Thursday, February 12, 2015
Review:Time Change Book One: The Jump by Alex Myers
I loved this book. Not only was it entertaining it was educational. There are a lot of historical characters here that I might never have met without this book. It's amazing how many inventors there are that are not household names.
On the other hand there a quite a few household names in the book also. I usually call this name-dropping because an author often does not do much related with that character that seems to be totally in character when they map out stories like this. This is not that kind of story- these characters show up for a reason. This book starts out like a historical novel and then sort of morphs itself-understandably-into a sort of steam punk with just a bit less steam in it.
Instead of being an alternate universe which developed differently this is more like a time travel universe with the same potential as ours where the main character- familiar with today's technology- attempts to bring his new-old world up to date.
This has a great storyline with a great main character. Jack Riggs-maybe later we might consider him the Jack of all trades- has a vast amount of knowledge that he seems mostly to be wasting. Jack is a womanizer. He hasn't found the woman he loves- ie; one he respects long enough to actually be in a serious relationship with. This is what gets Jack into trouble and it's something he'll find himself working on in spite of himself.
Jack is teaching- which means he is using some of that knowledge. and he is presently toying with a relationship with Ashley who seems to be quite intelligent and driven and possibly a bit anal- at least from Jacks point of view. Jack has also been toying at work. He must be teaching seniors because the girl he's been cheating with, Shalah is possibly eighteen-making her somewhat legal. But, let's face it; Jack! what are you thinking. Jack has all sorts of good reasons for what he's been thinking of doing and all sorts of denial that he did that much. It seems that Shalah has thrown herself at him. This is natural since Jack is just one of those guys that women throw themselves at.
The trouble this leads to is everything beyond expected when Jack is being questioned at the police station for possible terrorism. Shalah shows up with a bomb at school-one which her terrorist boyfriend made- based on knowledge that Jack was freely tossing around. This leads to a disclosure of a relationship with Shalah that seems to be trumped up by pictures Shalah had taken after breaking into Jacks apartment. Jack naturally calls Ashley to pick him up where she proceeds to break up with him in a high speed drive away from the police station and into the center of a super storm. This is when things get really strange.
At the moment when Jack might be seeing his life flash before him. Surprise Ashley loses control of the care and the slide into an eventual accident. At the moment of Impact the super storm lightning strikes and some great vortex like force takes Jack back to the 1850's and some time just prior to the civil war.
Now I'll stop for my quibble with this book. There is a side story that figures heavily in this novel and probably makes more sense in the next novel. It shows up as a preface or prologue or such called Before. I won't say much about it because it confused me mostly and I'm not sure it's necessary. But, I didn't write this novel and I don't intend on rewriting it so it's there and it stands. I have the same feeling about the last chapter which is a chapter and could have been the epilogue. Either way I don't think they added to the story and could have been inserted somewhere in the second book if they are necessary, which I think they are and it might be that the author doesn't want to make it look like he thought of this at the last minute and inserted it into the second story. So, bottom line is the objection is just me- it probably is a good thing the two sections are there. There are more breadcrumbs related to them inside the story.
Anyway, Jack becomes a great facilitator of inventors. He needs to eventually create most of the things he thinks he needs to stop the civil war from happening. I'm not going to name drop all the inventors involved. I think the best way to read this is to have a paper handy and write names down and later check their credentials on line. You'll be surprised at what information is there and how well the characters fit into the world that Jack is building.
There's an evil group of southerners who are copying peoples patented technologies who will notice Jack and realize they need to get him on their team- not realizing that Jack is never going to be on their side. This creates the conflict. And, the woman of his dreams, Dreams Jack never knew he had, creates the pathway towards rehabilitating the womanizer. But, not before he takes an initial sampling of what's available in the past.
This is a great novel for anyone who loves historical romances and it's coming real close to the strange technology anachronism of all good Steam-punk novels. It has time travel and even some strange-mysterious group(possibly time travelers). So any one who loves Science Fiction or Speculative Fiction and those other aspects should love this novel.
I'm definitely reading the next few to get the rest of the story.