Title: The Psychology of Time Travel
Author: Kate Mascarenhas
Published / Release Date: Feb 12, 2019
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Mystery & Thriller, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★☆
The Psychology of Time Travel opens in 1967 with four women—Margaret, Grace, Lucille and Barbara—who we’ll learn would be the pioneers of time travel. They are first shown tinkering with machines and calculations; checking the vitals of small animals before and after they’ve gone through their time machine to ensure they’re ok.
Before showing their invention to the public, the pioneers decided to test it themselves. This ended with Barbara having a breakdown, and therefore exiling her to prevent further humiliation to the pioneers and their work.
Fifty years later, we follow Odette through a museum; following an odour to its basement which door is bolted from the inside. At the sight of a pool of blood on the floor, Odette pushed the door open and found a dead body with multiple gunshot wounds.
Who is the victim? Who is the killer? And how did the killer (if there was one) managed to escape when the only way out was bolted shut from the inside?
Mascarenhas’ novel is deeply rooted in the idea of Time travel. We are presented with a list of terminologies with their meanings. We are given light to what could possibly happen to a time traveler’s mental state, and the steps or tests to be desensitized to death and/or the idea of it. Also, in this novel, time travel is widely known. It’s something normal. The Conclave is a whole different “company” which has their own set of laws, and is outside the jurisdiction of the government. Family members of those who work at the Conclave are aware they would eventually be interacting with the future versions of them.
I was having a good time trying to figure out who the deceased was. I had notes even if there wasn’t much to go on. I am aware that with mystery novels there is always the big reveal. It can range from who did it, who died, the reason why they died. Here’s the thing: how the person died was pretty cool. However, finding out who the dead person was was a bit anticlimactic.
The Psychology of Time Travel also allowed us to be time travellers ourselves by giving us chapters bouncing between the past and present. There is an issue within the story relating to the mental state of time travellers after they’ve travelled through different time periods. It is believed that at some point too much time travel can mess with a person’s mind that they would mix up which fact belongs in the correct year. Having to get a glimpse of that by reading through this is a nice touch.