Set in the mid-21st century on an Area 51-esque compound in the Southwestern United States, Mike Murphey’s TAKING TIME centers on a small group of time travelers, the scientists that send them into the past, and the scheming goons protecting corporate investment in a multinationally funded time travel project. Thanks to the discovery of “enriched hydrogen,” humankind has access to an energy source with unimaginable power in this near-future narrative. That power is used to open wormholes, making time travel (both forward and back) a practical possibility.
In this new era of science, the Wormhole and Light Speed Projects are conceived to change the past for monetary gain and bring back future knowledge for the same end. As the project teams compete against each other for resources and prestige, the story explores interesting caveats and paradoxes of time travel that make for great thought experiments and engaging side plots. For instance, no inorganic materials can travel—making for lots of nudity—and you can only “travel back” to a place you’ve been before.
Where this book shines is the psychology and interpersonal relationships of the travelers and research teams. The friendships between the main trio are supported by natural, absorbing dialogue and personal histories that unfurl deftly in narrative time. All of which makes for a very human story set in a time of extraordinary possibilities. With a diverse cast of characters driven by realistic motivations, the story—in both voice and arc—proves to be smooth and relatable. Readers need not worry that they’ll get bogged down in complex theory or science jargon, as the author presents the effects of impossible phenomena without deeply exploring their causes. Along the way, they’ll find surprisingly hilarious moments (erection betting pool, anyone?); head-scratching ethical conundrums; and original speculation on how parallel universes, and our parallel selves, would function.
Well-edited, though its layout needs cleanup, TAKING TIME proves to be a delightful, perhaps even beachy read. It’s perfect for both sci-fi fans and those new to the genre. While readers might not have all their questions answered, they’ll laugh out loud, root for the underdog, and even see a few villains get their just desserts.
Character-driven though somewhat light on world-building, TAKING TIME handily navigates the corporate, ethical, and practical ripple effects of time travel without skimping on entertainment.
~Remy Poore for IndieReader