SF Masterwork of the Week: Timescape

Gregory Benford, one of the ‘Killer Bs’ along with David Brin and Greg Bear, is a leading writer of Hard SF and is currently Professor of Plasma Physics and Astrophysics at the University of California, Irvine. His breakthrough novel Timescape won the Nebula, the John W. Campbell and the BSFA Awards. And here it is:


The year is 1998, the world is a growing nightmare of desperation, of uncontrollable pollution and increasing social unrest. In Cambridge, two scientists experiment with tachyons – subatomic particles that travel faster than the speed of light and, therefore, according to the Theory of Relativity, may move backwards in time. Their plan is to signal a warning to the previous generation.

In 1962, a young Californian scientist, Gordon Bernstein, finds his experiments are being spoiled by unknown interference. As he begins to suspect something near the truth it becomes a race against time – the world is collapsing and will only be saved if Gordon can decipher the message in time.

Winner of the Nebula Award for best novel, 1980
Winner of the John W. Campbell Award for best novel, 1981
Winner of the BSFA Award for best novel, 1980


Timescape is available as an SF Masterworks paperback and an SF Gateway eBook. You can find more of Gregory Benford’s work via his author page on the SF Gateway website and read more about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.