Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Time Enough For Love by Suzanne Brockmann ***

This is the 2nd story in the 2fer with Stand-in Groom. I got this book for this story, a time-travel novella I read for the Read Around the Genre challenge. It's not like I haven't read (and loved!) lots of time-travel before, like Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (several times, in hard copy and audio), Audrey Nifenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife (another favorite), and a some Jude Deveraux time-travel stories.

The theories authors develop for time travel are truly fascinating and I like thinking and pondering how time travel would actually impact us. Is it the infinite paths theory? Will the person travel with or without clothes? Is it genetic, or will it require a machine, a drug, a lightning strike, an alignment of the planets? Will you remember both the past and the current time? Will your body still be in the current time? Is there only 1 body, so you could never go into a time where you already existed? Could there be multiple instances of the traveler in one timeframe? Outlander and Time Traveler's Wife had it be a genetic trait, but one took the path of a disease or syndrome that took the traveler unawares (TTW), while the other required outside events, like time/place/gems (Outlander). Would the traveler be able to impact the future and change history or would events always happen the same way - the traveler always did go back in time, there was never a past without the traveler in it?

In this story, the hero comes back from 7 years in the future - and he missed his target time by a few years. His past self, 7 years younger, hasn't yet solved the time travel equations, and the woman that just died in his arms in his present hasn't even met him yet. This theory involves a machine, one that is funded and then manipulated by a nefarious organization that plans to use it to overthrow the US government. Chuck (future guy) has to convince Maggie that he's not crazy and that she must find his present self, Charles, and convince Charles not to go forward with his time travel work. But in the meantime, he's just as in love with her as he was in his own time - a time where she had met him, but broken up with him and married someone else. In his own time, he was too wrapped up in his goal - to create the time machine - to open up emotionally to her, and that wasn't enough for a relationship for her.

But this Maggie doesn't know that - and she falls in love with him, as Chuck, his future self. Unfortunately, Chuck was followed into the past by members of the Bad Guys group and they now have about 72 hours to convince Charles to change the future by giving up on developing his time travel machine. And changing the future means Chuck, the one who came to the past to save them, and the one Maggie's in love with, will not exist.

Brockmann does come up with a new twist in time travel she calls Double Memories - the person will remember both how it happened the first time as well as how it's happening now. This includes Chuck being able to remember as a memory things that are happening to Charles as they happen - a method Maggie uses to communicate to Chuck when she's alone with Charles.

The one thing that bothers Charles the most is knowing that Maggie loves Chuck and not him - he can't seem to reconcile that he is Chuck as well. Maggie also struggles with this until she does realize it's Charles, not Chuck, that finally opens up to her and tells her things he has never revealed to anyone else.

The whole double memories thing, however, is confounding - it has to assume only 1 person has access to time travel, because if several people did, then we are talking about multiple memories for everyone on earth. If what Charles did changes everything - time travel no longer exists, there is no bomb in the future, then basically every person alive on earth now has double memories. So if someone else develops time travel in the second timeline, then everyone will have as many memories as there are changes in the future. Theoretically, you could say there was a timeline where time travel did exist and everyone went forward from there for millenia, then a timeline where it didn't exist plus any other timelines from the first timeline since time travel still existed in that one... Mindboggling.

It was a light read, nothing too deep and unfortunately not that moving either. I guess I need more than 175 pages to get emotionally involved myself. 3 stars.

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