• The Enormous Hourglass

  • By: Ron Goulart
  • Narrated by: Fred Filbrich
  • Length: 3 hrs and 15 mins
  • 2.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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The Enormous Hourglass

By: Ron Goulart
Narrated by: Fred Filbrich
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Publisher's Summary

Sam Brimmer, temporal detective, and his android time machine solve a case involving kidnapping, murder, and the smuggling of modern weaponry back to pre-WWII Nazis.

©1976 Ron Goulart (P)2020 David N. Wilson

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  • BT
  • 11-09-20

Has not aged well

I was given a free review copy of this audio book, at my request, and am voluntarily leaving this unbiased review.

Wow, this book has not aged well. If you are offended by the F word, in reference to LGBTQ persons, or people being refereed to as "the black woman" or "the Chinese man" instead of names or job/position, etc. Then you will not enjoy this book.

This book is about a time detective from the future, who is searching for a missing woman who was last seen in the past. In terms of a time traveling story, it doesn't make much sense. Lots of little things like **minor spoilers** going to talk to a guy, who dies while trying to tell them something. The obvious remedy would be to go back in time 10 minutes and talk to him while he was alive. There may be an in world reason, but it's never addressed.

The robots in the book are more similar to Bender from Futurama than Data from Star Trek: TNG. All wise cracks and addictions, little logic and processing power. This isn't a bad thing, it brings color to the world. However, is it seldom seen in newer works and it can be distracting at times.

The dialog is fast paced and zippy. This hinders the story, more than helps. It often will have two or more people speaking and will rapid fire between the speakers with no speaker tags. This keeps the pace of the book going, but causes confusion in some readers.

The settings are limited. The world of the future isn't explained well, or explored. The time of 1933 isn't developed beyond it having cleaner air. Nothing really grabbed me of where I was, or why it was special.

The characters, similarly, weren't properly developed. The robot time machine was never really explained, neither where the main character or Sanchez. We never really learned anything about them, or how they tick. They just felt flat.

The biggest problem, aside from the casual racism and homophobia, was the voice narration. Fred Filbrich delivers a poor experience. He does basically no voice differentiation, little emphasis and just kind of speeds his way through the story. The issue I mentioned of the rapid fire conversations is made almost impossible to follow, by a narrator who does the same voice for all the characters and barely takes a breath between sentences. It took a mildly offensive story, that was still interesting, and turned it into a hard to follow mess.

All in all, this book is not worth listening to. Reading maybe, if you're not easily offended. The voice narrator has made this book hard to follow and there is not enough left in the story that makes this worth while to try and follow along. There are better example of time travel and mystery out there, I would go look for one of those.

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  • Mark
  • 02-19-21

Pack your suitcase, this may take some time.

I'm a big fan of time travel stories. The idea of travelling to a different time always got my imagination going. Unfortunately, a lot of the time travel story tend to go over the same idea - Man gets in time travel box, goes back in time fixes something.
The enormous Hour Glass is not your average time travel story, so pack your suitcase, grab your android friend, we're going on a 1930's detective investigative trip.

The story though, fell a bit flat for me. There wasn't much in the way of thrilling excitement and little built up of any of the story. What was there in the story felt purposely obscured to protect the idea of time travel, while giving just enough information to let you know it was happening in the story. I get why it was done like that, it helps conceal the technical aspects of time travel and any science that might have gone with it. Instead, it felt like the story was more about the detective and time travel was simply a matter of fact, as much as you'd read about someone driving a car.

The characters were awesome though. I can't really say much about them as it might spoil the book for you, but I can say that the end scene with them trying to race the wheelchair gave me a bigger chuckle then it really ought to have.
The narration was good, and having finished the book the voice gave a good feel for the era the book was (mostly) set in, and is what you'd expect from a classic detective. We all have our brains fill in the blacks differently, of course. While there wasn't much in the way of describing the scenes in the book, I couldn't help but think of wood clad office set in a lofty stone building, with a large wooden desk, leather chair and the classic green writing lamp. In this respect, the narrator's voice really made it feel at home for me.

Overall, the concept of the time travel was interesting and if you're looking for a time travel book, it's worth listening to. However, don't expect a story that's going to make you think too much while listening. The character development was probably the best part for me, and that's not a bad thing for this book.