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“Hazards of Time Travel” by Joyce Carol Oates

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Her newest novel is a case in point, being hardcore science fiction, not a territory she has made many tracks in. It starts out as a dystopia, then segues into “dystopia plus something else“. – Paul Di Filippo

“If you take a book like Cory Doctorow’s “Walkaway” or Lidia Yuknavitch’s “The Book of Joan” as hip postmodern dystopias, then Oates’s version seems relatively flat. Compare also to the time-travel subterfuges in Tom Sweterlitsch’s “The Gone World.”

“An ingenious, dystopian novel of one young woman’s resistance against the constraints of an oppressive society, from the inventive imagination of Joyce Carol Oates”

“Time travel” — and its hazards—are made literal in this astonishing new novel in which a recklessly idealistic girl dares to test the perimeters of her tightly controlled (future) world and is punished by being sent back in time to a region of North America — “Wainscotia, Wisconsin”—that existed eighty years before.  Cast adrift in time in this idyllic Midwestern town she is set upon a course of “rehabilitation”—but cannot resist falling in love with a fellow exile and questioning the constrains of the Wainscotia world with results that are both devastating and liberating.”

“Arresting and visionary, “Hazards of Time Travel”  is both a novel of harrowing discovery and an exquisitely wrought love story that may be Joyce Carol Oates’s most unexpected novel so far.”

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Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938) is an American writer. Oates published her first book in 1962 and has since published 58 novels, as well as a number of plays and novellas, and many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction.

“Her immensely prolific career – at least seventy-seven novels; nearly 900 short stories, many of them long and ambitious, partially assembled in forty or more collections; and fifty plays plus much other work – has in itself been a barrier to her proper appreciation.


In recent years, however, despite its almost unassimilable and unremitting growth, with around seventy new volumes published in the first two decades of the twenty-first century, that oeuvre has become recognized – none too soon – as a necessary part of the story of American literature.

Her roots are various, though her affinity to the Gothic strain in that literature is of specific interest.”

She has won many awards for her writing, including the National Book Award, for her novel “them” the Jerusalem Prize (2019).

Her novels “Black Water” (1992), “What I Lived For” (1994), “Blonde” (2000), and short story collections, “The Wheel of Love” (1970) and “Lovely, Dark, Deep: Stories” (2014) were each finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.
Oates has taught at Princeton University since 1978 and is currently the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor Emerita in the Humanities with the Program in Creative Writing.
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