Review of Life Trap by Barrington J Bayley

18586183Here we meet Clinias and Marcus, two incumbents at the Temple of Mysteries. At this temple, they pursue life’s secrets. And once they ask a question and obtain an answer, they must share that knowledge. And so  here we have it. And what is the question? What happens after death?

So at midnight one night, Marcus is left in the inner sanctum along with a nostrum in a crucible over a small brazier, and his friend Clinias departs. Fearing that he’ll never see his friend Marcus again. An hour later, Marcus returns hale and hearty from his trip beyond death and back again – but no, he isn’t very hearty, not really. What he learns in the place beyond death… <spoilers>

I really liked this story. It isn’t science fiction – more mystical, with lotions and potions, crucibles, braziers and temples. But in terms of time travel? It’s definitely that. And its situation in the “Mazes and Traps” section of The Time Traveller’s Almanac is definitely apt. Bayley’s clear writing pulled me into the story, and the implications of Marcus’ discoveries from beyond death weren’t lost on me.

4/5 rating

My fellow time travelling readers are:

Alesha Escobar (maternity leave)
H.M. Jones (on hiatus)
Lynn’s Books
DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)

 

 

Review of Augusta Prima by Karin Tidbeck

18586183Given that this story originally appeared in Weird Tales… that’s very appropriate. For this is a bit of an odd one. Be careful where you step, though. This story’s rather casually… violent? I mean, a croquet game of which the aim is to hit a page in the face? Yeah. That kind of weird.

I quite enjoyed this short story… in a weird sort of way. Augusta, the main character, discovers a dead human in the woods and picks up a locket off his body. Turns out that the locket is a watch. And Augusta lives in a place where time doesn’t exist. Except that the watch then starts ticking.

Tidbeck’s writing is clear and vivid, setting me right into each of the scenes. While there was a certain sense of confusion while reading, that is inherent to the story and was very well facilitated. I’d be happy to pick up another story by Tidbeck if this is an example of what she writes – which it indeed is.

3/5 rating

My fellow time travelling readers are:

Alesha Escobar (maternity leave)
H.M. Jones (on hiatus)
Lynn’s Books
DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)

Review of Palindromic by Peter Crowther

18586183A bit of a weird story, this. Aliens arrive on Earth… but they don’t… and everything works backwards… but it doesn’t. Hmmm. I mean, fine, I get the concept. It’s a bit like the Doctor and River Song, the one goes forward in time in terms of meetings, the other goes backward, and they have to keep checking their diaries to figure out where on the timeline their meeting is. It isn’t an easy concept to actually wrap one’s head around in literal terms, while conceptually it makes perfect sense. I mean… The aliens arrive, they go slower… Earth then disappears? But that’s in their past… or future… or whatever… My head hurts.

I did enjoy Crowther’s descriptions of the aliens, and even the characters. JJ was the quintessential intellectual who enjoys figuring things out. His friends just happily bumbled alongside him. And their solution to Earth disappearing was pretty… original… I guess. I suppose that at least Earth doesn’t end up disappearing. Yet.

No. Not very overwhelmed by this story. A little underwhelmed… and while bits of it were interesting, my head just hurts. And that’s ok. It’s time travel. Time travel is screwy.

3/5 rating

My fellow time travelling readers are:

Alesha Escobar (maternity leave)
H.M. Jones (on hiatus)
Lynn’s Books
DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)