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Buying Time

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A bold new time-warping direction for a leading light in science fiction. In January 2017, something very strange happens to screenwriter Ed Richie. He wakes up one morning to find that he has been shunted back in time nine months and is now inhabiting the body of his younger self... Worse is to come: the following day he jumps three years, to 2013, with all his memories of the intervening years intact. What is happening to him? Is he going mad? And where will his involuntary time-travel end? Meanwhile, in 2030, journalist Ella Croft is investigating the life of screenwriter and celebrated novelist Ed Richie, who mysteriously vanished in 2025. She interviews friends, acquaintances, and old lovers - and what she discovers will change not only Ed Richie's life, but her own... Buying Time is a time-travel novel like no other. No man is rich enough to buy back his past - unless that man is Ed Richie... From multiple award winning author Eric Brown.

351 pages, Paperback

First published May 15, 2018

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About the author

Eric Brown

319 books168 followers
Eric Brown was born in Haworth, West Yorkshire, in 1960, and has lived in Australia, India and Greece. He began writing in 1975, influenced by Agatha Christie and the science fiction writer Robert Silverberg. Since then he has written over forty-five books and published over a hundred and twenty short stories, selling his first story in 1986 and his first novel in 1992. He has written a dozen books for children; young adult titles as well as books for reluctant readers. He has been nominated for the British Science Fiction Award five times, winning it twice for his short stories in 2000 and 2002.

His work has been translated into sixteen languages and he writes a monthly science fiction review column for the Guardian. His hobbies include collecting books and cooking (particularly Indian curries). He lives in Dunbar, East Lothian, with his wife and daughter.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 39 reviews
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,619 followers
May 9, 2018
Buying Time is a story about Writing Career “Scripts & Novels”, Friendship, Society, Politics..
And of course about Time…

What if you jump back in time to the younger version of yourself...with the conscious of your present one..
Interesting & unlimited possibilities..
A wish as old as Time...

Okay, But What if you just kept jumping in time, every-single-day to even a younger one..
That's the “Paradox” here, in “Buying Time”..

*** The Story ***
(( 2017 ))

Ed Richi is a successful TV shows scriptwriter.. but in his mid-fifties he feel unsatisfied with his career of writing ‘insignificant’ scripts that never last in memories… always feeling forced to change and rewrite for the sake of Tyrant Directors, Needy Actresses, and greedy Producers...and of course, Censorship..

Also he feel unsatisfied with his personal life, his long chain of relations with women that never last more than 3 years tops.
His only good friend also -a screenwriter as well- regrets not publishing a novel long ago and just stuck in the machine of writing insignificant scripts.

But suddenly, SNAP, Ed wakes up back a year in time, to 2016..
SNAP, the morning after, he's back to 2013…
And before he know it, the next day he's in 2008…. And Stranger Things awaits him..

(( 2030 ))
In near future kinda-Realistic Dystopia, Ella Show is a journalist in Scotland, the last heaven for freedom after the fascists “The Right-Wing” takes over US, England and many other major countries..
She set herself to a task of investigating the strange case of Ed Richi… who disappeared into thin air 5 years ago..

Interviewing some of his women and his best Friend.. not knowing she may end with a mind-blowing story.

The Verdict on the Plot

“The first act drags, it lacks dramatic tension. The second act is a little better, but needs cutting, and the third act…”

Well, funny that was written near the ending of the novel, criticising Ed’s play.
If I can sum the story experience… that’d be it…
BUT, the plot itself is really good… the whole mysterious experience provided dramatic tension enough for me to continue..

Just the first half as whole needed a bit cutting.. First couple of ‘Throwbacks’ in time almost felt similar and bit draggy… I was like, will it be all about his Girlfriends? like “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”..
I mean if I'm not a “Time Travel Theories” sucker I'd just wouldn't continue…. Also if I'm not even more interested in the whole “Writing Career and Screenwriters life” it'd have been a boring story for me.

But then with The Second half, the changes in Ed character, embracing this mysterious phenomenon, it gets much better, not to mention the “twist” in the middle of the story.. then the 5th,6th and 7th Throwbacks, was really full of twists, Science Fiction theories and even action packed though not much necessary.. but it was just fun.

