‘Time Was’ Review

From the description, I expected this sweeping gay romance with a hint of sci-fi. I was excited.

Instead, this book had a subtler love story that wasn’t the only focus of the book. Honestly, I liked the subtlety. With the WWII time period, I was expecting an “omg guys, they’re gay” kind of story. It’s been done many times over. This book was a “they happen to be gay and OMG guys, they’re time travelers.” There was so much more to their story, but their relationship was still important. A+ on that.

EPISTOLARY EFFECT

I’m a sucker for epistolary novels (it’s the 18th Century English major in me). The book did a good job of including a small epistolary aspect. It can be difficult to understand all aspects of a story when told in letters – they’re so subjective and you never know what to believe. The letters were at the center of the search, but they didn’t provide the only storytelling.


Time Was is out now!
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EFFECTIVE USE OF MULTIPLE NARRATORS

There were two narrators in this novella – one from the past and one from the present. The author did a great job distinguishing between the two, giving them unique voices without muddling the story along the way. It was very reminiscent of A.S. Byatt’s Possession, which is a favorite of mine.

TIME TRAVEL STYLE

I’ve consumed my fair share of time travel narratives. It’s typically a device of some kind and the person makes the choice to come or go by flipping a switch, turning a dial, etc. I found it so interesting that McDonald made time travel into more of an organic presence. Without giving too much away, it becomes a part of them and the method of transport has a mind of its own, which I found fascinating. The science wasn’t particularly hard, but it was very well written.

TIME WAS
By Ian McDonald
Published by Tor.com

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Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

Author: Jacob A. Olson

Writing about science fiction and fantasy at ReviewsandRobots.com! I write reviews on novels, short stories, television, movies, etc. and throw in a few articles and thoughts as well.

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