Project Pendulum by Robert Silverberg

Project Pendulum

by Robert Silverberg

Form: Novel

Year: 1987

ID: 910

Publication history:


(from Bantam 1989)

Identical twins Sean and Eric Gabrielson — one a paleontologist, the other a physicist — have been selected as mankind's first time travelers. Together they set out from Time Zero, 2016, in opposite directions — one toward the past to see dinosaurs walk the earth; the other towards the future to learn the secrets of the gods. Somewhere beyond the eons and the ages they will reach Time Ultimate — and the secret that has eluded mankind since time began.


This is a novel time-travel scenario, quite fascinating and likely to make your brain hurt. When it comes to time, everything has to be balanced, so for everything that goes forward, something identical must go back, thus the identical twins recruited for the project. It starts out with Eric going back 5 minutes and Sean going forward 5 minutes. Then Sean goes back 50 minutes and Eric goes forward 50 minutes. It continues this way, with the brothers alternating jump directions, and each jump ten times the magnitude of the previous one. For the mathematically challenged, it works out to 5 minutes, 50 minutes, 500 minutes (8 hours, 20 minutes), 5000 minutes (3 days), 34 days, 347 days, 9 years, 95 years, 951 years, 9513 years, 95129 years, 951000 years, 9 million years, 95 million years (Time Ultimate – as far as the experiment goes).

Along the way, the twins meet everything from aliens to Neanderthals, saber-toothed cats to themselves. They also have to face the very real danger that something could go wrong and kill one of them, destroying the all-important balance and therefore the other as well. And for the first time in their lives, they must deal with being truly separated from each other.

The story is told in alternating chapters, some of which are quite brief, which is my only complaint about the book – it's just too darn short! So many interesting things are only hinted at, both in the future and the past, and it ends just when it's getting really good. But still a good read.

Other resources:

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