The Writing Style
Interesting structure ; One Chapter of Richi’s Time Travels / One Chapter of the Future Ella’s investigations, That was really nice way to keep the tension of the story..
And a page of Ed's dairies after every chapter also a good touch... most of it connects with eachother in a way... just I felt it can use some more work to be a real perfection.

PS: The Globe… it appeared in the early story in the pub..then in the middle at Ed’s 90s room.. also the Cover of the novel itself… but with no more significant appearance by the end...just thought it better made one.

The Politics
We're heading into a deep shit…
Well, I'm glad that the author mentioned that Ed’s first read was Orwell’s 1984… cause here he tried to get the atmosphere of it, with also a bit of Barve New World, to show “where we're heading to” with the aid of the current political shit, from Trump to UK getting like everything separating from inside and outside.

Also the reflections at the political parts from the different Ed’s Throwbacks in time was very fresh reminder.. Like the Bush era, 9/11 aftermath, etc.
This parts could have been better if get more in depth rather than the “not much needed” linger in the fictional futuristic’s policies.

The Science
“Ground-breaking hard SF in that it combined cutting-edge, up-to-the-minute cosmological speculation with penetrating character insight.”

That's how a character described his SF novel… well, may be the author here tried to do so as well with the explanation of the plot by the ending..
It was good theory..and for a while I thought it may be like -one of my very favourite underrated movies- but here it even tried much harder in making the Scientific part and the Time Travel theory more entertaining..
Again quoting from the novel
“It’s a brilliant conceit – if not wholly original”


*** The Characters ****
As I said, It's a story of Friendship..
What connects Ed with his Friend, Digby, was may be the best thing about the characters in the novel.

Ed may seems shallow… but it's clearly from early on that it's authorial intention, (The Novel really helped me writing this review with its Criticism References)
So by the mid. of the novel you may start liking Ed's character...but you'll fall in love with his best friend's Digby more when his character get more background.

On the other side, Ella show character was just okay...not with that strong impact.. even her relationship with her ex-girlfriend didn't felt significant to me much.

After all , since it's a story of Writers and authors, Criticism was a very important “Character” here. It sure has a very important role..

Well, hope the writer accept this much of criticism… may I remind with this quote again from the novel ;
“That an indication of the maturity of a writer was his ability to accept criticism.”

*** Finally ***
I guess my rate here 3.5 ☆☆☆☆
I really enjoyed it.. it's a very good read if you're into Writing Careers + Time Travel…
And it's even a better one if you're into UK political state...

Mohammed Arabey
From 4 May 2018
To 8 May 2018

Special Thanks for Rebellion Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC.
Profile Image for Bandit.
4,511 reviews454 followers
April 22, 2018
So here I was thinking how nice it is to discover a new science fiction author I like and turns out not, so new, I’ve read Binary System by him before, well by Eric Brown. This is his more character driven work, hence the initials. But new author or otherwise, what a great book. And yes, it is very much a character driven story. The main one of which is an aging tv writer/author who mysteriously disappears and a journalist with a connection to his past who tries to find him. So that’s the mystery aspect. But this is, of course, a science fiction novel and as such the bulk of the story is set in the terrifyingly plausible near future where politics have taken a dark turn for nationalism, neofascist policies, disappearing civil liberties, rampant conservatism and xenophobia…essentially the way it’s going now with the volume turned up for dramatic effect. US being one of the main offenders, but also England, no longer united. Scotland (finally ceding) becomes the liberal safety zone. Again, all very logical. In this book the future is too near, 2030 at the latest, to stun the readers with out of this world technology, it relies on dystopian sociopolitical inventiveness (and how one wishes it was entire an invention) instead and as such is very relevant and compelling of a read. But if you don’t read it for politics, read it for the general plot, it’s absolutely fascinating. The protagonist starts skipping backwards in time to salient moments in his life and it’s a real trip in every meaning of the world, particularly the explanation, which works exceptionally well and comes as something of an ending twist. So it’s a time travel story and a pleasantly reasonable/plausibleish one at that. And the astonishing thing is that, despite the bleakness of its setting, it’s actually a strangely optimistic story, it allows for a possibility of changing one’s past, changing one’s life, of second chances and forgiveness. I loved this one, wanted to read it in one sitting (didn’t manage), wanted to see what’s next, thought about it when I wasn’t reading it, all the things one wishes for in a book. Now if only technology would reach up and meet the fiction and real world do the opposite and veer away from its dystopian course. Until then, there’s Buying Time. Awesome book. Enthusiastically recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Profile Image for Mark.
243 reviews12 followers
May 18, 2018
Buying Time is Eric Brown’s latest novel, though this time published under the name of E.M. Brown. Known for his character-focused science fiction stories, Brown has explored many themes during his years as a writer, yet the concept of time-travel is one that, I believe, he has not tackled until now. It’s an interesting topic that can be approached in many ways, from big-budget ideas down to very personal stories. As hoped and expected, Brown is firmly in the latter territory here, using his strengths to tell a fascinating story.

