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Killing Time

2.76  ·  Rating Details ·  2,819 Ratings  ·  248 Reviews
Killing Time
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published November 7th 2000 by Random House (first published 2000)
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Jul 02, 2008 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: misogynist 15 year olds who think psychobabble is awesome
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Oh god this is the worst book ever. The audio version read by the author is even more of a trainwreck. The characters are one-dimensional, the plot is full of holes, and the pacing is preposterous.

This book does excel at one thing: being unintentionally funny through Carr's mindless use of cliches. However, this is only amusing for the first third, after which you just want to throw the discs out the car window and continue on your road trip in silence.

Seriously, don't read this book.
Jan 30, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi, own-it
An entirely fascinating tale, published in 2000, that was almost prescient, in some ways, regarding what was then the near future. So much so, that at one point I had to look up the publishing date to determine that it hadn't been written after the Great Recession of 2007! In an age where information flows almost freely, knowledge has fallen prey to belief. Nothing can be trusted to be true, because the flow of information can be, and is indeed being, manipulated. This book explores that concept ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Bettie☯ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Description: Information flows freely in 2023, but is all--or "any"--of it accurate? Criminal profiler Dr. Gideon Wolfe investigates the murder of a friend in New York City when he is suddenly caught up in the company of a beautiful woman, her ingenious brother, and a band of techno-terrorists at war with the world itself.

Do you remember that bit in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency when it turns out two brothers have been working under the one doctor's certificate? I wonder if there are two Ca
Jul 11, 2008 Brian rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Amazingly awful. Got 30 pages. It reads like a parody of a cyberpunk novel except not funny. Or maybe the author read a William Gibson novel and didn't get the part about making it even believable by the stretched standards of the genre. The first ten pages feature 40 product name drops, a flying saucer, black helicopters, two assasinations, and a prison break. Really, I think I'll go lie down now.
Nov 29, 2009 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: stoic souls and masochists at heart
Mundus vult decipi.

The world wants to be deceived.

There it is, the main theme of the book - now, move on and go read The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness.

I probably could stop my review right there, but because of my dedication to you, my goodreads friends, I won't. So, here it is, my (mostly) complete review of Caleb Carr's Killing Time.

Now, let's be clear about one thing: "Mundus vult decipi - the world wants to be decieved." If there's one thing the author wants you to take away from this
Jul 24, 2007 Pantea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was so excited to read this as Caleb Carr's other novels are among my favorites. Sadly, I was pretty disappointed in this futuristic global scare tactic. The plot started out very interesting - a vision of how the topics of today (globalization, threats to the environment, terrorism, information technology, arm's control, etc) can result in a world of chaos and corruption in the future. It was basically a conspiracy theory that became increasingly implausible. Character development was pretty ...more
As you can see, I really didn't like this book. The characters were one-dimensional and evoked no identification/sympathy whatsoever in me, the conspiracy was utterly incomprehensible, and oh my God, the exposition. There were huge chunks of exposition that, frankly, just bored the hell out of me while simultaneously not explaining a thing. I only kept reading it because I was at work, and didn't have another book with me. Actually, that's probably my strongest impression of what I did read - it ...more
Jun 15, 2008 Bax rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, lit
I hate time travel SF and I hate mainstream authors who decide to "dabble" in SF, so it's a wonder I finished this one.

'real' authors who stoop to SF almost invariably wind up trying to pass off most hackneyed, overdone tropes as market fresh (Margaret Atwood being a prime offender), and this book is alas no exception.

Readable enough, and would certainly get higher marks from readers less familiar with SF than your truly.
Apr 26, 2008 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No matter how much you liked The Alienist, avoid this book like the plague. This sucked more than Michael Crighton on a bad day. Seriously, one of the lamest, supposed thrillers I've ever read. If it had been 50 pages longer I probably wouldn't have finished it, but I suppose I was hoping it would improve somehow before the end. It never did.
Mar 30, 2011 Kris rated it it was ok
I give it two stars for having potential... the folks saying this is the WORST book they've ever read obviously have never tried "Princess Bride" or read fanfic. Carr at least can punctuate, capitalize, write in complete sentences and never abuses a parenthese. That having said, this book is FAR from being good. I think he should have read more in the SF genre before attempting this. My suspension of disbelief was rarely willing nor complete viable, particularly with his air/space/submarine ship ...more
East Bay J
Apr 01, 2015 East Bay J rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Let me preface this review by saying I loved Carr's other novels, The Alienist and The Angel Of Darkness.

