Stuart Anderson's Reviews > Time and Time Again

Time and Time Again by Ben Elton
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it was ok

** spoiler alert ** I was very disappointed with this book, particularly after reading so many positive reviews.

In this review, I'm going to include information about the ending, so please stop reading now if you don't want to be aware of that.

The premise seemed promising... The traditional "hero" who had lost his family being given a magic-like ability to travel to a different world to right the wrongs afflicting the people in his own world (as in Frodo, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter etc).

In this story, our hero is going back in time to 1914 armed with detailed fore-knowledge of events, modern single-combat training, training in required languages, a working computer (!) and modern medicine and high powered weapons in order to change history for the better by stopping one assassination and performing another.

As a premise, what's not to like?

But of course, things inevitably don't go according to plan. Besides having to kill his mentor (think Gandalf, Obi Wan, Dumbledore) by throwing her off a train, he then has to kill an innocent girl while completing the first of his tasks. Oh well, no big problem... It's just what a hero has to do.

On a train he meets an impressionable young suffragette and he dazzles her with 21st century pickup lines that would make a modern girl roll her eyes. She thinks he's amazing for "inventing" such terms as "civil disobedience" and "sexual equality" which she madly writes down for later use and he shags her without the slightest sense of irony. Like shooting fish in a barrel really.

Which brings us to his assassination of a major political figure, which he does using a modern high power rifle with telescopic sights from the top of a building at a distance not normally possible in 1914. Fish in a barrel.

To cut a long story short, things go pear-shaped and no matter what he does, everything gets worse. (He even starts smoking again.)

When he dies at the end, it seems the message is "no matter what you do, no matter your best intentions, you will be manipulated, you will stuff up and make everything worse... So don't even try".

Such a shame. I liked the cover.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 24, 2014 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Drew Ericsson Stanton isn't from 'our' timeline. He's from a timeline that's several attempts of changing the past after the original. His history has an 11-year Great War and no World War II.


message 2: by Marion (new)

Marion Troia Andrew is right to point this aspect out as it was a rather clever twist. I did wonder if it was exactly our history from early on because he described some materials that were not familiar to me and I thought perhaps they were clues that it was a different reality. On the other hand those differences might just have been the result of technological advances in the 10 years between 2014 and 2024. Still he is no SiFi writer in my opinion. The space/time contiuum thing was sloppy I think. If people had been coming from different versions with 15 minute intervals as I seem to gather from the rather hurried explanation, then the weeks and weeks that Hugh had don't seem to make sense somehow. Maybe I read it poorly though (less)


message 3: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Also, he rests the barrel of his rifle on a padded rest. This is a no no as that would dampen the natural vibration of the barrel. Presumably, Elton meant that he placed the fore end of the rifle's stock on the padded rest.


Linda Galloway I enjoyed the book very much. My only quibble is that, with multiple people trying to change the timeline, why did they need to kill each other?? They were all working for the same goal. Could they not have worked together?


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