Archives

The Great Clock by Langdon Jones

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

This is a fantastic story. I have to say I had a distinct feeling of déjà vu that told me I’d read the story before, although for the life of me I have no idea where I could have picked it up.

In this story the reader meets a man who maintains a clock. But this is no ordinary clock. This clock is seriously massive, and maintaining it is a full time occupation.

Seriously, WOW. Yes, it’s perhaps a bit languorous, a bit blow-by-blow account, but at the same time it’s visceral, gritty and edgy. And the closing paragraphs just blow one’s mind.

Excellent science fiction fare with a few twists included.

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Lost Continent by Greg Egan

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

The story starts with Ali in Khurosan, which I understand to be in the Pakistan region. Khurosan appears to be a target for tyrants from the future to provide arms to warring factions within the country, fuelling inherent conflict in the region – perhaps taking advantage of existing animosities. At the time the story begins, the Scholars have taken over, and they were meant to be bringing peace to the region. But where people had previously worked to keep their young men and boys safe from recruitment, whether Sunni or Shi’a, the Scholars exploit the differences between the two groups and revive old animosities.

When the story begins, Ali is given by his uncle to a man with a Land Cruiser who promises a better life for him in the future; essentially, a paid smuggler. They travel for three days in the Land Cruiser, and then they reach a bridge – a whirlwind time vortex that enables travel to any and every time and place, by the sounds of things. The man finally selects a path through the bridge, and Ali lands up in, I’m assuming, Australia.

What then ensues is a stark parallel to the treatment of illegal immigrants around the world. Essentially arrested, placed in camps indefinitely and having their stories disbelieved… Sound familiar? With the added twist of time travel and parallel realities, so that the future Ali lands in is not *his* future, which means that his past is not the past of the present, which makes it easier for his story to be disbelieved. Not very complimentary of the Australian government – not sure if that was the point, but that would have been bound to come out of such a story.

Excellent story, and good insight into the plight of illegal immigrants around the world – especially those fleeing conflicts at home.

 

The Mouse Ran Down by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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

Some time after the end of time, human refugees from the end of time hide out in time fragments, shifting from fragment to fragment in a bid to survive. But there’s a catch. They’re losing fragments, as an enemy is shutting them down one by one.

The story opens on a band of refugee humans hiding in 1500s London. Their time there has come to an end, though, and it’s time to move on – to Babylon. Only to discover that the enemy has shut that fragment down, and so they must move on again, to a 1943 Warsaw ghetto. Things start closing down, and the narrator is sent off in search of Doctor Comoy, who is allegedly attempting to fix time.

What a fun story. Serious, really, considering it’s about the time beyond the end of time, and deteriorating time at that, but fun nevertheless. I enjoyed some of Tchaikovsky’s descriptions of the time fragmentation and how things had got into the state they were, and the imagery of how people lived through these fragments of time and moved around between the fragments like they’re little islands on a sea.

A very enjoyable, although perhaps poignant, story.

Fish Night by Joe R. Lansdale

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

This story had me chuckling in parts, shaking my head in others, and hid the odd gem of sheer brilliance with words. Not strictly a time travel story, there is nevertheless time travel – after a fashion. Pretty much of a “strip yourself of things that attach you to this time and you can join another time” nature. And that’s where some of the humour comes in.

One of the gems I came across is:


The sand shifted, found new places to lie down.


I really enjoyed this short story. Vivid writing that captures the imagination, transforming one to a hot, dusty desert road… and then to a chilly, fish-filled desert night. Beware, though… there’s more than one type of fish in the sea, and they aren’t all friendly and benign – especially if you’re swimming in their waters.

Yesterday was Monday by Theodore Sturgeon

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

I just love stories like this, with “little people” and a completely different look at life. A different look at time too.

Just imagine if our lives were a stage that someone reset every night while we were asleep. In this story Harry Wright wakes up a little too early, and finds himself on the wrong set! Wednesday, to be precise, instead of Tuesday. He discovers the world to be a pristine stage being “worn” by the various little people at work on the set, with humans like himself the “actors”.

This story did take a bit of figuring out initially. I was a bit confused by the actors and times and sets and little fellows, but eventually I figured it all out. And then it was simply delightful.