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Conrad's Time Machine Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Series: Conrad
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; First Edition edition (August 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743435575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743435574
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,571,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Since the publication of The Cross-Time Engineer in 1993, Frankowski's Conrad Stargard series about a bunch of socially immature male engineers has amused many readers, but this sloppy, adolescent prequel, which roughly explains the origin of the time machine featured in the other novels, is for die-hard fans only. Soon after leaving the U.S. Air Force in 1968, Tom Kolczyskrensi hooks up with two old college buddies, Jim Hasenpfeffer, a grad student about to get his doctorate in Behavioral Psychology, and Ian McTavish, a mechanical engineer at General Motors. (Tom himself is a college drop-out.) The three of them learn how to create a time machine and amass the financial wherewithal to build it. During a motorcycle vacation, they encounter a massive "implosion," which just happens to send out one intact piece of paper with electrical schematics and bits of humans. This fortuitous accident sets them on the way to wealth, health and unlimited sex with hosts of compliant and beautiful young women, the narration of which occupies more than a third of the novel. The story's opening postdates the end, highlighting the conventional time-travel paradoxes as well as most of the author's literary flaws, chiefly wooden, repetitive prose. In a foreword Frankowski informs the reader that he began the book as a high school student in the 1950s. It's too bad his more mature self apparently chose to finish it at the same level.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

An Air Force veteran, a mechanical engineer, and a behavioral scientist decide to make a radical change in their lives and set off on a journey of exploration, self-discovery, and freedom from bureaucracy. When they discover a strange patch of ground that used to hold a house-along with the blueprints for a sophisticated piece of machinery-the three friends find themselves in the possession of the plans for a working time machine. The author of A Boy and His Tank and Fata Morgana returns to a favorite topic in this tale of time-travel and its potentials for good and evil. By turns raucously funny and thoughtfully sobering, Frankowski's prequel to the Adventures of Conrad Stargard (the "Cross-Time Engineer" series) belongs in large sf collections.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

No dinosaur makes an appearance at any time.
Oldest & Wisest
With friends like that... The end of the book just happens with no climax or resolution and more questions left asked then answered.
Thanos6
Unfortunately, what is new is not original and what is original is not new.
noman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was interesting to find out how the time machine came to be and yes the name is misleading as Conrad from the series is nowhere to be found.
The book itself was okay. Most of the story could have been written in two long chapters and a lot of if seems to be filler. While the story has an ending, it was sort of unsatisifying as if there will be a sequel in the future. To be honest I cant make heads or tail of this book. I sort of liked it, but it was too short, too much of it dealing with the sexual escapades of the principals and then seems to end at the point where it could get interesting.
If you like the Conrad series, I would buy this book just to know how the time machine came to be and who is Conrad's American cousin.
If you never read the Conrad series, please dont read this book until you read the series first.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The trebuchet on July 19, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unfortunately, the Publishers' Weekly editorial review is spot on - to call this novel "juvenile" is an understatement. I can say that Frankowski does explore some interesting implications of a society built on time travel. But for every interesting idea that does strike you as fun, you will quickly be brought up short by a chapter's worth of his stereotyped characters giving painfully bad speeches on life or religion, or some haphazard and ill-conceived pseudo-scientific exposition thrown in for no apparent reason - in these passages, Frankowski's usual down-home, engineer charm is mostly absent or undeveloped. And when his characters start talking about women, words fail... this alone would be bad enough to sour the reading experience, even if the book were much better than it is. As it stands, even if you are a fan of the Cross-Time Engineer series, you are probably better off pretending this book doesn't exist; as others have noted, it doesn't really add much even as background to the other books.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mike Garrison on February 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
At least the Conrad books had an interesting hook to them. Modern engineer back in medieval Poland, with only 10 years before the invasion of the Mongols. The big weakness was that everything went so smoothly for Conrad, so there never was much tension in the plot. And the endless supply of young women who wanted to have sex with him became boring (even maybe to him!).
This book, a "prequel" of sorts, has all the weaknesses of the Conrad books and not a single one of their strengths. If you contrast it with a good book about the invention of time travel (eg. Thrice Upon A Time) it also loses any interest it might have been able to generate due to the subject.
If you are a 15-yr-old boy who can't get a date, this is the story for you. Otherwise, give it a skip. (I only read it to satisfy my curiosity about the holes in the backstory of the Conrad books, but it even failed miserably at that.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Randy D. Tatum on January 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Disjoined plot lines interspaced with adolescent sexual fantacies. I consider myself one of Leo's fans and was very disappointed in this effort. Have read all of his previous SF works and consider some of them masterpieces. This one I almost couldn't finish because it never went anywhere interesting.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By silliman89 on January 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a fun little book, but not great. It is important to know that the book has nothing to do with Conrad himself. (I suspect it must have been the publisher's idea to put "Conrad" in the title.) It is the story of how his cousin invented (discovered really) the time machine that Conrad later stumbles into. You can read the first 12 chapters on the web to see how you like it. All you have to do is go to the Baen web site and click on "schedule", then find this (or another) book to read the beginning.
This book really divides itself into three parts. The beginning, which is almost entirely available on the web for free, is the story of Tom (Conrad's cousin) and his two buddies working to develop the time machine. The book then quickly transitions into the middle where the buddies are (rather suddenly) Lords of their own country. Here you get a fun glimpse of what it would be like to have anything and everything you ever wanted, or thought you wanted. This is the sort of stuff a story about being the first on your block with your own time machine should be. Finally there is a cataclysmic event and everything is wrapped up quickly, leaving plenty of room for a sequel.
I found the ending to be weak, short, and unsatisfying, and to detract from the book as a whole. Conversely though, there isn't much of it, so it doesn't detract that much. All in all, it's a fun couple of hours of reading. Just don't expect it to measure up to the brilliant Conrad series and you won't be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Oldest & Wisest on July 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The good news is if you are a big fan of Frankowski's previous novels you can find much of what you expect in this one, i.e., an opinionated egotistical male protagonist who improbably finds himself with a large harem of beautiful, eager nude ladies. (Based on his preoccupations, I can only assume that Frankowski has himself never managed to get laid.)
Nevertheless, I have found other Frankowski books to be worth reading and keeping. Not this one. I would expect in a book titled Conrad's Time Machine that you would first, encounter the character, Conrad, from Frankowski's Cross-Time Engineer series. Nope. Now apparently this novel does explain how the time machine that eventually sent Conrad back to Poland in the Middle Ages came into existence, but I don't consider that sufficient reason to try to dupe readers into thinking this is part of the Conrad series.
Second, the second part of the title is "Time Machine." With that, you should expect to have a lot of time travel scenes and with a dinosaur depicted on the front cover, you would expect them to be of the usual sort, adventures in well-known historical periods. Not so, while lots of characters in the novel apparently time-travel on a regular basis, you never see them doing so and when you do, it is done for utilitarian reasons and not for historical exploration or exploitation. Only in the last 20 pages of the book is there is a visit to the historical past and only to an isolated island untouched by important contemporary history. No dinosaur makes an appearance at any time.
In short, for die-hard Frankowski fans who have never needed to use a condom either. All others can surely find something better to read.
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