Customer Reviews for

The Accidental Time Machine

Average Rating 4
( 50 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

interesting

Time travel is a common theme in science fiction, providing authors an opportunity to explore multiple future scenarios and the possible consequences of moving back and forth in time. In this book, the author, an MIT professor, tells of a graduate lab assistant who disc...
Time travel is a common theme in science fiction, providing authors an opportunity to explore multiple future scenarios and the possible consequences of moving back and forth in time. In this book, the author, an MIT professor, tells of a graduate lab assistant who discovers that an apparatus he has built for quantum research travels into the future every time he activates it. Moreover, it takes anything connected to it along and each jump is exponentially further into the future. Unfortunately, not much is made of the possible impact of this travel (although in one future the student discovers that someone else has taken credit for his "discovery") and the imagined futures are dreadfully dull. The protagonist spends way too much time in a future where religion has become accepted as science, including at MIT. Haldeman fails to use his MIT connections to to explore the quantum physics that could theoretically make time travel possible.

posted by Maria_of_amor on August 20, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Don't waste your time!!

I started skimming the book after several chapters just to get through it faster and almost stopped reading altogether more than once. Fairly unimaginative. The protagonist is annoying and self-righteous. His "adventures" are run of the mill at best. I expected some hum...
I started skimming the book after several chapters just to get through it faster and almost stopped reading altogether more than once. Fairly unimaginative. The protagonist is annoying and self-righteous. His "adventures" are run of the mill at best. I expected some humor based on the book's description and title, but the only thing you'll laugh at is the idea that someone actually bothered to publish this book.

posted by 2022868 on October 7, 2009

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  • Posted November 10, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A fast-paced (maybe too fast) story, that begs the question, "What would you do with an accidental time machine?"

    Just finished this book. I don't know what to think of it just yet. What I liked: <BR/><BR/>1) The characters - Matt, the protagonist, is interesting to watch and though maybe he's not as credible as I'd like (I just couldn't believe some of the choices he made or the motives behind those choices), he does evoke enough empathy for me to care about him and want to follow him on his adventures. <BR/><BR/>2) The humor and wit - this is a fun read. The language is fresh and clever. Quick example: "He put enough sugar and cream in the coffee to call it breakfast." I love that!<BR/><BR/>3) The premise - this is a giveaway. I like any time travel story. But, this was interesting in that the machine only works in one direction - forward. What would you do with a machine that only jumps forward exponentially in time? Stop after one jump or keep going forward in time with only the faintest bit of hope that you could go back? I already know what I would do, which is not at all what the protagonist in this story does. <BR/><BR/>4) The worlds Haldeman creates (and by "world" I mean future Earths)- what amazes me the most in sci-fi and fantasy stories is the sheer creativity involved in imagining up a world that doesn't exist, and Haldeman's worlds are interesting. They do have a slight manufactured feel to them, or maybe just an under-developed feel. They're not as wholly engrossing as I would have liked. We get enough of each world to understand it, but not to fully appreciate it. I think part of the reason is that this book as it is is too small for such an awesome idea. It could be another hundred pages, and I think Haldeman is talented enough to fill those new pages with the same quick-paced, entertaining and thought-provoking writing as the rest of the book. <BR/><BR/><BR/>What troubled me: <BR/><BR/>1) The science - It wasn't easy, and I felt that not understanding it hampered my understanding of the plot as a whole. There were some passages that I read over and over (and over and over and over) just trying to understand. Maybe it's just me (and for my ego's sake, I hope it's not), but I don't think Haldeman broke down the science enough. After posting this I intend to immediately scour the internet looking for some explanations. <BR/><BR/><BR/>Overall, what I liked about this book outnumber what I didn't like (although point #4 is kind of mixed), so I recommend it. And if you followed the science, then kudos to you. Now please explain it to me...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting but a little ridiculous

    It is an okay book. I wouldnt buy it, but maybe check it out of a library or borrow it. It was interesting and then it got ridiculous towards the end. It ended well, but i wouldnt call it exciting. I found it a better read than the author's Forever War. I really dont know why this author has received any awards. I have read several books that were alot more thrilling.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2009

    a nice read..

    It wasn't particularly deep or original, but I found it interesting and enjoyed the read for the most part from beginning to end.

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  • Posted November 25, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing but blah

    The basic concept is interesting, however, the story itself is missing something. Matt's decision to go so far with his time machine is surprising but obviously integral to what happens. I'm not sure I find it terribly plausible. While some interesting futures are presented, it would have been nice to have seen him take more time to explore them. The ultimate resolution seemed a bit contrived, and poorly explained. While the point seems to have been the adventure, the adventure itself is so rushed that it's unsatisfying. There is a definitely significant room for improvement here.

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