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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable classic time-travel story
Having read only The Forever War series by Haldeman previously I was interested reading another one of his books, and after a favourable review from SF site I chose this one. Time-travel and Alternate Histories are sub genres I have a great fondness for if done well, and I am glad to say this book delivers. The story is engrossing, the characters are brought to life...
Published on 29 Dec 2008 by Lomedae

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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Light and fun time travel story
This is a genial time travel story - MIT assistant discovers a piece of kit that can move forward (not backward) in time, each jump having to be further then the previous one. So off he jumps into various futures and sees the various changes in society in future years and thousands of years....

This is very light and fun. Although the author explores his...
Published on 8 Oct 2007 by Nick Brett


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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Light and fun time travel story, 8 Oct 2007
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This is a genial time travel story - MIT assistant discovers a piece of kit that can move forward (not backward) in time, each jump having to be further then the previous one. So off he jumps into various futures and sees the various changes in society in future years and thousands of years....

This is very light and fun. Although the author explores his usual themes of change there is no real sense of danger or tension although some of the darker `futures' had a real opportunity to do so. Haldeman touches on religion but again avoids making a real point.

The book felt very 1950's SF and although I felt was a little too light it was fun and easily read in one or two sittings.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable classic time-travel story, 29 Dec 2008
By 
Lomedae (Amsterdam, NL) - See all my reviews
Having read only The Forever War series by Haldeman previously I was interested reading another one of his books, and after a favourable review from SF site I chose this one. Time-travel and Alternate Histories are sub genres I have a great fondness for if done well, and I am glad to say this book delivers. The story is engrossing, the characters are brought to life convincingly and the story keeps a good pace. The particular object chosen as time-travel device is interesting in its mobility and versatility and refreshing in the accidental way it came about. The premise of only traveling forward and the uncertainty of the exact location of appearance add to the suspense. The wrap-up and ending are extremely satisfying, it is rare I am left with a good satiated feeling after reading a book. It's pretty short, page-turning and rewarding - no more can be asked from any modern SF novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 28 April 2009
By 
Roald Andresen (Skien Norway) - See all my reviews
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Sure, this is an almost naive time traveller story. But it is a very delightful book. It is not full of complex time paradoxes, it is (almost) simply a tale of people travelling in time. I found this book very entertaining, and a good companion on my own travel half way around the globe (fortunately, since the book is such an easy read, that journey took less than a day).
For me, this is a book I will remember for a long time. Only one other time traveller book of those I've read rates higher than this, and that is "The End of Eternity" (which of course is a book of a totally different calliber).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Accidental Time Machine, 23 Jun 2011
By 
Book Addict "jackie" (ABERGAVENNY, MONMOUTHSHIRE United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Having read only The Forever War series by Haldeman previously I was interested reading another one of his books
Oh dear, what a let down.
The hero having accidentally built a time machine travels forward in incremental jumps, each one much longer that the last, and he can't go back.
On the journey he meets many people and eventually ends up taking one of them with him, but each new character is just so ...blah.. I couldn't get interested in any of them.
There is no sense of foreboding or danger , even when being attacked by dinosaurs.
Mr Haldeman explores a future where Jesus has returned to the Earth and the society is a complete theocracy. MIT has become the Mass. Institute of Theosophy.
Some interesting points were raised about the nature of people living in a world with limited technology and only faith to guide them. But even this section was a bit of a non event, it was a little like the Spanish Inquisition, on a good day, when they were feeling particularly benevolent .
The ending is just weird then boring, friendly aliens? send Matt and his companion back to his starting point, but to 1898. Where he takes a job as a janitor but due to his knowledge of physics he eventually becomes a professor.
By the time I finished I was eagerly looking forward to reading something else, which is a very bad sign
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3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonbly fun time travel story but rather weak on the characters, 6 Oct 2014
By 
Killie (Armadale, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Accidental Time Machine (Kindle Edition)
“The Accidental Time Machine” is a Science Fiction novel written by Joe Haldeman, an author who is better known for another Science Fiction novel, “The Forever War”. In regards to this novel, well it follows a young graduate student at MIT, Matt Fuller, who as the title implies, accidentally creates a time machine. However, every time it is used it will jump forward in time with the time interval increasing each time. When he finally decides to physically use it himself he reappears almost a month later to find that he has been accused of murder. Forced to use his machine to escape, he embarks on an adventure moving further and further into the future hoping that at some point humanity will have invented a machine which would enable him to return to his own time.

So my first observation is that Haldeman obviously has some knowledge of physics as the science elements did have some semblance of realism. Authors can almost treat the technology and science in these books as magic but Haldeman does at try and at least make it feel vaguely plausible. I also loved how Matt actually experimented and analysed things before he physically used the machine himself. So often we see people in time travel stories just pressing a button in a gung ho fashion without thinking anything through but this time we got to see a character trying to actually assess the risks and possibilities which was nice to see.

The writing is also to a decent standard and I enjoyed the layers of humour that Haldeman has included in the story. In addition, it was interesting to see the many different types of society and how humanity appears to have altered in various ways to suit them. However, in a way this is also one of the issues with the novel. It actually jumps too often and explores to many places; I was just beginning to understand one society and the story would then jump to another. It was rather disconcerting and did at times make the book feel like it was almost an outline for some time travelling TV series where each jump in time would be a new episode.

