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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » A Shortcut in Time by Charles Dickinson » User review

Excellent Time Travel Tale!

  • May 8, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+4
A small town, with a series of paths running behind many of the houses. Given the right set of circumstances, a person can be running on the path and then be transported in time. This happens to Josh twice, the first time involving a dog and the second time where Josh himself is transported back 15 minutes. What really gets Josh going on the time travel notion is the appearance of a strange orphan girl named Constance, who claims to be from 1908. Based on her manners and Josh's own experience he believes her and tries to help her return to her time. This obsession starts to interfere with Josh's home-life, especially with his wife, who feels that Josh is ignoring all that is important to him based on "fantasy."

Josh's life was never that great to begin with. His brother was brain damaged and his brother's friend was drowned in a swimming pool in their teens. Apparently, it was because they were locked in a trunk and thrown into the pool by the future Town Sheriff. Josh grew close to the drowned boy's sister and later married her. Because of the accident, she decides to be the doctor that her brother was "supposed" to be. Josh himself seems to be an unmotivated person who rarely has a job. He is constantly embarrassed by his brain damaged brother, who is homeless and keeps trying to get into their childhood house, which was long ago sold off by the bank.

Josh's helping of Constance also sets in motion a chain of events that will put his daughter at risk and probably land Josh in jail for life. This forces Josh to travel back in time to try to set things right.

This was a highly enjoyable book and I would have given it the full five stars except for several paradoxes, which seemed to occur in the book. Also, the book screams out for a sequel at the end.

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More A Shortcut in Time by Charles ... reviews
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
Time travel is always a fun subject for a novel and this short romp is quite entertaining. It all starts when a rather ordinary man finds he's moved back in time 15 minutes. From there, the plot thickens and I hate to spoil it with details. The novel centers around a swirl of events around a few of the main characters moving through time - with no control over how far, or which direction they go. The story is fast paced and a real page turner. I could hardly put it down. The main flaw is the ending, …
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From Publishers Weekly Author of such imaginative novels as Waltz in Marathon and Crows, Dickinson is a splendid writer who has yet to reach the audience he deserves. After a decade's hiatus, he edges close to sci-fi in this psychologically rich and engrossing novel about time travel. Reminiscent of Jack Finney's Time and Again, but with its own distinctive flair, the story begins with a subtle, clever twist on time-travel tropes. The hero, Josh Winkler, discovers he has the ability to move just 15 minutes backward in time. Unlike previous fictional chrononauts, he soon has his whole small town of Euclid, Ill., talking about his exploit, some believing, most not. Josh is a hopeful if unsuccessful artist. His wife, Flo, is a hard-working, family-supporting pediatrician, and their daughter, Penny, is a typical teenager. After Josh's unexpected temporal adventures, his life begin to unravel. He eventually manages to go back 80 years and encounters a mysterious 15-year-old girl, Constance Morceau, herself an unsuspecting traveler from 1908, whose plight is poignant. The narrative tension increases dramatically as her apparently hopeless situation becomes clearer. The reader shares Josh's highs and lows in a time-twisting game of blind man's buff over which he has little control. Dickinson's trick is intertwining stories, for Josh's own daughter is also transported back three generations, and he learns she will die in the influenza epidemic after WWI ...
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Tags

Books, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Charles Dickinson

Details

ISBN-10: 0765305798
ISBN-13: 978-0765305794
Author: Charles Dickinson
Genre: Computer Science, Time Travel
Publisher: Forge Books
Date Published: Janurary 3, 2003
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