When malcontents from a utopian 21st century use their time gate to transform Hitler into an invincible conqueror, a band of freedom-fighting Americans launches the Proteus project and builds a second time gate.
©1985 James P. Hogan (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I've read and listened to a number of James Hogan's works over the years. He's very good at "hard" sci-fi as can bee seen in his Giants series. This book is a good take on the "Alternative timeline" genre as applied to the Second World War. I won't give too many details of the plot, so that other listeners can come at it fresh. Suffice to say it deals with the consequences of going back in time to change the course of World history as seen through the eyes of the people doing the time traveling. There's some good explanations on the results of doing this, such as parallel timelines & universes existing simultaneously, and how the action itself of traveling back can change things. As a story it's good, maybe not on a par with his Giants series, but well worth it.
That said, as an English person, listening to the narrator at times was painful. His attempts at generic English accents often came across as being from the Dick Van Dyke school. Add onto that some awful pronunciation gaffes (Edinburgh as "Edin-BERG" instead of "Edin-Boro" is just one example), and it did mar the listening experience. You may want to brace yourself for occasional winces whenever the story moves to Britain or has a British character in the chapter!
"Where we're going, McFly, we WILL need roads!"
This review will be brief and to the point, Audible listener.
Time travel novels are tricky, to say the very least.
As an author, you'll be tempted to over-create a plausible detailed science behind the concept of your story, and that can kill any hope of a great novel. Often, you'll dive far too deeply into HOW time paradoxes work, and the twisted aftershocks that change the future, causing your readers to quickly use your novel for kindling. Sometimes, you'll want to spit out a gargantuan litany of historical facts and figures, subsequently drown your audience in minutia, which makes for an utter snoozefest, and your book winds up in the 70% off bargain bin.
None of that happens here.
Buckle in. This is what time travel should be. Plots, Fixing the time paradox back to right. Action. Good, old fashioned Indiana Jones style storytelling! And this isn't dramatic imagineering of a future world, as much as a detailed reflection of the PAST, which is always refreshing, when done with expertise and solid period creation.
And it works. The storyline is deep and thought-provoking. The characters, both good and evil, and enjoyable. And the narrator did a good job as well.
This all comes together for an excellent listen in the time travel genre. To think that I almost didn't get this one, just because of the horrific artwork on the cover of this Audible offering. It really could and should, be much better.
Don't pass on this one. It's a keeper.
"One Excellent Story"
I had been holding out on purchasing a second hand copy of this book. Then I came actoss the audible version and purchased it instead.
Listening to this version really helpef to pass the time while waiting in line at the bank, the phone company and while cleaning around my place.
This was hands down a great story from beginning to end. Don't want to give away too much, my best advice would be to either finf a copy of The Proteus Operation or download the audio version and prepare to be amazed.
"time travel that doesn't work"
I like the idea, and I like elements of the story, but it is so poorly written that I had trouble with it. Especially after having just come from To Say Nothing of the Dog, which is so well written.
And the narrator doesn't do well, mispronouncing words, altering his pronunciation of the same word later; not doing voices well at all, not even trying to give Churchill a distinct voice and yet oddly enough trying to do it for Einstein.
Aside from that, I didn't believe in the world at all. & here's why. If you compare To Say Nothing wherein the research into the period is so well done but also the characters are living in that world...But in this one, there are times when the description feels like, "oh, yeah, I need to describe that time period, so let me list elements in this picture I'm looking at". The characters don't really interact with the environment in a way that makes you believe in it.
I really was hoping it would be good with the SF & Time Travel & WWII. Though I did like the multiple worlds/quantum physics aspect very much, but just can't recommend it; not when there is a superior Time Travel with the Willis To Say Nothing....
I do think it would make an interesting film or mini series with good recreations of the time period etc. And there are a couple of ideas near the end which almost redeem it. With revision and a better narrator it could be good.
I'm being a little hard on it, and I admit that it suffered mightily due to listening right after To Say Nothing which had pitch perfect narration also. Basically Willis does everything right, and Hogan misses on so many points.
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