Book one in a new series from the creator of the best-selling Freehold Universe series.
A military unit is thrust back into Paleolithic times with only their guns and portable hardware. Ten soldiers on convoy in Afghanistan suddenly find themselves lost in time. Somehow they arrived in Earth's Paleolithic Asia. With no idea how they arrived or how to get back, the shock of the event is severe. They discover groups of the similarly displaced: imperial Romans, Neolithic Europeans, and a small cadre of East Indian peasants.
Despite their technological advantage, the soldiers only have 10 people and know no way home. Then two more time travelers arrive from a future far beyond the present. These time travelers may have the means to get back, but they aren't giving it up. In fact they may have a treacherous agenda of their own, one that may very well lead to the death of the displaced in a harsh and dangerous era.
©2015 Michael Z. Williamson (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science
When an author provides a prospective reader with 22 hours of book it is a sort of a offer to enter into a contract: "You invest 22 hours of your time -- and I will make it worth your while." I went into this (based on the title and reviews) thinking it would be an epic 'Small military Unit versus Historical Bad Guys Lost in Time Story." (We have had civil war units, aircraft carriers, destroyers and infantry.) But this is NOT a bang-bang-shoot-em-up story. It is the thinking person's military. I felt as though I were reading the progeny of a cross between Desmond Morris' "Naked Ape" and either "The Martian" or "Seven Eves".
That is lofty company considering the sales of those books! But this author carries it off, albeit somewhat slowly. Compare a police procedural mystery to a cop show with car chases -- this is an 'military-anthropological procedural'. (Some reviewers have characterized "The Martian" as an engineer's recounting of the practical problems with being stranded on Mars, mixed with the single-character study of the psyche of that engineer. This is the "how to" guide to showing up 11,000 years ago matched with a study of small group dynamics.)
It is fascinating. The author clearly knows the real military, weapons and how to write. The surprise is the degree of scholarship beyond things military. It is a little gritty in day-to-day human functions...but there is nothing gratuitous. Also, the narrator is really excellent -- almost worth the listen himself. I'm doing something rare....I highly recommended this book and expect that it may become a one of those you will remember for a long time.
One final note. At least one reviewer felt that the narrative lacked pointers that would indicate which character was talking. As a paper book that might be a problem. For me, this is one of the first books that was written to be listened to. No constant "he said" or "Mike exclaimed." It added a great deal to the experience for me.
When I bought this book I thought I was probably getting a standard out-of-time book with shallow characters and too much action. Normally I would not buy a book like that but the idea intrigued me and I wanted to give it a try. Surprisingly this was not the book I expected, but something much more substantial and interesting.
10 soldiers are plucked from a convoy in Afghanistan along with their vehicles and transported 10-15,000 years in the past. They must try to survive as a group and as individuals and somehow find a way to make a life completely out of their own time. Along the way they find other groups, also plucked from their times, who are trying to do the same. What we have in this book is more of the day to day struggles, both physical and emotional, to build a working society than warfare between the groups and, given that they are in the pre-historic past rather than in someplace like historic Greece or Rome, there is little of what might be expected in a book like this with people trying to get ahead in what we think of as early civilization.
While I found the book to be interesting and became involved with the characters I was a bit surprised by the way the book ended and it is hard for me to see how there will be a sequel. Since this is listed as Book 1 of the Temporal Displacement Series (see the Kindle version of this book at Amazon) it is clear that there will be a sequel but it is hard to see how it will involve the same characters as in this book.
If you are looking for warfare, in-fighting and the clash of different groups this is probably not your book. If you are looking for an intelligent look at how people might have to struggle to survive in the far past this might be for you. It is well read and I was still involved with the events and the characters at the end of the 22 hours.
Enjoyed the hell out of this story. Author didn't try to make the narrative too dramatic or beat up his characters in a gratuitous manner.
The performance of the audiobook was masterful. The narrator kept a consistent and distinct voice for each character.
The best part was that while it was a long novel, the author resolved the story and didn't try to turn it into a multi-book series. I'm getting kind of tired of that.
