The Man Who Folded Himself Paperback – 10 Jun 2003
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"Uncanny allegorical force . . . altogether most impressive."
About the Author
David Gerrold is the author of the Hugo and Nebula award-nominated "The Man Who Folded Himself" and "When HARLIE Was One", books that quickly established him in the hard science fiction genre during the 1970s. He also wrote "The Trouble with Tribbles" episode of Star Trek, voted the most popular Star Trek episode of all time, and is the author of the popular Star Wolf, Dingillian, and Chtorr series. He lives in Northridge, California.
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel was originally published in 1973 and Daniel came originally from 1975. The edition I read was updated by the author in 2003 and set in 2005, but the only differences to the text that I noticed were references to 9/11 and compact disks, which initially baffled me given the novel's age.
The only time travel book to come close to it is Caris O'Malley's wonderful The Egg Said Nothing. If you like this one, be sure to check that one out too.
And Dan runs into himself. He establishes a working partnership between Dan--his younger self--and Don--his older self--that each falls into whenever two versions of him meet. They begin by passing information to "edit out" actions with negative consequences, such as winning too much money and attracting attention. Dan trusts Don and his information from the future. Their relationship grows into a close friendship as they spend time together. Eventually it becomes a physical relationship. The implications of this step for Dan and his various versions of himself play out. This is very well thought out and skillfully presented. There is a moral message here about self-indulgence that does not descend into gender or sexual politics. It is a line nicely walked for such a nonlinear story.
My favorite parts of the book take place during a party that has many Dans and Dons in attendance, all with different levels of knowledge from their own and alternative timelines. The author keeps all of this straight through skillful writing and timely references to the journal that the protagonist(s) keep and quote from.Read more ›
I found the first quarter of the book to be very interesting and a real page turner. The second quarter I found to be rather dull, but it picked up for the second half. I had a vague idea where it was going but it was interesting to see how it all turned out. I would have liked to see a bit more adventure.
I can't help thinking that Dan rather wasted the potential of the time belt. Rather like a teenager who wins the lottery and spends the lot on "adult magazines".
And then there is his time-travel novel "The Man Who Folded Himself". Gerrold is a career-acolyte of Robert Heinlein: "The War Against the Chtorr" series is explicit homage to "Starship Troopers" while "The Man Who Folded Himself" parallels exactly Heinlein's classic "All You Zombies".
So what to make of it?
Gerrold starts promisingly in the style of "The Catcher in the Rye". Danny is the truculent, bored adolescent orphan being paid $1,000 a month by his 'Uncle Jim' to attend University. As he observes: "An apartment, a car and a thousand a week for keeping my nose clean."
Soon however Uncle Jim dies and Danny is left with a timebelt, a personal time machine. Now Gerrold leaves his promising story development to spend 7 technophilic pages describing this device to no advantage to the underlying narrative whatsoever. What did his editor think he was doing?
We soon revert to old-fashioned story-telling as Danny and his one-day-advanced doppelgänger go to the races and clean-up. Cue another techno-excursion into multiverse-ontology as Gerrold presents his solution to the obvious paradoxes: plot development stalls and dies at this new irruption of fan-boy geekdom. Eventually the story resumes although with less élan as Danny meets a female version of himself (Diana) from a remote alternate timeline and they produce a male boy. Well, you can see where it's all going to end up.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read this book as a teenager and thought (45 years' ago) that this was so futuristic. I'm afraid it hasn't impressed me now upon a re-read.Published 9 months ago by Janet Lowe
Bizarre, brilliant and mildly disturbing.
A riveting read that opens the door to the darker side of humanity. Uncomfortable at times, but well written and very emotive.
I'd seen this book mentioned as a great alternate universe book...tried to finish it but couldn't. Got bored.Published 15 months ago by Colmbie
Weird, well written and sort of original. I'm not sure what to make of a time traveller making out with himself but there you go. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Richard Griffiths
It was too easy to guess what was going to happen from the very early tone of the book. Eventually skip read through it and dumped it, even though it was the only book I had on... Read morePublished on 2 Jun. 2014 by PJ Online