Found this one at my local laundromat, recognized Caleb Carr as the author of the above mentioned books and figured this was a no brainer. The concept sounded a little out there but, having enjoyed those books so much, I thought I couldn't lose. And I didn't. Not entirely. Killing Time is well written and extremely well conceptualized, it just didn't hold my attention. While Carr does a fanta
Jun 18, 2008 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the year 2024, after innumerable financial breakdowns, military conflicts, and disease epidemics have left the world a shell of its former self, the remainder of the population relies on the Internet to obtain all their information about what is happening in the world. Dr. Gideon Wolfe, a respected professor at John Jay University, begins to discover how much misinformation is being disseminated by the Internet when he is given a disc that contains clues that reveal that a recent political as ...more
Aug 20, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Killing Time was my first introduction to Caleb Carr's work. Having heard good things about his previous works--especially the Alienist--and being a science-fiction fan, I decided to give his latest novel a try.

And I've got to admit I was wholly disappointed with Kiling Time. The novel starts off with an interesting hook and tries to build on it for the first 50 or so pages. But it completely derails throughtout by a lack of focus and the fact that the plot needlessly jumps from storyline to sto
Feb 28, 2011 Suzanne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I probably should have read some reviews of this book before I picked it up. Unfortunately, I bought this book several years ago, before I discovered Goodreads or Amazon reviews. And now, I’m attempting to read all those books that have been sitting on my shelf collecting dust. Hence – the reason for finally reading Killing Time. I, too, was a fan of Caleb Carr’s historical murder mysteries The Alienist, and it’s sequel, The Angel of Darkness.

This book came about because the editors of Time maga
Pamela Pickering
Feb 18, 2008 Pamela Pickering rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"I really liked the premise of this book. It was based on a thought provoking question: has the information age and technology become the major downfalls of our civilization? Can we use those same technology and information abilities to show mankind how we have been deceived? Although the author's story revolved around these "information terrorists" and their escapades I kept wondering, "Where was the editor?" and I wondered why he portrayed the main character, Gideon, as decisionally incompeten ...more
Ellen Keim
I hadn't heard great things about this novel and it doesn't have a high rating, but I actually thought this was worth reading--once I got through most of it. The premise is a good one: what does information really mean in this information age? The Internet is out of control. No one knows exactly what is true and what isn't. Public opinion and behavior can be manipulated by what is fed to people via the Internet. Along comes a genius brother and sister team who are trying to show people how bad t ...more
Kevin Garten
Jan 13, 2014 Kevin Garten rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one in particular
Recommended to Kevin by: no one in particular
Good concept and has some interesting points along the way. However, this book reads very much like many a Michael Chriteon novel: "I have an essay on a deep philosophical subject that I wish to expound upon. My ideas will be brilliant; my characters will be paper thin representations of a point of view regarding said subject."

The book is definitely a page turner (chapters are frequently three to four pages long) and Mr. Carr's writing style, even though it occasionally throws me, is crisp. The
Gilda Felt
Jul 25, 2016 Gilda Felt rated it it was ok
Sounds interesting? It could have been. A lot of things he envisions have happened. Except it’s written in the first person, which means that everything has to be explained to the main protagonist in order for the reader to know about it. And then page after page of him explaining things. What makes it worse is that I wasn’t all that taken by the main protagonist, or the people he joins up with. Malcolm and Larissa are borderline psychopaths. Smug and insufferable, the things they do in the name ...more
Jun 13, 2011 Mindy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My first thoughts when I finished this book was, "Really? Are you kidding me?" Carr spends the whole book getting the main characters into more and more trouble and then in the last few pages inserts a deus ex machina into the picture and all of a sudden the world is magically all better. The ending felt forced and tacked on and I probably would have liked the book better had it ended unhappily. Especially since the authors apparent intent in writing the book was to show the dangers of having to ...more
Oct 04, 2010 Carly rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
This is the first Carr novel that has been set in the future--the previous books I've read by him were all set in the past, and Carr worked hard to ensure the voice matched the period. So this book was obviously different.

