The book has a number of entertaining conceits: 1) the narrator speaks to you directly, and knows that he is the narrator, and comments on his abilities as an omniscient entity; 2) some of the characters are actual historical persons (e.g., H.G. Wells); the tone of the book seems to be an attempt to mirror that of Sci-Fi of the period. These are, in general, refreshing, and would make the book a very good one except that it suffers from a failure that these cannot (for me at least) overcome:
Science fiction should start from a speculative premise, but then be plausible from then on. It cannot violate laws of physics or common-sense without some explanation. The Map of Time fails on these grounds. For example: In the "fourth dimension", timepieces stop working and people do not age, but their hearts keep beating (although beards stop growing). No explanation is offered for this selective cessation of biological processes, although the statement is made that this area is outside of time. To any rational reader of SF, this kind of thing is an insult to one's intelligence. A second example: Groups of "time tourists" are taken to the same day and time in the 20th century, and yet they do not run into each other. This is like fingernails on a chalkboard.
One caveat: I only made it through about 30% of the book before these problems became too much for me, so there is a small possibility that Palma explains these lapses in rationality later in the text, although I doubt it.
If you are not troubled by these and want a fairly entertaining yarn otherwise, give this a listen. Otherwise, steer clear.
I guess that one cannot expect the books Neil Gaiman likes to resemble the books Neil Gaiman writes. I learned that listening to Viriconium. Where Neil Gaiman's work is intellectually stimulating and deeply engaging, making me care about the characters, as a good story should, Viriconium seems like an objet d'art: beautiful in its way, poetic, but not gripping. Because none of the characters knew what was going on in their world, the reader doesn't know what is going on, and the resolutions that occur shed only a little light on the situation. Everything seems to happen in a kind of a dream or a fog both within the story and to the reader as well. Some may find that a virtue; I found it a bore.
This book is very good - engaging as are most Steven King books, but not as outlandish in the SF aspect. More prosaic than most in the details.
I typically don't notice the narration unless it's poor, but I have to say that Raul Esparza was awesome here. It's hard to describe, but the characterizations were distinct without being silly and over-the-top as often occurs. Mostly though, he used really great vocal inflections: I think that they were those that I would have used mentally had I been reading the text.
I love nearly all of King's work (esp the Dark Tower series). I want to note in particular how much I enjoyed this narrator. Each character was distinct in accent, tone, and emphasis and yet none seemed at all forced. Really nice work.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.