Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review: The Map of Time


The Map of Time
The Map of Time by Félix J. Palma

My rating: 1 of 5 stars



Time travel! Jack the Ripper! Automatons! What's not to love?!? Well, as it turns out, almost everything.

I know everyone else here is raving about it, but I could barely stomach The Map of Time; it took every ounce of stick-to-it-iveness I could muster to get through this convoluted, interminable literary maze. WHERE, I ask you, was the EDITOR in this hot mess? There is the kernal of a potentially good story here, had about 2/3 of the fat been excised. The only way it could have been more byzantine is if Nancy Grace had shown up to interrogate Inspector Lusk about the Ripper murders.

It's not like the guy can't write. He's a decent, if grandiose, storyteller and he mimics to perfection the florid style of the period he set this novel in. And the theme Palma writes about -- choice and the Butterfly Effect of exercising it -- is one that is both powerful and personal. Plus, he knows how to turn a phrase: "...loneliness that sticks to him like a birthmark."

But come on, Félix, enough with the meandering, the inconsistencies, the convenient last-minute reprieves for waylaid story-lines. And the unnecessary reminders from the narrator about his omniscience have to go.

I was all set to love this book, what with it being about the re-writing of the history of the earliest science fiction and all, but it wasn't to be. The one good thing that came out of it? It inspired me to read the original H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, and it was love at first sight.



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