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The Best Time Travel Fiction

Updated on May 4, 2014

What is Time Travel Fiction

Time Travel Fiction is a Sub-Genre of Science Fiction. It has been around since the 1800's.

Its subject matter is that of a person or persons traveling Backward or Forward in time using a machine or by other unexplained, natural events.

Best Early Fiction

Although the Genre became more popular during the 1800's there are many great works that predate that time. The idea goes back to around 700 BC and Hindu Mythology.

The Mahabharata

This book of Hindu Mythology written around 700 BC contains a story about King Revaita, who travels to a different world to meet the creator Brahma. On his return to earth the King is shocked to learn that many ages have passed.

Memoirs of the Twentieth Century by Samuel Madden (1733)

In this story the main character receives some letters from his Guardian Angel that are from the future.

Comparing the Stories

Each of these stories use Time Travel but in different ways.

In A Christmas Carol the main character is just an observer and cannot interact with the past, present or future he is transported to by the Ghosts. There is also no sigh of a physical machine. Each of the scenes he sees is designed to make him realize the errors of his ways and make him become a better person.

In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court the main character is transported back to the 6th Century and the court of King Arthur after taking a blow to the head.

In The Time Machine the time traveler builds a machine and travels to the future. When he come home he tells friends of his travels and shows them the machine.


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843)

A ghost story that tells a tale about a miserly man who is show the error of his ways by on old dead friend and three other ghosts who transport him through time.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain (1889)

A burlesque romance story detailing what happened when a engineer from Connecticut is accidentally transported back to the 6th Century.

The Time Machine by H.G Wells (1895)

This is probably one of the best known Time Travel stories of all time. It is most definitely one of the most well known from the 1800's along with A Christmas Carol.

Comparing the Stories

Both Armageddon and Outlander use atmospheric triggers for the time travel element. The main difference is the direction of travel. Armageddon going forward and Outlander going backward.

Pebble in the Sky shows what the author thought could happen when there is a nuclear accident. It also gives an idea of what a radioactive future would be like.

Pebble in the Sky could be said to be along the same lines as Armageddon if the gas in the cave was radioactive then the same effect could be to blame for the time traveling. Especially since both stories send the main character into the future.

The Outlander series is a long story and some of the books are pretty daunting at first look.


Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan (1928/9)

After comming into contact with a strange gas inside a Cave, Anthony Rogers is transported to the year 2419. Later became Buck Rogers.

Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov (1950)

A lab accident sends an unwitting bystander into the future

Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon (1991-2014)

A great series of books that crosses the Genre's. They are Historical Romances that involve time travel. The stories revolve around a Nurse from the 20th century who travels back to 18th century Scotland where she finds love and adventure.

Timeline by Michael Crichton (1999)


The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter (2000)

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett (2001)

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (2003)

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer (2008)

Time Riders by Alex Scarrow (2010-2014)


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    • brutishspoon profile image

      Amy 3 years ago from Darlington, England

      your not wrong there I was at my mams the other day and she has three of them. One of which is bigger than the Lord of the Rings in full. They are a great series and there is another book due out this year.

    • Amanda108 profile image

      Amanda 3 years ago from Michigan, United States

      I hadn't heard of some of these! My mom reads the Outlander series. I don't know whether I should or not - it sounds good, but I've got so many books on my to-be-read list and the Outlander books are so long it would take me years to get through all of them while still reading other books at the same time!

      Anyway, nice hub, voted up! :-)

    • brutishspoon profile image

      Amy 3 years ago from Darlington, England

      Thanks for the comment Meisjunk. I knew there was some early work but until I started researching I did not know that the idea was as old as it is. I'm in the middle of reading The Time Travelers Wife at the moment.

    • Meisjunk profile image

      Jennifer Kessner 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

      The Mahabharata! I know about that story because of The Little Princess. I looked it up at one point to see if it was a real story that she was telling the other little girls.

      Time traveling fascinates me. Thanks so much for sharing this! I had no idea that it went back so far.