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Timeline by Michael Crichton
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Timeline (original 1999; edition 2003)

by Michael Crichton

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9,669147299 (3.54)99
Member:theiks
Title:Timeline
Authors:Michael Crichton
Info:Ballantine Books (2003), Edition: 1, Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Timeline by Michael Crichton (1999)

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English (141)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (147)
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
Serious scientists, new technology, an unscrupulous businessman, a ticking clock and seemingly endless cliff-hangers…….. it must be Michael Crichton. The scientists in this novel are a team of archeologists who have been excavating a medieval village in France. It just so happens that their dig is being financed by an evil capitalist with the technology to send people back in time. This was a fun, quick read. I enjoyed it in the way I’d enjoy a Saturday at the movies. In fact, I had the distinct impression that I was reading a screen play. There is a formula here. I felt that Crichton had simply taken the dinosaurs out and inserted knights in armor. Oh, and the archeologist with the rock climbing hobby? Surprise, surprise……. She goes back in time to swing from every rafter available while being chased by the villain and his minions. I haven’t seen the movie, but it looks like it might be great fun. I may rent it some Saturday afternoon.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
This was essentially Jurassic Park with a time machine and a different setting.

Top-secret, privately-funded tourism project? Check.
A single-minded, egocentric antagonist? Check.
An archaeological dig? Check.
Employees with military backgrounds? Check.
Helicopter rides? Check.
An athletic female character? Check.
Lots of action? Check.

In fact, I enjoyed this more than Jurassic Park, at least right up until the very end when things fell apart. The conclusion left me feeling disappointed. Still, this was a fun, breezy read. ( )
  HenryJOlsen | May 21, 2016 |
My favorite Crichton book. Lost in the past, no way to get home, and danger all around. I'm not a huge fan of historical stories, so when this one went back in time, I worried. SO engaging though... I couldn't put the book down until I was done! ( )
  BethanyMoore | May 13, 2016 |
I read this book over and over...as a history buff and someone who has often wished it were possible to go back in time and see what it was REALLY like, this story reverberated down to my soul. It's also interesting because it demonstrates that history books are often not illustrative of actual events. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
Call me crazy, but I loved this book. I also loved the horrible film version with Gerard Butler and Paul Walker which I see now, having read the book, really consists of some pieces of information that were snatched from the book and shuffled like a deck of cards and then the science was dumbed down and more people died and such. Nonetheless! I find them both thought-provoking and entertaining.

Michael Crichton's books draw me in. There are five pages of references in tiny print at the end of the book - this man does his homework. This one is definitely a favorite just because of the subject matter. There is a warm place in my heart for history, and the idea of time travel (alright, multi-universe jumping) is just so intriguing to me. The Middle Ages are an area of particular interest for me, and so, this book was definitely a favorite.

Oddly enough, I think I benefited from having seen the film before, because as many others have criticized, the characters are so flat. That is a thing with Crichton - he worries about telling the story more than if you relate to the characters. Although the film adaptation was poorly done when comparing it to the source, the characters have more depth and variety and even though some of them were grossly displaced (Chris! They took his name and put it on another character altogether!) having that in the back of my mind made them more likable, and helped submerge me better into the book.

The science in this book was also a little difficult for me to follow. But I don't know if that is a general concern, or based on my personal lack of comprehension.

There was a speech near the end that Doniger was practicing, about modern America and its primary concern being entertainment. It was almost completely irrelevant to the book, but I loved it.

For me, even already knowing the ending, this was a very hard book to put down. I've gotten so jaded by poor or cliched writing lately, complete engrossment in a book has been a rare pleasure.
  Morteana | Jan 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 141 (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.
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:10 -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)

» see all 7 descriptions

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