Ed Richie lives in the small town of Harrowby Bridge in Yorkshire, spending his time writing scripts for TV shows and radio plays. While not alone, he shares his life with a stream of women with whom, one at a time, he has an inevitably short relationship before they leave him. His oldest friend, Digby Lincoln – Diggers – is also a writer, more successful than Richie, and living not too far from him. They meet regularly to catch up with a few pints in the local pub, which almost always ends up being a good old drinking session. It’s after one of these heavy sessions the night Richie’s latest lady leaves that he collapses, waking up not the following morning, but almost a year earlier in 2016…

Meanwhile in 2030 Ella Shaw is a writer for Scot Free Media in a world vastly different, though not unimaginable, from our own. While reporting and writing on the many different atrocities taking place in the world, she is also fascinated by Ed Richie’s disappearance in 2025, vanishing without a trace. With her own reasons for chasing down a story, she embarks on a fact-finding mission into Richie’s past to see if she can discover just what, exactly, happened to him.

Buying Time is the kind of novel that can really pull you into its narrative. While starting relatively innocuously with a broken relationship, followed by a nice ‘heavy night’ at the pub, it’s a couple of chapters in that it gets very interesting, and opening its door to the main time travel possibilities it promises. For me it’s these early chapters – alternating between Ed Richie as his consciousness gradually moves back through time, and Ella Shaw as she goes about her business in a troubled and oppressive world – that really work for me. In short, it’s the characters that Brown creates to bring his story to life that are the reason the story works as well as it does.

While most of Buying Time is focused on Richie’s life, it’s the aspects of Ella’s world that are perhaps most fascinating. Set in a Britain that has left the EU and the rise of its racist and homophobic government, England is no longer a safe and pleasant place to live. With Scotland and Wales having broken away from England and gained independence, it is harrowing to see such a future. America are perhaps worse than England, now outlawing homosexuality which sees a huge rise in refugees leaving the country. It’s no surprise to see such fictional events given today’s political climate, and while it could be argued that the world presented here is an extreme take on events, they still feel very real, and all too plausible.

