What would you do with another you? Would you become friends or lovers? What if there were infinite versions of yourself and what are the implications of that possibility? Dan is about to find out now that he has his uncle’s timebelt. This strange novel will take you to places unexpected and wonderful. Time travel at its best!
The Man Who Folded Himself is a science fiction novel written by David Gerrold and first published in 1973 by Random House.
Dan is given a “timebelt” from his uncle and soon discovers that he can move anywhere in time with the device. An older version of himself shows up and takes him to the horse races. From there he gallivants across space and time, meeting other versions of himself and trying to figure out the nature of time and existence in general. What he learns along the way is not what he expects.
Praise and critiques:
This book starts off slow, and at first goes into some pretty basic time travel stuff that you would expect: gambling, looking at newspapers etc. But the predictability ends there. At this point I have to warn that this review will be a spoiler, there is simply no other way to discuss this story. As with most time travel stories things start getting fuzzy when the main character starts running into other versions of themselves. The character, Dan (or other iterations) grows increasingly lonely because of his ability to travel through time, and begins to take solace in spending time with other versions of him, eventually even developing a full on sexual relationship. I don’t want to give away too much, but this scenario ends up going to some pretty strange places. And the book is emotional, I even cried at the end. This book was deep and challenging on many levels and Gerrold pulls it off masterfully. Time travel can be difficult to read (and write) as paradoxes pop up everywhere, but Gerrold navigates these problems and uses them to propel the plot in beautiful ways. Probably one of the best science fiction books I have ever read. A masterpiece!
Fans of time travel stories and strange narratives will love this book.
5 of 5, absolutely loved this book!