Comments on Classics: The Chronic Argonauts

Comments on Classics posts often contain spoilers,
so go read the book first and then come back. It’s ok, I’ll wait.

Comments on Classics

The Chronic Argonauts – 1888 – H.G. Wells – Short Story

In a nutshell:
A mad scientist builds a time machine in a rural Welsh village.

Before he wrote The Time Machine, H.G. Wells penned The Chronic Argonauts, another time-traveling tale. I only became aware of this story because it was briefly mentioned in Felix J. Palma’s The Map of Time. Naturally, I looked it up to see if it was real. It’s actually a pretty good story, but sadly there is very little time travel in it. The story mostly focuses on the build up of the strange Doctor Nebogipfel (great name by the way) and his occupation of a house with a violent history. Within this house, he performs strange experiments that involve odd lights and noises which frighten the locals and ultimately cause them to turn on him.

The reader doesn’t get to see much of his experimentation or the construction of the time machine and I wish there was a lot more there. I’d love to follow Nebogipfel’s struggle, being a man ahead of his time, unlocking the secrets of time travel.

The actual time travel in the story is brief and related by a secondary character after the fact, and there is very little detail there either. It seems the most interesting parts of the story were glossed over rather quickly. I want to know more about what happened in the years 4003, 17, 901 and 2. Mention of the abduction of a ward and assaults on public officials is hardly enough information in my opinion. Although, then it wouldn’t be a short story anymore. I feel like there is an opportunity here for an experienced author to fill in the blanks of this lesser-known story. If done well, it could be really awesome.

The final thing that struck me, as I was re-reading a bit before writing this post, was how much, by the end, Dr. Nebogipfel reminded me of Doctor Who. He seemed lonely and even suggested the reverend be his companion on his travels. Something about that had that lonely Doctor vibe to me.

If you have an interest in H.G. Wells, an interest in Victorian science fiction, or you are simply curious about this story, you can read it here for free. Until next time…

Happy Reading!

Solace

SolaceSolace

By: Therin Knite

knitewrites.com

(YA/Time Travel)

317 pages (ebook)

 

Corina resents the father who had the nerve to die, far off in a war torn country, without ever getting the chance to know her, that is, until a mysterious stranger gives her the chance to meet him. Insert time travel superpowers here.

*   *   *

I really think we need more YA books like this. No deadly, yet mysterious, hot guys, no supernatural love triangles, just a girl getting to know her father. Now, I wasn’t really looking to read another young adult novel so soon after the Gemma Doyle disappointment, but I received a free, no-strings-attached, digital copy of Solace from the author, and since I wanted to break in my brand new Nook, I thought I’d give it a read. While I’ve purchased Therin Knite’s other two books Echoes and Othella (which I haven’t quite gotten to yet) I probably wouldn’t have picked up this one on my own, so I’m happy this freebie got me to read it, because it is a wonderful story.

It was surprisingly good, not that I had any reason to think it would be bad judging by how much I liked Echoes, but the premise sounded a little depressing, and being a young adult novel, I thought it might not be what I was looking for. In reality, it was ultimately more uplifting than it was depressing, and while it was certainly emotional, it wasn’t sappy or melodramatic. The characters were fun. I loved their attitudes and frankness. And there was far more action than I expected, making it a very quick read, and never boring or slow.

I only have one complaint.

Generally, I like the author’s use of short sentences to give punch and immediacy to the story. There’s no excessive verbiage to navigate through, just the right amount of description to know what’s going on, which is especially effective in a first-person novel like this one. However, there were quite a few occasions where those sentences seemed incomplete, like fragments. Now, I’m no expert, and maybe that’s just a style issue, but sometimes I just really wanted to string two sentences together with a comma…really badly. I only mention this because I didn’t notice this in Echoes, so I’m not sure why it happened here.

Overall, I really liked this story, and those little writing issues didn’t detract from the enjoyment of it at all. If Terry Brooks can use “wordlessly” ad nauseam, Therin Knite can have potentially fragmented sentences. Until next time…

Happy Reading!

 

The Map of Time

The Map of Time by Felix J. PalmaThe Map of Time

By: Felix J. Palma

www.FelixJPalma.es

(Steampunk/Time Travel/Victorian)

This novel follows the stories of three characters who each encounter the possibility of time travel in their own ways. While presided over by a mysteriously omniscient narrator, their paths overlap, with a skeptical H.G. Wells at the center. The story is woven together quite nicely in this way, and I enjoyed their individual perspectives on the subject and the occasional comments and interjections by the narrator.

While the story is about time travel, it is more about the questions posed by the possibility of it, and the implications such an ability would have, rather than the act of doing so. Could you change the past? Could you leave a dull present for an adventurous future? What affects the fabric of time? Each character struggles with these questions and their experiences greatly effect the choices they make as well as their understanding of the world around them.

Overall, this story was not exactly what I expected it to be, but was certainly not disappointing. The author had me fooled over and over again, leading the story in one direction, then changing it abruptly. This kept things interesting, since the story did have its fair share of slower parts, but in the end, I felt that these portions were necessary to really appreciate the characters. It’s largely the end of the story, the last hundred pages or so, where things really pick up and get interesting.

Sometimes, when reading a particular book, I’ll notice a few quirks of the author’s writing style, or a random but interesting detail. Here are my observations:

The author had a tendency to start at least half of his sentences with “and” for some reason, often when it didn’t seem to help the flow. He also used the word “atavistic” quite a few times. This detail is probably only interesting to me, but my exact birthday was used on page 535, down to the year, which was a little surprising.

This book may not have been the Steampunk adventure I had anticipated, but it was still very much worth reading. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in Steampunk or Victorian-Era fiction. Until next time…

Happy Reading!