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As a kid who grew up watching Somewhere in Time, Back to the Future, and obscure Star Trek episodes (blame my Trekkie father), I couldn’t resist Allen Everett and Thomas Roman’s new book, Time Travel and Warp Drives, which comes out today. Roman, a mathematics professor at Central Connecticut State University, says the book attempts to strike a balance between whimsical sci-fi and dense textbooks. “We didn’t want to just write another ‘gee whiz ‘ book where you say lots of things but don’t give any reasons for them,” he told me.

To keep the material accessible to those who, like me, think time travel is cool but didn’t major in math, Roman and Everett, a retired Tufts physics professor, promise that readers need only have high-school algebra under their belts to understand their explanations. I caught up with the authors recently for a conversation about what makes time travel fiction good, the grandfather paradox, and, of course, Star Trek.  Excerpts of the interview are below.

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