Saturday, July 4, 2009
Here, There & Everywhere a great novel about time travel every time.
"Roxanne's arm tingled as the Sofia went to work. A microscopic cosmic string fragment, suspended in a five-dimensional superfluid, rotated into the 4-D hypersphere of space-time fractionally, sending pinpricks shooting from Roxanne's wrist."
We all have a book that we love to re-read time and again(and yes the pun was intended). You know that book, it's right there on the shelf within easy reach, the one you can just take of the shelf and just start re-reading as if it was for the first time.
For me that book(well one of them any way for instance I have read the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons 4 times) is Chris Roberson's Here, There & Everywhere.
I first met Chris at the San Diego Comic Con several years when I picked up a paper back novel at his booth called Any Time At All. Then it was the next years con(I think) that I found myself once again at Chris's booth, much to my delight, holding the expanding new edition of the book now called Here, There & Everywhere.
Now I loved Any time at All so believe me I was excited to see that Chris has expanded the book. For after reading HT&E I think the expanded edition is the book that Chris really want to write and for what ever reason couldn't or wasn't able the first time around(ATAA was a Print On Demand(POD) title published by Clock Work Story Books while HT&E is published by Prometheus Books).
In HT&E we meet eleven year Roxanne Bonaventure, who is raised by her single father, a highly regard Professor who has trouble fitting in at her school. So she goes to America to live with her cousins and go to school there.
While in America she is off in the woods one night she meets an old woman who appears to be dying. The elder woman then slips on Roxanne's wrist a bracelet unlike any other bracelet that she has seen. Before she gives the bracelet she warns Roxanne:
"It will bring you everything you could ever want, in time but you will forever be unique, alone among the myriad. A singular creature , with no analogue or equivalent."
Thus Roxanne is given The Sofia, a bracelet that will allow her to travel through time and space to visit the past, future and all possible pasts and futures.
As Roxanne learns to use the bracelet Chris does a wonderful job of keeping with the science and current theories of time travel. For instance current theory states if you go back in time say to kill Hitler you don't change your time line but create a divergent time line(in one such divergent line she follows is where Pete Best never left the Beatles and was the one who died not John Lennon and when the planned a reunion the brought in Ringo Star).
At first she has help from her father(who is dying) in learning what the bracelet can(take her anywhere in time and any place) and can not do(the bracelet will not let her go anywhere where her life would be at risk or in immediate danger). And along the lines set up some rules for her to follow. She is never to learn her own future, never changer her past and do not interfere with the destinies of others.
As story progresses we follow Roxanne as she travels a wide divergent of past and futures meeting a wonderful variant of characters. But for all her travels she is alone. For no matter how many divergent time lines she visits she is unique to all of them(like Doctor Who). Unlike every one else who has counter part in all of the different divergent time lines(though what happens to each counter part may be slightly different from the base time line that she comes from).
But as Chris keeps up with the science of time travel he never forgets the human side of it. How she reacts and uses the Sofia is full of humanity. Like for instance when she is in college. There is a guy she likes. She meets him somewhere and with each meeting she sees what she has done wrong and goes back to correct it until each meeting progress the relationship further and further until they are actually dating. Hasn't everyone at one time or another wanted to go back in time and redo something they did or said to someone that would change the out come? Roxanne gets to do this but learns a harsh lesson. That you can go and change things but in the end if it wasn't meant to be then all was for naught.
For this is not just a story about time travel. Though this is about Roxanne and her travels through time and space. It is also a story her second travels. One that each and every one of us make. The travel of living life day to day. Roxanne still has to make that some trip as we do. But as she nears that final destination she never loses the love of adventure or that love of learning.And no matter what time line, divergent or not her destiny awaits for her as it does for us at the end of the story.
HT&E is as I said a book that I just love to re-read when I ever get the chance. And when I do it always seems fresh and new but at the same time like visiting a old friend. Between the first and last page Chris Roberson has written a truly classic science fiction tale while never forgetting at the heart of all science fiction isn't the science but the people and their humanity that drives the story. And it is Roxanne humanity that drives the tale. She is smart, independent add to that her love for adventure and to learn makes her a character that is likable and one would love to have has a friend.