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Timescape (1980)

by Gregory Benford

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Timescape (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,843266,432 (3.56)34
Winner of the 1980 Nebula Award, Timescape has since become a classic of the science fiction genre, combining hard science, bold speculation, and human drama--a challenging and triumphant tale told by a master storyteller.  1998. Earth is falling apart, on the brink of ecological disaster. But in England a tachyon scientist is attempting to contact the past, to somehow warn them of the misery and death their actions and experiments have visited upon a ravaged planet.  1962. JFK is still president, rock 'n' roll is king, and the Vietnam War hardly merits front-page news. A young assistant researcher at a California university, Gordon Bernstein, notices strange patterns of interference in a lab experiment. Against all odds, facing ridicule and opposition, Bernstein begins to uncover the incredible truth . . . a truth that will change his life and alter history . . . the truth behind time itself.… (more)
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» See also 34 mentions

English (24)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Ugh what a slog. Lots and lots and lots and lots of talking. Professors in laboratories, scholars in offices, etc.....lots of talking and no showing. I'm sure the time-travel science is solid, but it's incomprehensible to the average person. I don't have a PhD, but I'm not an idiot either, and I was lost as to how the hell this transfer of information through time was happening. Interesting concept, just difficult to comprehend. There's explanation of how paradoxes are dealt with and how time branches off and creates other time streams. This was fascinating, but he spends little time exploring this concept. I wanted more of it.

There are many interchangeable characters and the the story jumped back and forth in time often. These two things coupled with a dense writing style that did not flow well made for a rocky reading experience...... ( )
  spaceman5000 | Jul 23, 2020 |
Dull, with a soupçon of “women are not important” (and I’m a man myself), characters who lack character and are hard to tell apart, and so far (I’m a third in) nothing has happened. Long passages of people explaining things to one another that they ought to know already. No charm, no surprises, and a very uninspired imagining of the near future (at the time). It gets 2 stars for being competently written (I try to save 1 star for "how did this get published???" books), but I am clearly the other end of the target market for this kind of fiction, and I'm stunned that it would win any award, let alone something so major.

Time to abandon and find something more fulfilling. ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
This is probably the best book about time I've ever read.

The fact that Gregory Benford is a physicist is obvious throughout the book.
First, to the questions regarding time travel, time paradoxes, alternate universes, he gives his well documented answers in accordance with modern physics, and they are bewildering by the fact that they do not contradict what we know so far about this universe.
Whenever I read something about time travel I say to myself nice story" but never take it seriously. This is not the case here - this book raises questions about the very essence of time. What is time, really?

Second, Benford does a good job in describing the world of the scientists - his characters are well portrayed and interesting.

This is SF at its best. It will teach you something about physics, it will make you sympathise with the characters and it will make an exciting and intriguing reading." ( )
1 vote LauraM77 | Jun 28, 2016 |
I could not stop thinking about this book. The premise is fascinating, the two worlds described are fascinating. The scientists of the past and "future" are character studies and their pursuits are interesting. The climax just kept going. I highly recommend this book! ( )
  yonitdm | Dec 10, 2015 |
Timescape is one of my favorite sci-fi novels. I first read it around 1990 and recently finished my third reading. The characters are varied and complex, yet I don't find myself relating to any of them very well. Instead, I enjoy the detailed discussions of the science, how science is performed as well as descriptions of the academic environment. The realism can be attributed to Benford's practice as an astrophysicist at UC, Irvine. More importantly, the story is an interesting, unfolding mystery posing questions involving possible communications between time and multiverses.

One timeline within the story occurs in 1963. The other timeline is in 1998, which, at the time of it's writing, was a good 18 years in the future. Consequently, when reading it today, one finds that the 1998 "future" misses the mark on several occasions. I found myself able to ignore those issues and think of the future timeline as simply an alternate universe not incompatible with a near future of my own timeline.

Each time I've read through the book, I've understood a little more given it's many cultural references. For example, one character in the 1963 timeline mentions a new Phil Dick book titled: "The Man in the High Castle". While I haven't read this book, I did recognize it as a recent TV series produced by Amazon. ( )
  farquhj | Dec 3, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Benford, GregoryAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eggleton, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, PamelaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone-Blackburn, SusanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Richard Curtis with thanks
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Remember to smile a lot, John Renfrew thought morbidly. People seemed to like that.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Winner of the 1980 Nebula Award, Timescape has since become a classic of the science fiction genre, combining hard science, bold speculation, and human drama--a challenging and triumphant tale told by a master storyteller.  1998. Earth is falling apart, on the brink of ecological disaster. But in England a tachyon scientist is attempting to contact the past, to somehow warn them of the misery and death their actions and experiments have visited upon a ravaged planet.  1962. JFK is still president, rock 'n' roll is king, and the Vietnam War hardly merits front-page news. A young assistant researcher at a California university, Gordon Bernstein, notices strange patterns of interference in a lab experiment. Against all odds, facing ridicule and opposition, Bernstein begins to uncover the incredible truth . . . a truth that will change his life and alter history . . . the truth behind time itself.

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