It's been a while since I read this one, but it certainly sticks in the mind. Very exciting and compulsively written, the slow move from the horror of airline crashes to the very sci-fi ending is just brilliant. It was made into a film starring Kris Kristofferson in 1989, but given that I'd never heard of the film even when I knew about the book, I wouldn't hold out much hope for greatness! The book, however, definitely is great. It is quite graphic and adult in places, but utterly compelling. The skill in writing alone was enough to make me check out Varley's other work (particularly the excellent "Titan"). This is one that deserves to be better known! Exciting and intriguing.
One should not reveal the plot of this wonderful novel. The suspense stems from the gradual awful realization of how and why something impossible has occurred in a series of airplane crashes. Bill Smith is the crash investigator who notices something odd. All the pieces don't add up, so to speak. Switch to the far future. Makes you think. Very imaginitive, & compulsive read.
Forget H.G.Wells'; 'The Time Machine', (great though it was/is), THIS is undoubtedly one of THE best 'Time Travel' stories you'll probably ever read. I bought a copy of this years ago with a chrome paperback cover,(which looked very cool at the time...in fact, still does!); there was little on the back cover to tell the reader what it was about, only that it contained a story involving 'an appalling mid-air collision' and only slightly alluded to a time in the far distant future; the book was even listed under 'General Fiction'!
The story 'morphs' from, (what seems like) a novel entirely about a mysterious air-crash investigation, into a fully-fledged science fiction story, (not unlike the way the Quentin Tarantino film; 'From Dusk Till Dawn' does). The chapters alternate between the two main protagonists, and switches back and forth the same way good action/adventure films do before all the 'loose ends' and mysterious sub-plots come together, and this manages to keep you on the edge of your seat until you've read it all...well, it did with me anyway! Very compelling and well written, with well described characters...just don't let any youngsters read it until you've judged for yourself, as other readers have pointed out, there are some 'adult themes' contained within!
Still one of my favourite Sci-Fi books of all time, I hope it will be one of yours.
this is a magnificent story with beautifully drawn characters.Amazing time travel concepts and descriptive writing. The film based on this book unfortunately didn't do it justice but don't let that put you off. Marvellous stuff!
The story open with National Transportation Safety Board employee Bill Smith receiving mid-air collision. He assemble his team and sets of to investigate. The next chapter see Louise Balltimore assemble her team for a mission that is set to intersect that of Bill Smith.
From memory, initially the story alternates from each perspective. Sometimes relating the same scene as view from each of the two protagonist's perspective.
An exciting read, some cool time travel anomalies and a satisfying conclusion. I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates a good story, well told.
Scroll down only with extreme care! Robert from Uxbridge (Review: "An excellent well researched book", 14 Nov 1999) has felt the need to prove he can read by giving a blow by blow account of the plot. If you want to experience this amazing story properly stop reading revieews and buy it.
I first read this back in 1983-and gave it away- nostalgia prevailed and after reading it again it has lost none of it's magic-one of the best reads of the 20th and 21st centuries--better than the film I'd say- a must buy-from this dealer especially nice large print! )
I cannot understand why I'm the first to review this book since it has been around for a few years. This is an expansion of the short story Air Raid. Humans from the far future are doomed. To obtain healthy people to repopulate the world they raid the past (our present). But paradoxes start to interfere when an air crash investigator becomes suspicious. Varley has fallible characters but at the same time praises the heroic efforts of air crew during emergencies. Good stuff.