Life Trap by Barrington J Bayley

18586183Source: Own collection
Format: Hardback
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Here we meet Clinias and Marcus, two incumbents at the Temple of Mysteries. At this temple, they pursue life’s secrets. And once they ask a question and obtain an answer, they must share that knowledge. And so  here we have it. And what is the question? What happens after death?

So at midnight one night, Marcus is left in the inner sanctum along with a nostrum in a crucible over a small brazier, and his friend Clinias departs. Fearing that he’ll never see his friend Marcus again. An hour later, Marcus returns hale and hearty from his trip beyond death and back again – but no, he isn’t very hearty, not really. What he learns in the place beyond death… <spoilers>

I really liked this story. It isn’t science fiction – more mystical/fantastical, with lotions and potions, crucibles, braziers and temples. But in terms of time travel? It’s definitely that. And its situation in the “Mazes and Traps” section of The Time Traveller’s Almanac is definitely apt. Bayley’s clear writing pulled me into the story, and the implications of Marcus’ discoveries from beyond death weren’t lost on me.


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