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I’m trying to recall a book about time travel that I read maybe 5-10 years ago. Some of the details I remember include:

  • The setting is futuristic, where humanity has spread across the solar system (but no further).
  • Time travel is only back in time.
  • Time travellers salvage valuable equipment from moments in time that have no effect on the future eg. an engine from a spaceship that’s about to explode.
  • Time travellers have force fields to keep them safe with extendable fields they call tendrils.
  • I think time travel is called chrono- something or other.
  • The protagonist is male, and he develops a type of fatigue that prevents him from time travelling too much.
  • There’s more than one book. I recall reading two, and was waiting on a third to be published.
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  • Not what you're asking for, but the 1992 movie Freejack has a similar premise. People about to die in a way the body wouldn't be recoverable or found are taken to the future moments before death to be used as vessels for the rich and dying. Fun movie.
    – Eric Soyke
    Nov 15, 2023 at 16:31
  • @Eric Soyke I think there was a 1989 movie called "Millennium" with a similar premise but they were taking passengers from doomed aircraft to populate the future.
    – The Betpet
    Nov 16, 2023 at 15:05

2 Answers 2

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Is this Time Salvager (2015) by Wesley Chu? It's the first book of a series by the same name.

Quoting the blurb from Google books:

In a future when Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humanity has spread into the outer solar system to survive, the tightly controlled use of time travel holds the key to maintaining a fragile existence among the other planets and their moons. James Griffin-Mars is a chronman–a convicted criminal recruited for his unique psychological makeup to undertake the most dangerous job there is: missions into Earth’s past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline. Most chronmen never reach old age, and James is reaching his breaking point. On his final mission, James meets scientist Elise Kim, who is fated to die during the destruction of an oceanic rig. Against his training and common sense, James brings her back to the future with him, saving her life, but turning them both into fugitives. Remaining free means losing themselves in the wild and poisonous wastes of Earth, and discovering what hope may yet remain for humanity’s home world.

Google books has the first few chapters available to preview; James Griffin-Mars, the protagonist wears the near-invisible force-field suit ("exo band" for fighting, as opposed to "atmos band" for environment) in combat in the first chapter, and in the second he almost throws up because of "lag sickness."

In the third chapter Griffin-Mars reflexively activates his attack functions when he's disturbed by a maintenance worker, and hits him with a "kinetic coil":

Just as James was drifting off, someone shook him awake. On reflex, he powered on his exo band, expanded his field, and lashed out. The powerful exo-kinetic system-the military-industrial complex being on of the few industries still innovating-practically made him a god whenever he ventured back in time. The yellow glow of the exo sparked to life, expanding outward and slamming the intruder into the interior wall of the collie. A kinetic coil sprouted from it and wrapped around the man's waist. It squeezed.

There is a second book in the series, Time Siege, but it doesn't appear that there is a third book yet.

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    This is perfect, thank you. Well found. Though I was hoping the third book might have come out by now!
    – Uomoviso
    Nov 15, 2023 at 2:25
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    @Uomoviso Looking at his writing history... It looks like he has "moved on" and is writing other series.... Whether he will go back and write a 3rd book in that series is debatable. Best to try to find one of his fan pages, or FB pages or blog site and ask him directly, or knowledgeable fans who might have heard something. wesleychu.com is his website, but looks like its under construction right now. (Don't know how long it has been that way). He is on twiter, and there might be FB pages. Try those.
    – NJohnny
    Nov 15, 2023 at 18:01
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    @Uomoviso If you're interested in what was on his website, you can check out old versions via archive.org, but it doesn't have much other than blurbs about his books. I agree with NJohnny that you might need to try the socials.
    – DavidW
    Nov 15, 2023 at 18:19
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The story you describe may have been inspired by All the Time in the World by Arthur C Clarke.

  • Time travel is only back in time.
  • Time travelers salvage precious artworks from moments in time that have no effect on the future.
  • Time travelers have a device that protects them by freezing time for those around them.
  • The protagonist is male (the story was published in 1952).

You might also enjoy Vintage Season, by C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner, an earlier treatment of going back in time to an event which could have no effect on the future.

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