old man is found wandering in the Arizona desert, demented
and talking in rhymes. In his pocket is a diagram, which turns
out to be the plan of a medieval monastery. This is the same
monastery that is being excavated by a team of archaeologists.
Just how is it that a crazy old man has the full plans of
a building that the archaeologists are still uncovering?...
is the latest Michael Crichton novel to be given the Hollywood
treatment, with a movie currently in the pipeline. Rumours
are already starting to materialise at this early stage that
the screenplay is having to be drastically rewritten. A revelation
which will not be a surprise to anyone having read the book.
novel opens well, with the mysterious appearance of a man
in the middle of the Arizona desert. He is babbling incoherently
and is carrying a strange plastic device as well as a piece
of paper with a strange drawing on it. The
next thing we know we are heading over to France to an archaeological
site on a medieval monastery. Somehow, these events are connected
and the following novel will see our heroes travelling back
in time to the very monastery they are unearthing in the present
stories revolving around time travel always have a problem
associated with them if they want to be considered credible.
Timeline goes for a theory that is based largely on
fact, that of Quantum physics. A few years ago I was Features
Editor of a magazine for the UK electronics industry. I commissioned
a feature on this very topic, and while the time travel aspect
is, so far, very science fiction, the possibility that we
will be able to transport living tissue from one place to
another instantaneously (like Star Trek's teleportation)
is, theoretically, a distant possibility.
from a technical point of view Timeline is not as far
fetched as you'd think. However, the execution of the narrative
is not the stuff of Hollywood movies. Firstly, The opening
chapters seem to be regurgitating ideas we've already witnessed
in Jurassic Park. Having the main protagonists working
on a dig and being worried about their funding until the man
who is financing their project invites them to come and see
something wonderful... has all been done before by Crichton.
have completed 50 percent of this novel before you are introduced
to the time travel element, and it's not hard to see why.
Once the heroes hop over to Merry Olde Medieval France, they
simply run around not knowing what to do. Avoiding a black
knight here, a nobleman there, they run around until the reader
get into scrape after scrape (chased by knights onto a ceiling
which then collapses; knights chasing them again to cut off
their heads; being discovered in a secret passage and again
being chased by knights). It really does feel as though Crichton
didn't think this part of the book through very well. We have
a fantastically long introduction, a fairly speedy conclusion
and in-between there are pages of confusion that read like
a badly conceived Carry On movie.
could have been an interesting adventure is simply rather
dull. Let's hope the movie is either changed drastically,
or that someone rewrites it as Carry On Timeline.
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