Ultimately, Buying Time is a tremendous success. Brown creates compelling characters and tells their story in ways that make them relatable, a true hallmark and strength to his fiction. I was left almost exhausted come the end, having to take some time to really appreciate what he’s done here. Buying Time is not an action packed sci-fi novel, but a more thoughtful character focused affair that is a refreshing take on a well-worn genre trope, a page turner, and a highly enjoyable novel. This is Eric Brown at his best. Very much recommended.
Profile Image for Dave.
3,012 reviews331 followers
April 14, 2018
How many people would like to go back in time and live their life over? Now that you are older, you know how things turn out. You know how to do it right. You won't blow up at the wrong time and let someone you love walk out of your life. You won't let someone get in an accident you could have prevented. The idea of time travel is always intriguing from Wells' Time Machine to the present. This book ("Buying Time") is another twist on the concept and here there's no worrying about time paradoxes and changing the universe by leaving a footprint. The story focuses on a small community of British writers, actresses, and screenwriters and on one man in particular who has gone through dozens of live-in relationships over the years. He suddenly finds himself back in various pasts of his and tries to make sense of it and what to do with this strange phenomenon. Alas, as intriguing as the concept is, the novel simply didn't work for me. Perhaps too much dialogue and too little action. Perhaps I didn't like the characters or the narrative voice. But, you can't always like everything on the menu. Maybe it will work for someone else. Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy.
Profile Image for Bronagh Miskelly.
29 reviews2 followers
August 7, 2018
Buying Time promises so much for about three quarters of the novel.
*A mysterious disappearance
* The development of Ed Ritchie's character as his apparently random time travelling causes him to review his life
* Time travel
* A dystopian post-Brexit setting
It moves along and keeps you interesting and then suddenly it all fell apart and to me seemed like EM Brown lost interest in his whole premis.
Suddenly the "rules" set up by all Ed's previous time jumps are broken when he experiences something outside his remembered time line and we don't find out why - especially as the next jump is back into the original time line.
We find out why/how he is time travelling in a few paragraphs but never properly learn about the scientists etc and indeed the deeper reasons for the project. Is it a long term idea to stop the dystopia.
Why does Ed take up novel writing in 2017? Is is a result of the time travel? Would it have happened anyway?
The last few chapters are a big let down and hence my rating dropped from a 4 to a 2 star rating.
It would never have been a 5 because Ella the other central figure isn't drawn in the detail of Ed and although one person calls her out on the impact of her survivor's guilt, her emotions are not properly explored, despite being central to a key decision in the plot.
Over all feeling let down
Profile Image for Nate.
817 reviews8 followers
November 6, 2018
Took me a month to slog through this one. Not a very good time travel story. A lot of talk about the conquest of women and sports. So much filler. Kind of a sloppy remake/reimagining of the excellent Replay by Ken Grimwood. Would not recommend.
685 reviews4 followers
December 29, 2018
The designation of the author as E M Brown is a slight repositioning by the publisher of my old mate Eric Brown to highlight works of his that are more character based. (It’s a bit late and a bit odd. He has always produced these to go alongside his action adventure novels but even in those he did not neglect character.)

In 2017 Ed Richie, prodigious boozer, script-writer for Coromandel Cable’s Morgan’s Café and also with a few radio plays to his name, is a serial monogamist with a penchant for women of a certain type. His latest relationship with a woman called Anna blows up in his face after he has had some sort of medical emergency experiencing a blinding white light. The break-up is part of a pattern repeated throughout his life. He has a long standing, equally boozy, friend Digby Lincoln, a jobbing script-writer on the TV serial Henderson’s Farm, with whom he discusses his situation.

We then jump to 2030, where in an independent Scotland Ella Croft works as a journalist for ScotFreeMedia. England and the US are in the grip of right-wing authoritarian regimes and Scotland is accepting LGBT refugees from a US where gay marriage is banned and same sex relationships suspect. It seems Richie disappeared some time in 2025 after switching successfully to a career as a novelist. Croft, who knew Richie in her childhood, sets out to find out what happened to him.

When we return to Richie he has had another white light episode and discovers himself in April 2016, much to his confusion and others’ bafflement.

The Richie and Shaw strands alternate throughout the book, interspersed with interpolations from various journal extracts, some Richie’s own, others newspaper or media outlet pieces. Richie is tumbling backwards through time, from 2017 to 2016, then 2013, 2008, 2002, 1995, 1988, and finally 1983. At first Richie wonders if these are hypnagogic hallucinations but Brown later provides, via the 2030 Croft sections, a science-fictional explanation.

Brown draws some amusement from Richie’s knowledge of the future. To the revelation that Trump will be elected President of the US Digby responds, “What? The multiple-bankrupt TV celebrity shyster? Come on, even the Americans can’t be that stupid!” and when told Leicester will win the league in 2016 comments, “Now I know you’re crazy.”

A Trove of Stars, Digby’s SF piece, had caused a rift between them for a while as Richie told him he, “took needless time out to tell the reader about the characters’ states of mind.��� Digby objects, “‘What I’m trying to do here is bring the concerns of the modern psychological novel to the hidebound format of hard SF.’ Richie had restrained himself from accusing his friend of talking pretentious bollocks.” In a later time-shift the book’s success signals we’re in a different timeline. All Richie’s touches down in the past must be in altered histories or else there would be time paradoxes.

