Robert J. Sawyer is one of the greats of Canadian (and world) science-fiction. Since he's new to the scene, you may not have heard of him, but his works combine some of the most thought-provoking science, with some of the must heart-wrending personal drama.
The story takes place in several layers---near-future Canada, where the main scientist has flashbacks to both a current past (and an alternate present) dealing with the loss of his wife to a co-worker, as well as the question of whether or not he even did go back in time in the first place. Time-travel is the center of the main-plot, which serves as a device to dig the characters into the boundary-period where the dinosaur extinction took place. Themes of irrevocability and loss are central to the story as the scientists explore an ancient Earth---but Sawyer does not stop there. It is not just the presence of dinosaurs that makes this a trek to the past, it is also the explanation for why dinosaurs have risen to such great physical stature, and the presence of some other mysteries (some explained, some not) all of which lend to the incredible sense of discovery: there is still more that we don't know and can find out. There are some tightly wound plot elements that bring the whole story together at the close, and those make for a very satisfying read. Expect the unexpected, and to have it all fit together nicely. This is probably one of Sawyer's strongest books. Definitely not a one-note, epic, it touches on spirituality, loss, romance, adventure, space-travel, and has a few brilliant highly symbolic moments that just appeal to deepest parts of the soul.
This book is a great read. Get ready for slight non-linearity, but also for some rocking concepts. If you're a writer, keep a notepad handy so you can capitalize on all the creative juices that will start flowwing when you read this.
END OF AN ERA is a time travel novel back to the era of dinosaurs. Not only do we find dinosaurs but the galaxy itself is active with sentient beings, with the real surprise being a full Martian culture. It?s hard to give too much of a plot description without giving away some surprises. Suffice it say, Sawyer gives us a very unique twist on a familiar theme.
Veteran archaeologist Brandon Thackery fulfills a dinosaur lover's dream when he and colleague-best friend Miles "Klicks" Jordan take history's first time-traveling jaunt back to the late Mesozoic. Hoping to solve the great mystery of dinosaur extinction, Brandon and Klicks use the newly discovered Huang Effect to backtrack into Earth's 65-million-year past. There they discover not only that the earth's gravity is half its twenty-first-century value but that the beings responsible for this are blue-slime creatures from Mars that manipulate the dinosaurs like pawns. Meanwhile, back in an alternate time line in which no Huang Effect exists, Brandon discovers an outrageous laptop diary, apparently written by himself, that relates all these incredible adventures; he tracks down a previously unknown Dr. Huang for an explanation. Sawyer parlays his enduring enthusiasm for dinosaurs--his last three novels featured them--into refreshing fun and thought-provoking entertainment. He'll satisfy his own fans and those of dinosaurs and old-fashioned time-traveling yarns, too.Carl Hays--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.