The Psychology of Time Travel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

I had to stop reading this book when I was 12% through. I’m a huge fan of time travel stories, but this one just wasn’t gripping me. I found that the constant switching between time periods was really confusing, and the characters weren’t established well enough at the start for me to be fully engrossed in the narrative.
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Time travel books are kind of my guilty pleasure. I have read dozens of them. I adore all kinds of time travel books. And let’s be honest there is a wide variety of books out there. Think about the romantic story like The Time Travellers Wife, or a more sexy, historical setting like Outlander. Or if you are more of a scientist fan The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O will certainly enchanted you. But with The Psychology of Time Travel I am a little bit of a loss. Because it tries be all of the segments of time travel books in one….

The Psychology of Time Travel strongest point is without a doubt that it explores many ideas within the spectrum of Time Travel. The book really plays around with all the implications of Time Travel. Knowing your own future and of course also the future of your lost ones. How the concept death changes when you are able to travel through time. But also more intimate questions about having sex with yourself. It really is a book that touches a lot of deep questions that made me think deeper into the subject. And I even had a nice discussion with my husband about some of the implications of time travel on relationships.

The main focus of the book is as the title is already suggesting psychology. How is the human brain affected when you time travel often. Is it a straight way to loose grip on reality or doesn’t it inflict anything on a human being. I really liked that side of the story. When we finally get to time travel I think psychologist will be very intrigued to see the effects this has on the human brain.

The story also contains a very nice love story. It isn’t a major part of the book, but it gave the story some extra panache. And in some weird, but very well done way it connected all the loose ends and story-lines.
But where the book fell a little flat for me is the way it was written. The overall story is very messy. Considering how many time travel books I have read, I am the first to admit that it is incredibly difficult to write a book with multiple timelines without creating some sort of confusion. And in this story it is not only the jumping through time that makes it complicated, but apart from that we follow different narratives. At times the story feels like a complete mess, but it is brought together all in the end. But and this is a major but if this is the first time you read a time travel book I think you will be lost in translation. You will feel completely overwhelmed and might even be put off from the genre. I loved the overall story but it was just trying to be too much at once. 

Overall The Psychology of Time Travel has a very unique take on the concept of Time Travel books. It contains something for everybody, soft science, hard science, romance, LGBTQ, action…. But at the same time that is his biggest weakness. Because of the numerous topics and the very short chapters it might be quite hard to follow for some readers.

Review will be published on 18/02/2019
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This is a fascinating read for all who enjoy mysteries and Science Fiction.  
Thank you for the ARC which does not influence my personal opinion. 

I found this book captivating from the start. It is the story of four women scientists in the `1960's who are creating the world's first time travel machine.  They are experimenting with small objects before letting the world know they have been successful. They are all suffering effects from time travel that are disturbing and causing them mental distress.  When one of their team has a mental breakdown and is hospitalized will the project die and what will happen to the  other team members and their own experiments with time travel   ? Decades go by and a grand daughter of the hospitalized scientist receives a mysterious article about a death. The death is tied to the project.  She begins to investigate and finds herself involved in both learning more about the mystery behind their project and suspicious deaths . 
 This is a  must read sci-fi murder mystery.  This is a excellent well crafted story that successfully ties in the past, present and in between with mysterious occurrences and ground breaking secrets that will revel all in the end. It was a fascinating read !  I highly recommend this book as one of the best mysteries I have read this year and a fresh new concept in mystery reading.
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Excellent first novel.  Mascarenhas' writing flows beautifully with a rich vocabulary.  I enjoyed looking up several words.  This story is women-centric, in fact there are few male characters and  they are greatly in the background.  The time travel concept is well-done, though it does get a bit hard to follow , as it should, since the concept of time being non-linear is foreign to the reader.  In all I enjoyed it and would read this author again.
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The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas tells the story of four female scientists who built the world’s first time machine in 1967. A unique mystery, the story takes place over a least five decades, describing the murder of an unidentified woman and the obsession that drives the characters to solve it.

