Reading, Reviews

Book Reviews: Time Travel Edition

I recently finished reading To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis and The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley. These two sci-fi novels could not be more different in tone, but both feature time travel. I recommend both, but with major caveats.

If you’re into humor and looking for a delightful and silly romp then To Say Nothing of the Dog is for you. Comedy is hard to write, but this book is full of delightful time-travel shenanigans with witty and amusing side-characters stealing the show at every turn.

Without spoiling anything, time travel exists and is mundane and bureaucratic, except you can trust the hyper-wealthy to nonetheless find ways to screw it up. Ned Henry’s boss is obsessed with reconstructing Coventry Cathedral and Ned is just planning on hiding out in Victorian England until his boss is finished blowing off steam. Too bad for Ned, a space-time anomaly needs fixed in the Victorian era or time itself could unravel.

The only downsides for me were a few parts that felt repetitive and unnecessary. Also there is a very high dialogue to plot/scenery/everything else ratio.

On the other hand, if you’re fired up and angry about the state of the world, or interested in “what if Starship Troopers, but without uncomfortably fascist-adjacent ideas?” then allow me to recommend The Light Brigade. It’s a fierce, frightening, anti-war, anti-corporate-fascism novel. I’m not going to say anything about the time travel aspect in order to avoid spoilers.

I honestly thought it was merely OK plot-wise in the beginning although the writing is sharp from the get-go, but (without spoilers) there’s a part in the early middle that grabbed me by the balls and dared me to look away. At that point I was hooked.

The Light Brigade reminded me a lot of the movie District 9 in its graphic violence and common people thrown into shitty scenarios, but also in the way I reacted to both: intrigued, horrified, excited.

The only downsides for me were moments where some characters got preachy and the general anxiety I experienced while reading such an intense book.


4 thoughts on “Book Reviews: Time Travel Edition”

      1. It’s thinly disguised alright, but it’s a thinly disguised metaphor for apartheid. Don’t worry, it comes down on the side of “apartheid bad”. It’s not exactly subtle, but it’s emotional, well acted, and has some great action sequences.

        It is NOT kid-friendly and it is gruesome in parts.


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