ABSTRACT. James Gleick’s Time travel: a history (New York: Pantheon Books, 2016) is a major achievement, one of the best books of literary-cultural criticism yet written. In the following review essay we propose the reader a tour de force through the labyrinth of Gleick’s literary-and-cultural critical time-travel machine (his conceptual “timeship,” if we may call it that), with very swift, but extremely relevant incursions into what we take to be the most important stops along the journey. In the end, the reader cum conceptual time-traveler will arrive at a more healthy view of reality, having sorted out – through the myriad literary, cultural, social and historical situations, real and fictional, presented in the book – the fact that science proper must admit that what it offers is merely models of reality and not reality itself. Significantly, science-fiction writers have conversely shown more awareness of the fact that what they offer is a fiction and not reality. Apart from his interest in analyzing the very concept of time (not only the concept of time travel), the question of science versus science fiction is the main pole of interest in Gleick’s book, which we review and analyze in the context of literature and science.

Keywords: time; time travelers; time machines; fourth dimension; Universe Rigid / space-time continuum; Internet / space-time hypercontinuum; “the unending now”; time capsule; futurism

How to cite: Stroe MA (2019) James Gleick on time travel. Creativity 2(1): 291–303. doi:10.22381/C2120196

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Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
English Department,
The University of Bucharest, Romania

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