Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hitting my first science fiction novel of the 1980s on my list of David Pringle's Science Fiction: The 100 Best Books: An English Language Selection: 1949-1984 feels like a pretty big accomplishment. At this point I've read 94 of the 100 novels listed, and am really looking forward to completing this list.

Timescape (1980), by Gregory Benford follows two separate timelines, one beginning in 1998 and the other in 1962 and both follow scientists (two in an ecological disaster ridden United Kingdom in the later time frame and one a physicist in California in the earlier one). As modern attempts to stop a number of environmental blights have failed, a suggestion is made to send messages back in time using tachyons (faster than light particles) to the earlier time period and avoid the current mess altogether.

What I really enjoyed about this book was how, considering the book could definitely be considered Hard SF (focusing on technical or theoretical detail), an awful lot of the book focused on people and how they reacted to external stresses, all of the scientists families feature, and did a great job of showing just how hard it can be to live with someone so driven by their work.

The novel is pretty great, although not an action adventure like many of my favourite time travel stories, it works its way into your mind, making you ask questions about how time really works and how we perceive our pasts, presents and futures, which is actually a pretty good way to describe any great science fiction story.

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