One of the odd things about time travel stories is how rarely authors who write them use the method of time travel that we know to be true, that of traveling near the speed of light. This is in large part because the ability to travel in time this way is a one way trip. You can essentially move forward in time by slowing time for yourself at near the speed of light, but you can’t undo it. That is in fact the basis of the story of Ursula K. Le Guin’s story “A Fisherman of the Inland Sea”
The story of the fisherman in this story is actually a story of itself. It is basically the rip van Winkle story of a man who goes to see and comes back to find that everyone he has ever known has grown old and died. It is told by a young man who is preparing for his own Rip Van Winkle story as he plans to go to school on another world. He is going for only a few years of his own time, but the trip will take years at near light speed.
Once he arrives he discovers that they are working on a new technology one that there is work being done on a new technology that will if successful allow for virtually instantaneous travel through space, and so believing that it may allow him to return sooner he puts off the trip he wants ho make to his home, but as the technology doesn’t advance he decides to take the space trip home and set up a laboratory on his home world where they can test the technology over longer distances. This puts him years behind in the understanding of the technology but he catches up as quickly as he can, before he even goes to his home to visit.
Returning home he sees not only his family grown old while he has remained the same age but the woman that he loved and it reinforces just how lonely he is. He is a man out of time unable to go back and he knows he will be forever, traveling from world to world always among strangers never able to make a place for himself.
It is at this time that the technology he has been working on finally becomes available. He is one of the first to use it successfully transporting to a world four light years away with no problems but when he returns he hits what they call a wrinkle. This sends him back in time to a day after he left home for the first time and this time he decides to stay.
There is a great deal of extra in this story, discussion of marriage rituals of this world in far more detail than was necessary, but the story of leaving home and then returning is one that we can almost all relate to and this is a story that is generally well written.