Ed suffers further confusion when Finnish artist Emmi Takala, whom he met on a trip to Crete, seems to know about his condition but he time–jumps again before she can elucidate. Ella finds out Emmi also disappeared in the late 2020s when she went to England to meet a man called Ed. There is a connection too to scientist Ralph Dennison - mates at University with and Ed and Digby - an investigator into the theory behind faster-than-light travel but who, too, vanished in 2010. The scientists’ backer, tycoon Duncan Mackendrick, finally provides Ella (and us) with the puzzle’s solution.

Brown’s characterisation is excellent throughout. The Richie sections do not read like SF which is fine - good even - the Shaw ones do when necessary. Whether Buying Time brings “the concerns of the modern psychological novel to the hidebound format of hard SF” or is “pretentious bollocks” is for each reader to decide. I thought it was very well done indeed.
Profile Image for Jessica Hinton.
202 reviews13 followers
May 23, 2018
Dystopian? Check

Time travel? Check

Characters I can get emotionally invested in? Check

Oh...you want more detail than that, huh? OK, the best way I can think to summarise this book is if you had put 1984 in the blender with The Time Traveller's Wife, added a pinch of One Day and then blitzed it all together into some wonderful creation. If that metaphor makes this sound like a mess than I apologise, because it worked really well!

If you, like me, feel increasingly despairing about the current political situation in the world - then be warned, this won't make you feel any better! The author imagines a near future where in the year 2030 the current feeling of isolationism has given rise to an atmosphere of racism and homophobia. Most notably it focuses on LGBT rights - to the extent that in this imagined future, the equal marriage rights bill has been repealed in some countries. This may seem extreme and a tad depressing and yet it was somehow scarily believable!

To start with I really wasn't keen on the main character, Ed Richie; he seemed self absorbed, uninteresting and ultimately just a bit pathetic. But stick with him, because his personality really develops and we learn more of his history that explains the most frustrating parts of his character. He really develops through the book as well.

The story alternates between his time traveling jaunts and Ella's story -set in 2030, trying to research what happened to Richie and why he disappeared. I loved how carefully the plot was thought out and how it managed to come full circle at the end. It was a very satisfying read that didn't leave anything hanging, or any frustrating unanswered questions. And alongside all the sci-fi, thriller themes, was actually the most emotional and touching of story-lines.

It really played with that age old question of, "If you could go back in time, knowing what you know now, and do things differently,...... would you?" There was one part in particular that had me quite tearful, which was entirely unexpected from a book like this and that is credit to how much I was vested in these characters by the end.

My reviews and other musings can all be found at hintonhitsthebooks.wixsite.com/blog

Thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for this preview copy in return for an honest review.

Buying Time is out now by Rebellion Publishing, Solaris Books .
Profile Image for Arden Belrose ♛ Phantom Paper.
110 reviews2 followers
May 17, 2018
I received a free copy of this book, thanks to Solaris and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way.

I’d like to give the first half of the book 3 stars and the latter half 3.5. It was slow-going and I wasn’t too invested in the characters until the midway point. From there onwards, I found myself getting attached and wanting to know how it all panned out. Only after I’ve finished the book did I appreciate the characters being flawed even though I did not agree with their choices at times. Lots of politics, love-affairs and self-discoveries(it’s up to you if you prefer that or not, personally I didn’t like Ed’s promiscuous love-life and didn’t give a fig on the politics). I loved the bromance between Ed and Digsby though, what a cherishable friendship! And the characterization was impressive to say the least.

The underlying topic here is that ‘time is paramount’. Quoted in this book from An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde:

‘Even you are not rich enough, Sir Robert, to buy back your past. No man is.’

However, there was one line that I took offense to, which was: ‘Of course, there’s all those blighted Islamic holes, but there the drink doesn’t flow…’ Here, Islamic countries/communities have been given a sweeping description as ‘blighted holes’. I’d like the author to explain why he did this.

