Five Books About…

Five Great Time Travel Stories You May Not Know About

Museums! Time travel! Robot kitties! We’re excited to show off the cover for The Time Museum, a new graphic novel from Matthew Loux—publishing February 2017 with First Second. Meet Delia and her new friends at the Time Museum’s internship program below!

Plus, Matthew Loux shares five of his favorite time travel stories, from the classic tale of a 19th Century engineer who modernized medieval England to a manga about a very cute unicorn…

From the catalog copy:

The internship program at the Time Museum is a little unusual. For one thing, kids as young as twelve get to apply for these prestigious summer jobs. And as for the applicant pool… well, these kids come from all over history.

When Delia finds herself working at the Time Museum, the last thing she expects is to be sent on time-traveling adventures with an unlikely gang of kids from across the eons. From a cave-boy to a girl from the distant future, Delia’s team represents nearly all of human history! They’re going to need all their skills for the challenge they’ve got in store… defending the Time Museum itself!

TimeMuseum-cover


 

A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

Hank Morgan is transported from modern day Connecticut to King Arthur’s court, 1300 years in the past. In a very straightforward take on time travel, Hank must first figure out how to save his own life in this unfamiliar era. Once he succeeds by essentially claiming he is a wizard, he sets out to change the course of history using his advanced knowledge. What I love about this book is that despite being written around 130 years ago, it is still very humorous and surprisingly modern-feeling. It is also relatable in how it explores the ideas of someone with a modern education and sensibilities would react to a less advanced time and then try and reshape it, based on his own ideals. I think in most current time travel stories the focus would likely be on the future consequences of his actions, but this book deviates from the basic ‘what would I do in this time’ plotline.

 

The Time Machine Did It by John Swartzwelder

A slightly incompetent private detective is hired to stop a thief, only to discover his method of stealing is through the use of a time machine. The author John Swartzwelder, known for writing some of the most famous and classic episodes of The Simpsons, is allowed to go all out with his zany and almost random humor in this short novel. Both a satire of crime noir and sci-fi, Swartzwelder is able to not only play off of both rather tired genre tropes, but to bring the humor to an almost irreverent level. What’s best about this novel is how the action is always tempered by the main character’s oddly casual perspective on everything, which ranges from dull, impulsive victimhood, even though he’s mildly accepting of the craziness around him.

 

Simulation Bleed by Martin Millar

For something new and different, I recommend the ongoing web serial, Simulation Bleed. The writing of Martin Millar has been a long-time favorite of mine, and his unique take on fantasy is always a welcome change. He combines the magical world with elements of the everyday and urban subculture, and the result is quite exciting. This story concerns a psychic, a 4,000-year old woman, an ex-intelligence agent, and a hostile fairy as they fight flying snakes while attempting to track down a mysterious time traveler. They attend 1970s punk shows, grapple with obsessive-compulsive disorder, participate in group therapy, and discuss the finer points on how to eat a Kit Kat bar. There’s also plenty of battling flying snakes with swords. It’s a fun and wild read that is still ongoing. I can’t wait to see where he goes to next.  His other books; The Good Fairies of New York, the Thraxas series, and the Lonely Werewolf Girl series are all unique and enjoyable.

 

Unico by Osamu Tezuka

Written and illustrated by the classic Japanese ‘God of Manga’ Osamu Tezuka, Unico is the story of a small, magical, and very cute unicorn that is sent away to different times by an angry goddess. Beautifully illustrated in full color, Unico is a sweet episodic take on love, rejection, power, desire and many other human reactions to this innocent creature’s magic. Much of Tezuka’s work feels in the vein of a serial or even a soap opera as does Unico. Switching from era to era is both fun to explore but also visually exciting.  At first glance, this might seem like it would appeal only to children, but there is a depth to these stories that only Tezuka can evoke.

 

We Can Fix It! by Jess Fink

This comic is a lighthearted and sometimes sexy take on introspection, featuring not only the attempt to stop your younger self from making young person mistakes but to question why your childhood misadventures bother you so much that you’re trying change them in the first place. I enjoyed Fink’s frankness in exploring her past selves, her critiques of them, and also her doubts and vulnerabilities, which show up even in the bold time traveling version of herself. Not only is it very funny, it is poignant, which isn’t always an easy mix. I almost feel like you can plainly see the story’s evolution from the basic gag that probably started this idea into its thoughtful result. That isn’t a criticism, because it really takes you for the ride in a very natural way.

Matthew Loux is the author and artist of Sidescrollers and the five-volume Salt Water Taffy series published by Oni Press. Sidescrollers was placed on the 2008 YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens list, and in 2009 Salt Water Taffy was placed on the Texas Library Association’s prestigious Maverick list. Matthew also illustrated the graphic novel F-Stop and the board book Good Night, Gabbaland based on the Nick Jr. television show Yo Gabba Gabba. He resides in Brooklyn.

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