Anna (_ocelott_) wrote in sf_book_reviews,

The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman

Publisher: Ace, 2007
Genre: Science fiction
Sub-genre: Alternate history/time travel

I have to admit, I like the cover here. The image of the clock face flying apart with the force of what looks like a starburst is not only pretty, it works well with the book's title. I like the gold lettering on the red, too. Of course, the cover quote absolutely befuddles me. According to Stephen King, "If there was a Fort Knox for the science fiction writers who really matter, we'd have to lock Haldeman up there." Say what? I just... what a bizarre thing to say! Fort Knox for sf writers? Whyyyyyy?

I pretty much came to this book with no expectations. Basically, I was browsing through the library website looking for shiny new science fiction, and came across The Accidental Time Machine. The one-line plot summary intrigued me, so I borrowed it. And, uh, now I'm reviewing it. Yeah.

Review over here, complete with longer-than-one-line plot summary!

The book starts off well enough, the story of a guy who accidentally constructs a time machine that can only go forwards. As the story progresses, though, things grow more and more ludicrous, and I started to get annoyed with Matt's tendancy to repeatedly run away from his problems. Most people who survived their teen years have learned the truth in the old adage of bringing your problems with you, but evidently Matt skipped that whole life lesson. To be fair, he was also looking for the technology to allow himself to jump backwards in time, but that was never the final factor that brought him to push the reset button again.

The whole ending was just a big deus ex machina, with a group of men appearing in a big bubble like the Glinda, the good witch from the Wizard of Oz, all set to wave their magic wands and set things right. No, seriously, that's how Haldeman decides to wrap things up. I'm not even making up the bubble thing, much as I wish I were.
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