There’s an undercurrent of regret and melancholy in Buying Time. Towards the end there was one scene which almost brought tears to my eyes. If asked to describe the book in one word, I’d choose ‘profound’.
230 reviews1 follower
September 5, 2018
Ed Richie is a hack writer, who makes a good living writing for tv shows that he loathes. He drinks too much beer. He has one friend, Digby, who is more successful, and a bit nicer. They both dream of being taken seriously as writers.
He has a routine with women. Invariably, they are tall, willowy and blonde. They meet, he is charming, the sex is great, she moves in. He withdraws, belittles her, and she moves out. Ed isn't a particularly nice guy. It would have been easier to root for Ed had he been a better man.
In Buying Time, we follow Ed, and we also follow Ella in 2030. Ella is writing a book on Ed, who wrote eight prophetic novels before disappearing in 2025. Ella and Ed have a connection in the distant past that made them what they are. Ella also has a problem with love. Most of all, she wants to find what happened to Ed.
The future is a pretty bleak place. The book makes its' own gloomy predictions. Following the populist wave that brought Brexit and Donald Trump, fascism has risen again, and minorities are unwelcome in England and the United States.
Following the demise of his latest relationship, Ed gets drunk at the pub, and wakes up the previous year in a younger version of his body. Before he can work out what is going on, it happens again. What's it all about, and why is it happening? It makes you ask yourself what you would do if you could learn from your own mistakes.
Buying Time is an enjoyable read. I was a little sad that (arguably) the nicest character in the book, an artist, was sacrificed to the plot.

Profile Image for Chris Everson.
200 reviews3 followers
January 20, 2021
In 2017 Ed Richie is an ageing screenwriter who wakes up to find himself nine months in the past. A couple of days later he jumps back another three years... what is happening to him? In 2030 Ella Croft is a journalist investigating Richie's total disappearance 5 years before.

Croft's world is quite different from 2017... the UK is no more, there are borders between England and Scotland. In England homosexuality is illegal, and armed troops patrol the streets. A not-so unimaginable future in today's torrid times.

Brown's novel is 1984 crossed with The Time Traveller's Wife. As Richie goes back in time... inhabiting his more and more youthful selves, enjoying the fact that he is 58 in his head but his body no longer aches, he is at first his normal lazy, womanising, cynical self... but what if you could put things right.... and what would happen to the future selves... what happens to the 'him' when he is pulled further back in time... why does he keep ending relationships... and what the heck is happening to him?

These are the questions the book answers with humour, poignancy and heart... and I loved it. I especially loved Ed's best friend Digby... or 'Diggers'. It'd be good if Brown writes a book about him next.
Profile Image for Cheyanne Lepka.
Author 1 book11 followers
June 10, 2018
I love time travel, and this book was no exception. It was a little more character-driven than what I usually lean towards, but I found Ed Richie to be an interesting, albeit at times deeply flawed, character. It was a book that examined not only human nature, but juxtaposed the question of “what if we could change the past” against a hauntingly realistic dystopian near-future. Something that I’m sure was no mistake.

This character-driven science fiction novel was a wonderful foray into examining the relationship between knowledge and choice, and what could happen if given the opportunity to “buy back time”. With brilliantly flawed characters and compellingly realistic situations, this book was a real page turner, and left me completely attached to the characters and cheering for them.

Overall, all I can say is that I found this to be an intelligently put together book that tugged at my heart-strings in unexpected ways, and left me thinking about my own mistakes. I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Sean Randall.
1,895 reviews42 followers
May 23, 2018
Given the sheer quantity of alcohol these chaps get through, I'm surprised Ed doesn't send himself catapulting off into history four days a week. But it's great to see beer, football and TV soap operas right in there alongside quantum mechanics and shrewd, extrapolated political realities which are bitterly hard to swallow.

I haven't read much of Brown before, but this is a work of art. Seminally English at times, the homeliness of the scenes in the pub are juxtaposed brilliantly both with Ed's journey and the disunited kingdom of over a decade hence. The sheer overwhelming pressure of the fifteenth chapter, when we finally see exactly what happened in June 1983, sets us on track for an explosively quiet, reverent low-key ending which leaves one feeling at once enthused for the future and yet languorously torpid with the sense of an ending - the feeling of a story brought to a close with such solemnity and due diligence.
284 reviews39 followers
February 22, 2019
Am not sure why, but from the synopsis I was expecting more of a sci-fi thriller. It's not. The story isn't about the science of time travel or the futuristic dystopian political agendas. It is about character development and how specific moments in our past shape who we are. I loved the bromance between Ed and Digger. After finishing it made me want to call up a few comrades and meet up for a pint.

