Accidental Time Machine

When reading do you do any self-reflection? Do you take the time to look at your life and see what similarities there are between situations in the book and in your life? Well-known writers like George Orwell can warn us about the impact of our decisions but there are many more things we can use Science Fiction to study.

    The Accidental Time Machine has been on my stack of books for a while now. I have not had much time to read physical books so I have been listening to more and more audiobooks these past few years. Although much more expensive there are enough sales to let me get titles like this with buy-one-get-one deals and other savings piled on. 

    This book starts with the reader getting a look into the life of an MIT student that is trying to juggle his research and personal life. This is the life of our main character Mark Fuller. We quickly see the dedication he has to his research which causes him to get into an argument with and lose his girlfriend. If this is not enough he soon learns his contract with the lab is not being renewed. With no girlfriend and no job Mark Fuller is in a pretty bad situation. Plus his doctoral thesis is terrible.

    It is this part of the book that forces the reader to think about how they are juggling their priorities. Not only had he lost his girlfriend but by focusing on the research he had allowed himself to fall behind on his Ph.D. and allowed himself to write a thesis for his Physics doctorate that lacks substantial scientific evidence.

    As I watched Mark Fuller struggle to balance his life I could not help but think about how I am balancing my own life. Finding ways to get work done for different groups, spending time with family, and still finding time to spend with a girlfriend can be hard. I think watching Mark Fuller struggle with this helps the reader start to connect with this character, which sets the stage for more comparisons later and eventually helps the reader examine his or herself more acutely.

    When a measurement instrument starts acting strange Mark Fuller takes the opportunity to study time travel. This quickly creates some funny moments until it is time for him to travel with the device. When he travels he finds himself having to explain driving murder victim’s car with no wheels into an intersection. Our protagonist then “jumps” again and ends up in a future where the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is replaced with the Massachusetts Institute of Theology. 

    I read a lot of science fiction and I find that many times the author uses the elements of science fiction to help the reader analyze a situation that may involve the reader without the reader reacting how he or she would normally. I have read many books where this is the case with politics or diplomacy however this book looks at religion in an interesting way. 

    By using a character that the reader already feels a close relation to the author is able to address things that a reader may not be willing to analyze directly.

    Placing a theoretical physicist in a place where even the word technology is banned creates some really interesting interactions. I am going to leave out specific details because I encourage you to read the book for yourself however I do want to say this book does a great gob of looking at religion and the effect it has on a society and its resulting technology.

    From this, the book then starts to look at power and how the opportunity for more power has huge effects on events. The fear of losing power creates conflict and then we see that when the threat of losing power is no longer in effect the conflict disperses. 

    The last part of the book looks at what it means to be happy. It is here Mark Fuller changes his priorities and we see how him opening his eyes to humanity in a different way has drastically changed the way he leads his life.

I think that this book is a great example of how Science Fiction can help give us the tools to analyze our selfs in ways we would normally resist. If you have an open mind then this book can help you think about what is really important in your life. So next time you find yourself reading something that looks at life in a new perspective take a moment to think. Does this apply to me too?

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