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LoraM

Lora's Rants and Reviews

My own unapologetic opinions on books and writing.

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Time Travel: Recent Trips

Time Travel: Recent Trips - Paula Guran, Kage Baker, Elizabeth Bear, James P. Blaylock, Mary Robinette Kowal

Edited by Paula Guran

 

I'm very much a fan of good time travel stories, so when this anthology came up for review, I couldn't resist. Also there was a story included by Michael Moorcock, whose fantasy writing I've enjoyed before. Like most anthologies with stories from a lot of different writers, there were some that were more interesting to me than others.

 

The editor, Paula Guran, introduces the subject with some well informed historical facts about theories of time travel from different religions and cultures, including Ancient Egypt. Newton and other philosophers get a mention for their thoughts on the subject and actually this intro was one of the most interesting parts of the book!

 

There are 18 stories. I have a preference for time travel adventures, and found many of the stories not quite what I expected. The first few felt a little slow to get to anything to do with time travel. The subject seems to have been widely interpreted and some stories dealt with perceptions more than actual scifi time travel.

 

The Man Who Ended History by Ken Liu had an interesting theory about paired particles that allow us to see light through space that got my interest, but even this was more how to view the past than to actually travel there. The Carpet Beds of Sutro Park by Kage Baker was particularly interesting, though depressing and there was some good time travel action in Mating Habits of the Late Cretaceous by Dale Bailey, though it was mainly about a failing marriage and a holiday hunting dinosaurs.

The Mists of Time by Tom Purdom was a very well written story about a slaver ship and First Flight by Mary Robinette Kowel was also a particularly well written story that had been recommended to me before. The Time Travel Club by Charlie Jane Anders brought in the movement of the earth in the mechanics of time travel, which I found interesting and September At Wall and Broad by Kristine Kathryn Rusch was another with especially good writing.

Thought Experiment by Eileen Gunn was one of the best in my opinion and had some original ideas about how time travel works, though they were reminiscent of the psychological method used in Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson with adaptations.

There seem to be a lot of time travel tourist stories around recently, not just in this collection but in general. I think the genre generally works better in novel form than in short stories, but that's just my personal opinion. The stories in this collection were all well written from a technical point of view, though some held interest more than others. Not a bad collection, but there was nothing so amazing that it would make me rush out to see what else the author has done.