Title: The Psychology of Time Travel
Author: Kate Mascarenhas
Genre: Science fiction
Format: Kindle e-book
Published: By Head of Zeus on August 9th, 2018
ISBN13: 9781788540100 (UK hardcover edition)
Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review
1967: Four female scientists invent a time-travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril.
2017: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future–a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady.
2018: When Odette discovered the body, she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, flesh. But when the inquest fails to answer any of her questions, Odette is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?
The title itself was enough to intrigue me and the synopsis sold me on the story. I didn’t have too high of an expectation though, as I tend to with ARCs.
The characters were my least favourite part of the book for me personally. I didn’t really connect with Ruby as a character even though she was realistic. I much preferred Granny Bee and Odette’s narrations. However, I really loved the amount of diversity in this book. It features a unique f/f romance and has several characters of colour.
I also enjoyed the combination of sci-fi and mystery in the book. Although one has to suspend their disbelief with regard to the actual science elements as it doesn’t try to explain how time paradoxes are dealt with and such, it does have an intriguing concept. This can easily be read by anyone without an advanced scientific understanding, which is another plus point. That said, the ending was a bit too tidy for my taste.
I think is the best part of the book is that it discusses mental health spanning across several years. This of course comes from the nature of the story and I liked that rather than go the traditional sci-fi route with a time travel and murder mystery narrative, it chose to focus heavily on what it means to be mentally fit and employment for mentally ill persons. There is definitely a reflection of the awful attitudes that existed towards mental health in out past throughout the narrative but it’s so cleverly challenged in a ‘show don’t tell’ way because of the different perspectives we follow. Of course I can’t personally speak for the representation but the author has a professional background in psychology, so I thought it was very well researched and put together. Also, this book is #ownvoices for the bipolar rep.
Overall, this book has an interesting idea which was executed very well and truly stood out to me in terms of its content from other sci-fi reads.
I would highly recommend it for sci-fi fans looking for a read that veers towards contemporary and a refreshing time travel story. I also think this book would fit contemporary fans who prefer some substance in their stories and looking to branch out towards sci-fi. For the music, I’d recommend some sci-fi soundtracks, my favourite being Interstellar, of course. Indulge in some British food like scones and biscuits with tea along with this book.
Do you read science fiction? If so, which is your favourite and if not, what about it puts you off? Let me know in the comments section below.