Two events made September first a memorable day for Jesse Cullum. First, he lost a pair of Oakley sunglasses. Second, he saved the life of President Ulysses S. Grant.
In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson's Last Year, the technology exists to open doorways into the past - but not our past, not exactly. Each "past" is effectively an alternate world, identical to ours but only up to the date on which we access it. And a given "past" can be reached only once. After a passageway is open, it's the only road to that particular past; once closed, it can't be reopened.
A passageway has been opened to a version of late 19th-century Ohio. It's been in operation for most of a decade, but it's no secret on either side of time. A small city has grown up around it to entertain visitors from our time, and many locals earn a good living catering to them. But like all such operations, it has a shelf life; as the "natives" become more sophisticated, their version of the "past" grows less attractive as a destination.
Jesse Cullum is a native. And he knows the passageway will be closing soon. He's fallen in love with a woman from our time, and he means to follow her back - no matter whose secrets he has to expose in order to do it.
©2016 Robert Charles Wilson (P)2016 Macmillan Audio
I discovered Robert Charles Wilson some 25 years ago and have read all his books--I started with Memory Wire (loved it). It's a pity his earlier books aren't on audio. Some of his books I like and some I love, but he's about the only author (in any genre) who I can count on to at least deliver a book I enjoy, and when you read/listen to about 300 books a year, this is a pretty big deal.
This one I liked. It has his usual melancholy tone, characters fully developed, plot about more than action/adventure--though there is always that. He's always thinking deeply about something in his writing (technology, social issues, psychological issues, etc.) and then builds a story around it.
I appreciate that a piece of the story is always about a relationship--which is NEVER something stupid like insta-love and uses none of the horrible romance tropes.
Ok, I'm now going to listen to Bridge of Years, which I read in 1991 or so when it first came out. I recall liking that one very much...
Suppose you could go back and change things and it didn't matter? What are the ethics of a time travel theme park? As always, Wilson explores the concept from the standpoint of human society interacting with something new. There's a solid plot and great characters here struggling with their own lives in the midst of the mix of old and new. What does our modern society look like to someone from the US just after the Civil War? How do our 21st century expectations fare in the era of the wild west? Come visit the past -- but best you get your immunizations first, watch where you eat, and stay on the marked paths.
As always, Scott Brick does a great job with the narration. No cliffhangers here. This story comes to a conclusion but leaves plenty of room for a follow-up. I look forward to that very much.
Interesting story with it's own nuances. The author seemed to have taken their time in giving language to the 1800's as they may have used. The story gives an interesting take on time travel from a person living in the present trying to take in all that comes with the city of the future.
with checking out.
Once again Robert Charles Wilson does an amazing job here. One of the few science-fiction writers who can develop characters and stories with depth
Alternate history buff.
I can honestly say that for me it was the perfect narrator. Feelgood listening all the way through. Effortless without trying to interpret wide range of voices.
The story is plausible enough, entertaining, exciting, gentle and I really cared about many of the characters.
Highly recommended as rather short time travel novel.
"Excellent - really enjoyed this"
This is a terrific novel. It's sort of like Westworld with time-travel. There are crimes to be solved, a love interest, great character development and a race against time before the passage from the future to the past closes forever.
I really, really enjoyed it. People from our century landing in 1879, stunning them with our inventions (iPhones, helicopters etc) and exploiting them, of course. The 1879ers are by turns outraged, bemused and generally entertained by 21st century notions of inclusivity and tolerance. Perfect ending for a sequel.
Of course, part of the appeal for me is Scott Brick, probably the most brilliant narrator I have ever listened to. If you haven't read The Passage trilogy, well, you have a treat in store.
Highly recommended. Pure pleasure.
Report Inappropriate Content