right? It’s told from the perspective of several characters, in various timelines spanning several decades. It reads more like women’s fiction or mystery than science fiction. However, I had a hard time connecting with most of the characters–with the exception of Bee and Ruby–because there were so many of them. This may have been for a couple of reasons:

--the worldwide pandemic, which makes it a little hard to devote the mental energy needed to keep track of what’s going on with which character in which decade
--a generally faulty neuron in my brain that has a hard time keeping up with time-travel narratives

That being said, the multiple perspectives do make the central mystery of the book–having to do with the murdered woman–unfold in a unique way. From what other reviewers of this book said on GoodReads, I was not alone in my confusion, nor in my other reason for not engaging with the story, which is the fact that one of the characters is involved in more than one lesbian relationship, one with a married woman. It wasn’t central to the plot, I didn’t think, but it was there enough to detract from the story, for me. Those readers that like to read about F/F or extramarital relationships might enjoy The Psychology of Time Travel for that reason alone.

What’s the Deal on The Psychology of Time Travel?
The best deal I could find on this book was $7.99 for the Kindle version, which was way lower than the $15-$22 price advertised for it everywhere else, even on used-book sites.

What time-travel books have you enjoyed? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest book review.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.  This was completely unexpected in all of the best ways.  I wish I could tell you the genre this belongs in but it defies the standard of any one, I would hate to put limits on this as it holds something for almost everyone.  With an unsettling beautiful, Mascarenhas reimagines what it means to travel through time and the ramifications of it.  I thoroughly enjoyed this one.  Fantastic!!!!!!
Was this review helpful?
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas is a unique story.  I admit that I am drawn to books regarding time travel (I am a big Doctor Who fan) and was eager to read The Psychology of Time Travel.  The story is told from alternate POVs as well as three different timelines.  There is the past, present and future.  Then there are the four female inventors (Barbara Hereford, Margaret Norton, Lucille Waters, and Grace Taylor) plus Ruby Rebello and Odette Sophola.  The people can run into their past, present or future selves along the way.  The Psychology of Time Travel is a very confusing story (that’s putting it mildly).  I kept hoping that it would become clearer the further I moved into the story, but this was not the case.  It was interesting, though, to see how time travel affected each person.  The chapters were short and choppy.  There were romantic entanglements (of course), but there was one that was just plain strange (really hard to wrap my head around).  I was never able to get involved in the story or get to know the characters (thanks to the short chapters).  I did like the mystery that was woven into the story.  It was the one thing that kept me reading The Psychology of Time Travel.  I wanted to know who committed the crime and how it was accomplished. The author certainly has an active imagination.  While The Psychology of Time Travel was not for me, many others just loved this innovative tale.  I suggest you obtain a sample to see if this book is the right fit for you.  The story does contain foul language and strange intimate situations.  There is a time travel dictionary of terms at the end of the book.  The Psychology of Time Travel is unique novel with time travel, a strange slaying, plentiful points-of-view, convoluted conundrums, and rare romantic relationships.
Was this review helpful?
The concept of this was really interesting and I had heard some really positive reviews about this. But I ended up finding this pretty boring and confusing. The different characters didn't have individual voices that made them different and I really had to slug through this book.
Was this review helpful?
I am a member of the American Library Association Reading List Award Committee. This title was suggested for the 2020 list. It was not nominated for the award. The complete list of winners and shortlisted titles is at 
Was this review helpful?
I cannot believe this is a debut novel.  I just loved this book.  The language, the concept, the characters - it all just blew my mind.  The story is told with such empathy and the women are real and illustrate strength in such different ways. I actually don’t want to summarise the story because all the delightful twists and turns should come as a surprise and be savoured.  I can’t wait to read more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately, I decided to put this book down at 21%. While the story was definitely intriguing, and the writing was engaging, the constant flipping between timelines was getting confusing. And I should've expected that with a book about time travel, but unfortunately, it was so jarring that I was unable to enjoy the story. While I wouldn't be against reading a book from Mascarenhas in the future, this one just wasn't for me.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely love it.  This is my first book by author Kate and I almost fell in love with title and also cover . The story building is good and awesome.
Was this review helpful?
Full review published at Booklover Book Reviews website:
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publisher and #NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  Mascarenhas’ storytelling was impressive as she created a world in which readers could find both solid ground to believe that the story’s happenings where possible, but at the same time suspend belief to allow for the magic that is the possibility of science.  The detail provided in the book was very intriguing and helped to propel the mysterious plot ever forward, making it hard to put the book down.  However, with the very tangled weave of complex timelines and the numerous characters (which were added to throughout the entire book), it was also difficult to put down the novel and pick it up again after very long for fear of getting lost in the recent chain of events.  The strong female characters and their relationships were a surprise addition of interrelationship and gender studies on top of the time travel and murder mystery elements.
Was this review helpful?
I chose this book because with a title so thought provoking how could it not be wonderful?  I was not disappointed.  Mascarenhas does a wonderful job of exploring the more subtle elements of time travel that can keep you up at night while maintaining a vibrant story that relies heavily on the relationship between the characters.  On another note as a mother of girls LOVE that this features 4 female scientists.
Was this review helpful?
"Your face is the wrong way round, Barbara thought. You’ve been burning the midnight oil – that’s why you’re pale. You are trembling – you are blinking over and over. Has the hard work been worth it? You can remember my feelings. But I don’t know what your feeling at all."

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book. 

This book was one that I was so excited for and one that i could not wait to read. It was so unique and one that that I had not heard of before. I like a unique book because everything is the same nowadays. However, unfortunately, this book disappointed me. It was not bad in any way shape of form, it just wasn't for me. 

I feel like a lot of this book confused me, and that it didn't give me any real direction leaving me unable to follow the plot in most parts. I lost interest a fair amount. It picked up further into the book but I feel like it had already lost me to the point where there was no return. 

I did like the idea of how time travel affects certain people and I did enjoy the character development, this in fact was done very well. It was just the plot that I could not get too. 

I do think you should try this book and try and persist. It improves as the plot moves forward, it just depends whether you can get past the original slow confusing start.
Was this review helpful?
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?