- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 626 KB
- Print Length: 185 pages
- Publisher: Gateway (29 Sept. 2011)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005K8H0PU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #514,965 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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There Will Be Time Kindle Edition
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Those familiar with Anderson's work will recognize that this book ties in (however peripherally) with some of his other stories, about a post apocalyptic future where a New Zealand/Micronesian amalgam culture known as the Maurai come to dominate the world after a nuclear holocaust, and having been less hard hit by the catastrophe, are left strong enough to impose their vision of a less industrialized, more ecologically balanced ideal on the rest of the world. This story concerns a group of time travellers (whose ability is inate, and due to a genetic mutation, rather than any external time machine), led by a charismatic, but bigoted and ruthless 19th century American, whose aim is to break the Maurai domination, and re-establish industrial civilization.
The book tells the story of a bright, thoughtful, 20th century American who at first joins this group, then rebels against the ruthlessness countenanced by the group's leader. (But despite this, the book is clearly not some politically correct paean to eco-nazism, and the Maurai philosophy is represented thoughtfully as a way which does embody some genuine good, but which also became rigid, dogmatic, and even repressive -- in fact this is one of the best aspects of the story: neither side is wholly right or wholly wrong, but are each representative of good ideas and bad mingled together. This is highly realistic, as two sides in any conflict almost always have their valid points as well as their indefensible wrongs.) In addition to the adventure of the main character's war against his erstwhile comrades, there is a twofold romance story (understated, but well written), an engaging account of the protagonist's activities in the late 12th/early 13th century Byzantine Empire, and an interesting philosophical speculation about the nature of time tavel and fixed destiny versus free will.
This book is now out of print, but pick up a used copy if you can. As I said, Anderson was one of the giants of the science fiction genre. There is no author writing today who is his equal. This is a great little story by a master of the field, and is simply entertaining in its own right as well, and well worth the read.
The main character has to deal with this reality from birth, and he does so believably. This ability is more a curse than a blessing, and his struggle to find meaning in his bizarre life, isolated from the rest of the human race is poignant and palpable.
This is a love story, and a good one. Though I haven't seen my copy in years, I think about it often. If you can find this book, get it, and read it. You won't regret it.
Update 2.5 years later: I found a signed first edition copy of this book. I am never parting with it.
I read this first as a teenager, and thought about it for years. I found a used copy in my thirties that I've re-read several times, and I'm starting to wear that one out. This is one of those rare books that I know I'll read over and over until my eyes give out.
The hard science fiction tale on the surface tells the dramatic, conflicted story of Jack Havig, a 20th century American born with a genetic mutation that allows him to travel through time on the strength of his will alone. His travels downtime to a post-apocalyptic future after a nuclear holocaust reveal a New Zealand-Micronesian culture known as the Maurai who have developed a pastoral, less technologically oriented, more ecologically focused and somewhat idealized culture. But his travels uptime, as far afield (or does one say "atime"?) as the Byzantine Empire at the time of the Crusaders, bring him into contact with a burgeoning right-wing group of fellow time-travelers led by a bigoted 19th century fellow American whose goal is the elimination of the non-white races who would presume to supplant them in the indefinite future. Two truly heart-warming tales of romance are an addition that one rarely enjoys in a novel like this.
But even fast moving surface waters can run deep and dark. The two-pronged theme that moves like an irresistible current under the surface deals first, of course, with the ethics of time travel itself and, second, with the perennial time travel issues of destiny versus free will and the possibilities of creating unresolvable paradoxes or changing events in the past that have already happened. Indeed, if I may say so, therein lies the single weakness of Anderson's novel. As Anderson has not introduced the concept of a multiverse with an infinite number of branching futures based on current events unfolding in real time, the professed inability of our time traveling protagonists to change a past event becomes a wall against which the brain of a questioning reader bumps over and over again.
And that final meta-concepts I referred to? Well, you're just going to have to read for yourself to get to the final few paragraphs. No cheating now but I guarantee that any science fiction reader worth his salt will smile and nod with complete satisfaction and grudging, quizzical agreement at the astonishing possibilities that Anderson raises in the final few sentences of a most worthy addition to your SF library.