- Paperback: 664 pages
- Publisher: Springer; 2nd ed.. Softcover reprint of the original 2nd ed. 1999 edition (16 Jan. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0387952225
- ISBN-13: 978-0387952222
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.8 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,388,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Time Machines: Time Travel In Physics, Metaphysics, And Science Fiction Paperback – 16 Jan 2014
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"The first edition of Paul Nahin's book was the most thorough compendium ever written on time travel... This second edition of Nahin's book has been revised accordingly. It now is not only the most complete documentation of time travel in science fiction, it is also the most thorough review of serious scientific literature on the subject - a review that, remarkably, is scientifically accurate and at the same time largely accessible to a broad audience of non-specialists. In browsing this revised edition, I have been struck by the richness and complexity of the tapestry of ideas that Nahin presents... Nahin's book may well remain the most readable and complete treatise on time travel in science and science fiction." - KIP S. THORNE, CALTECH"
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Top Customer Reviews
There's something here for the very simple to the very profound thinkers of our time. On occasion my mind boggled at the concepts encountered in this book, then at other times my mind became educated to some fascinating theories I had never encountered before, written in the simplest of terms.
I can't conceive of another book ever being written addressing all aspects of Time Travel as Mr. Nahin has written so thoroughly, and so eloquently here. He travels back in time to uncover the earliest references to the excitement, the frustration, and the paradox of Time Travel, right through to modern theories and conjectures of scientists, philosophers, and science fiction writers of today - and everyone else in-between!
For the Time Traveling enthusiast this book is a horn of plenty, a wealth of abundance, and a nourishment of science and fiction regarding the possibility (or not) of Time Travel able to feed the hungriest of minds. There's enough material here to keep the liveliest of book clubs busy poring over months and months of discussion and debate. There's also enough material here to furnish Sci-fi novelists with ideas for 20 or 30 future novels they may wish to write.
It really is a brilliantly researched and wonderfully written book on the mystery of all mysteries... Time Travel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Paul J. Nahin discusses both sides of this issue in his thought provoking book Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction. He begins with an overview of time travel, from scientific possibility of it, to popular conjecture about it. He goes on to discuss the nature of time itself, and then ends with an in-depth analysis of paradoxes created by the possibility of time travel. He assures us that we do not have to worry about changing history, because the past cannot be changed.
Nahin has written an excellent book for the layperson. He includes many references to popular works of science fiction, including many stories and movies the reader is probably familiar with. This helps illustrate many of his points. The text is clear and well written. Anyone without a background in physics can understand this book. For those with a more technical bent Nahin includes a few "Tech Notes" at the end of the book to explain certain phenomena he discusses. Time Machines is an exciting book for anyone who has ever sat outside on a long summer night and wondered "what if."
This book is a wonderful blend of science and science fiction. It is perfect for people like me, who are fascinated by the idea of time travel but can't understand math or physics for anything. The first few chapters are basically a literature review. An extremely comprehensive literature review. It'll be enough to make you run to your library or bookstore (or computer) in search of these books and short stories.
Nahin also discusses the reality behind time travel with relatively little math. Most of the math is tucked away in the "Tech Notes in the back of the book. Nice technique to sucker in the math-scaredys like me.
What I really loved about the book, though is Nahin's enthusiasm. He is obviously just as nuts (or more) as I am about this outlandish subject of time travel, which makes the book, in my opinion, stand-out.
This seems to be the moral of this little book from science fiction write Paul Nahin. And, unlike many others who've attempted to talk about time in a serious way, Nahin is all too ready to show readers that he's done his homework.
In four (blink and you'll miss it) sections Nahin takes readers on a whirlwind tour of the issues involved in time travel:
1) An overview of time travel. In this section Nahin samples time travel stories of the ages. While doing so, he introduces readers to some of the more pertinent time travel issues serious thinkers have raised about the topic. One such example is if time travel is real, where are all the travelers? While admitting the serious nature of the question and its implications Nahin also provides readers with possible responses to it (for example, the time machines don't reach back to our era). Another example of serious issues raised is a treatment by Princeton mathematician Kurt Godel who -- using Einstein's own equations -- came up with a solution for them which actually allows time travel. (The good news for time travel fans is that Einstein approved of the solution. The bad news is that it requires our universe to possess physical charactistics it lacks.)
2) On the nature of time, spacetime and the fouth dimension. In this section Nahin discusses hoary questions like what is time? Is time real? And what does it physically consist of? This section is a perfect case in point to the cursory nature with which Nahin treats some of these issues. As to the matters raised in this chapter alone I would refer readers to Michio Kaku's very excellent Hyperspace PRIOR to reading this section. So educated readers will better be able to understand the throwaway references made by Nahin as he sails through topics that probably could each consist of a book in themselves. Of course, just like in the previous section Nahin cites readers to time travel stories which have teased out themes he raises in this section.
3) The arrow of time. Here Nahin digs deep into the question of why time has seeming particular directional arrow. Just as with the previous section I made reading suggestions so that people coming to this book may better be able to appreciate I will make two suggestions now: The Physical Basis of the Direction of Time by Deiter Zeh (in which Zeh discusses the various possible arrows of time as they exist in nature) and also About Time by the University of Adelaide's Paul Davies (in which Davies goes over the same territory, albeit perhaps at more introductory level than that pursued by Zeh). As he does throughout this book Nahin tantalizingly scatters references to various time travel stories as they relate to these issues.
4) Time Travel Paradoxes and Their Explanations. Its perhaps here where Nahin best displays his various beliefs about how time travel would really work. Heavily influenced by Einstein, Godel and science fiction writer HG Wells, Nahin reiterates his views: Time is probably an illusion. Instead all that ever has or seemingly will happen exists now. Attempts to alter past history are mere fantsies therefore though Nahin does allow that some events may involve backwards causation where future actors purposefully or unwittingly aided in bringing them about. Consistent with his thorough treatment of time travel issues however Nahin is candid about how multi universes could make changing the past possible.
Make no mistake. This is a tough book made additionally hard by its brief treatment of some of the issues involved. But I think prepared readers will be glad they made the effort.
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