Verdict: In NO TIME TO SAY GOODBYE, Bill Adler Jr. mixes time travel and romance to a great effect. Constrained by its novella form though, the story can't explore all the potential of its rich premise.
Dr. Dennis Tanner is a New York surgeon married to a successful architect Rachel. One night, Tanner mysteriously loses three hours of his time. At first, he believes that he’s merely sleep-walking. However, when the incident happens again, Tanner starts worrying about possible causes for his strange condition.
It turns out that Tanner is neither ill nor drugged: he’s literally traveling through time. His mind and body are dragged into the far future by some unknown force. This has a devastating effect on his marriage as Rachel spends whole decades waiting for Tanner to briefly reappear.
It is here that the story’s novella form starts working against it. In NO TIME TO SAY GOODBYE Bill Adler Jr. comes up with a fascinating premise, bringing a sci-fi twist to a story about a loving couple trying to cope with a terminal disease. However, due to the story being so short, a good deal of this potentially powerful drama is left unexplored as the story rushes forward along with its protagonist.
Tanner travels further and further away from his own time, all the while struggling with a crushing sense of loneliness and powerlessness. As he arrives in future New York, NO TIME TO SAY GOODBYE offers tantalizing glimpses of societal changes and advancements in technology. And yet, for the most part, this future remains largely unexplored even after Tanner briefly meets beautiful Leah, a New York resident and his guide to the world of the year 2300.
To the story’s credit, NO TIME TO SAY GOODBYE comes up with a satisfying ending as well as with a fairly interesting – if somewhat rushed – explanation for the true nature of Dennis Tanner’s predicament. There’s even a humorous epilogue to the story.
NO TIME TO SAY GOODBYE is a soft sci-fi story focusing on characters instead of science. Too bad then, that we don’t get to see more of his characters and the way they’re changed by their extraordinary experiences. Bill Adler Jr. wrote a decent if flawed novella. Hopefully, one day we might get to see it expanded into a full novel.
~Danijel Štriga for IndieReader