Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Version Control" by Dexter Palmer

Surely it's not just because the last book I read was pure torture. And it also can't be the influence of my lovely surroundings (see the photo. Are you jealous?), because I finished that last book in the same surroundings and had no positive feelings about it. It's got to be the book itself. I thought it was brilliant! And I really enjoyed it. Nice to have my faith in reading restored once again!

Rebecca is a physicist's wife. Her husband's life's work is what he calls a "causality violation device," or, in layman's terms (to the annoyance of those involved with the project)... a time machine. But the theory behind the device, and its potential use, are neither as impressive nor as functional as the sorts of time machines you read about in all the sci-fi books, where you can input and travel to any specific date you'd like, anywhere in the past or future, no matter how distant. The device in this book is much more limited in scope, making the possibility much more realistic. Besides the fact that it's not really working.

The beginning of this book reminded me a lot of the novel Time Out of Joint, in a really good way. And the ending was satisfying and thorough without being annoyingly neat, which was great, because it too often seems like really promising books have very disappointing endings (including TOoJ!) as if the author didn't know where to go from there, and just gave up; or as if a grand gesture was the aim, but the reality falls short. But not here! And the middle is part mind-f*ck, part excellent character development, and part thought-provoker, bringing up a lot of interesting questions (about religion, privacy vs data collection, even race) without being didactic or otherwise annoying.

Two thumbs up, in every iteration of the multiverse! I wish I could remember how I heard of this book . . . I'm pretty sure the Internet told me to read it.

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