Thirteen stories containing time travel that are all so different from one another and yet not a dud among them. Even the one that slid towards horror gripped me with its mystery. Some travel to the past deliberately, some to prevent timeline changes; some even do it multiple times making the initial wrong they want to right worse each time. And in some, time is immutable; however much you rewrite time for a while, it corrects itself.
My favourites were:
- The Santa Anna Gold by Michael Bunker; an interesting take on the mechanisms of time travel and some mind-bending results to sort out
- Corrections, by Susan Kaye Quinn, one of the more thought-inducing stories relating to the consequences of undoing mistakes in the past
- Hereafter by Samuel Peralta, a simple love story across time turns out to be anything but.
- Reentry Window by Eric Tozzi, a wonderfully detailed time-warped event from someone with inside knowledge of the Mars programme. If he was British it might have had even more resonance for me, since the Beagle did, after all, land.
- The Swimming Pool of the Universe by Nick Cole. This was a really off-beat story, which I’m still not sure whether qualifies as time travel. But then again, time does funny things to your mind. Lovers of military space opera would like this.
- The River by Jennifer Ellis. The temptations of time jumping can be too much, especially if you want to win that much. Of course, exactly what you want to win may be misinterpreted. And what does happen if you meet yourself?
- A Word in Pompey’s Ear by Christopher Nuttall. This was a stand-out for me – what better way to find out if your thesis that Pompey should have made a vital ‘other’ decision is right than to go back and test it?
- Rock or Shell by Ann Christy. The weirdest of the group, this is set in a time… between, and asks severe questions about what you would do in this person’s situation. It’s incredibly clever.
- The Mirror by Irving Belateche. A touch of gothic horror worthy of some of the masters of early speculative fiction. This one will stay with me, I suspect.
- Reset by MeiLin Miranda. Another with what someone called ‘Groundhog Day’ leanings, but with a point of view to give things a whole new twist. I like the way this is based on a recurring dream/nightmare of the author’s. I stuck my old recurring nightmare in a story a few weeks before. I hope it stays there.
- The Laurasians by Isaac Hooke. An old-style time travel story with a lovely new twist, and an amazing chase sequence.
- The First Cut by Edward W Robertson. As with Corrections, above, this has a time travel police making sure things don’t get changed that shouldn’t. It’s really a first class time-police procedural novella.
- The Dark Age by Jason Gurley. A real heart-breaker to finish with, not so much time travel as travel time, dealing with the realities of space travel as we currently envisage it with near-technology.
You may notice that there are thirteen favourite stories there. Five are more favourite than the others, in that I had them firmly imprinted in my brain. Only one of them needed more than reading the first paragraph to remember the detail. So now I have thirteen more authors, well, eleven since I already follow two, to add to my list of must-read authors. It’s a hard life.
This is a gem for all time-travel fans, and anyone who loves stories with heart.
I applied for my ecopy of Synchronic in a pre-launch sale or offer, and read it as part of my Clean Sweep ARC Challenge – check back to see how I did.