A Long Time Until Now (Temporal Displacement)
by Michael Z Williamson
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476780337
Date: 05 May 2015 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Soldiers are called upon to serve far from home. Sometimes even further than expected. A routine patrol, sends ten soldiers beyond reach and leaves them in the ultimate of isolated commands.
A routine patrol becomes so much more for two MRAPs in Afghanistan. A jolt and they are no longer on the road they’d been following. The conditions are rough, but the team has a diverse set of knowledge and skills. Their one time hobbies will be very important.
The first goal is establish a base of operations. Safety from both enemies and nature. Although they have materials to get by for a short time, food, water, and shelter are going to be needed. These will be no easy tasks when there are only 10 people. Few hands spread thin have trouble getting things done.
Next they reach out to their neighbors. Peace and trade will be key to making the situation work in the long run. The firepower of modern weapons helps and makes for a great display of power, but once ammunition is expended, it is irreplaceable. Quantity has a quality all its own, and some of their neighbors have a lot of numbers.
Then it's time to find a way home or settle in for eternity. Hope comes in the form of a late arrival, but the troops need to plan for the long haul. The one resistance is fraternization. But the longer they are in the past, the harder it becomes to avoid the issue.
This is a time travel gearing down novel similar to the Ring of Fire, Island in the Sea of Time, and the Axis of Time trilogy. Soldiers from the present are trapped in the past and need to find a way to survive. I have enjoyed this type of story ever since reading Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
The female characters were a bit of a problem for me. They stayed stereotypical for too long. There was development, but the cookie cutter feminist bitch harping got a bit wearing. I am not sure she was developed enough to make the reader understand her position. Regardless of the missing development and backstory, I still enjoyed the novel.
This was a good novel. Was it the greatest novel ever written? No, but it was entertaining. And in the end sometimes that is all you need. It is a standalone novel, which is great. There is no commitment to a story that may never end. This is a weakness in modern publishing, it seems like too few stories are allowed to end with one arc.