This is a really excellent book. I have the kindle also and have to say it will pull you in like a good book should. Afterwards you will remember it, remember the characters and the story and the places. Can't say that about all books. Well done. Hey - when is book 2 due out?"' Dennis Holland is an wonderful narrator and does all the separate voices so nicely you always know who is speaking.
There are few things better than a good story well told!
When the commanding officer starts crying seconds after realizing he and his troops aren't on a road in the Afghan war zone any more but in some other time/place, I thought this was going to be an awful listen. Actually, his reaction is described as weeping. That seemed like a very strange reaction just a few MOMENTS into the event. Confusion, fear, disorientation I can understand but weeping? Emotions are not handled very well throughout the story. Combat soldiers weeping and giggling at things that aren't that sad or funny, just seemed odd to me.
Another negative and a warning to those who may be sensitive, there is no PC here. Views on Christianity, women, different cultures, race, sex etc. are handled clumsily. Still, I would recommend the listen. A lot of research went into the details of building a viable, defensible 'village' thousands of years in the past with only the items in two military Humvees and ten soldiers. The story really gets interesting when soldiers from other eras start show up.
So, pros: well researched, detailed, some humor, fascinating premise.
The cons: offends just about every group out there and has one dimensional characters you rooted for only as part of the larger military unit. Recommended for fans of time-travel or post-apocalypse-type fiction.
...if your a fan of scifi docudramas without any significant character development. Think of it as a cross between Jean Auel's Painted Caves and a Ken Burns PBS special. If you've ever been to one of those movies that you kept waiting for it to "get good" and that time never arrived then well this is the literary equivalent. I will not even mention the character from Queens with the southern accent. Don't listen to this book around the kids either because every other sentence was interspersed with needless colorful language...I guess to make the characters sound more military? I will say that it filled the time on my way back and forth to work for a considerable period so I gave it 3 stars overall out of consideration for the authors feelings and what had to be a good bit of research time spent compiling some of the details.
My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine; (fortunately) everybody drinks water. - Mark Twain
I expect most science fiction fans will enjoy this story. Possibly the author's characterization could be better, but I didn't have an issue. The narration is well done. Totally worth the money and time.
Day to day with a mixed crew of military personnel. Small challenges, petty irritations and all the complications of working closely with a crew of varied individuals. This was a comfortable book that made me feel like one of the protagonists. Thanks, Michael.
“A Long Time Until Now” does a great job examining how a small Army patrol would cope with suddenly being transported to Paleolithic Central Asia. The author clearly did his homework and didn’t gloss over any inconvenient details, including problems with language and the psychological impact of the displacement (almost a standard in the time travel genre). There may have been a tad more capabilities in the ten members of the team than you might find in an average patrol, but it wasn’t unbelievable. Williamson also clearly knows his military jargon. Someone without a military background would not catch a lot.
The reader did try to distinguish voices, though sometimes not as the author intended. He also made everyone sound happy too often. And finally he didn’t check with a soldier (or even an Airman) on the proper contextual pronunciation of “hooah.”
Very realistic characters. I felt able to relate to them. The story was fun and truly entertaining. I have never gotten into this sub-genre but if I can find more like this I will be hooked.
Weak survival story, very American, lost count of the hoo ahs which were irritating and unnecessary. All revolves around the American party, enough said! do i have to say more, no you get my drift...............ITS NOT WORTH BOTHERING WITH.
"This book reminded me of the Martian"
I love this book. it reminded me of the book Martian. where are you had a group of people that were displaced in this case it was in time. it's fantastically written good characters and I couldn't put it down
"What a great story"
I loved this book and it kept me wanting to listen all the time , I couldn't wait to have time to continue with the story.
"Long but very enjoyable"
I really enjoyed this so much that despite its length I listened to it twice. good characters and an unfolding story kept it from getting boring and the narration was excellent. I just might listen to it a third time.
"Past, Present and future"
Took a while to get into the audio book and was irritated by the American whoya sounds, but it became interesting then seemed to run out of steam as they went to the future, an ok listen once only.
"Unusual. But I enjoyed it"
Dont know , I havent read it.
There were a few of them. But surgery on one of the prehistoric woman. yuck.
I did like this. Different. A good mix of charactors. In many ways similar to a doomsday/survivalist senario. If you like them, try this.
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