Tag Archive | 4 stars

Bad Timing by Molly Brown

Format: Hardcover
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Alan Strong works in the Archives Department at the Colson Time Studies Institute some three hundred years in the future. One day, when he arrives at work, his friend Joe Twofingers draws his attention to a fiction story in a magazine from the 20th century called Woman’s Secrets. The story is about a man called Alan Strong from the 24th century who travels back in time because he sees a photo of a lady called Cecily Walker, falls in love with her. And apparently this man works at the Archives Department at the Colson Time Studies Institute…

What ensues is a humorous account of Alan’s attempt to find Cecily. Time travel gets tough when you don’t have all the instructions.

I enjoyed reading this story. Brown’s writing is vivid and concise, and the story tickles the time travel paradox nicely. Definitely a thumbs’ up from me.

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Domine by Rjurik Davidson

Format: Hardcover
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Marek, a musician and soundscaper, is excitedly anticipating the return of Dany, a crew member on the first close-to-light-speed space trip. But who is Dany, and what will happen?

This story had a distinctly “The Forever War” feel to it, but from the other side of the coin, so to speak. Fascinating, really, and somewhat disturbing too. I really enjoyed Davidson’s vision of the near future, of how the cities had evolved and/or degenerated, and his depiction of disconnect was excellent.

Red Letter Day by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Format: Hardcover
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Some time in the future, time travel has been discovered. However, fears of chaos ensuing from multiple potential timelines mean that the use of time travel is heavily regulated. Each person who reaches a certain age can send their teenage self one letter, to be received on Red Letter Day. However, not all receive letters.

A counsellor at the Barack Obama High School, who herself did not receive a letter as a teenager, is two weeks from turning fifty – and the day when she will finally send herself a letter. It’s Red Letter Day at the Barack Obama High School, and her task is to counsel those students who do not receive letters. There are three of them that day.

A very interesting twist on the time travel concept, and an exploration into the consequences of foreknowledge of the future. Very well written, and very much a current topic. I really enjoyed this story.

Message in a Bottle by Nalo Hopkinson

Source: Own Collection
Format: Hardcover
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Can you imagine travelling back into the past to search for a specific sea shell that gets lost?

Greg, an artist and the narrator of the story, is a family friend to Babette and Sunil, who are adoptive parents to Kamla. All is fine, except Kamla has a strange condition: her head is too big for her body. In fact, it looks adult. And Greg hates kids.

The story begins with a four-year-old Kamla looking for shells on a beach in Bradley’s Cove. She’s a normal-seeming child apart from her oversized head, even down to the obsession with shells. But when Babette and Sunil move to Vancouver, Kamla is angry with them for taking her away from Bradley’s Cove.

Greg holds an exhibition some years later, which Kamla and Sunil attend. The idea of the exhibition is that people are encouraged to excavate for artefacts buried in sand. Kamla, still obsessed with shells, finds a shell in the sand.

In a hurried night time conversation, Kamla intimates to Greg that she’s actually from his future, sent back in time to locate a shell – the shell, in fact, that she found in his exhibit. And this is where things get interesting. The theory put forward is that all creatures are artists, and the shell she was searching for is a masterpiece for the sea creature that made it, as it was the first time the species had designed the shell in that way. A trendsetter – or perhaps evolutionary leap?

This was an interesting story, not only for the time travel aspect and how many so children were appearing with oversized heads and superior intelligence that a new syndrome is named (get the details of that from the story), but also the introduction of the concept of all creatures being artistic. In many ways, perhaps, a valid observation and one worth taking note of. The story isn’t always the easiest read, but it certainly is intriguing.

Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Source: Own Collection
Format: Paperback
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

This book is a hilarious juxtaposition to the ordinary children’s book. In normal books, the children have adventures and the grownups don’t believe them. In this book, those roles are reversed with hilarious consequences. And no, I won’t be mentioning Professor Steg, the pirates, the space aliens (not to mention the space police) and a wonderful cast of other characters.

Highly inventive and beautifully chaotic, this tale is a romp. A very quick read for an accomplished reader, it will entertain.