The Map of Time

You may or may not remember that I started reading The Map of Time on a plane in October, only to lose it on said plane due to a series of circumstances best blamed on myself. Tragically, it took an extremely long time before I admitted I wasn’t going to find another physical copy anytime soon and acquired a Kindle copy instead; and perhaps fittingly, the Kindle came to me in part to make fun of my having lost that very book. And it is one hundred percent fitting that there should be such a circular tale to my reading of the book when it is itself so very concerned with circular tales.

See, there’s this guy who had a prostitute girlfriend, only she was Jack the Ripper’s fifth and final victim, right before he got caught. And before you know it, first Murray’s Time Travel (offering scenic trips to the year 2000 to watch mankind’s final battle against his automaton overlords) and then famed author H.G. Wells are enlisted to help him travel back in time and stop the Ripper before poor Marie Kelly’s demise. And then there are two more stories after that, all set in the same several weeks long period of November, 1896, and with similar time travel plots. You have to watch out for Palma; he pulls so many fake-outs and double blinds within his characters’ time-travelling escapades that you’ll think you’re watching an episode of Lost. From the second season. Or possibly Back to the Future 2. But you know, mostly it’s a period piece, of which I suppose I’ve read quite a few lately, mostly written by Dan Simmons.

My thought? Totally worthwhile, go for it. And then let’s talk about it afterward, because I feel uncomfortable adding more details than I have, which may already be too many, but there’s a lot of stuff to tease out up in here.

4 thoughts on “The Map of Time

  1. Rachelle

    I was actually thrilled when I finally finished this book, because it meant I could finally move on to something else. I enjoyed the twists, particularly the end of the first story, and how all three were ultimately tied together. But overall it moved way, way too slowly for me. Pages and pages of what so-and-so is thinking while looking out the window. I know it’s partly a cultural thing; Spanish authors are wordier than Americans, and the action is slower. But this one just seemed like it would never end.

  2. Chris

    I don’t remember having that problem, which is mainly odd because I’m a little bit sensitive to it. It could be that I like the “H.G. Wells as a character” meme that has pervaded the past 20 years or so, enough to disregard such flaws.

    Do you know there’s a quasi-sequel? It’s the Map of something else (I forget), but I think with maybe some plot overlap, not just the thematically similar exploration of a different topic.

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