©1991 Robert Charles Wilson; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"Returning to his hometown after a failed marriage, recovering alcoholic Tom Winter purchases a house only to discover that it connects with another time and place - and his desire to 'start over' suddenly becomes a literal possibility. Wilson excels at psychological suspense, as the spiritual and emotional challenges his characters face are as intense as the physical dangers. A solid addition to any sf collection." (Library Journal)
I really enjoyed this outing from 1991, and appreciate the effort the creators took to bringing it to audiobook format. The future predictions from the actual date of the book - 1991 - are amazingly spot on, and as with other RCW books, a lot of time is (well) spent on character development. The different times and places - at least those which we've already lived through - feel quite real.
I think pitch shifting technology may have been used - to subtle, good effect, to enhance the male narrator's rendition of the female voices. Also, the accent for one of the male characters, who hails from a small town in Washington State, is so spot on it's scary.
For those who enjoy time travel themed sci-fi, you're in for a treat.
As with his book SPIN, this is not so much a SciFi than a good study of human nature. The SciFi element are just intended to let the reader observe consequences of various cultural perspectives.
I believe in any audible book that the narrator can make or break a book. Jonathan did a fantastic job.
Like all of the books I've read by Robert Wilson, his main characters are well thought out, and are believable.
The story was great! I love the concept of having a home, that is in fact a time machine.
Also, when Tom went back to 1962, I really felt like I was in New York 1962.
Yes. But I have a life, and have to quarantine time to listen to audio books :-)
I read or listen to books for fun. I am able to dispel my reality, and get into stories that are as good as this one.
A Sci Fi junkie who occasionally goes slumming to read other literature.
A very enjoyable book. This novel is a good display of RCW's smooth writing style. By the title you know going in that the book deals with time travel, and I was impressed with how effortless RCW tied different stories together and skipped around in time without confusing the reader. The novel is heavy with 1960s nostalgia, and while I personally would prefer less of that and more hard core sci-fi, this book is easily four stars.
Jonathan Davis is superb, as usual.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
In the beginning the elevator is up. We have a rogue military cyborg attacking the time traveler. Then the elevator goes down and we are deep into the depressing life of a man whose wife has left him for another man. Back up for the discovery of a mysterious tunnel under the house and where does it lead? Back down for the romance that is not quite a romance. Up for the nano machines and the rebuilding of a human. We go up for one floor as we start a war and hold steady for a long fight scene, ending down for tying up depressing loose ends.
My point here is that the story goes up and down and when it is up, it is very good and when it is down, it is very depressing. RCW, like usual goes for some character development, which he does well, the question is do we really care about his characters? In other books I have, but in this one the main character is just a love sick whinny baby. There is more Sci-Fi in this book then some of his other books and it is pretty cool.
Wilson borrows a little from Simak's Way Station and a lot from Michael Kube-McDowell's Alternites, both good books. I just wonder if time travel has been overdone.
If you have not read Wilson before, you want to start with Spin or Mysterium.
Jonathan Davis, the narrator has a slow melancholy voice which would best be suited for reading obituaries.
It seems he learned a thing or two since writing this one. More of a 2.5 star I guess. The narrator was OK but just too low energy in a lot (I'm guessing he was instructed to be).
How in the world did I ever mow the lawn before audible?
I've been very lucky, having found some very unique stories lately. This was no exception. Fantastic time listening to this book. You've never heard anything like it.
I know people like Jonathan Davis' narration but it drives me crazy. Scott Brick would have done a better job. As for the story, it is not one of Wilson's best. I love his writing but this is no Spin, Vortex, or Julian Comstock.
Only made it through half of this audiobook before I gave up. Just too slow for my tastes. I give Wilson credit for fleshing out his characters into real people with real problems, but I mostly just found them real dull. Its a strange problem, because the book opens up with a stirring gun battle that raises all sorts of questions about what lies ahead. Unfortunately, few of those questions are answered anytime soon, as the main character mopes about his divorce or contemplates the arrangement of his sock drawer.
The slowness issue is exacerbated by the narrator. I listen to a ton of audiobook and my least favorite performance is the slow, quiet, overly earnest, NPR style delivery. Its a narration style seemingly designed to soothe the reader to sleep. Honestly, I am not sure if the book is as slow and dull as I think it is or if the narrator just read it that way.
The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
Eschewing his usual galaxy-spanning world building, this novel is set mainly in two eras of recent Earth history: 1989 and 1962. While Wilson is extremely talented at creating strange, alien worlds, he does not use those talents here. I didn’t feel like the eras were depicted in a very compelling way. Another difference is that rather than tell a tale of cosmic proportions, this novel is very personal and meditative. There are a few action sequences, but Wilson seems much more interested in examining the effects that time travel has on the life philosophies of the various characters. The end result is a slow moving novel that did not spark my imagination the way many of this author’s other books have.
[I listened to this as an audio book read by Jonathan Davis. He was an adequate reader, but I found his pace too slow. I ended up listening at 1.5 speed and that felt perfect.]
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