Another key difference is not writing in the historical fiction genre bit rather the dystopia genre instead. After recently reading Space Merchants, I was very aware of some of the similarities of the two books (since both have themes I am interested in, it worked out for me).
Apr 16, 2011 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very disappointed with this novel. In some ways it reminded me of Farenheit 451 in that the writing and dialogue sound like from a bygone era but taking place in the future, but not even remotely as well written.

Many of the details are merely brushed aside in a cutesy way, but, frankly, I just thought it was lazy writing. There doesn't feel to be any concept of time and the characters lack any sort of depth. The technical marvels, even the world they live in, could have been full of descri
Kim Z
Sep 10, 2007 Kim Z rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of sci-fi or militant luddites
Shelves: okaystuff, sci-fi
Carr creates an impressively plausible view of the near future (particularly considering this was published in 2000); however, his theme on the evils of the information age is applied a bit too heavily. Additionally, although the world of the future is realistically drawn, there are some techological applications (particularly at the end) that seem to defy logic. Lastly, this book has been described as "The Alienist in the future," but it really has very little criminal profiling in it.
Jason Baker
May 27, 2008 Jason Baker rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot put into words how much I disliked this book. After reading Carr's Alienist, I had high hopes for this novel. But for anyone who reads science fiction seriously, you will find this novel laughable. The characters are uninteresting, the plot is silly, and the ending is contrived. He needs to keep to the history and historical fiction and leave the SF to those who know what they are doing.
Timothy Boyd
This book very much reminded me of a modern telling of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. The Main character goes through a modern tech equivalent of the journey of Professor Pierre Aronnax aboard Nemo's Nautilus. Nice entertaining and interesting read. It like 20,000 Leagues warns against the dangers of man's actions on his planet, except this time it is the danger of the internet and information overload that threatens humanity. Recommended
Aug 20, 2008 Kristi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I enjoy Caleb Carr's writing, this book didn't seem up to his usual exceptional standard. The first 3/4 of the book started out as a seemingly sci-fi apocalyptic story, and then the end turns everything around in a very unbelievable way. Even though Carr forced a "happy" ending onto a very serious and grim novel, I closed the book unsatisfied.
John Porter
What happened? Maybe it's just that Carr is better with the historical infonovels. Maybe it's that Carr is heavy handed with the futuristic visions. Or maybe it's that the characters seem straight out of (bad) pulp fiction. This felt like a throwaway from the very start.
Sep 15, 2009 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to believe that a futuristic techno-thriller like this could be so deadly dull. Full of contradictions and simplistic thinking on the part of the supposed geniuses in the story. Interesting concept, poor execution.
Jim O'Loughlin
Sep 04, 2014 Jim O'Loughlin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I must remember not to just pick up random SF books.
Dec 22, 2016 Andrea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reads like a movie proposal. Very different from his other books.
Karen Wickham
Oct 23, 2016 Karen Wickham rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This has to be one of the worst books I've ever read. I don't like leaving books half finished, so I finished reading it, which was really tiresome. So be warned. This is Science Fiction, written in the year 2000 and set in 2023. So is near future dated, but you wouldn't know it based on some of the outlandish technology described in it. The author obviously got carried away. If you like Sci Fi, you might like this book. I don't really like Sci Fi, but will read it on occasion just for something ...more
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Caleb Carr is an American novelist and military historian. The son of Lucien Carr, a former UPI editor and a key Beat generation figure, he was born in Manhattan and lived for much of his life on the Lower East Side. He attended Kenyon College and New York University, earning a B.A. in military and diplomatic history. He is a contributing editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History an ...more
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