Tag Archive | Time Travel

At Dorado by Geoffrey A Landis

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

Dorado is a wormhole, one of three in the nexus, and the POV character, Cheena, lives on the port station that orbits Dorado. She is married to Daryn Bey, a navigator.

When news comes in of a wreck, Cheena realises the possibility that her husband could be gone. and regrets the argument they had before he last left – caused by a passing remark that Bey has a wife/woman in every port, something Cheena is unwilling to accept. And then the news is that the wreck is that of the ship he is out on.

However, when you’re dealing with wormholes, nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and this tale is no less convoluted for it. Between upspin and downspin and past and future, it’s no wonder the port is a neutral zone where no-one talks, and dead ships’ names are never mentioned. One cannot change the past or the future…

Given that this was quite a short story for its complexity, the temporal entanglements to be expected…. I felt as though something was missing… but perhaps that’s more a symptom of the silence the port station holds on certain topics. So for that reason, I think this was really well-written, as the sense it conveys to the reader is really that experienced by the main character.

The Clock Keeper by Melissa Delport

Source: Amazon
Format: Kindle
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Fletcher and Clara/Clarke really camped out in my head while I read this book. This story totally captivated my imagination, and… I’m so sad it had to end!!!

Members of a perpetual society called Tempus, essentially the guardians of time, the Clock Keepers preside over a vast hall of clocks deep in the Grand Canyon – clocks that designate the lifetimes of every person on earth. They have one rule: never looj at a clock. But when Anna Kennedy, the Clock Keeper, spots the clock of the man she loves and attempts to break it to prevent his death, it is left to her younger sister to fix the ensuing mess, perhaps even preventing the unravelling of time itself.

I really liked that there were surprises along the way in this story. I thought I’d unravelled the plot, but Delport didn’t go anywhere near my ideas – for which I’m grateful!

Well-crafted and thoroughly readable, I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys some mild romance with the temporal paradox thrown in.

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.

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.

The Clock that went Backwards by Edward Page Mitchell

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

I read this as part of The Time Traveller’s Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer.

What a lovely short story, asking an excellent question: if time can go forwards, surely it can go backwards too?

The story is about two cousins who visit a ‘great-aunt Gertrude’ (I had to chuckle at that – just how many great-aunt Gertrudes are there?) who has a notable clock: the clock neither ticks nor tocks. Then one night they witness their great-aunt Gertrude winding the clock up, and it then going backwards – something great-aunt Gertrude appears to be happy about, until she falls down, apparently dead.

Then comes one of the funniest lines I’ve read in a while, speaking of experiences in military school: “…and a good deal of the art of standing with our noses over our heels”. That really had me chuckling for a while.

Either rate, so the two cousins – well, Harry being the main recipient – inherit the clock, and get finances to go and study at the University of Leyden, which just happens to be in the town the clock originates from. They go, taking the clock with them, and there they meet a philosophy scholar who is into metaphysics, and is quite happy to accept the concept of time going backward just as much as it goes forward. At which point the theory gets a little hairy, if one can follow it at all!

How fantastic that this story was written almost 140 years ago, and is pretty complex in its consideration of time and time travel. A groundbreaker indeed – and it certainly came onto the stage with a splash. It has the whole time paradox question, which leaves one chewing over it for a good while after reading, and is really, on the whole, quite complex.

An excellent, accessible read that is not – to me, at least – stilted by the language of 140 years hence, and for what it is, a prime example of time travel.