This novel is very timely. In recent years, there has been a focus on telling the stories of women in history that have been overlooked. From Hidden Figures to The Girls of Atomic City, the publishing community has shone a spotlight on powerful and intelligent women that had been previously disregarded. This trend has continued into the fiction genre. The Psychology of Time Travel is clearly one of books inspired by these tales. The focus is on four female scientists who designed the first time machine and used time machines to build an empire.

This novel is told from multiple perspectives and across many timelines, yet it is very easy to follow. Each character is distinct and the author has made it very clear which decade in which the events described are taking place. In fact, due to the time travel aspect, the same character may appear multiple times in the same scene, except they are different ages. I am seriously impressed at the plotting in this book. It could have easily gotten out of hand and confusing but the author kept a tight rein on the story.

One thing about this book that was really fun, is at the end there is a quiz you can take that tells you whether or not you would make a good time traveller. Turns out I could potentially be a time traveller but I would have to make an effort! Also, there is a glossary that defines the many made-up time travel words the author has used throughout the novel. Mascarenhas has clearly put a lot of time into developing this world and these details really bring the story to life.

The Psychology of Time Travel is very unique in that it combines so many different genres. It is historical fiction, science fiction and a thriller wrapped up in a surprising diverse package. I look forward to seeing Mascarenhas comes up with next.
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I received a copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review. 

The Psychology of Time Travel was an ambitious book that tackled love, moral subjectivity, and fate in a fun and new way. The world Mascarenhas created helped me think about time travel in a completely new way than ever before. Her book's non-linear timeline and multiple perspectives left me unable to put it down. Mascarenhas painted so many strong and diverse characters (including several POC and LGBT+ characters), each with distinct personalities. 

I mean, the whole book was about women in STEM in the mid-20th century - what more could you want?! I would definitely be interested in Mascarenhas' future projects as she perfects her writing style.
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The Psychology of Time Travel follows four women in Britain who invent time travel in the late 1960s - they are the pioneers. When one of the women has a breakdown following time traveling, she is ostracized from the group. Flash forward to 2017, time travel is now regulated by the  Conclave and used every day to great success. Psychologist Ruby Rubello knows her great grandmother Bee was one of the pioneers - but she doesn't know much else. When Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future announcing a death, Ruby worries it's about Bee. Who would want to kill Bee? And more importantly, can Ruby do anything to stop it?

For the most part, I enjoyed this story. I thought it was a great piece of speculative sci-fi - imagining an alternate history where time travel is invented. The plot flows well, it's slow-paced but everything that happens has a point, and it connects together smoothly at the end. 

The author explores the challenges of being a woman in STEM fields through her characters and story. Time travel is invented by four women, and they want to be careful of everything in order to prove themselves. When one of their team has a mental breakdown, she is immediately removed from the group - the last thing they want is to tarnish the reputation of time travel or themselves. The way the women have to be so careful in order to succeed is very relevant to what women still deal with in science today, and I appreciated this aspect. 

I had the most fun reading about how our world is reimagined by the presence of time travel. The author included so many little details that made it feel realistic - I kept thinking, "Yes, this would totally happen if time travel were real!" For example, a new market is made off of selling items brought from the future and the past.

The characters were a struggle for me. On the one hand, the choices the author made about the characters was unique, but also they were a part of the story that troubled me the most. Most uniquely, all of the major characters were female - the only male characters are secondary. I love seeing an all-female cast in books - I don't think we get that enough. I also appreciated how she touched on issues women deal with in both science but also just general misogyny. She also managed to make these all powerful females in their own way. Additionally, the prominent romance is between two main female characters!

Despite these positives, in other ways the characters were the low point of the story for me. Mostly, I had a hard time feeling emotionally connected to them. I can't say I went away from this book feeling in love with any of them. - I wasn't left thinking about them for days, they just were. I think more development could have been put into their personalities, or just making the reader feel something for them.

