I wanted to start this review with a joke about time travel, but sadly, none of you found it funny. Alright, I’ll admit that joke is a little worn down, having been told quite a few times – but you know what’s fresh? This novella!
The funny thing is that one day before I started reading this book, I plotted down an idea I had while showering regarding a sci-fi story that includes time travel. (Maybe I’ll even write it one day.) Imagine my surprise when I started reading this story and immediately stumbled upon time travel, which goes to show just one thing: The time travel genre is not dead. But it feels like a zombie genre sometimes, because a lot of stories have been recycling the same tropes over and over (since back to the future). What this genre needs is fresh wind – and Adrian delivers.
In fact, I’m going as far as saying that this is the kind of science fiction novel (or novella? The length falls in between, I think) that reminds me why I first got into science fiction. Grand ideas, world shaping, a splash of philosophy and wisdom (or at least common sense disguised as wisdom), a world where everything seems possible.
I’m not going to spoiler the story for you (you need to experience it for yourself), but Adrian reinvents the time travel genre by adding a lot of philosophy – and the fact that time machines are the ultimate weapons, way more devastating than all the nukes in the world combined.
All those stories and films where someone has a time machine and they’re going back to restore their own timeline? That’s like a blindfolded archer who’s been spun around a thousand times loosing an arrow and hitting the exact bull’s eye on a target someone removed the day before.Why you can’t never restore your own timeline
In terms of this story, time is not only something ever-changing that can be manipulated – it’s also a resource, and a finite one at that. The story is postapocalyptic – or postepochalyptic – because humanity has, quite literally, run out of time.
So, 5 out of 5 time machines for me. Full of fresh ideas, although I think I’ve detected some of Heinlein’s »All You Zombies« in there. (Oh, yes, that one has time machine crazyness all over the place.)
And if I myself had a wee time machine, I would use it to go back in time and read this story for the first time – again! (Sadly, though, I’ve lost my flux compensator. The question is not where, but when.)