I'm trying to remember the title of a book I read in fifth or sixth grade, meaning it would have to have been published in the mid-90s or earlier. It was a young adult or maybe even children's novel. My memory of the plot is very hazy, but it went something like this:

Two teenage boys are involved in some sort of computer simulation game, and one of them figures out a way to time travel within this game. Subsequently, he realizes that his method of time travel will work in real life as well. Someone he knows (his girlfriend's father?) wants to buy or publish the time travel method, but the kid realizes that this will result in all sorts of time travel shenanigans and decides against it. Unfortunately, the buyer/publisher already knows about the method (which I believe was some sort of mathematical formula) and wants to go ahead and publish it against the kid's wishes.

Now here's the one detail I remember very clearly: the kids figure out how to thwart their antagonist when the inventor of the time travel formula realizes that a simplification he'd made to the formula renders it ineffective for anti-matter. The kids confront the antagonist with this challenge at some sort of public meeting and thereby save the day.

I realize that's all extremely vague, but if anyone has any idea what book I'm talking about, I'd greatly appreciate knowing the title. Thanks.

  • I'm almost positive I read this book a couple decades ago (probably around 1990), but I can't track it down. Some additional details (assuming I'm correct) that might jar someone's memory: -The protagonist is a 13-year-old college freshman. His roommate skipped a grade at some point, and they were put together at least partly because the roommate is as close to being a peer of his as anyone at the college. -The reason he doesn't want to exploit the time travel is that the simulated civilization tried to do so (by dumping garbage and extracting resources in the past) and it led to a...
    – Micah
    May 5, 2012 at 2:12
  • ...civilization collapse. I think there's some funny stuff about a sentence full of words that violate the "I before E" rule, beginning "Weird foreigners..." I also remember something about a BS-laden essay (probably written by the roommate?) that was full of the phrase "hence the name". Does any of that sound like your book? I hope this helps!
    – Micah
    May 5, 2012 at 2:12

1 Answer 1


"The Gadget Factor" by Sandy Landsman, 1985. Months of searching, finally found it!

Two college freshmen create the ultimate computer game, a universe built to their own specifications, but complications arise when their formulas for time travel also work in the real world.

It's a professor who steals the research, the person whose data the equations were based upon. He tries to get Mike to share the credit and only publishes on his own when Mike refuses.


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