Timegates edited by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann

Twelve tales on the subject of time travel that were originally published in magazines between 1953 and 1994. This book is part of a formidable series of themed anthologies, some of which are very good indeed, produced by these two editors.

Each story here is accompanied by a short piece of biographical information about the author with some comments and recommendations about that author's other works. So, if you find something that you like here, you will be able to follow this up to find some further reading.

There were two things that I did not like about this book. The first was the number of typos. These looked like the old problem of running a spell checker and selecting the auto fix option rather than checking manually. The second thing was that too many of the stories were just a rehashing of the ideas in older science fiction stories.

My favourite stories here were "Trapalanda" by Charles Sheffield and "The Secret Place" by Richard McKenna. The former is a story about a strange discovery in a remote part of the southern hemisphere. It has a lot of atmosphere and just begs a follow up. The latter, is a tale about imagination and it carries similar delights to the author's best known story "Casey Agonistes."

For me though, these two stories did not make up for the fact the several others in the collection were weak and unconvincing. If you are looking for a good example of a themed anthology, I'd suggest checking out "Nanotech" by the same authors.

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JPOC Rating

Six out of ten. Not the best anthology from these editors

List of contents.

Tiptree, James Jr: "The Man Who Walked Home"
The first attempt to send a man into the future causes a nuclear holocaust and leaves the time traveller struggling to return to his own time. This story had a lot of potential but in the end it fell flat. 6/10.

Varley, John: "Air Raid"
People from the future travel into the past to steal or rescue those who are about to be killed in aeroplane crashes. This had potential but it needed a longer format to be really interesting. 5/10

Lafferty, R.A.: "The Hole in the Corner"
Well, this is more about gates between parallel universes than between different times. It's a zany story about reality leaking through a hole in the corner. Robert Sheckley does this sort of thing a lot better. Fairly funny but no more. 5/10

Sheffield, Charles:
Another story from this author about surprising discoveries in remote parts of the Southern Hemisphere. (The author won the '94 Hugo for the similarly themed "Georgia on my Mind.") This time, a small band of adventurers goes in search of the source of the winds of Patagonia and they discover.... 7/10

Knight, Damon: "Arachon"
Two brothers, one invents a time machine and they fall out with fatal consequences. Interesting but the science was flawwed and the relatiooships under-developed. 5/10.

McKenna, Bridget: "Hole in the Wall"
There is a rather dated feel to this story about the myserious appearence of a time portal in a seedy restaurant. 5/10

McDevitt, Jack: "Time's Arrow"
A man invents a time machine and tries to convince his friend that it is real. But the consequences turn out to be worse than epected. OK sort of but not that good. 4/10

Haldeman, Joe: "Anniversary Project"
With the benefit of telepathy and modern technology, people one million years in the future have forgotten how to read and speak. So, when they need these skills they go fishing in the past. 6/10

McKenna, Richard: "The Secret Place"
What do you expect from the author of "Casey Agonistes"? Well, what you get is a great tale about the powwer of imagination. Great stuff. 8/10.

Kress, Nancy: "The Price of Oranges"
Kress won Hugo and Nebula awards for "Beggars in Spain" but they should have been taken away for this piece of idea lifting. The plot, poor senior citizen type saves money by going back into the past to buy produce has been done (better) before. I'm sure that the editors are aware of this so why include this story? 1/10

Davidson, Avram: "Full Chicken Richness"
An amusing tale about time travel for an unusual purpose all to do with chicken soup. 6/10

Le Guin, Ursula K.: "Another Story"
A story set in the author's Ekumen universe. As I read this, I got the impression that I was reading a polemic on sexual politics rather than a work of fiction. 6/10