Recommended for rainy day reading.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC.
Profile Image for Steve.
7 reviews
June 14, 2018
Firstly, what I liked. The basic premise is excellent, particularly the experimental nature of the time travel which resulted in fatalities and Ed not remembering why he'd travelled back in time.
As with all Eric Brown's books, it's well written and avoids the repetition and over-use of certain words and phrases which plague certain other writers' work.
What I didn't like was the political and social backdrop to the story. Maybe it's because I read science fiction to escape from the real world for a while and the situation described here was very close to home and a possible if not particularly likely consequence of current events. Mostly though, I disliked it because it has no bearing on the main story and instead comes across as something the author wanted to get off his chest.
Overall though, I enjoyed the book and I'm glad I read it.
Profile Image for Mark Gardner.
Author 21 books51 followers
July 12, 2018
Any time I see a time travel story on NetGalley, I’m ready and willing. It includes an aging novelist? Yep, I can totally relate. I liked the shifting between Ed’s romp through time, and 2030 Ella, and her fight for LGBT rights. Oh, and she’s also trying to track down Ed, and solve the mystery of his disappearance. Often when reading an A-B story, one of the branches is boring. Not the case with Buying Time. Brown fills in interesting back-story with the Ella “B” line.

Ed Richie isn’t a very likable character, but that’s not a bad thing, since his time-traveling situation rings true. The theme of the story is one of sadness and regret. Who among us hasn’t remembered that thing that they did, and wished they could go back and make a different choice?

Overall, this was a good sci-fi read, and I’ll definitely check out other works by Brown. Four stars.
Profile Image for Barondestructo.
247 reviews14 followers
May 19, 2018
A time travel adventure of a different sort sees our protagonist, Ed Richie, involuntarily jumping further and further back to various points in his past life. It's an atypical take on the sci-fi sub-genre that focuses less on the mechanics of the time travel conceit or the search for answers as it does Richie's complicated relationships with the women in his life. The final reveal of what's really going is quite clever. Ultimately, an enjoyable read, but one marred by a rather heavy-handed political commentary present in everything from the world-building to our protagonist's own leanings. Unlike a 1984 or Handmaid's Tale, here its mere window-dressing, disconnected from the narrative,. It's unsubtle, clunky, and distracts from what is otherwise a very solid sci-fi novel.
Profile Image for Tyler.
654 reviews9 followers
June 4, 2018
In Buying Time by E.M. (Eric) Brown, novelist Ed Richie disappears from 2025 and finds himself waking in his own body in earlier and earlier periods of life. Meanwhile in the current time journalist Ella Croft begins writing a book investigating Ed's life and why he disappeared.

This was a real page-turner, showing Eric Brown's greatest strength - creating engaging and memorable characters. He also makes some interesting social commentary on a number of today's issues, by projecting them into future scenarios where extremism plays a greater role. Ultimately it's a well-constructed, heartfelt story of a man, with flaws, who comes to re-assess himself and his decisions in life.

This is his best since Kings of Eternity.
Profile Image for Alice Little.
98 reviews3 followers
August 2, 2018
Wow, I really enjoyed this, partly because it was well-written and I liked the characters, but also because it only came out this year and discusses modern politics so I read it at the perfect time! (Any more in the future and I’d wonder why he hadn’t mentioned XYZ at the end of 2018.)

It’s essentially a time travel story, but the suspense about what’s going on, and the personal histories is nicely timed, and everything is answered and resolved without too much action, which fits the style of the book.

Not yet sure whether I’ll rave about it later, but I can update my lists if I do! Meanwhile I heartily recommend it, and had better return this copy to the library quick so someone else can read it while it’s still fresh!
Profile Image for Hisham El-far.
452 reviews11 followers
September 24, 2018
A very character driven set of intertwining stories. The Tale of Ella Croft in 2030 and her research turned investigation into the disappearance of a celebrated novelist Ed Richie.

