Ultimate Time Travel
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Classification: Past Time Travel


Bones of the Earth introduces us to paleontologist Richard Leyster. One day, in the very near future, a government agent steps into Richard’s office and offers him the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to study real, live dinosaurs. Using a time machine, whose mysterious origins are only given at the end of the novel, several researchers would be transported to the past, specifically, the several eras between the Triassic to the Cretaceous, and will be able to study creatures indigenous to these time periods.


Even though at this point the book may appear to be very similar to many other novels, the standard “paleontologist travels back in time to see dinosaurs” story, it has several unique subplots.


Many time travel novels fail to perceive the entire scope of the effect time travel technology could have. For example, if someone has a time machine, what’s to stop him from going to the future and finding the solutions of problems he’s currently working on? Bones of the Earth does not fall in this trap. For starters, since the agency organizing the expedition is going to exist in the future as well as the present, the researchers it sends back in time may come from many different times. Consequently, it is possible that knowledge that is widely available in the time of some members will not have been discovered yet in the others’ time. If a slip up occurs, it has the potential of changing the timeline, something the organization wants to avoid at all costs. Furthermore, it’s even possible that the two separate ‘versions’ of the same person from two different periods will work together, as long as the older version does not reveal anything to the younger version.


An additional subplot deals with a fundamentalist terrorist group that is determined to infiltrate the organization, and send objects through time so it could discredit archeology forever. These terrorists aim to send modern as well as fictional artifacts to the past, so that archeologists will find them in the present. Something like this has the potential of doing great harm.


The novel speculates a lot on the ecology and behavior of prehistoric creatures. This increases the realism of the plot, since the protagonist is a paleontologist, and also makes for a very interesting read. Whether or not the author is correct in his theories is besides the point.


All in all, the book is populated by a large number of interesting – and not so interesting – characters. Scientists, religious nuts, terrorists. Not to mention the “Old Man”, the enigmatic person who has total control of the organization. It’s a stimulating tale of time travel that offers a few new perspectives on a popular premise. However, some of the subplots were boring and overall, I felt the book was trying to accomplish too much (the love story and the sex scenes probably could’ve been removed!). It was definitely not an easy read – the reader really has to pay attention to all the details.


Although I recommend this book, I feel I could give it a higher ranking because I found some of the subplots to be boring, and in general, the book was a challenging read.


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com


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Classification: Plot Device


I wasn’t sure whether I should review The Peace War. Although it is a fantastic book, it does not exactly involve time travel, though a time altering device is used. However, in order to understand the second novel – an excellent and worthy novel in its own right – it is important to be familiar with The Peace War.


The Peace War describes the near future: only a few years from today, the Peace Authority, an unknown organization until this point, appears and begins conquering strategic points using a new type of irresistible weapon: the “bobbler”. The bobbler creates an impenetrable force field that surrounds key areas, essentially freezing these areas in time. By very quickly creating bobbles around military bases and other strategic areas, the Peace Authority is able, surprisingly quickly, to take over the entire world.


The plot begins fifty years after the Peace Authority has conquered the world. By now The Peace Authority is a well established, tyrannical organization, that has banned all research in technology for fear that someone may be able to discover a way to defeat it. Although it appears that the Peace Authority cannot be stopped because of their ultimate weapon, small groups have began working in secret on research with the goal of discovering a weapon to defeat the authority.


The Peace War describes the story of Paul Naismith, the inventor of the Bobbler technology who’s now working in secrecy with the rebellion in an attempt to undo the harm he has done.


Overall, I thought this is a superb book. It’s very well written and highly enjoyable. The plot advances very quickly, and it’s very easy to imagine it being made into a movie (mark my words, it will happen!). Highly recommended!


Link to the book on Amazon.com


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Classification: Personal Alternate Reality


Replay is one of the greatest books I have ever read. Maybe even my favorite book. I’ll try to make sure my review does it justice.


Jeff Winston is a rather unsuccessful journalist, living an unhappy life with his wife Linda. Not longer after he turns 43, in October 1988, Jeff suffers a major heart attack – one he does not survive. But instead of finding himself in the afterlife, Jeff finds himself back in 1963, in his 18 year old body. Quickly, Jeff begins enjoying his youth again (it is as the saying goes: “Wisdom is wasted on the youth”). More importantly, he realizes he has 25 years of future knowledge: personal decisions that went wrong, major political and economical events, knowledge of companies that became big and companies that did not survive the times. Armed with this invaluable knowledge, Jeff is able to become a very wealthy person in his early 20s.


Until this point, there is not much of a difference between this and many other books and movies. It now changes.


Determined to avoid the mistakes he’s made before, and remembering the day, time and location where he originally met Linda, his wife, Jeff decides to do it right this time. Butterflies in his stomach, he goes to meet Linda again. Imagine his surprise when after introducing himself, Linda brushes him off quite rudely. Turns out that the new version of Jeff, wealthy and probably more confident than his original young self, does not appeal to Linda. Jeff continues trying to woo Linda for a while (he still remembers where she lives), but to no avail. He eventually accepts this fate, marries a different woman, and learns to enjoy his comfortable new life.


The year 1988 encroaches, and Jeff is 43 year again. He begins to worry something may happen. He routinely works out to make sure he’s in good shape, and makes sure a team of doctors supervise him. They assure him: he’s in perfect health and faces no imminent heart attack.


But they are wrong. At exactly the same moment, Jeff suffers yet another (from his mental perspective) heart attack. He dies. Again. And finds himself, once again, in the year 1963, in his 18 year old body.


What does he do? I won’t reveal the answer to that, but I will say that this is not the last time Jeff dies and is reborn. Each time he makes different choices that affect both himself and the world in general. Each time he lives life differently. He continues a romance he originally abandoned. He tries warning the world of looming disasters – and gets in trouble with the CIA (who think he has terrorist connections). He tries finding other people like himself. He tries to create the ultimate piece of entertainment by recruiting famous actors and directors (George Lucas, Steven Spielberg) years before they got famous. Until the end – which I won’t reveal.


Replay has a great story, very memorable characters, and is highly thought provoking. Although Replay appears to be a rather simple novel on the surface, it is much more profound than that, as it asks major questions: Is life about accumulating wealth and personal belongings? Is life about being with one’s family? Is life about trying new adventures? Is life simply about going through one’s mundane daily routine? What does it mean for a person to have all of his achievements vanish: whether they be wealth, creations of art, fame or even family.


Since these are questions we all have to deal with, Replay provides what can only be summarized as a spiritual journey. I believe this is precisely the reason Replay became such a successful novel: because it deals with – possibly – the biggest question of all: What is the meaning of life?


Years ago, I used to read Replay every couple of months. Although I no longer do that, even now, some two decades afterwards, Replay still feels to me like one of those books that changed something in me. That made me question my core values. Despite the great story, the surprising twists and turns, and the outstanding characters – I don’t think there can be any higher complement for a book – and an author – than that. Replay is one of my all time favorite books. It is as good as it gets.


Link to the book’s details on Amazon.com


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