Thursday, April 24, 2014

Looking for a Good Book? These Recent Time Travel Reads Are Sure to Please

by John DeNardo)

I've made no secret about being a fan of time travel stories. Perhaps that's why the release of books that use time travel catch my eye. And my eyes have been busy! Here's a roundup of recent books that incorporate time travel.

The Time Traveler's Almanac edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VandeMeer

If you have any interest whatsoever in reading time travel stories at all, the must-have book currently sitting on bookstore shelves is Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's excellent anthology The Time Traveler's Almanac. These two experienced editors have assembled a whopping 961-page definitive collection of time travel stories written over the past 100 years. That may be just the blink of an eye to a time traveler, but for you and me it means a diverse set of stories that shows the evolution of the sub-genre. The spectacular lineup of contributors includes Kage Baker, Elizabeth Bear, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, Nalo Hopkinson, Joe Lansdale, Tanith Lee, Ursula K. LeGuin, George R.R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Pamela Sargent, Robert Silverberg, Harry Turtledove, H.G. Wells, Connie Willis and Gene Wolfe, among others.
The Rich and the Dead by Liv Spector

If you're a fan of mysteries, check out The Rich and the Dead by Liv Spector. After a dozen of the world's most powerful people are found murdered in a well-to-do community in Miami in the year 2015, investigator Lila Day is driven to find the killer—an obsession that consumes her every thought and leads to her dismissal from the Miami police department. Lila gets a shot at redemption three years later when a reclusive billionaire named Teddy Hawkins asks her to solve the case. But how is she supposed to solve a case that 3-years cold? Teddy offers Lila a simple but unbelievable solution: time travel. He has the means to send Lila back to 2014, one year before the crime, to go undercover among the members of Miami's high society and ferret out the killer.

Timebound by Rysa Walker

Readers who are in on the secret that books marketed to young adult readers can be equally enjoyable to adults should check out the first book in Rysa Walker's The Chronos Files, titled Timebound. (It was originally released under the title Time's Twisted Arrow.) In it, a 16-year-old girl named Kate receives a strange blue medallion from her grandmother, whose ramblings about time travel seem to Kate to be borderline delusional. But then a murder in the past begins altering the reality of the present day and that little medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from being wiped out of existence. Kate discovers that she has the genetic capability to travel through time and is the only one who can save the future. To do so, she must prevent the murder that caused all this, and that means Kate must travel back to the World’s Fair in 1893 Chicago. But her actions will come at a cost: If she stops the murder, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence.

The Forever Engine by Frank ChadwickForever Engine

Frank Chadwick's The Forever Engine is a novel that mixes time travel, alternate history and steampunk. It involves a man named Jack Fargo, a former special forces operator from our own present day, who is cast back into an alternate past. In this alternate London of the year 1889, airships dominate the skies, Mars has been colonized and people of power are killed by clockwork assassins. Worse, a sociopath known as the Old Man of the Mountains is plotting the end of the world with his so-called Forever Engine. Fargo, displaced from his own time but ever the hero, jumps into the adventure with both feet to save the (alternate) world. He teams up with a ragtag team of cohorts including a beautiful-but-mysterious French spy, an elderly Scottish physicist, and a young British officer of questionable courage. Author Frank Chadwick himself is no stranger to steampunk adventure: he is the creator of the staple steampunk role playing game, Space: 1889.

Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan

To what lengths will you go to find a cure for your terminal illness? That's the situation faced by Ellis Rogers, the main character in Michael J. Sullivan's Hollow World. With nothing left to lose, Ellis builds his own time machine with the aim of traveling to the future where a cure for his particular illness will be old news. Ellis succeeds in building his time machine, but he overshoots his mark. He winds up in the far future—much further than he intended—and finds that life is not at all what he expected. There is a cure for his illness, thanks to the advance of modern technology, but those same advances—particularly in genetic engineering—means that all humans are identical. In such a society, fighting for your own individuality presents a unique set of challenges.

Star Trek: The Original Series: No Time Like the Past by Greg Cox

One of the nice things about media tie-ins is that fans of the associated media property can explore the further adventures of their favorite characters. That includes exploring the strange new worlds encountered by the crew of the original USS Enterprise. In No Time Like the Past, author Greg Cox has a treat for fans of both the original Star Trek series and the spinoff Star Trek: Voyager, which takes place in that universe's future. In the book, the crew of Captain Kirk's Enterprise undertake a routine diplomatic mission to the planet Yusub which is anything but routine when Orion raiders disrupt the negotiations by force. He soon finds himself fighting side by side with a mysterious stranger from the future who calls herself "Annika Seven." Trek fans will immediately recognize that name as belonging to "Seven of Nine," a member of the Voyager crew who exists in the future, from Captain Kirk's perspective. Seven of Nine was transported to the past when her own away mission went awry. Now Kirk and Seven work side by side to not only help her return to the future in order to protect the time line, but also to protect her from the factions who crave the valuable knowledge Seven possesses.

John DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, a two-time Hugo Award-winning group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. You can follow him on Twitter as @sfsignal

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