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If you're looking for the classic novel by H. G. Wells, see The Time Machine.

Time Machine is a series of educational Choose Your Own Adventure books, published by Bantam Books in 1984-1989. Unlike many other works of this genre, the books only have one ending, reached usually by trial-and-error.

The premise is that the player is tasked by some unknown authority to travel to the past in order to unravel a historical mystery. Following a strict set of time-travel rules, the protagonist finds himself skipping back and forth through several centuries of history, braving dangers and somehow always coming across famous historical figures.

The series as a whole displays examples of:

  • Can't Take Anything with You: Leaving items from a future epoch behind is one of the things forbidden by the "time travel rules".
  • Changed My Jumper: The protagonist is always careful to take clothes appropriate for his destination; when he time-travels into different eras entirely, some people may casually comment on his weird clothes.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: The hints occasionally chastise you for even considering certain options that won't bring you closer to your goal.
  • Covers Always Lie: At least in the Polish edition, the back covers sometimes feature a situation from the book and hint that you will have two choices in that situation (and that if you choose wrong, you'll end up stuck in a time loop). Most of the time, ir turns out that

when this part comes in the book, you don't actually have the choices presented by the cover.

The individual books:

Secret of the Knights (1984)

Search for Dinosaurs (1984)

The protagonist must take a picture of an Archaeopterix, the first bird. Most of the book consists of figuring out where and when the Archaeopterix lived, by hopping back and forwards through the Mesozoic and piecing together information.

Sword of the Samurai (1984)

Sail with Pirates (1984)

The protagonist accompanies Captain Phips in the seventeenth century in order to find the wreck of Concepcion, a Spanish ship carrying colossal amounts of silver.

Civil War Secret Agent (1984)

The Rings of Saturn (1985)

An Oddball in the Series, as it sends the protagonist to The Future. This frees the writer from the shackles of historical accuracy, making the book essentially a Troperiffic showcase of pretty much every single Science Fiction trope in the book.

Ice Age Explorer (1985)

The Mystery of Atlantis (1985)

Travelling through Ancient Greece, the protagonist is trying to find out the mystery of... some place I can't remember right now.

  • Atlantis: But not really. It's just Crete.
  • Changed My Jumper: Averted; you can time-travel all over the world and all over history, and nobody ever notices you're a kid in an ancient Greek chiton.
  • Future Imperfect: Though not with the future; it is stated that the tale of Atlantis is an exaggeration of a tale about a destructive volcano explosion near Crete, which caused the downfall of Cretan civilization.
  • Galley Slave: You can temporarily become this.
  • Something They Would Never Say: If you try and tell a suspicious city guard that you are a Scyth, he will promptly quiz you on a piece of Scythian culture (since he is a Scyth himself.) You fail, at which point he decides you're a runaway slave.

Wild West Rider (1985)

American Revolutionary (1985)

Mission to World War II (1986)

Search for the Nile (1986)

The protagonist heads to the late nineteenth century to accompany Henry Morton Stanley in order to find out what is the source of Nile.

  • Arc Words: "Buala Matari". What's it mean? Why is Stanley called that on his tomb?
  • God Guise: Entirely by accident you end up scaring an African tribe, disguised as a panther-like supernatural being. The shaman isn't fooled though.
  • Great White Hunter: Sir Mortimer P. Quimby III. Subverted - this particular hunter is content merely to track down the animal and aim his rifle without actually shooting, solely for the satisfaction of outwitting the beast.
  • Insistent Terminology: Do not call Henry Stanley "captain". Or else he will... uh... chastise you mildly.

Secret of the Royal Treasure (1986)

Blade of the Guillotine (1986)

The protagonist finds himself in the times of French Revolution, seeking a priceless diamond necklace. The objective soon shifts from merely finding the treasure to using it to buy the life of an innocent French girl.

  • Blind Alley: Used to escape an angry royalist blacksmith.
  • MacGuffin
  • Riddle Me This: Subverted. When given a cryptic answer about the necklace's location, you have to interpret the "riddle" literally. If you try to be smart and go for the metaphorical meaning, you'll just end up in trouble.
  • The X of Y

Flame of the Inquisition (1986)

Quest for the Cities of Gold (1987)

The protagonist heads to America in the sixteenth century in order to investigate the rumors of the supposed "cities of gold" searched for by the conquistadors.

Scotland Yard Detective (1987)

Sword of Caesar (1987)

Death Mask of Pancho Villa (1987)

Bound for Australia (1987)

Caravan to China (1987)

Last of the Dinosaurs (1988)

Quest for King Arthur (1988)

The protagonist travels through ancient Britain, attempting to find the original inspiration for the King Arthur tales.

World War I Flying Ace (1988)

Special Edition: World War II Code Breaker (1989)

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