NESFA Members' Reviews


by David Evans

Ace, ISBN 0-441-00364-8, 1996, 249pp, US$5.99

A book review by Evelyn C. Leeper

Copyright 1996 Evelyn C. Leeper

This is basically a time travel story with alternate history aspects, rather than an alternate history novel, and is very much patterned on Poul Anderson's "Time Patrol" series. (Here it's the "Temporal Corps.") The story itself has some promise (renegade time travelers are trying to assassinate Churchill and affect the outcome of World War II). But Evans doesn't have the skill that Anderson does (given that Anderson holds the record for most fiction Hugos--seven-- this is not surprising), and the story never seems to take off. And perhaps more damaging is that Evans over-uses the time travel idea, which makes the story very non-chronological and also means that the reader soon realizes that it is too easy to get around problems using time travel. If nothing is permanent, why care about anyone or anything? And what tension is there in such a story?

There are other problems. One is that Evans seems to be stuck on the letter "S"; his three main female characters are Samantha, Sandy, and Sally. (He has a male character named Steven as well.) And he is sloppy with his history. For example, a character gets his Elizabethan English module replaced with one for the 1940s and also gets a smallpox vaccination for the latter period. Wouldn't he have gotten one for the earlier period already? And a character from the early 1950s trained in the 2700s refers to people in the 1940s as "you James Bond types."

Obviously, there will be other stories in this milieu. (For one thing, the back cover says, "Don't miss this thrilling debut of the all-new Time Station series!") But I found it rather flat and uninteresting, and recommend you seek out Anderson's stories instead.

%T      Time Station London
%A      David Evans
%C      New York
%D      September 1996
%I      Ace
%O      paperback, US$5.99
%G      ISBN 0-441-00364-8
%P      249pp

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