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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Old Twentieth

Copyright 2005 by Joe Haldeman

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Mediocre (2/5)

I first read this on the 22nd August 2006 and most recently on the 15th September 2008

Jacob Brewer operates the time machine and spends a lot of personal time within it. Kate, his girlfriend, thinks he spends too much time with it. Frankly she thinks it's addictive. That's dangerous in itself but particularly so in this case, since it looks like the time machine is killing its users.

It's not a time machine of course. It's a virtual reality system on board a colony ship on a thousand-year flight to a new world. But it can take you back to almost any moment in human history, immersing you in a full-sense virtuality.

Jacob is all set to jump right back in there but real people are still dying while using the system.

I liked it. The ending surprised me. Yes, I know it shouldn't have but there you go. I'm so credulous. It was an enjoyable read. On my second time through, however, I wasn't surprised (I'm not stupid) but I was disappointed. I retain the feeling that there was a deep moral question being answered by the novel but that I simply missed it. It's either that or believe Joe Haldeman has written a weak book.

Loaded on the 22nd April 2012.
Cover of Old Twentieth
Cover art by Fred Gambino and Rita Fangie