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The Man Who Folded Himself

Narrated by: Charles Bice
Length: 4 hrs and 27 mins
4 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)
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Summary

The Man Who Folded Himself, written in 1973 (and reissued by BenBella in 2003) is a classic science fiction novel by award-winning author David Gerrold. This work was nominated for both Hugo and Nebula awards and is considered by some critics to be the finest time travel novel ever written.

©2003 David Gerrold (P)2011 Iambik Audio Inc

Critic reviews

"David Gerrold proves that he can do all the things that made us love Heinlein's storytelling - and often better." (Orson Scott Card)
"This is all widely imaginative and mindbending... Gerrold is such a good writer that he keeps us reading through... shifts of time, space and character -- right into pre-history... After reading this one, time-machine addicts will never quite be able to look at the gadget again as a simple plaything." ( Publisher's Weekly)
"A major talent." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Good idea - ruined

Would you try another book written by David Gerrold or narrated by Charles Bice?

No. The narration was fine, but this was not a true sci-fi book. The time travel concept was just a vehicle to present a very overtly sexual story about relationships and someone having sex with himself, first as a man then as a woman. There was so much more it could have been, but it just focused on a single part.

Has The Man Who Folded Himself put you off other books in this genre?

No - I have ready many books like this, most of them far better.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

None

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not really - it was not even very well written, the dialogue was wooden and somewhat childish.

Any additional comments?

This was obviously a book written about sexuality of all kinds and not really a book about time travel, although that was the central premise.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • henrik
  • Roskilde, Denmark
  • 17-02-13

mind boggling

a very good read that stays in your mind a long time after you finnish it.

Charles Brice does an exelent job narrating this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent conceptual understanding of time .<br />

This book helped me to have a clear conceptual understanding of time travel. Excellent read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Pivotal book!

What made the experience of listening to The Man Who Folded Himself the most enjoyable?

Revisiting the question of whether or not we have freewill.

What other book might you compare The Man Who Folded Himself to, and why?

The Time Machine, by HG Wells.
What would you do (or not do) if you could travel in time?

Which character – as performed by Charles Bice – was your favourite?

All.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I read this book as a teenager and am now revisiting it some 40 years later, in my 50's. Without giving away too much, I will just say that I made a connection with my younger self.

Any additional comments?

When I first read this book I was embarking on the discovery of life and the possibilities that lay ahead. It was one of the most important books that I read back then, although the hard copy seems to have disappeared from the bookshelf on my current timeline. It was great to hear it on Audible. Well read, and fresh for the current age. It touches on many of the questions that all thinkers will be familiar with. Enjoy!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • Walton-on-the-Naze, United Kingdom
  • 17-11-13

I love time travel novels

What did you like most about The Man Who Folded Himself?

A clever enough plot. Decent twists and turns - just bizarrely sexual. Personally I would have been happy without those details.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Russell Norton
  • 29-12-13

One of my first tastes of trues science fiction

Where does The Man Who Folded Himself rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book explored so many avenues of philosophy and inner exploration that it may make you uncomfortable at times. For me this is one of my all time favorites. ( Enders Game(full saga), The Giver, Lucifer Hammer, Pandora's Star, and Dune) to name some off the top of my head.

What did you like best about this story?

It explored personal identity and sexuality without giving up anything, the book helped me mature and was fascinating and interesting.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 07-03-18

Interesting

If you could sum up The Man Who Folded Himself in three words, what would they be?

As I look through the other reviews, I am a bit disappointed. Many of the negatives I see are exactly what I think are the positives to this book. It is a book that examines the ideas of isolation, narcissism, and the self, all through an allegory for the stages of life.Do not go into this expecting a time travel story! That's not what this book is. Yes, it has time travel, but time travel is merely a storytelling mechanism to talk through the stages of life we all ultimately go through in our own ways.

This book shows Daniel, a young man bored with his studies at university being told he was worth $143,000,000. The youthful hunger is in his eyes to have this kind of money, but upon the death of his Uncle Jim, he learns he has nothing. All he receives is a belt... A belt that lets him go through time.

For the first few sections of the book, it focuses on the time travel. How does it work? What are the mechanics involved? It does this by following the first two days of Daniel's life with the time belt in a linear way, going with our Daniel through his first two days of experience. However, after this section, it seamlessly transitions into the storytelling format of the rest of the book: A steam of consciousness introspective rambling similar to what one would find in a journal.

He talks about his life, the early days when youth was still in his veins and he was driven by hedonistic desires and the vibrancy of the ignorance of youth. But as time goes on, it is empty. He wants something, and the arrogance of his youth left him stranded in early middle age. Then as he hits middle age, he finds a purpose that many of us do: A family. But as he grows older, he strives for youth again, wishing to go back to the virile and vibrant times when he was younger... But we are doomed to never return to that time, not even with a time belt.

Ultimately, he is everyone to himself. This is the narcissism in the book. And yet, as Old Dan says, aren't we all in a world of our own? It suggests an interesting idea: There are different Daniels, different variants of him that are alien to him, but they are all the same... But different. And yet, we are all different from one another, yet similar. We all live in our own subjective world trying to grasp what's in others, and filling in the gaps with ourselves and our own interpretations of what must be there. We are all, to a degree, narcissistic due to the nature of our mental isolation from truly knowing the minds of others.

