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Timeline by Michael Crichton
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Timeline (original 1999; edition 2000)

by Michael Crichton

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8,814None342 (3.55)94
Member:tamwin
Title:Timeline
Authors:Michael Crichton
Info:Ballantine Books (2000), Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
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Timeline by Michael Crichton (1999)

14th century (31) action (31) adventure (95) Crichton (47) ebook (30) fantasy (107) fiction (944) France (79) hardcover (34) historical (59) historical fiction (143) history (66) medieval (127) Michael Crichton (48) Middle Ages (67) mystery (58) novel (96) own (38) paperback (30) quantum physics (41) read (141) science (37) science fiction (886) sf (76) sff (38) suspense (76) thriller (274) time travel (526) to-read (42) unread (44)
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English (121)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (127)
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
Science fiction in the Middle Ages: not a new concept, but who cares? This is an exciting story, with lots of action and interesting characters. What else could we want? ( )
  Joel.G..Gomes | Apr 17, 2014 |
Timeline by Michael Crichton – Michael Crichton wrote many very good books in the science-fiction, medical-fiction, and adventure genres. Unfortunately, Timeline is not one of his best science-fiction books, although it is interesting and suspenseful. Robert Doniger is a brilliant physicist and unethical billionaire entrepreneur who secretly developed technology using quantum science that enables time travel to the past. He also funds the research of an ancient castle, church and monastery ruins in France by a group of “Historians.” Doniger allows the leader of that research group to travel back to the fourteenth-century version of his research site. Unfortunately, something happens and he is unable to return to the twentieth century. This results a rescue mission by a few of the historians, who travel to the mid-1300s using Doniger’s technology. However, fourteenth-century France is a very crude, primitive, violent, war-torn environment; and the time travelers encounter violence almost on arrival. They become trapped in that brutal society. The book then becomes an adventure story about the incredible hardships and life-threatening brutality that they endure while trying to rescue their colleague and get back to the twentieth century. Crichton included much intricate description and explanation about life, and the structure of society, in fourteenth-century France. He also educates the reader about the level of scientific development, weaponry, clothing materials and production, building techniques and materials, and countless other details. Crichton also provides a plethora of information, which exceeded my understanding and interest after a few pages, about the use of quantum science to achieve time travel. This book is much more historical-fiction than science fiction. It certainly had action and suspense, but that became a seemingly unending circle of captivity-torture- escape, which I found to be a bit tedious. Timeline is worth reading, but it is not one of Crichton’s best books. BTW: I have not seen the movie based on this book, but it is rated 5.6 on 10-point scale on IMDb as I write this review. ( )
  clark.hallman | Feb 25, 2014 |
very good time travel book
  merlin58 | Jan 27, 2014 |
A fun read, it saved my life on a horrific airplane ride, for which I will be forever grateful. ( )
  the.pen.stealer | Dec 28, 2013 |
Michael Crichton is not one of my favourite writers, and this was a moment of weakness. Knowing that it was being released as a film, I got the book from the library. It is a moderately interesting time-travel story, with a slight mystery twist at the beginning. I think the medieval are not very well realized. The movie wasn't all that good either. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Dec 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 121 (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
First words
He should never have taken that shortcut.
Quotations
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.

(summary from another edition)

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