And the story of an ageing screenwriter mysteriously cast back in time into the body of his past selves.

Their stories intertwine and together paint a story of past regrets and the pain such choices and events can perpetuate on a persons life.

With a backdrop of rising fascism and extreme right-wing politics, it's also an uncomfortable glimpse into the possible future the world may be heading towards.

Incredible and vivid, I read this book from start to finish in less than a day because i needed to find out what happened next.

Would recommend.
Profile Image for Starlinggirl.
10 reviews
September 14, 2018
Picking this book up based on the blurb, I was ready to read a sci-fi novel about a man who unexpectedly finds himself travelling his own timeline.

As soon as I started, I realised it was more than that. Grim foresight of the possible future we head towards, politically and economically, combine with some beautiful character work to tell the story of regret and self-sabotage and human nature, combined with a healthy dose of well-sustained mystery.

It was a delight, and even though I could feel the shape of the story as it formed, it never became dull or predictable, only tantalising.

I would thorougly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,615 reviews63 followers
May 14, 2018
I’m a bit torn about my thoughts on this book. The concept was interesting, and I wanted to keep reading to understand the mystery of Ed’s time travel. But I could not connect to the characters. There was background given to explain why they were as they were, but they were still mainly unlikeable to me. And in the end the time travel explanation felt unfinished. But it was thought provoking, so I’ll go with 3 stars.

I received an ARC from NetGalley. The book will be released on May 17, 2018.
Profile Image for Kay.
1,651 reviews16 followers
January 23, 2019
Nice use of time travel and a maybe future where Scotland (and Wales) have gained independence. Ed Richie appears to be a likeable man but it is fair to comment that he isn't the best at meaningful relationships and his unexpected jumps into his past self are bringing all his mistakes flooding back. Meanwhile, an Edinburgh based journalist (in 2030) is investigating his sudden disappearance a couple of years back. It all comes together but you will have to read this to find out how and why.

Ray Smillie
Profile Image for Kristine.
3,244 reviews
May 21, 2018
Buying Time by E.M. Brown is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early May.

TV writer/novelist Ed unexpectedly falls unconscious after a typical night at the pub, meanwhile Ella from 14 years forward in a diverse, travel-happy future seeks to research a now-famous Ed who has disappeared quite mysteriously. Later, Ed figures out that he's somehow traveling through time before winding down to an easy-to-piece-together conclusion.
Profile Image for Michelle Hartman.
Author 4 books15 followers
May 1, 2020
If you want to be sacred out of your wits, read this book. Because it has come true. Oh not the time jumping bit but the government bit. Written more recently than 1984 and others of that nature, it of course will be closer in the details, and it's the details that make it so scary. It's one thing to say a bunch of people were killed, but to get an exact CRAZY reason for it, and the details of the manner it's carried out, bring it right up into your face.
Profile Image for Ray Smillie.
444 reviews
March 10, 2021
Using an idea of going back to a younger self but with memories retained from the future isn't a new idea, but is done well in this story where the jumps happen quickly, going further back each time. The confused time traveller has gone awol in the future (sounds confusing but it isn't) and a journalist investigates what happened to him. The future is the UK split up into it's separate countries with both England and the USA run by the extreme right wing. Thought provoking writing.

Profile Image for Christine.
228 reviews2 followers
May 7, 2018
"No man is Rich Enough to Buy Back His Time". That said, I certainly do not regret time spent reading this book! Full Review at:

*An advance Reading Copy provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Hunter Fine.
31 reviews
June 22, 2018
A quick and easy read, light for the summer. Interesting plot and twists along the way - from the back of the book description I was expecting more of a sci-fi heavy novel, but it turned out to be a more conceptual, human-focused storyline, where the technology isn’t a main focus.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,522 reviews25 followers
January 31, 2019
Time travel makes my head hurt. Anyway, I was interested enough to read the whole thing, but didn't love it. And I didn't see the point of all the political subtext (which wasn't really "sub" at all), since it added nothing at all to the story.
2.5 stars, rounded up.
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