Thanks to the time travel lab at St. Sunniva University, history is no longer a mystery. But when the beloved co-inventor of the university’s time machine is inexplicably smeared across time, academic exploration and the future of St. Sunniva is thrown into doubt.
As assistant to the dean of science, Julia Olsen is tasked with helping Campus Security Chief Nate Kirkland quietly examine this rare mishap…then, just as quietly, make it go away. But when the investigation indicates that the professor’s disappearance may have been a murder, those inspecting the incident unwittingly find themselves caught in a deadly coverup - one in which history itself is the weapon.
From the snow-blanketed walkways of St. Sunniva’s campus to the sun-bleached cobblestone of ancient Pompeii’s roads, The Far Time Incident is a lively romp through history, science, and the academic world in the wake of a crime.
©2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.; ©2013 Neve Maslakovic
This book is a genre-bender, albeit in a very conservative way. The basic plot is that of an academic murder mystery ("The Professor did it!" No, "The secretary did it!" No, "The Dean did it!," etc.). The twist is that the University in question operates the world's first time travel lab. Otherwise, it's set in the eigenpresent, at a fictitious Minnesota university, even if much of the action takes place about two millennia ago.
I read Maslakovic's first book, "Regarding Ducks and Universes," and enjoyed it. This book offers similarly well-mannered prose, with equally well-mannered characters. For the most part, it all works. As a career academic (20+ years on the tenure track), I am doubtless more sensitive to lapses in verisimilitude (there aren't that many) than most readers or listeners.
Ms. Kowal's narrative range is limited, and this book unfortunately does not especially suit her limitations. There are probably more female narrators who can manage male voices credibly than there are males who can manage female voices; unfortunately, based on this one sample, Ms. Kowal does not appear to be one of them.
Say something about yourself!
The problem with this book for me was that it tried to be too many things and didn't really succeed at any of them very well.
As a detective story it was far too simplistic and I knew who the villain was long before the end. As hard SF it was clear that while the author was trying to come up with some kind of scientific justification for time travel and... well let's just say that the 'baffle them with bulls***' tag applies far more than the 'dazzle them with brilliance'. Her lengthy explanations were not self consistent or convincing enough for me to suspend belief (lasers? Really??) and took up time that would have been far better spent on developing her characters more.
The reader was quite good; her reading is entertaining and evocative, although she does not differentiate her voices for different characters quite as much as some others do.
Disappointing overall and not one that makes me want to read others by the author.
If you enjoy the genre of Historians as Time Travelers, you will enjoy this listen. The story line stays on track and interesting and the historical references are detailed enough to be intriguing without being ridden to death.
This was my first audiobook, so I wasn't sure if I would like it. I'm not sure if it was Mary Robinette Kowal's performance, the Minnesota setting of the story, or the time travel - but I really enjoyed the whole thing.
I thought the structure was very similar to other time travel stories (Connie Willis' Dooms Day Book, Pastwatch by Orson Scott Card) - but even so, a fun story.
I would recommend to anyone who enjoys time travel science fiction.
"it is several chapters too long"
Nothing it was the book i had issue with.
An awful lot of the "oh where are we?" come on they are intelligent and it is obvious after several pages.
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