Monday, January 17, 2022

11. The Accidental Time Machine

The Accidental Time Machine. Joe Haldeman. 2007. 278 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The story would have been a lot different if Matt's supervisor had been watching him when the machine first went away.

Our hero, our narrator, is a twenty-something MIT grad student named Matt Fuller. He loves working in the labs. And he's putting off writing his dissertation. You might think he sounds pretty typical for a science geek. (He's also recently been dumped by his girlfriend.) But his life is about to take a different turn. And it all starts when his calibrator disappears. It reappears in a flash. It was just a flicker, one brief instant in time--a true if I'd a blinked I'd a missed moment--but it was long enough that it changed a young man's life forever.

The reset button.

All of the drama, the action, centers around this one tiny button on a machine that is about the size of a shoe box. You might not expect something so tiny to have the ability to change the world in the blink of an eye. But it can and does.

Here we have a time machine that can travel only in one direction; each jump of longer duration. No way to predict if the future will be better or worse. No way to go back. 

This is my second time to read The Accidental Time Machine. I first read it in February 2008. I loved it then. Loved it enough to gush about it. I've always meant to reread it....

But. I didn't enjoy it as much (if at all) the second time around.

What I still loved was the conclusion. I love, love, love how the book ends. The last chapter maybe last two chapters I still enjoyed very much.

What I didn't love was just about everything that came before. To be honest, it was the blasphemy and crudeness that I found so off-putting the second time around. That is great news for most readers. Chances are that *most* readers won't be bothered by such content. That doesn't guarantee you'll love it--far from it. You could still find fault with say the science or the logic or the characterization.

There were parts of this that seem super rushed. But the ending worked for me.

© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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