The Psychology of Time Travel examines just that, taking us into the minds of various time travelers as they traverse across hundreds of years. There are so many aspects of time travel to consider and Mascarenhas tackles a few of them with great skill. Time travel isn’t some novel concept in this version of history, but a common, widely accepted practice. It starts as excitement from a close group of friends and eventually evolves (or devolves, depending on who you’re asking) into an enormous enterprise.
From the very beginning, Mascarenhas closely examines the mental ramifications of jetting to the future and witnessing its events. How would a person react to their own death? How would they react to the deaths of loved ones? Would their minds be able to handle the constant change in scenery and culture? Or would they simply flounder and fall apart, unsure of who they really are? As expected, the answers vary by traveller, but the concept itself was fascinating. So often, time travel is taken for granted in narratives, just a device used to make money from the future, change past events, or commit crimes. Here, it seems more real given the examination of how it actually affects a person. The Psychology of Time Travel is a deep dive into what it means to be a part of many different timelines.
The writing style is extremely accessible, and that makes the complex concepts much easier to digest. The characters are intriguing and strong, each harboring some kind of issue as a result of past, present, or future events. Many mysteries are pursued within the plot, including a murder and multiple coverups, but at its heart, the novel remains a character piece. Everything feels real, and that’s a testament to the author’s connection with the material. On a deeper level, we see the good and bad effect of travel on people. Some remain content, living their lives for good. Some fall apart gradually, succumbing to the psychological terrors of witnessing deaths and despair. Others become bitter and mean, quickly devolving into monsters. One thing remains evident by the end: travel through time and you’ll never be the same.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
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