Timeline, The Book

So I just finished reading the Michael Chrichton novel, Timeline and when it was over, I was speechless.

True, it had some, well, alot of profanity, and 1357-style violence, but other than that, it was astounding. In my opinion, this is better than Jurassic Park.

The Story is about a group of young archeologist who must find their professor in 100-Years-War France… within 37 hours.

I love how Chrichton goes over the science of his fictional inventions. (Quantum mechanics, anyone? :confused: )

Amazon Link.

Chrichton also had a note after the end stating that the whole idea was complete fiction and only remotely based on fact :wink:

Personally, I liked the book. I was also quite satisfied with the movie. True, the movie wasn’t anything spectacular, but they didn’t completely mess the thing up (ahem Matrix: Revolutions). It was nice seeing the book on the screen, although if you haven’t read the book, I can understand why you wouldn’t think much of the movie - its one of those movies that you have to have read the book to appreciate.

For you purists out there, yeah, of course they left things out in the movie… think of it this way: movies are rarely over 2 hours (the average American attention span). It’s impossible to cram every single event in the novel into a 2, 3 hour movie and still make it watchable. Overall, I think they did a good job (except, of course, for the casting of that stupid professor’s son actor… I can understand why he looks like someone from Dawson’s Creek, but the guy’s just a terrible actor rant rant rant…)

I read the book quite some time ago (I think when I was in 8th grade) and I really enjoyed it then. I thought the physics allusions added alot to the book. My parents who also read it saw the movie and felt it was good becuase it stuck to the book, but thought the acting was poor, so I am not sure I will spare the expense to go and see it myself. Perhaps I’ll just reread the book instead.

I agree that the book was very good. It’s my favorite by of Chrichton’s works. It was well paced, had great plot turns, and I loved the medieval setting and storyline.

However, if you want a really good read dealing with history, technology, and the future, read Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. That should be on every FIRST member’s reading list, if not already read.

Having seen the movie, I’m not inclined to read the book, even though I’ve heard only good things about it. Aside from some idiotic and shallow characters (Chris Hughes, the Professor, the Physicist/Archaeologist, the Marines), which are to be expected in a movie based on a book, there are a few errors that are so painful to listen to in terms of the science in the movie, and the time-travel premise. Also, the acting is pretty mediocre and the characters don’t have any consistent traits. Battle cinematography is pretty neat, but the rest of it was bad.

What got me the most was probably the huge errors made. A few examples are how the lady is hanged and is shown to be the lover of Mr. One Ear (the Scottish guy) in the same piece of history. There are also huge cause and effect problems; they smash through the wall only because they knew they did it in the past from seeing it in their present (I could ignore this if it were the only such error, because that’s common to movies and shows with time-travel). At one point it says the DNA isn’t put back together properly after too many times through the Discombobulator. Is that supposed to explain the ‘slices’ in people? Apparently everyone is converted to electrons, which by the way makes absolutely no sense. Maybe this is why they say the ‘molecular level’ referring to the electrons. Then that annoying physicist that hangs out with archaeologists exclaims something like, ‘That’s impossible, you would need a quantum computer to do that.’ And then later, Hughes interrupts him and says something like, ‘Whatever, I don’t care about the science. I just want my father back.’ Aaaaaaaaaagh! You know, if they decided to explain the whole thing to make it believable to people with half a brain, I could at least enjoy that part. If they opted to not explain anything, then I would be fine with that, but they did something in between and made really bad stuff up. Bad decision.

There are also a huge number of innaccuracies in terms of the weapons and technologies of the times, according to a self-proclaimed expert that came along. But that I couldn’t elaborate on.

Anyway, I might read the book, as it probably is good. The movie however, was about a 3 out of 10 (five being the average movie I’d go watch in the theatre). Sorry, but I would feel bad if any of you spent your hard-earned cash on this. And yes, I know this thread is about the book. :smiley:

Even though I loved it, Snow Crash was pretty extravagant and cartoonish (it was originally intended to be a graphic novel). Technology-wise, I think it’s very interesting to see a vision of the future from the past (approx. 1988-1990), and how Stephenson predicted things would evolve, but I wouldn’t say that that’s why someone should read the book. It’s just good cyberpunk.

I thought Cryptonomicon was better.

Like I said, if you haven’t read the book, I can understand why you wouldn’t like the movie. In the book, they go into a lot of depth about the technology behind the machine… it’s not actually time travelling. Rather, Chriton builds upon the infinate-numbers-of-parallel-universes theory. The machine actually sends them to a parallel universe that because of its development or whatever, is actually 500 years behind the current universe. They’re not time-travelling per-say - they’re actually going to a very similar world where the current time happens to be the 1300’s. Chriton goes into a lot of detail about it, but because there is so much detail, theres no way they could fit that into the movie without it being extremely long and being accused of being overly philosophical (i.e. second Matrix).

Kinda the same thing with the characters - in the book, the characters are really developed, but the problem is theres no way that you can fit it all into a 2-hour movie. One of the things that really disapointed me about the movie is they didn’t try to develop Merek or whatever that guy who stayed behind was called. See, he actually stayed behind because he was romantically in love with the idea of being a knight or a nobleman, and that love caused him to act brave and show chivalry. The movie kinda tried to show that, but if you haven’t read the book, you’d never come to that conclusion.

What it comes down to is they made the movie out of a story that depended on too much information. There’s far too much information in the novel to fit into 3 hours, and when you start cutting parts out, plot holes develop. Unfortionately, this is the problem with a lot of movies based on novels.