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Time travel is my jam: review of Time and Time Again by Ben Elton

Full disclosure: I am a sucker for time travel stories. So, I might love something that others won't think is so good. This particular one has the added benefit of being kind of an historical fiction -- another of my favorite genres. Elton weaves a believable tale from an impossible premise: that Isaac Newton left behind a secret way to travel backwards through time. (Not a spoiler. It's revealed at the beginning of the book.)


The hero, a former British Army Lieutenant whose family died in an accident, has nothing to lose by traveling back in time to change the course of the 20th Century. He is aided by the wise old heads of Cambridge University who have kept Newton's secret for three centuries. With the exception of three short chapters, the entire story is told from his perspective. We get to enjoy his reactions to social mores, politics and technology of the early 1900's. We see how he feels about people he encounters: a rowdy bunch of young British officers: a young beauty with whom he has a love affair; and, those whose destiny he endeavors to change.


Ben Elton is a great story teller. This is a classic hero's journey absent the homecoming. The protagonist can only live his life from the point in time at which he has travelled. The complexity of the lead character and the appreciation of the history of the time make it a story worth reading.




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