Overall, this book did surprise me. I thought it was an evenly paced plot with no holes left in the end. I liked the alternate history, and I loved that there was an all-female class - yay for ladies saving themselves! My one complaint is the characters: they could have been more memorable/lovable - more could have been done to connect them to the reader. But this book was a lot of fun, it was exciting, and I would recommend it in the future.
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I am so glad this book found me. I didn’t really know what to expect from a story about time travel, psychology, and a murder mystery. But this novel surprised me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Short Summary
Four women invent a time machine in the 1960s. During their travels, one of them, Barbara, suffers a mental breakdown and has to leave the team.
Fast forward into the future. Barbara is now a grandmother with a grown up granddaughter called Ruby. They receive a mysterious note with a date, implying that someone is going to die.
Even further into the future, a girl called Odette discovers a dead body. The police are not sure how this person was murdered, so Odette decides to investigate for herself.

The Murder Mystery
I have to admit, I do not read a whole lot of murder mysteries. I mainly stick to Agatha Christie and Edgar Wallace. But this book is different from the ones I’ve read in so far as we very early on learn that a murder IS going to happen because it HAS already happened in the future. When I learned the victim’s name, I was still hooked because I didn’t know the murderer yet. Time traveling is such a game changer here, because it could be anyone from the present, past, or future – even my favorite characters.

Time Traveling
To solve the mystery, the protagonists have to travel through time to “gather clues” from different times. Such an interesting idea! But it is more than that. The narrative is told with alternating views, following various characters to different points in time. (Let’s move to the meta level for a second: In this way, the novel sort of is like a time travel machine. How awesome is that?) Hence, we don’t have a linear narration but jumping through time gives us the story in a fragmented way that we have to piece together like Odette and Ruby are piecing together the clues to solve the murder. Every small incident in the book, even a phone call that you first don’t understand, is important and brought up again later. But I am not going to lie; I sometimes did have trouble remembering the dates and places of previous chapters.

    "How's Ruby?" Lucille asked. "She's great," Grace said. "Unless - hang on - where in the year are we?" 

The Psychological Element
Most time travel stories center around the questions of “What would you change about the past” and/or “How would you influence the future?” Mascarenhas, who has a PhD in Psychology, raises a different question: “How would time travelling affect and change us?” Her exploration of a variety of themes, for instance power, loss of control, trauma, love, the perception of self, the meaning of death, is done so well that none of it feels far-fetched but like a possible reality.

    "Every other person was reachable by time machine, which made one's own death uniquely final and lonely."

* Some extra information:
- Gender: There is some LGBTQIA love.
- Feminism: This story relies strongly on female protagonists. Men rarely make an appearance. But the story never feels lacking.
- Word candy: Mascarenhas comes up with a number of neologisms for mind-bending new concepts.
- Unlike most time travel stories, in this one, the characters can visit their future and past selves and interact. Whoa!!!

Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Little murder mystery, little time travel, and lots of my love! 
I greatly enjoyed this one! Can't wait to see what else Kate Mascarenhas has to give the world!
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In a book about time travel with four female scientists as protagonists and the novel approach of examining the psychology of traveling through time, this should have been a book that delighted me, and there were a number of things I enjoyed. I definitely appreciated the spotlighting of women scientists and the fact that these women were very much human, with all the good and bad that comes with it. They weren't four lovely, cooperative women who got along swimmingly; at least one is truly awful, and all have their substantial faults. The fifth protagonist is similarly a smart woman with faults, and I appreciate any book where one or more main characters is homosexual and that fact is not a central aspect of the plot.

