Grad-school dropout Matt Fuller is toiling as a lowly research assistant at MIT when, while measuring quantum relationships between gravity and light, his calibrator disappears - and reappears, one second later. In fact, every time Matt hits the reset button, the machine goes missing twelve times longer.
After tinkering with the calibrator, Matt is convinced that what he has in his possession is a time machine. And by simply attaching a metal box to it, he learns to send things through time - including a pet-store turtle, which comes back no worse for wear.
With a dead-end job and a girlfriend who left him for another man, Matt has nothing to lose by taking a time machine trip for himself. So he borrows an old car, stocks it with food and water, and ends up in the near future - under arrest for the murder of the car's original owner, who dropped dead after seeing Matt disappear before his eyes. The only way to beat the rap is to continue time travelling until he finds a place in time safe enough to stop for good. But such a place may not exist...
Hugo-winner Haldeman's skillful writing makes this unusually thoughtful and picaresque tale shine. Matt Fuller, a likable underachiever stuck as a lab assistant at a near-future MIT, is startled when the calibrator he built begins disappearing and reappearing, jumping forward in time for progressively longer intervals. Curiosity and some unfortunate accidents send Matt through a series of vividly described, wryly imagined futures where he gradually becomes more adaptable and resourceful as experiences hone his character. The young woman he rescues from a techno-religious dictatorship gives him a chance at a mature relationship, while teaming up with an AI that intends to press on to the end of time forces him to decide what he wants from life. Rather than being a riff on H.G. Wells's The Time Machine, this novel is closer in tone to Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, another charming yarn about a young man who's forced out of a boring rut. Producing prose that feels this effortless must be hard work, but Haldeman (Camouflage) never breaks a sweat.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is a great story that kept me interested all the way. If you like the general theme, which the title makes quite clear, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
The characters are well defined and likeable. It's a very well thought out, enjoyable and well written story. Now I'm off to find another book by the same author.
Thanks, Mr Haldeman.