The Complete Time Traveler
A Tourists Guide to the Fourth Dimension
by Howard J. Blumenthal, Dorthy F. Curley and Brad Williams
© 1989 and 2038


A fascinating compendium of time travel knowledge that is well written and informative. While the book was written tongue-in-cheek, the authors are no less serious about their topic than if it was written in 2038 as the copyright claims. The book covers a number of practical considerations for travelling in time including bureaucratic wrangling, period clothing and customs as well as operation of various modes of time travel. Divided into 6 chapters with illustrations covering the concepts of time and time travel, time machines themselves, rules and regulations, travel basics, destinations, and finally a section of frequently asked questions. The appendix includes a glossary, an overview of time travel literature, and a listing of time travel organizations.  


The Complete Time Traveller in addition to being a humorous look at a world where time travel is commonplace, it can also be a valuable resource to writers of time travel genre. From the mechanics of time travel to providing writers with considerations such as making sure you know the time period, both the popular myth and the reality are well illustrated in this compendium.

In discussing the practical considerations of time travel, the authors are careful to point out that not all history is as rosy as Hollywood would have you believe and that travelling in time is not for the faint of heart. Never mind period clothing and how uncomfortable it might be to have to wear such archaic devices as corsets or armour, the authors are quick to delve into such delicate topics as personal hygiene and the possibility of having to attend a public bath, or visit a common outhouse with two or more holes.

While itís not uncommon to take a vacation in a foreign land where you are unfamiliar with the language, customs, food and even local dress, standing out as a tourist may have its disadvantages (like getting charged more for a cab fare or a coffee at the locale cafť) itís unlikely to be cause for alarm. Unfortunately when visiting a different time period there is no room for error. From clothing to knowledge of the current affairs of the time can be critical in staying in character and to be kept from being seen as an eccentric or worse a lunatic to be locked up.

The guide is currently out of print. I found my copy a couple of years ago through an online used book seller.


Review Posted: 2003-08-11

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