All that said, I struggled to push through the book at times and mainly finished it just because I felt I should and kinda wanted to know what happened. But I didn't really enjoy it. The book starts so much in media res that I was immediately confused about the plot and struggling to keep up with who was who. Some of this is inevitable in a book about time travel, but I've read plenty others and didn't feel as jarred and confused as I did in this one. There are a lot of characters to keep up with from pretty early on, and that made it difficult to figure how where the narrative was going, why I should care about the characters, what the overarching problem of the story was, and what any of the protagonists' goals were. Even at the end, I'm not sure I could easily articulate the specific goal of all the major characters, and none of the characters felt fleshed out and complex enough for me to believe and care about. The dialogue therefore felt forced because I didn't really understand who the characters *were* yet. I wasn't invested in any of them, and even by the end, I didn't care much about what happened to any of them. None of them are particularly likeable, but characters don't need to be likeable. They do need to be individuals I can connect with and care about (or care about hating), even if they're horrible people. I didn't feel any of that.

What I enjoyed most was discussion of, literally, the psychology of time travel. Presumably that's why the author, Kate Mascarenhas, wrote the book, and she does address concerns and issues I haven't seen brought up in any previous book involving time travel. The problem is that the plot is too thin and the characters too flat to hold those big ideas adequately. Mascarenhas jumps so quickly into time travel existing that she doesn’t seem to acknowledge, much less reckon with, the philosophical challenges of time travel. For example, the question of paradoxes is brought up very early on, which is reasonable, but then the reader is left hanging as to what the answer is (do they exist or not? what happens?). This question is answered later... over 100 pages later. If the answer is going to be that far off, then the question shouldn't be brought up so early. 

I also appreciated piecing together what was happening, had happened, and would happen like a puzzle. That's an enjoyable experience in general with most books involving time travel. But that experience is far more fun when you understand the big picture and care about the individuals involved. Still, one nice aspect of this book is the way it makes the reader a coconspirator, someone who also experiences the narrative the way the time travelers in the book experience their lives--out of time, knowing parts of future info but not all. It’s not about solving a mystery (since the reader knows what happens) but about seeing how the mystery gets solved. 

Some people will really enjoy this book, and that's fine. There were aspects I enjoyed, but overall, it didn't leave me with a strong good impression, and it's not a book I would necessarily recommend to others.
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I received an advanced digital copy of this book from and the publisher Crooked Lane. Thanks to both for the opportunity to read and review.

Ms. Mascarenhas has written a novel with an all female cast that blurs the lines between genres. Part women's fiction, part speculative, science fiction, part crime and mystery.

It's a strong debut, but I found the story lacking in places. The idea that time travel is possible is a good one, but the author gets bogged down in unnecessary details that detract from the story.

3 out of 5 stars.
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Plot: 4 brilliant women develop the ability for people to travel through time, creating a "better world" and a slew of psychological paradoxes for travelers and non-travelers alike. When someone connected to time travel is seemingly murdered, time must be unraveled to uncover the murderer and motive. 

I thought this was a very original novel with incredibly complex characters and rich storytelling. Time travel is approached uniquely, with characters' lives intersecting in a non-linear way and raises interesting questions on how time travel could affect a human physically and emotionally. Each character has real-life issues they're struggling with and I loved seeing how each addresses their individual issues. 

Although it can be a little tricky at first to keep track of who is where and when, you'll get the hang of the changing timeline and everything is tied up nicely at the end. 

Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to preview this excellent read!
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Absolutely love the cover of  this book - so pretty.
I enjoyed the characters and thought that they were likable.
My only critique is that there were times that it was difficult to follow what was going, other wise it was a great story.
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I really enjoyed this book for the ideas as much as the characters. I connected with the three main characters but the side plot with the doctor while important seemed like an unnecessary perspective. It was a fascinating look at how time travel reinforced its own bad ideas and culture but I think it could have looked at race and gender more especially considering the time frame given.
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The Psychology of Time Travel is most engaging story of a murder.
In 1967 by a four-strong women group known as the Pioneers invented Time Travel. But one of them has a nervous breakdown and she is kept out of the circle whereas others go ahead and creates an organization that controls Time Travelling, known as Conclave.

In 2018, Odette discovers a corpse in a toy museum on her first day of work which keeps her disturbed. In 2017, Ruby Rebello, grand daughter of Frozen out Pioneer wants to know more about her granny and Conclave.

