Honoré and Emily find themselves in a parallel timestream
in which their alternate selves think nothing of changing
history to improve the quality of life - especially their
own. Honoré has been recently haunted by the death of his
mother, an event that happened during his childhood. Now there
seems to be a way to reverse that tragedy... but at what cost?
When faced with two of the most dangerous people they have
ever encountered, Honoré and Emily must make decisions with
just 70 pages long, this is the shortest Time Hunter
novella to date, but nevertheless it makes gripping reading.
R J Carter and Troy Riser set things up nicely with a few
well-realised shifts in space and time. The prologue features
an injured World War II officer called Jonah (perhaps because
of his bad luck) who suddenly and inexplicably finds himself
in a world where the war never happened. Then the first chapter
proper propels us back in time, via Honoré's memories, as
he recalls his childhood bereavement. After that I was hooked
by the perennially irresistible concepts of parallel universes
and doppelganger counterparts.
is paid to several of sci-fi's better-known previous explorations
of alternate timelines and dimensions. For instance, in the
world in which Jonah, Honoré and Emily find themselves, airships
are a popular mode of transport, just as they are in Philip
Dark Materials trilogy, the recent Doctor
Who two-parter Rise
of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel and countless
examples of the steampunk genre. The scientific principle
of the Einstein-Rosen bridge that the travellers use was popularised
(referred to as the Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky bridge) in the
TV show Sliders. At one point, the alternate timeline
is even referred to as a "mirror universe", a la Star Trek,
though the authors stop short of anything so crude or clichéd
as the "mirror" Lechasseur lacking a beard. Towards the end
of the book, Honoré faces a dilemma similar to that of Captain
Kirk at the end of The
City on the Edge of Forever.
crucial difference between the two sets of characters is that
the alternate Emily knows all about her past. This is yet
another hint that, in the next and final book in the series,
George Mann's Child of Time, all will be revealed about
the origins of "our" Emily (a hint that is confirmed by the
"coming soon" synopsis at the back of the book).
narrative also contains some beautiful descriptions of paintings
and intelligent discussions of the artists who created them.
slight imperfection is that it is never really explained how
Jonah remains immune to the historical changes that the alternate
Honoré and Emily bring about, nor how he manages to slip between
dimensions. That aside, however, this is an appealing page-turner.
Never mind the quantity, enjoy the quality.