main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Literature: The Accidental Time Machine
The Accidental Time Machine is a Science Fiction book by Joe Haldeman about a man who 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:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Christian dystopia is ruled by an evil AI.
  • Author Tract: The book contains rants about the evils of Christianity.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: Carried out by the Jesus AI with Kill Sats.
  • Civil War: What led to the formation of the theocracy.
  • Church Militant: Used to form a dystopia.
  • Divided States of America: By the 22nd 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 22nd century.
  • Force-Field Door: Pressor fields. Apparently, they exist even in Matt's own time.
  • The Fundamentalist: Everyone in the dystopia.
  • God Guise: An AI pretends to be Jesus and may even believe it.
  • God Is Evil: This is the sentiment expressed by Matt, and certainly seems to be the case in the Christian dystopia if their AI in God Guise counts.
  • Latex Space Suit: Matt and Martha wear these at one point.
  • No Biological Sex: Humans in the future will become like this.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Future civilizations speaking disparagingly of the theocracy.
  • The Plague: A separate time traveler brought influenza into a future with no defenses against the disease.
  • Porn Stash: Matt carts around a future laptop filled with porn. Eventually, Martha looks at it and mistakes it for sex education videos.
  • Stable Time Loop: Matt eventually travels back long before he left, and his grandson becomes Matt's annoying boss, without whose presence he never would have created the time machine.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: The dystopia's role for women. Matt doesn't like it.
  • Terraform: This is done to the moon at one point.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: 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.
  • Written by the Winners: The theocracy's version of history is a bit different from the modern understanding.

    Creator/Joe HaldemanThe Forever War
The Yiddish Policemen's UnionNebula AwardAnnals Of The Western Shore
Across the UniverseScience Fiction LiteratureThe Acts of Caine
AccelerandoLiterature of the 2000sThe Action Hero's Handbook

alternative title(s): The Accidental Time Machine
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy