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The Plot to Save Socrates

(Sierra Waters #1)

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  320 ratings  ·  68 reviews
In the year 2042, Sierra, a young graduate student in Classics is shown a new dialog of Socrates, recently discovered, in which a time traveler tries to argue that Socrates might escape death by travel to the future! Thomas, the elderly scholar who has shown her the document, disappears, and Sierra immediately begins to track down the provenance of the manuscript with the ...more
Kindle Edition, author's cut, 272 pages
Published December 12th 2012 by JoSar MeDia (first published 2006)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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Lisette Brodey
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction

There’s an old saying, “If you love Greek history and you’re fascinated by time travel, you’ll love Paul Levinson’s The Plot To Save Socrates. If you’re reading this in 2009, you’ll likely disagree that it’s an old saying, but if you time travel to 2061, you’ll find that it’s true.

Paul Levinson’s delightful sci-fi book opens in New York in 2042. Sierra Waters, a student of the classics who is working on her dissertation, comes across a newly discovered dialog of Socrate
Giovanni Gelati
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a big Bill & Ted’s Great Adventure fan, I could not pass this sci-fi work up. I mean getting another crack at Socrates, does it get any better. Later on today the author of this fine piece of work meets me in The G-ZONE. I think it is a great way to start the week personally, another reason to wake up, all that kinda stuff. Just to clue everybody in, this is another huge week of guests and posts as we make a mad dash toward Saturday and another Improvised Digital Short Story contest. This ...more
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Somewhere in my brain lie remnants of a minor in Philosophy from long ago. Paul Levinson's ambitious novel, "The Plot to Save Socrates," reminds me of how much I've forgotten. (Socrates? Name sounds familiar.) I found it to be educational, challenging, fascinating, clever, complex, and occasionally exhausting, but surely enjoyable.

You do have to pay attention, as the cast of characters are jumping places and eras like a game of musical chairs -- Time Travel chairs, which are their means of span
The Plot to Save Socrates is a time-travel adventure with a generous mixture of philosophy. I liked a lot of elements in this book but also found a lot wanting. Hence my qualified "good" review of three stars.

The good? The plot and the adventure are fun to follow. The time-travel adds an element of tension that you can't do away with, especially when coupled with a mysterious villain, whose greater mastery of the technology and unknown purposes add a constant sense of foreboding. The characters
Feb 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Perhaps, I'd rate the book with 3.5 stars.

The Plot To Save Socrates is more towards a complicated time travel caper than what I was expecting. I don't care much for books such as Crichton's Timeline which (to my way of thinking) are basically historical fiction with some characters who are "outsiders" to the historical culture being portrayed. I read The Plot To Save Socrates hoping the Socrates angle would bring more ideas into the story. It didn't really turn out to be "historical fiction" in
This book is unique to say the least. The closest book I can think of with even a remotely similar setting would be The Just City but only just. The only thing that the two have in common is an attempt to 'save' Socrates so he can live on and contribute more to the world and the time travel aspect.

To start, this book doesn't have a linear plot line, which leaves you with a real lack of complete understanding of the characters until the very end. And I mean the very end, as in the final page reve
Nathan Coops
I'm not putting any stars with this review simply because I haven't made it to the end yet and I don't think it would be fair. I've made four attempts before giving up, and were I able to get through it all I'm guessing it would get at minimum a 3 based on the fact that it is erudite, well edited and extremely thoroughly researched. Kudos to the author for his knowledge of history and philosophy.

It just wasn't for me. If I could describe the writing style in one word, it would be "formal." I co
This is a fast paced time romp. I don't think I have a full appreciation of ancient times to fully enjoy this book, however that is a slam on myself not on the book. A lot of this book was philosophical as any book with Socrates should be. Discussions about the illogical physics of time travel. If I go back in time and tell myself something and that information affects my future in a way that prevents my future self from not going back in time in the first place...Where does the loop begin and e ...more
D.B. Pacini
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of books. I usually read them, make some notes about them in my journals, and then pass them on to other writers. I met Paul Levinson on Myspace. To be honest, I bought THE PLOT to SAVE SOCRATES because I liked the title. I was intrigued by the idea of a discovered dialogue that reveals that Socrates may have taken an opportunity that I can image Socrates being willing to take. I enjoyed strapping myself to this remarkable time-traveling adventurous romp and can't give this book awa ...more
Mar 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty damn close. It combined two of my favorite things: philosophy and time travel. I'm not kidding. It was an amazing way to explore all of the paradox(es?) that arise when one considers: "What would happen if someone went back in time and....) I found myself amazed at what went in to creating the timelines and how they all fit together. It was perfectly structured. I loved it.
Daniel Feldman
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Corny but brilliantly written with a lot of historical content. Great for teens.
John Carter McKnight
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's 2042, and a Classics grad student is handed what appears to be a previously-unknown dialog of Socractes - in which he argues with a time traveler come to save him from execution. From there we're launched into a fast-paced (despite what some other reviewers here have said - the book's a delightful snack and far from an overwhelming feast) adventure with stops in Roman Brittania, the Library of Alexandria, Victorian New York City, and, of course, the Greece of Socrates' time.

Levinson skillf
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paul-levinson
I really enjoyed this. Great Science Fiction. I love the characters, the drama is great. I really enjoy getting into not just history, but what the author paints ancient life to have possibly been for the individual. The author keeps your attention because you always want to know what is going to happen. I have waited long for the sequel and am finally getting to read it now. It does not disappoint. The writer has, in fact, become better at all of the above. I had to concentrate hard to keep tra ...more
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
It all starts when Sierra Waters, a classics grad student, is shown an enigmatic Socratic dialouge by her professor, Thomas O'Leary. In the dialouge, a mysterious man named Andros tries to convince Socrates to escape with him into the future, via time travel, in order to escape the horrible fate prescribed to him by the Athenian government. Shortly thereafter, Thomas disappears, launching Sierra on a quest that spans milleniums in search of the truth. On her quest she meets friends, lovers, and ...more
Lis Carey
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction, f-sf
What would you do if you had the chance to save Socrates? What would you do if he refused to be saved?

It's 2042, and Sierra Waters is a graduate student, working on her dissertation on Athens' the adoption of the Ionic phonetic alphabet around 400 B.C., when Thomas O'Leary, a member of her doctoral committee, brings her a fragment of a previously-unknown Socratic dialog. This dialog suggests that Socrates received a visitor from the future, who offered to save him by means of time travel and the
Kath Middleton
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This intricate plot successfully combines time travel, history, philosophy and a good writing style to bring a story such as I’ve ever read before. The main premise is that a group of people are attempting to persuade Socrates not to take the hemlock which kills him. There’s a plot to save him but he feels he needs to take this step, agonising though it will be. We find out why and how it’s proposed to do this. There’s a complex thread of both time and place as characters move from past to prese ...more
Evanston Public  Library
Thought provoking if not mind blowing, Paul Levinson's The Plot to Save Socrates weaves in and out of centuries (and even millennia) as a broad cast of characters attempts to achieve the titular goal. The novel centers on Sierra, a Classics graduate student from the year 2042, who is pulled into the plot when her mentor shows her a newly discovered Socratic dialogue featuring a conversation between Socrates and a time traveler. In the dialogue, the time traveler attempts to convince Socrates to ...more
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book. I liked it more after I finished it and thought about it for a while. It is a time travel adventure across time spanning from 300 to 400 BC all the way into the future. Normally, I don't like time travel stories because there are too many paradoxes but this one did a good job of avoiding these issues. The story was fascinating and original in how it was told. The characters weren't developed very well but I feel that the story made up for the lack of depth of the character ...more
Hannah Givens
Brilliant. The time travel never lost me, the historical characters lived up to their reputations, and the original characters weren't out of place with them. It all blends together well, a cohesive timestream instead of "the past" and "the future." And the ideas are just as good as the book -- it is Socrates we're talking about, after all. There are still plot threads I want to know more about, but really the book, the titular plot, is complete. It reads quickly and easily, and it's an intense ...more
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a fun and complex romp from the mid-21 century future back and forth with 400-ish BC.

The time travel mechanism itself is only explained philosophically, not scientifically, but the science isn't the point of this story.
I learned some historical aspects about Socrates/Plato and others of their time as well as some postulated ideas about their motivations.

I liked it enough that Unburning Alexandria is going on my to-read list.
Greg Hickey
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
-Levinson artfully demonstrates a single linear timeline theory of time travel that leads to brightly tangled causal time loops.
-There are moments when Levinson's prose lacks the substance and depth to support his flashy plot.
-The Plot to Save Socrates exceeds the typical sci-fi action story in its intellectual depth, if not in the nuance of its storytelling.

My complete review "Socrates, Time Travel and Donald Trump" at
Wesley Bishop
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book that combines SF, and classical humanities into a fun and thought provoking story. I especially liked how Levinson utilized a non-linear, multi-perspective narrative. The result was a story that had multiple characters, in various periods, at various stages in their lives, interacting with each other in a "timey, wimey" (Doctor Who fans will understand) kind of way. Looking forward to reading the sequel.
Royce Sears
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A Time Twisting Tale of Epic Proportions

The Plot to Save Socrates is a head spinning time travel mystery that leads the reader deep into an action packed rabbit hole of cascading paradoxical events via a cast of characters assembled from across the ages. An intellectually stimulating read of epic proportions, The Plot to Save Socrates draws the reader in and keeps the pages turning all the way through. Highly Recommended!!
Mar 02, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The plot is fairly tangled, but not in an interesting way. It's hard to imagine a plot interesting enough to redeem the completely lifeless characterizations, not to mention the near-complete lack of historical texture for the scenes in the past.

The book might get better in the last quarter - I couldn't bring myself to finish it.
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History and philosophy buffs
Lively, intricate, and always intelligent time travel/alternate history novel. My longer review of this book appears here. ...more
Apr 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book about time travel and the attempt to save a great philosopher. Interesting characters and a great storyline.
Jun 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Smart, fun, time travel novel with interesting premise. Nice break from other serious reads.
Betsie Bush
Thought-provoking time travel including excellent historical footage. Not my favorite writing style (dialog heavy) but entertaining, nonetheless.
A very well constructed time-travel story which manages to both entertain the reader while reflecting on all of the time-travel paradoxes.
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Paul Levinson, PhD, is an author, professor, and media commentator. His first novel, The Silk Code, won the Locus Award for best first science fiction novel of 1999. Entertainment Weekly called his 2006 novel, The Plot to Save Socrates, “challenging fun”. Both novels were reissued as "author's cut" ebooks in 2012, and Unburning Alexandria, sequel to The Plot to Save Socrates, was published in 2013 ...more

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Sierra Waters (3 books)
  • Unburning Alexandria (Sierra Waters, #2)
  • Chronica  (Sierra Waters #3)

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