By James Gleick

ISBN-10: 0307908798

ISBN-13: 9780307908797

From the acclaimed writer of The details and Chaos, here's a mind-bending exploration of time shuttle: its subversive origins, its evolution in literature and technological know-how, and its impact on our figuring out of time itself.

The tale starts off on the flip of the former century, with the younger H. G. Wells writing and rewriting the wonderful story that turned his first ebook and a world sensation: The Time Machine. It used to be an period while a number of forces used to be converging to transmute the human realizing of time, a few philosophical and a few technological: the electrical telegraph, the steam railroad, the invention of buried civilizations, and the perfection of clocks. James Gleick tracks the evolution of time commute as an concept that turns into a part of modern culture—from Marcel Proust to Doctor Who, from Jorge Luis Borges to Woody Allen. He investigates the inevitable looping paradoxes and examines the porous boundary among pulp fiction and sleek physics. ultimately, he delves right into a temporal shift that's unsettling our personal second: the immediate stressed global, with its all-consuming current and vanishing future.

(With a colour frontispiece and black-and-white illustrations throughout) 

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Example text

What’s not to understand? ” Indeed. Global culture has absorbed the tropes of time travel. ” People can work out his whole story just by looking at him. “Judging by his cool, calm demeanor and the fact that he was inhaling what looked like e-fumes from some kind of shiny black mecha-cigarette, I’m just going to assume this guy has journeyed here from hundreds of years in the future to apprehend a dangerous digi-convict of some kind,” says an onlooker. “Imagine his knowledge of future events. ” Others reckon his sunglasses hide advanced ocular cybernetics and that he’s traversing the space-time continuum armed with a pulse rifle or particle cannon.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. What do you mean by the beginning? —What is time? A measured portion of eternity. But everyone knows what time is. It was true then and it’s true now. Also no one knows what time is. Augustine stated this pseudoparadox in the fourth century and people have been quoting him, wittingly and unwittingly, ever since: What then is time? If no one asks me, I know. *2 Isaac Newton said at the outset of the Principia that everyone knew what time was, but he proceeded to alter what everyone knew.

Donald Barthelme suggests we see the writer as “the work’s way of getting itself written, a sort of lightning rod for an accumulation of atmospheric disturbances, a St. ” That may sound like a mystical metaphor or a bit of false modesty, but a lot of writers talk that way and they seem to mean it. Ann Beattie says Barthelme is giving away an inside secret: Writers don’t talk to nonwriters about being hit by lightning, being conduits, being vulnerable. Sometimes they talk that way to each other, though.

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Time Travel: A History by James Gleick


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