The Psychology of Time Travel is an amazing book and one that will be in my top ten for the year. I know it is a bold statement, but, this is the best book I have read this year.
Kate somehow sucks us into the time travellors world and the mysteries surrounding this. We initially follow the four founding members of the time travellors group, however as we go through the book they do not remain together and take very different paths.
“Odette had failed to stop the crime, and that made her fear for her prospects. But she had done her best and answered honesty. She had to hope this was enough to get her the job,”
“She didn’t meet another soul in the last few streets. A police siren distantly rose and fell. The museum was locked up when she arrived. Had Margaret chosen this place because of its quiet emptiness, the low likelihood that they would be seen? The venue was a strange one.”
During the story, we follow the investigation of a murder that has taken place. There is a complex web of people and motives through the book, but this slowly unravels and we find out a lot about each of the founding members back story.
Each of the women have complex life stories and go back and forth. One of the women, Barbara, suffered from “mental health” and this was used as an excuse and not dealt with in my mind appropriately she was just pushed out and not spoken with again. But, in my mind I questioned whether she was actually suffering from mental health problems bearing in mind the time travelling she was doing and the risks she was putting herself in, the risks they were all putting themselves in with time travelling.
I simply adored this book, initially, when I read it was about time travel I was not enthusiastic, however, once I started reading the first chapter, that was it I was completely sucked in and I did not want the book to end and I tried to make the most of every last page and word last a tiny bit longer.
This is a must read and a must for your book shelf.
Kate and Head of Zeus have kindly provided an extract for you to enjoy.
“‘We’ve done it,’ Barbara said. ‘You bloody brilliant women. We’ve done it.’
They hugged, their voices mingling as they spoke over each other, and Barbara’s vision blurred with tears. She was so grateful – for Lucille’s superluminal research, and Grace’s thermodynamics, and Margaret’s utter, unshakeable conviction that they would succeed. The team were pioneers. They were going to be the first people to travel through time.
‘This occasion calls for cigars!’ Lucille said. ‘What’s on the menu this evening?’
Barbara wiped her eyes. ‘I’m afraid all that’s in the larder is sardines and baked beans. With evaporated milk and tinned peaches for dessert.’‘All lovingly decanted,’ said Grace.
‘Speaking of feasts,’ Margaret said, ‘we should give Patrick a last supper. Check his digestion’s shipshape before dissection.’
‘No!’ Barbara exclaimed involuntarily.
‘No?’ Margaret repeated. ‘Why shouldn’t we feed him?’ ‘Feed him – but don’t dissect him.’
‘We must, darling,’ said Grace. ‘The sooner we check for internal injuries, the sooner we can plan human trials.’
Grace was right, and Barbara struggled to reply because she was embarrassed by her own sentimentality. She’d conducted her share of dissections over the years. However, none of those animals had achieved anything as wondrous as this rather dim, rumpled rabbit: he was the first living creature to ever travel through time. A summary execution horrified her.
‘We have all the other rabbits for replication experiments,’ Barbara said when she found her words. ‘There’s going to be lots of dissections to choose from. Patrick doesn’t need to be one of them.’
‘Actually,’ Margaret said, ‘I can see the benefits to keeping him alive. The press will be interested in the first rabbit time traveller. You know how gaga the public go over animals.’
Press coverage would make it easier to attract funding. Up till now they had got by on a few small grants. They had been helped, too, by Margaret’s wealth. But they would require much greater investment to continue. Clearly Margaret thought Patrick could play a small part in winning the money they needed.
‘I suppose he’d make a sweet lab mascot,’ Grace said.
‘So Patrick lives,’ Lucille concluded.
Patrick swiftly became Barbara’s pet. She took responsibility for feeding and watering him, and for changing his bedding. He came to recognise her voice. His personality turned out to be a playful and affectionate one. He’d even sit on her lap if called, which gave her quiet satisfaction. Everyone recognised that Patrick belonged to Barbara. But when she was forced to leave the lab – before the completion of their project – she was not allowed to take Patrick with her.
All four of the pioneers were still working together when the military agreed to subsidise tests with humans. Most of the money that flowed through was spent on fuel. The pioneers’ small prototype machine had minimised fuel requirements by using existing wormholes, but this cheap, crude technology was only suited to small inanimate objects – or expendable travellers like Patrick – because the risks of malformation were high. Safe time travel was more energy intensive.
Money was also allocated to labour. Transporting people through time required a machine the size of a tennis court. A fleet of engineers came to the Fells to assist with the build. They sheltered in a circle of caravans, while the pioneers continued to sleep in the lab. One of the engineers mentioned to Barbara that down in the village, the locals were convinced the time travel project was a ruse: the engineers were building a nuclear weapons site, and the secrecy was meant to prevent demonstrations. The idea of a functioning time machine seemed too absurd to believe. Barbara was faintly amused by this, but didn’t dwell on it, because the villagers seemed so remote from her day-to-day work. All the world seemed distanced from her. She knew Margaret cared a great deal about public perceptions, and was driven, in part, by a need to make her mark before everyone. Whereas Barbara was excited by the prospect of time travel itself, and loved her colleagues because they were going to help her achieve it. Her life had shrunk to the size of the lab, but she felt it was about to grow – grow as far as the time machine allowed her to travel. It was easy then, to throw herself into the complex, grinding mathematical work the team needed to make their project succeed. It was easy to forget to rest, or to eat, until the others made her. Three in the morning would roll round and she would still be at her desk. Grace would pad across the workroom, her satin eye mask high on her head – the one Lucille had adorned with curly eyelashes in permanent ink – and she would implore:
‘Come to bed, Bee.’
‘In a minute.’
There was always another minute needed, so Grace would have to drag her by the arm into the dorm. There were four iron beds, but once the frosts started and their breath misted indoors as well as out, the women doubled up for warmth like babes in the wood. Often Bee didn’t sleep even once she was under the covers because her mind raced with her work. But it was comforting to feel Lucille’s arm slung over her in slumber, or to hear Grace’s soft breath. ”
About the Book
Time travel is still in it’s infancy. It’s hard to predict what the effects on body and mind might be……
Four female scientists invent a time travel machine in 1967. They are on the cusp of fame, but then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril…….
Ruby knows her Granny Bee was the scientist that went mad, but never talked about it. Until a message arrives from the near future, forcing Bee to face her past……
A few months later, Odette discovers the dead body of an elderly woman in a locked room was it murder? Or suicide? With no-one willing to give her any answers, Odette sets out to uncover the truth herself……
About the Author
Kate is a half-Irish, half-Seyshellois midlander. She has worked as a copywriter, an assistant psychologist, and a bookbinder. She lives with her husband in a small terraced house which she is slowly filling with Sindy dolls. This is her first novel.
The Psychology of Time Travel is published by Head of Zeus