Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait by K.A. Bedford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am of a mixed mind on this book. I liked the writing and the characters, but I thought that the plot had significant holes. I read quite a lot of time travel fiction and am more or less familiar with all of the relevant tropes in that genre. This book hits most of those tropes. My difficulty is that it does not do a good job of integrating those tropes into a coherent whole.
I will list three significant problems. There are more but these will give you a sense of the difficulties.
First, every Tom Dick, and Bubba can travel in time. In my mind, casual time travel should cause the whole temporal matrix to come crashing down. There are minor side references to paradoxes and such but the story never explores this aspect in any detail. A casual reader probably will not notice but a dedicated fan of time travel tropes will be left scratching various body parts, wondering about the magic glue that holds everything together without leaving a trace for the reader to detect.
Second, the main settings of the story are the “the near future” and “zillions of years later.” Some knowledge of history would make it clear that significant changes in viewpoints can occur in decades. Zillions of years should produce correspondingly larger changes. But the far future looks a lot like the near future. And yet another case where these changes are invisible.
Third, Dickhead, while interesting, is hard to believe. I kept thinking as I read the story, “How does an idiot like this become a Master of Time?” He sounds like a late twentieth-century used-car salesman who has delusions of grandeur, and is doomed to fall short of his dreams, again and again. This is the man who will serve as the master of ceremonies at the end of everything? Really?
Having said all of this, I will probably read the next in series. That book might drop a few more veils and reveal a few more secrets that will make light of my concerns.