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Master Of Space And Time by Rudy Rucker
Review by Paul Haggerty
Thunder's Mouth Press Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 1560257032
Date: 10 March, 2005 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Joe Fletcher is a man who used to be rich, and desperately wants to be again. Over the years he?s lost a lot of money backing the crazy, but yet totally real, inventions of his friend Harry Gerber. Harry has the kind of brain that can come up with anything, but can?t remember how he did it afterwards. This slight lapse in follow-through has led to one financial and legal disaster after another. But despite the financial setbacks, Joe is convinced that This Time it?s going to be different. This particular This Time begins when Harry comes back from the future (and pulls Joe out of space and time as a demonstration) to prove that his new invention will give him the power to change the universe to be whatever he wants it to be. All he needs is money, and would Joe please come over tomorrow with the money and tell him all about the device so he?ll be able to design and invent it?

This kind of twisting of space and time continues throughout the book as Joe, Harry, Sondra (Harry?s girlfriend), and Nancy (Joe?s wife) use Harry?s invention to make themselves rich and attractive, attempt to end world hunger, learn the secrets of the universe, try to make things better for all humanity, and then of course try to put everything back the way it was when their little tweaks end up causing more harm than good.

Rucker doesn?t bother trying to explain away the science except for some rather over-the-top handwaving involving lots of scientific terminology that doesn?t actually mean anything, but which sounds really impressive. The core of the book doesn?t revolve around science, but rather choices and consequences. The characters all have ideas that will make the world a better place, or at least make it a better place for them. And yet each minor alteration causes disturbing side effects that quickly snowball into disaster for everyone.

Master of Space and Time is a fun read, with jokes and situations that reflect the universe in a fun-house mirror. I recommend it to anyone who can turn off their brain and just enjoy a farcical romp without worrying about causality violations and time travel paradoxes.

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