31 December 2007

writing on reading: Time's Child and The Accidental Time Machine

Or, what I read on my Christmas Vacation. :)
I thought I'd follow Dave's lead and give you my 2 cents on some books I've read recently. It may give you Electric Spec writers an idea of what kinds of stuff this editor likes (and doesn't). So, for your reading pleasure, reviews of 2 recent time travel books:

Time's Child by Rebecca Ore
In plague-aftermath 2300 The Archivists extract people from the past to study, including a Da Vinci groupie, a teen-aged Viking, and a 2006-era hacker. Needless to say, the snatched people don't appreciate being confined and studied and break free. Chaos ensues as they develop their own time machines and start bringing historical people to the 2300-present.

I found the prose to be very well done. The plotting was quite good, with alternate futures trying to control the 2300-era folks. I also found the philosophical implications of how much an era/culture shapes a person to be very intriguing. For example, can a Viking build a time machine or is he trapped in the paradigm of his youth? What does it mean to be human? Are people static or constantly changing?

Regarding constructive criticism: the author has three pov characters which she utilizes seemingly at random, which is slightly confusing. The ending also could have been more dramatic.

Overall, I really enjoyed this.

The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman
As the title implies, the protagonist, a physics grad student, accidentally builds a time machine. As you might guess, he starts traveling--into the future. Adventures ensue.

Haldeman's prose is wonderful, as usual, and I really appreciated the plausibility of the physics.

Unfortunately, I can only surmise this is intended as an homage to H.G. Wells The Time Machine, because the plot is entirely predictable.

Still, Haldeman's writing is so nice, I enjoyed this.

What good books have you read lately? :)


David E. Hughes said...

Hey! You stole my title! :) Seriously, I like to read input about other books. Not sure how much others like it, however, since I have not a one comment on any of my "Writing on Reading" posts. Are you going to get to "Time and Again"? I thought that was quite good as far as time travel goes. I already know you read "To Say Nothing of the Dog"--another great time travel book. How about "The Eight"? Not really a time travel book but it does take place in multiple time periods and is very good.

lesleylsmith said...

Thanks, D. Please recall I have commented on your writing on reading post(s). :)
I have not read 'Time and Again or'The Eight'. I guess I have some reading to do! Actually the Heinlein book that I started blogging about in Nov 2007 'To Sail Beyond the Sunset' was about time travel--which was why I reread it. Unfortunately, it was incest, incest, incest! I understand the taboo about incest was based on the idea of birth defects and if you can avoid that, there's no logical reason to avoid incest, but I still found it creepy. The time travel in the book was nice though.