Time Machines: The Best and the Worst

Guest post by J.L. Bryan

So you’re ready to take the plunge. You’ve been talking about it for years, but this time you mean it: you’re going to buy your family’s first time machine. With all the options on the market today, where do you begin?

To help you with this major purchase, Consumer Opinions magazine has rated several of the best (and worst) time machines. In the elaborate chart below, find the top and bottom three ways to travel across time. Know before you go!


Our editors recommend the following three models, listed from “third best” to “best.”

3.The HG Wells 1895. The clockwork design of this nineteenth-century device is sure to please the steampunk crowd. Somewhat resembling a fan boat one might use to explore swamps and bayous, the HG model can travel forward and backward in time to any destination you select. One neat feature of this machine is that you get to watch the world change as you travel across the centuries. Cities grow and collapse into ruins, mountains rise and fall, and you can see it all from the comfort of your driver’s seat. Drawbacks: the machine is not otherwise mobile and must be carefully hidden; also, it’s not particularly roomy, and this Victorian machine offers no modern amenities such as climate control, stereo speakers, phone charger, coffee warmer, or reclining seats.

2.The Emmett Brown Flux-Capacitating DeLorean. Travel through time in style with this stainless steel beauty! Modern time circuits enable the driver to pick an exact destination, right down to the second. The latest model includes a full hover conversion and a handy Mr. Fusion to help you generate those oh-so-crucial gigawatts! However, the DeLorean’s engine still runs on gasoline, so be sure to bring your own if you’ll be traveling back into pre-industrial eras. Another bonus for steampunk fans: the latest Emmett Brown model is not a car at all, but a steam-powered locomotive!

1.TARDIS. While the Wells and Brown machines (see above) can travel through time, they always take you to the same geographic spot where you began. The TARDIS (as seen on Dr. Who) can teleport through both time and space, enabling convenient cross-universe travel in the blink of an eye. Handy camouflage circuits help disguise the craft and even make it appear smaller. With a vast and roomy interior, the TARDIS is the family RV of time travel! The TARDIS does malfunction more often than either the Wells or Brown brands, and the camouflage circuits have been known to freeze up, leaving the ship in the form of a 1963 London police box for decades at a time. However, because of its speed and flexibility, we at Consumer Opinions have rated the TARDIS as the best time machine for your money.


We’ve arranged these in “bad-to-worst” order, but we recommend you avoid purchasing any of the following time machines!

3.Hot Tub Time Machine. This device is lousy with problems. First, you’ll arrive at your destination soaking wet. Second, hiding a hot tub in, say, medieval Europe is not an easy task (though it might blend in a bit better in ancient Rome). Third, hot tubs are very hard to steer. Fourth, people might do gross things in your hot tub when you’re not around. You never know.

2.Quantum Leap Project Accelerator. We didn’t pick this as the absolute worst time machine, but it was a close decision. Drawbacks are legion. The QL Project Accelerator has the most limited range of any time machine we reviewed—you can only travel within the span of your own lifetime. Also, you cannot pick your destination. You’ll find yourself “leaping” into random times and places. Even worse, you’ll take the place of someone who lived in the past and be forced to try and solve all their problems. You do this again and again, with no control over where or when you go. The QL Accelerator isn’t the absolute worst, we decided, because it does hold out one hope: the hope that your next leap will be the leap home. However, this machine definitely rates a solid DO NOT BUY from Consumer Opinions.

1.Skynet/Cyberdyne Systems Time Displacement Kit. This machine narrowly won the title of “Worst Time Machine” because it offers no return access. It can send you to any specific moment in time, but you’ll be stuck there until you die (or get destroyed, if you happen to be a robot). As an added minus, you can’t bring any luggage, not even the clothes on your back, so you’re guaranteed to arrive naked and empty-handed—a terrible start to your summer time-travel vacation! You can’t even bring traveler’s cheques, much less your snorkeling gear and camera. After a careful review, we rate the Cyberdyne Systems model an absolute DO NOT BUY.

You can give feedback to our researchers by letting us know which time machine you would prefer (whether mentioned in this article or not) in the comments below!

We hope this information will help you with your major purchase, and thanks for reading this month’s issue of Consumer Opinions!

J.L. Bryan’s book Nomad, a new adult time-travel dystopian, releases today! It’s just $2.99 for the book release (regular price will be $3.99). Links are at his website

 Nomad book description:

They took everything: her family, her home, her childhood.

By the age of nineteen, Raven has spent most of her life in the sprawling slums of America, fighting as a rebel against the dictatorship. When the rebellion steals an experimental time-travel device, she travels back five decades to the year 2013. Her plan: assassinate the future dictator when he is still young and vulnerable, long before he comes to power. She must move fast to reshape history, because agents from her own time are on her trail, ready to execute her on sight.

Nomad by J.L. Bryan

The Giveaway


Enter to win a signed paperback of Nomad. Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Giveaway ends August 2nd.

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About the Author:
J.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on English Renaissance and Romantic literature. He also studied screenwriting at UCLA. He lives in the metro Atlanta sprawl with his wife Christina, where he spends most of his day serving the toddler and animal community inside his house. He is the author of the Paranormals series and the Songs of Magic series. His book Jenny Pox is currently free on Kindle, Nook, Apple, Sony, Kobo, and Smashwords!

J.L. Bryan’s links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon Author Profile

P.S. HUGE thanks to Rachel for hosting this special release-day post!