Wednesday, May 20, 2009

just to stir the pot

I haven’t read much Science Fiction, generally I flock to fantasy.  The reason is this; I loathed science class in high school.  And thus the idea of a genre of books being named after a class I couldn’t get didn’t appeal to me.   A year ago I got a subscription to Asimov and Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.  I was looking for magazines that would accept fantasy short stories. I needed to get a feel for the market.  I read the stories, magazines front to back, and since they were geared towards Science Fiction as well, inevitably I read those stories too.  I loved them. And so with a little hesitation I will occasionally now pick up a Science Fiction book.  I still turn to fantasy first, lest I burned by the unknown and new, but I do hesitantly grasp a science fiction novel every now and again.  The following is one of those books.  I’m glad I took the change of being burned. 


Book:  The Accidental Time Machine

Author:  Joe Haldeman

Genre: Science Fiction

Pass or Fail:  Pass

Stars: **** (4)

Matt Fuller, MIT graduate, research assistant, builds a machine that is supposed to calibrate photons.  Instead, his little black box jumps into the future and waits at an exponential of 12 times the previous trip taken.  What starts as a split second ends billions of years in the future. 

With his girlfriend gone, stolen to another younger grad student, and his job lost to the same guy, Matt has nothing to lose.  So after successfully sending a turtle into the future, he decides that he will be part of the next voyage in the experiment.   But one leap requires another, as the future dictates that he doesn’t belong.  And all that he is left with is the hope brought on by bail money that he somehow finds a way to travel back. 

This book was really really good.  It was really really well written.  It was tightly woven with no loose fluff, every element that was included helped to shape the story.  But it was about the story more so than the characters I found.  The characters go for the adventure and see the changes in our world, but they themselves, I found, act exactly how they are constructed to act. 

I highly recommend this book, weather you like science fiction or not, this explores the possibilities of what the future may hold given various paths the world is steering towards.  A very fascinating read.