There are 3 time periods that are narrated one after the other telling us what happened/ is happening/ is going to happen. At first it's a pure harassment to keep up with characters and the story but as you move forward, it becomes a craving. To know about the murder.

I liked the story very much but what I hated was there were too many women. A few handpicked men, i think there are only 4 !! which felt weird...

Totally a good story :)

Happy Reading!!!
ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!
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This book creates a world where time travel is an accepted fact of life and looks at how it can (or can't) impact a person's life.
It was refreshing to pick up a book with so many strong female leads.

Females create time travel, females run the Conclave that controls time travel. The story deals with a multitude of subjects: friendship, family, love, mental illness, betrayal, science, death, anxiety, and a murder mystery that is investigated in the past, present and future. 

At times the differing perspectives and timelines are confusing, but not enough to detract from the story. This is an amazing debut novel, and I can't wait to read more from this author. 3.5/5
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I admit to not usually liking stories of time travel.  There are too many holes to fill and it's not always done well.  Something in the description of this book made me think it would be different.  And it was.  We start with four women in 1967 who invent time travel.  We are introduced to Margaret, Lucille, Grace, and Barbara.  After short time traveling trips and meeting themselves, the women decide to have an interview with the BBC.  On television, Barbara, an expert on nuclear fission, has a mental breakdown.  She is quickly ousted from the group.  Flash forward to 2017 and we know that time travel is completely controlled by the original scientists through The Conclave and Barbara has lived a mostly anonymous life, left out of the history of time travel.

Barbara has no contact with the others until one day she gets a mysterious message from Grace, a death that will occur.  Who it is and how she will die are not included.  Solving the mystery of this death is the focus of the rest of the book, though not what keeps you reading.  We travel back and forth through time, mostly the lat 60s early 80s and the present, and observe people wrestling with the demands of time travel and what it does to those chosen to experience it.

Sure, there are things you can definitely learn from the past and future (which, for reasons unknown, only goes 300 year into the future and, for reasons known, back to the first use of the time machine.)  You are left asking so many questions: How would time travel affect memory? How would you react to events? How would you view yourself? How you view death? How much would you really want to know? How could you interact with non-time travelers?  How do you trust your own actions without knowing what the people around you know that you don't know?  So many others.  

Also of note is the prominence of women throughout the book.  Most characters are female and most interaction is between women.  This gives it a different point of view, seeing the characters through mostly female lenses.  I'm going to be recommending this book to everyone who asks me for something good to read.
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This is different from most time travel stories. The timeline is unchangeable. You can meet yourself (and even have sex with yourself) as there are no paradoxes. This eliminates some of the problems with standard time travel, but of course creates others. As someone who reads a fair amount of TT sagas, I had some trouble getting my mind around this new form.

It also provides some windows into how a strong CEO will create a company that reflects themselves in large and small ways. That change can come only after that person departs the scene, though here someone is still interacting with them on a daily basis.

Lots to think about. It really should appeal to other TT fans and I highly recommend it.
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The Psychology of Time Travel is a fascinating read.  One that is hard to describe, even more difficult to put down. Four women develop a way to travel through time.  The book’s chapters fluctuate back and forth through time with Mar-Dec 1967(when they first traveled) quickly followed by July 2017, then January 2018 and so on as characters are followed through the flow of time.  Driving the story is the death of an unidentified woman in a locked room and the investigation to discover who she is and how and why she was murdered.  

Kate Mascarenhas has created interesting and believable characters, an intricate storyline and a uniquely feminine perspective.  And the way the author switches the dates of each chapter offers a sense of what it might be like to experience the shifts through time, just as her characters do. A fascinating read, but a challenging read as well.
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I finished this book in a day - its that compelling. 

Kate Mascarenhas is not only adept at writing about time travel, but keeps the reader enraptured the entire time. The genre combination of sci-fi and mystery kept me even more glued to the page. 

I'll give a more detailed review as it gets closer to the publication date. 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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