''The Accidental Time Machine'' is a ScienceFiction book by Creator/JoeHaldeman about a man who [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin accidentally creates a time machine]] and has some quirky adventures with it. The main problem is that the time machine can only go into the future, and each time he uses it, the stretch of time he jumps is twelve times greater than the previous jump. He figures that sometime in the future, someone will create a time machine that can take him back home, so he continues traveling forward and exploring the various worlds in which he arrives.
----
!!This book has examples of:
* AIIsACrapshoot: The Christian dystopia is ruled by an evil AI.
* AuthorTract: The book contains rants about the evils of Christianity.
* BoltOfDivineRetribution: Carried out by the Jesus AI with {{Kill Sat}}s.
* CivilWar: What led to the formation of the theocracy.
* ChurchMilitant: Used to form a dystopia.
* ClarkesThirdLaw: The Jesus [=AI=] has powers that his contemporaries consider miraculous, but that Matt recognizes as [[LostTechnology old (and mostly forgotten) technology]] -- see BoltOfDivineRetribution above, for example.
** From Matt's point of view, the time machine defies any scientific attempt to explain it -- but superintelligent AIs in the future have worked it out. See also ScienceCannotComprehendPhlebotinum below.
* DividedStatesOfAmerica: By the 23rd century, the United States is divided down the middle, with sane Jews occupying the west and evil Christians occupying the east.
* {{Dystopia}}: The theocracy in the 23rd century.
* EternalEnglish: People in the fifth millennium speak oddly-accented but recognizable English, which is attributed to the invention of recording and movies making language more stable. Even more extreme is the character from 25,000 years in the future who speaks ''with a recognizable Australian twang'', although said character is an [=AI=] and could conceivably have downloaded an ancient language database.
* ForceFieldDoor: Pressor fields. Apparently, they exist even in Matt's own time.
* TheFundamentalist: Everyone in the dystopia.
* GeniusLoci: La introdices herself as Los Angeles. She the precises that she is the AI running the Los Angeles county.
* GodGuise: An AI pretends to be Jesus and may even believe it.
* GodIsEvil: This is the sentiment expressed by Matt, and certainly seems to be the case in the Christian dystopia if their AI in GodGuise counts.
* LatexSpaceSuit: Matt and Martha wear these at one point.
* NoBiologicalSex: Humans in the future will become like this.
* OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions: Future civilizations speaking disparagingly of the theocracy.
* ThePlague: A separate time traveler brought influenza into a future with no defenses against the disease.
* PornStash: Matt carts around a future laptop filled with porn. Eventually, Martha looks at it and mistakes it for sex education videos.
* ScienceCannotComprehendPhlebotinum: The time machine cannot be explained by 21st-century science. It takes a super-advanced AI from 2,000 years in the future to understand its basics, and an ''even more advanced'' being to actually re-build one. Said being compares Matt's creation of the machine to "The family dog accidentally starting the car. Not to be impolite".
* SchizoTech: Most people in the 23rd century theocracy have very low-tech lives, but not all technology has been forgotten.
--> What was the deal here? There was electricity and artificial intelligence for robots. There was an industrial base adequate for mass-producing Bibles and history books with color pictures. But most of the world was living in the nineteenth century, if that.
* ShoutOut:
** The first thing Matt uses to time travel in is an [[Franchise/BackToTheFuture old fashioned, rarely used automobile]].
** Matt comments that LA's ship is [[Series/DoctorWho bigger on the inside]].
** The future civilization 20,000 years in the future tried to [[JurassicPark bioengineer dinosaurs for use in an amusement park.]] It didn't work out well.
* ShownTheirWork: The author has a degree in astronomy, which makes his description of a graduate student's life very realistic.
* StableTimeLoop: Matt eventually travels back long before he left, and his great-great-grandson becomes Matt's annoying boss, without whose presence he never would have created the time machine.
* StayInTheKitchen: The dystopia's role for women. Matt doesn't like it.
* TechnoBabble: The explanation of how the time machine works is, [[WordOfGod by the author's admission]], pure make-believe with words like "graviton" and "brane" thrown in for flavor. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] to a point: the ''true'' explanation requires science beyond Matt's comprehension, and the expositor -- a super-intelligent future [=AI=] -- is giving him a dumbed-down version.
* {{Terraform}}: The moon has been made inhabitable in the year 300,000ish.
* ToTheFutureAndBeyond: The whole point of the book.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: The book starts in 2057, but most technological advancement is inconspicuous enough for the book to look like it's set very close to present day.
* WhateverHappenedToTheMouse: [[spoiler: Exactly where the million dollars came from (and the note that merely says ''Get in the car and go'') that bailed Matt out of jail in 2058 is never explained, as he and Martha end up dropped in 1898 and never create another time machine. Also, at no time does the novel mention Matt setting in place measures which would allow a descendant of his (who might conceivably [[RedHerring look at least a bit like Matt]]) to go the the law firm with the cashier's checks and note.]]
* WrittenByTheWinners: The theocracy's version of history is a bit different from the modern understanding.
----