I highly recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Barb
  • 24-06-14

Narcissism

I thought that a lot of reviewers were just having a homophobic reaction to this book. I love time travel stories and I'm not put off by homosexuality in a book. Unfortunately, the problem with this book isn't the sexuality, but the fact that it's purely narcissistic. The main character discovers that the only person he likes being with is himself and it's endless iterations of him spending time with the person he loves--himself. The time travel is just a means of getting more time to spend...with himself. It was sort of boring once you saw where he was going. The sex is a very small part of the book and it's pretty campy depictions of sex. (A lot of "Oh baby", to the point where it made me start giggling, and not in a good way.)

If you want good, well-written time travel go to Connie Willis or Jack Finney. So much better than this.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Hobbit Taz
  • 05-06-12

A different time travel tale

Where does The Man Who Folded Himself rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

A very interesting view of time travel, never sure where it was heading next.

What did you like best about this story?

The writer and reader both kept you wanting to follow onward through the tale, just to see what was going to twist into play next.

Have you listened to any of Charles Bice???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

believe this is my first of his readings, but enjoyed his voice very much.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • The Rev. Craig
  • 10-07-11

Ah, no.

No, this isn't as good as Heilein. It isn't as good as some Orson Scott Card. In fact it isn't very good at all. A good premise is ruined by obsessive scenes of male-male and male-female sex. Seems Gerrold let a good idea become a rambling self absorbed monologue. Use your credits for something like Time Travelers Never Die and let Gerrold bask in his own wishful thinking. I'm finishing listening to it as I write. I will finish it since I wasted a credit on it.

14 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • avoidthelloyd
  • 07-01-14

Buyer Beware... sexual confusion ruins this book.

POSSIBLE SPOILER: I am a big fan of time travel novels and have read most of the ones found on audible. I discovered this title on a goodreads blog and decided to try it. I was completely shocked and repulsed by the abrupt and graphic 'pansexual' content (authors usage). In the author's note, at the end of the book, he acknowledges that he wants to live in a world where "sexual identity is irrelevant" and the quality of love and not the kind is what matters. The book is saturated with this after chapter 3 and ruins the time travel aspect. I feel this agenda should be made aware in some form to prospective buyers. This book belongs in the gay/lesbian genre. There is nothing about the subject of sexuality in the publisher's summary on Audible. It appears to be a sci-fi novel about time travel, but it is not really about that. I was really enjoying the time travel theory in the story and was able to see the loneliness of time travel, then at the end of chapter 3 and start of 4 the male subject of the story all of a sudden has a homosexual encounter with himself from another timeline. I quickly saw what was going on and skipped forward to the middle of chapter 4 in complete disgust. I almost quit the book. This was totally unnecessary and doesn't help the plot. If that weren't disturbing enough, the male subject ends up finding a female version of himself and he starts again with all the descriptive sex and sexual confusion that creates nausea to listen to. In fact he is aroused by her "boyish" features. Yuck. Skip ahead again. The author seems so confused and wants to avoid any concrete identification of sexuality. And the problem is that NONE of this stuff adds any needed material for the time travel plot. Also, I am not opposed to the author inserting his or her political and religious view points to some extent, but this author fantasized about creating a world where Jesus (who he finds is just a man) was never born because of the atrocities of the church done in his name. He didn't like the result of that world because of the effect on the English language. I'm thinking why not Mohammed instead of Jesus??? The narration is good and you can listen comfortably at 1.25X speed. If I would've known what you know now, I wouldn't try this disappointment. Instead, I recommend 'Replay - Ken Grimwood', 'Lightning - Dean Koontz' and 'Schumann Frequency - Chris Ride' for the best I've read. I really hope this helps. Later.

14 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim Gentry
  • 05-10-17

Horrible

An absolutely awful book. The writing was terrible but I was on a long road trip so kept listening out of boredom. Up until the point when Dan from the present starts having gay sex with Dan from the future. Seriously.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Brian W.
  • 12-10-16

Not my cup of tea!

What would have made The Man Who Folded Himself better?

If they took out all the references to the main character having sex with himself. This would have greatly helped the book. Personally the idea of having a group orgy with yourself times 6, 8, or 10 is a bit disturbing. 

What was most disappointing about David Gerrold’s story?

See the above comment.

Which character – as performed by Charles Bice – was your favorite?

Was there anyone else besides multiple copies of the same person?

What character would you cut from The Man Who Folded Himself?

All the copies of the main character.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 20-06-16

Really repetitive - short on story

Would you try another book from David Gerrold and/or Charles Bice?

Maybe if it had good reviews

Would you recommend The Man Who Folded Himself to your friends? Why or why not?

No I would not. This book was very repetitive, sometimes so much that I wanted to fast forward. Paragraph upon paragraph of the same thought, over and over again. A guy gets a time travel belt - he travels, but he does few interesting things in his life (aside from... relationships... - I'll just leave it at that). Actually, he does do some spectacular things, but the author just speeds right on through those in a gigantic list of the history of the world.

What aspect of Charles Bice’s performance would you have changed?

The pace was too fast. I had to knock it back by 0.5 speed, which was a first for me.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

Maybe this is one of those books that you either really love or dislike.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • T. Trefan
  • 14-04-16

Not what I was looking for

I love time travel stories but this was just something else. It's not your usual time travel story. And the dudes obsession with sex is not something I enjoyed. I'm usually a fairly liberal guy but the initial sex scene in this story is somewhat disturbing. I won't spoil it for those who want to read it; but if sexual content bothers you - don't get this book. He spends an hour at least going into his sexual "discovery" to a degree that is easily discomforting.

And for those who have read it. I could barely finish his afterwords. I usually enjoy them but not this time. His rationale for his bizarre "time" sex is that he was exploring gay sexuality. I ran the story by my gay friend and she was pretty grossed out, so take that how you will...