Every now and then you read a book that blurs the lines between genres, categorization, and explanation. Leave it to the fantastic writer Michael Crichton to create such a memorable novel! Set in both medieval Europe and contemporary United States, Timeline straddles science fiction and historical fiction as it blends time travel and centuries-old ruins into one entertaining story. Though Timeline isn’t my favorite book by Crichton, it is nevertheless well worth reading.
+ Blending genres. As previously mentioned, Timeline is unique in the way it seamlessly combines science fiction and historical fiction. Elements of each genre rely on the other to create this memorable story—take away one aspect and you would completely alter the quality of the novel. It reminds me of certain Doctor Who episodes when they go back in history and are taken aback by how different it is compared to what they expected it to be like. The message is the same: no matter how much we study history, we may never be able to truly understand how people lived before our time.
+ Attention to detail. As with all of Crichton’s books, the meticulous attention to detail in Timeline is remarkable. He actually makes you believe that such advanced time travel technology is possible—and might even be hiding in plain sight in our own society. His scientific theories (both fictional and actual) are fascinating and I can only imagine the amount of research about medieval times that had to be done in order to write this book.
+ Suspense. Crichton is the king of writing suspenseful, thrilling, engaging stories that keep you guessing until the very end. He is merciless when it comes to who dies and who survives, so you can never let yourself be lulled into a sense of comfort or ease. Who knows what might be lurking around the next corner? I was surprised by how frightening living in medieval times must have been!
Despite this novel’s strengths, I wouldn’t consider it my favorite book by Michael Crichton. I felt less invested in the characters than I did when reading Jurassic Park and Sphere, perhaps because there were so many of them. Timeline also seemed more plot-driven in comparison to his other books. Overall, I still enjoyed reading this page-turner and I can’t wait to read more by Michael Crichton!
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes, if they enjoy a) Michael Crichton’s other books, b) medieval history, and/or c) time travel. But I would definitely recommend other books by Crichton before this one.
What are your thoughts on Timeline? What’s your favorite book by Michael Crichton? Let me know in the comments section below!