However, the biggest weakness in the novel is the characterisation; Matt in particular as the protagonist is flat and uninteresting. He has no charisma, interesting attributes or personality at all which of course meant it was hard to feel any real connection. The supporting characters weren’t any better, there was no depth or development and they were just used as plot devices to move the story forwards.

Overall, this was an interesting and at times quite funny novel. The different societies visited during the journey into the future are varied and intriguing although it would have been nice to have spent a bit more time at each. The characters are a severe weakness however and it was a bit of a battle at times to enjoy the fun of the plot itself when the characters themselves were so flat and lifeless. Going forward I will probably give Haldeman’s “The Forever War” a read but if the characters are as lacking in that book then I will probably move on to other authors.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but not near as good as his military sci fi, 18 Dec 2009
By 
L. R. Richardson (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Firstly, I want Joe Haldeman's life. He teaches two classes in fall on science fiction writing at MIT. The rest of the time he writes, draws, paints, plays guitar, and travels extensively with his wife, whom he's been married to since he was 22. What a life.

Of Joe Haldeman's work, I've previously read The Forever War and Forever Peace. The second is not a sequel to the first, despite the similar names. The name of the sequel is, confusingly, Forever Free. In general, enjoy Haldeman's work because he has a degree in physics, and so the science in it is at least vaguely plausible, or perhaps one day possible. It definitely gives him an edge over other authors who treat technology very similar to how magic is used in fantasy.

The Accidental Time Machine tells the story of a young graduate student at MIT, Matt, who, you guessed it, accidentally makes a time machine. He jumps a few weeks into the future, finds out he's wanted for a crime he didn't committ, and jumps forward again. He doesn't like that future, either, so he proceeds to jump again. This trend continues, with the increments getting longer and longer, because he hopes that eventually he will come to a future where they have invented a machine to send him back. This, in my opinion, is very silly logic, because he easily could have jumped into a future where humanity is extinct, the atmosphere is toxic, or there was a second dark age and there is no technology whatsoever.

I enjoy Joe Haldeman's postulations of the future. In The Forever War, in order to combat human overpopulation, most of Earth's population becomes homosexual. In one of the futures in The Accidental Time Machine, Christianity has become beyond fundamental because "Jesus" has returned and is now president of the United States. In that future, he connects with a very naieve young woman named Martha, who ends up accompaning him to other futures, and eventually a robot named La also joins their motley crew.

Initially, I was not too impressed with the pacing and dialogue, but once he leaves the near future of Earth and ventures through time, I enjoyed myself. I thought the end was too tidy and a bit of a cop out, but I was not upset with it enough that it soured my enjoyment of the book. I'll continue to read and enjoy Haldeman's future, but I wouldn't consider this his best work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting approach to the idea of time travel, 20 Mar 2012
By 
Ter (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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A nice approach to the idea of time travel. Happened by accident; quickly accepted by the main character - would he really have realised what was happening so quickly? Love the idea that there was a pattern to the time-steps, but again would it have been spotted so quickly? If the multiplier have been a lot larger than 12 then the story would not be there; much less and the story would be too slow - I wonder how long it took to arrive at a sensible figure? There were a few ambiguous parts to the book, but then what would you expect with a subject which leads itself directly to paradoxes? A statement near the end that many trips to the past had been made did not quite fit with the idea that the reverse trip could be either to a place or to a time but not to both. The final paradox of being a descendant of oneself needs a little thought! Good enjoyable book, but the end was a little brief.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read, fast and humorous, 4 Nov 2010
By 
M. Huijgen (Rotterdam, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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The Accidental Time Machine is a fun story to read. Joe Haldeman doesn't waste any time and dives right into the action which makes that this story grabs and holds your attention from the first page. It's full of humour and despite not lingering too much on the scenery the characters are very lifelike.

It's a time travel story but carefully tries not to break too many laws of nature. I would classify it as hard science fiction. It won't test your suspension of disbelieve too hard.

I rated this book four out of five because I'd like to have had more details about the technology but the story itself is a fantastic read. Buy it; you won't regret it.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Untimely Accident, 9 Nov 2007
By 
Mr. John Frank Herbert (Greenwich, London) - See all my reviews
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As a lover and devotee of time-travel yarns I looked forward to this latest Joe Haldeman book with some relish - let's face it, how could you not be drawn in by that sumptuous red cover of a hardback?

At the end of the book I found some difficulty in analysing it - it was as though I'd looked forward to a favourite meal, and though going through the process of devouring it, it was as if someone had switched the ingredients, and I'd eaten something else entirely. It wasn't so much an anti-climax, more like I was standing by the bonfire holding a damp squib!

Matt Fuller can only travel forwards, but no matter how far he travels, and he travels further than most that I can recall, the characters and beings that he meets are instantly forgettable, and there is a total absence of fear and foreboding in these journeys; the story is like a cigarette that's so mild that you've as good as packed up the habit anyway.

Oh dear! - this tale has put me off time-travel stories for at least a month, and that's saying something.
Sorry.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Story, 5 April 2013
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This review is from: The Accidental Time Machine (Kindle Edition)
A couple of months ago i start working my way though the SF Masterworks collection, and hence looking at Joe Haldemen.

The Accidental Time Machine was a lovely book with so great concepts. It took me along for the ride, and while it is a linier story, is it still a good story. A very easy read asking some interesting questions.

I wish maybe as the time travelling takes place there was a little more time to explore the various destinations ... but it keeps the writing crisp and well paced.

I will be reading more of Joe's books
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