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Timeline by Michael Crichton
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Timeline (1999)

by Michael Crichton

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9,028130332 (3.55)97
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English (125)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
This is the ultimate historical fiction lover's book. Modern day archeologists gets sent back in time and must use their knowledge to survive until they can make it back. ( )
  storeyonastory | Oct 12, 2014 |
I love time travel stories, I love Michael Crichton's novels, and I love learning about history/science, so this book was perfect. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
Mixed feelings towards this book. I can't say I hated it, but I can surely say it wasn't my favorite book. In fact, I even found it slightly boring. Not because the story overall didn't impress me, but because I spent the entire book thinking that something was amiss. The background scenario was actually pretty good, but it still felt like reading half a book, as if part of the story had been removed so that it could fit within a page limit. I didn't feel "comfortable" reading the book.
The scientific explanation and theories for time travel were excellent. In fact, they were one of the aspects I actually liked in the book. As for the story itself, well, the whole thing was very visual, but the characters seemed kinda "cold and distant" for me. There wasn't too much charisma in them, they were just there to execute actions. More or less like robots: no feelings, just cold acting.
The scenario, the Hundred Years War had so much potential. There was just so much going on, but I felt like reading a History book with focus on a small group of people instead of seeing the whole thing. And even the historical figures were actually kinda boring, it was as if the author was trying to prove me that what I read in the books regarding one person being "mean" and the other being "good" was wrong, but he didn't say exactly why. Like I said, "cold and distant actions".
There was just so much potential for this book. There was so much that could have happened, but did not. There are characters that could have been used in a better way but weren't. It was like reading a book that didn't really want to tell me a story. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
Example 1: Archelogists in the "present" find the eyeglasses of their missing professor but they're in the dig site. They appear to be very very old! They also find a message written by the professor that dates to the time of the dig.

BUT... The time travel scientists make a big deal that time travel isn't possible. They're actually just sending copies of people to alternate universes that happen to be in the 14th century. There is no way for the two timelines to interact.

WTF? So how did the professor leave his notes to be found in the future?

Point #2: Crichton's time machine sounds like a blow-by-blow description of the old Disneyland Voyage Through Inner Space ride. LOl!!!!!! ( )
  pussreboots | Aug 9, 2014 |
Horrible, horrible, unreadable stuff. Once the modern folks happen to find themselves in the Middle Ages, there are a couple of half-assed comments on how different things are for them, and about them looking weaker than "normal" middle ages men, and after a few more pages all that disappears and the story reads just like a flat, childish fantasy book. ( )
  tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
''Timeline'' ends with Doniger delivering a caustic denunciation of the ''mania for entertainment'' that pervades American culture, in which jaded consumers increasingly seek an ''authenticity'' of experience that not even the most sophisticated ''artifice'' can offer. (Doniger wants to market time-travel as the ultimate amusement-park ride.) The irony, of course, is that few entertainment products are as artificial as Crichton's own work. Like shiny windup toys, his novels are diverting -- they're manically entertaining. (I gobbled up ''Timeline'' in a single sitting.) But like anything mechanical, they just end up repeating themselves. Whatever time Crichton is in, he's always writing the same book.
 
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Epigraph
"All the great empires of the future will be empires of the mind."
WINSTON CHURCHILL, 1953
"If you don't know history, you don't know anything."
EDWARD JOHNSTON, 1990
"I'm not interested in the future. I'm interested in the future of the future.
ROBERT DONIGER, 1996
Dedication
For Taylor
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He should never have taken that shortcut.
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Yet the truth was that the modern world was invented in the Middle Ages. Everything from the legal system, to nation-states, to reliance on technology, to the concept of romantic love had first been established in medieval times. These stockbrokers owed the very notion of a market economy to the Middle Ages. And if they didn't know that, then they didn't know the basic facts of who they were. Why they did what they did. Where they had come from. Professor Johnston often said that if you didn't know history, you didn't know anything. You were a leaf that didn't know it was part of a tree.
Today, everybody expects to be entertained, and they expect to be entertained all the time. Business meetings must be snappy, with bullet lists and animated graphics, so executives aren't bored. Malls and stores must be engaging, so they amuse as well as sell us. Politicians must have pleasing video personalities and tell us only what we want to hear. Schools must be careful not to bore young minds that expect the speed and complexity of television. Students must be amused – everyone must be amused, or they will switch: switch brands, switch channels, switch parties, switch loyalties. This is the intellectual reality of Western society at the end of the century.

In other centuries, human beings wanted to be saved, or improved, or freed, or educated. But in our century, they want to be entertained. The great fear is not of disease or death, but of boredom. A sense of time on our hands, a sense of nothing to do. A sense that we are not amused.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345417623, Mass Market Paperback)

When you step into a time machine, fax yourself through a "quantum foam wormhole," and step out in feudal France circa 1357, be very, very afraid. If you aren't strapped back in precisely 37 hours after your visit begins, you'll miss the quantum bus back to 1999 and be stranded in a civil war, caught between crafty abbots, mad lords, and peasant bandits all eager to cut your throat. You'll also have to dodge catapults that hurl sizzling pitch over castle battlements. On the social front, you should avoid provoking "the butcher of Crecy" or Sir Oliver may lop your head off with a swoosh of his broadsword or cage and immerse you in "Milady's Bath," a brackish dungeon pit into which live rats are tossed now and then for prisoners to eat.

This is the plight of the heroes of Timeline, Michael Crichton's thriller. They're historians in 1999 employed by a tech billionaire-genius with more than a few of Bill Gates's most unlovable quirks. Like the entrepreneur in Crichton's Jurassic Park, Doniger plans a theme park featuring artifacts from a lost world revived via cutting-edge science. When the project's chief historian sends a distress call to 1999 from 1357, the boss man doesn't tell the younger historians the risks they'll face trying to save him. At first, the interplay between eras is clever, but Timeline swiftly becomes a swashbuckling old-fashioned adventure, with just a dash of science and time paradox in the mix. Most of the cool facts are about the Middle Ages, and Crichton marvelously brings the past to life without ever letting the pulse-pounding action slow down. At one point, a time-tripper tries to enter the Chapel of Green Death. Unfortunately, its custodian, a crazed giant with terrible teeth and a bad case of lice, soon has her head on a block. "She saw a shadow move across the grass as he raised his ax into the air." I dare you not to turn the page!

Through the narrative can be glimpsed the glowing bones of the movie that may be made from Timeline and the cutting-edge computer game that should hit the market in 2000. Expect many clashing swords and chase scenes through secret castle passages. But the book stands alone, tall and scary as a knight in armor shining with blood. --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:23 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A Yale history professor travels back in time to 15th century France and gets stuck, unable to return to the present. His colleagues organize a rescue and on landing in France become involved in the Hundred Years War.

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