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Patton's Spaceship (The Timeline Wars Book 1) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

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Patton's Spaceship (Timeline Wars) Mass Market Paperback – December 11, 1996

32 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Timeline Wars Series

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Product Details

  • Series: Timeline Wars (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (December 11, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061056596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061056598
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,115,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My thirty-first commercially published novel came out in September 2013. I've published about 5 million words that I got paid for. So I'm an abundantly published very obscure writer.

For readers who are wondering where to start with my work, the most common suggestions are Orbital Resonance, A Million Open Doors, Mother of Storms, Encounter with Tiber, or Tales of the Madman Underground. However, almost no one likes all five of those books--I write a wider range than most people read--so you might want to flip a few pages before buying. My most popular have been Directive 51, Mother of Storms, and the two collaborations with Buzz Aldrin. My 3 most popular series begin with A Million Open Doors, Directive 51, and Patton's Spaceship. Nearest my heart are probably One for the Morning Glory, Tales of the Madman Underground, and The Sky So Big and Black. And the most fun was had in writing Gaudeamus, Payback City, and Raise The Gipper!

I used to teach in the Communication and Theatre program at Western State College. I got my PhD at Pitt in the early 90s, masters degrees at U of Montana in the mid 80s, bachelors at Washington University in the 70s; worked for Middle South Services in New Orleans in the early 80s. For a few years I did paid blogging mostly about the math of marketing analysis at TheCMOSite and All Analytics. More recently, I covered advanced technology, especially space, stories in the Government section of Information Week.

If any of that is familiar to you, then yes, I am THAT John Barnes.

I have also become aware of at least 72 Johns Barneses I am not. Among the more interesting ones I am not:
1. the Jamaican-born British footballer who scored that dramatic goal against Brazil
2. the occasional Marvel bit role who is the grandson of Captain America's sidekick
3. the Vietnam-era Medal of Honor winner
4&5. the lead singer for the Platters (and neither he nor I is the lead singer for the Nightcrawlers)
6.the Australian rules footballer
7. the former Red Sox pitcher
8. the Tory MP
9. the expert on Ada programming
10&11. the Cleveland-area member of the Ohio House of Representatives (though we're almost the same age and both grew up in northern Ohio) who is also not the former member of the Indiana House that ran for state senate in 2012 (one of them is a Democrat, one a Republican, and I'm a Socialist)
12. the former president of Boise State University
13. the film score composer
14. the longtime editor of The LaTrobe Journal
15. the biographer of Eva Peron
16. the manager of Panther Racing (though he and I share a tendency to come in second)
17. the British diplomat (who is not the Tory MP above)
18. the conservative Catholic cultural commentator (now there's an alliterative job)
19. the authority on Dante
20. the mycologist
21. the author of Marketing Judo (though I have an acute interest in both subjects)
22. the travel writer
23. the author of Titmice of the British Isles (originally published as Greater and Lesser Tits of England and Ireland, a title which I envy)
24. the guy who does some form of massage healing, mind/body stuff that I don't really understand at all
25. the corp-comm guy for BP (though I've taught and consulted on corp-comm)
26. the film historian,
27. the Pittsburgh-area gay rights activist (though we used to get each others' mail)
28. the guy who skipped Missoula, Montana, leaving behind a pile of bad checks, just before I moved there
29. the policeman in Gunnison, Colorado, the smallest town I've ever lived in, though he busted some of my students and I taught some of his arrestees
30. the wildlife cinematographer who made Love and Death on the Veldt and shot some of the Disney True Life Adventures ("Hortense the Presybterian Wombat" and the like) or
31. that guy that Ma said was my father.

And despite perennial confusion by some science fiction fans and readers, I'm not Steve Barnes and he's not me, and we are definitely not related, though we enjoy seeing each other and occasionally corresponding (not often enough).

I used to think I was the only paid consulting statistical semiotician for business and industry in the world, but I now know four of them, and can find websites for about ten more. Statistical semiotics is about the ways in which the characteristics of a population of signs come to constitute signs themselves. It has applications in marketing, poll analysis, and annoying the literary theorists who want to keep semiotics all to themselves and spend their time studying individual signs and the processes around them in very deep detail. It also shouldn't be confused with computational semiotics, which was about how software could parse complex signs to communicate with humans and other software. Just to make it a bit more confusing, both statistical and computational semiotics are being gradually subsumed into natural language processing, which in turn seems to be being absorbed into data science. Someday all universities will just have a Department of Stuff and that's what everyone will major in.

Semiotics is pretty much what Louis Armstrong said about jazz, except jazz paid a lot better for him than semiotics does for me. If you're trying to place me in the semiosphere, I am a Peircean (the sign is three parts, ), a Lotmanian (art, culture, and mind are all populations of those tripartite signs) and a statistician (the mathematical structures and forms that can be found within those populations of signs are the source of meaning). Recently I've begun working on a certificate in Data Science for pretty much the same reason that the Scarecrow needed a diploma and the Lion needed a medal.

I have been married three times, and divorced twice, and I believe that's quite enough in both categories. I'm a hobby cook, sometime theatre artist, and still going through the motions after many years in martial arts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Patton's Spaceship is the first book in John Barnes' Timeline Wars series. It did not motivate me to read the others.

A new terrorist organization called Blade of the Most Merciful apparently has no purpose or goal other than to inflict terror. Mark Strang's father has been writing a book about Blade but the bombing of his publisher puts that endeavor on hold. After a bomb inflicts severe damage on his family, Mark mopes for awhile and then becomes a bodyguard. An academic named Harry Skena is convinced that Blade has rebranded from terrorism to organized crime and is out to get him, Skena wants Mark's protection. The extended shootout/chase scene that follows, commonplace in action thrillers, seems to mark this as a pretty ordinary novel.

After reading the opening of Patton's Spaceship, I said to myself, "I thought this was a science fiction novel. Guess I was mistaken." But then Mark and Harry are whisked to an orbiting space station and we learn that the Blade terrorists are being manipulated by Closers from another timeline. Closers are so named because they visit timelines and close off all possible branches that do not lead to totalitarianism with a view to taking control of the totalitarian world they create. Since societies are inclined to choose totalitarianism as an alternative to anarchy, the Closers use groups like Blade to create mayhem, making totalitarianism more attractive. Given the course of world history, that makes a certain amount of short-term sense although it hardly seems efficient.

Opposing the Closers are Crux Ops working for the Allied Timelines for Nondeterminism who need Mark's help. So what started as a Good Guy Shoots Terrorists novel turns into a Good Guy Shoots Science Fictiony Terrorists Using Science Fictiony Weapons novel.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Antonio Urias on July 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Patton's Spaceship combines noir, time travel, alien invasion, and alternate history into good old-fashioned pulp adventure. Mark Strang is a former art historian turned private investigator, intent on revenge. While on a case, he finds himself cast into the past of an alternate history where Germany won WWII. This is not the most original of alternate history settings, being practically a genre all of its own, but Barnes has fun with the tropes and there is a certain degree of realism to his fallen America. The use of JFK and, of course, Patton is reasonably thought out and amusing.

Barnes has also developed his larger time travel universe. This is not a novel deeply interested in the intricacies of time travel, but it is filled with various time traveling factions originating in multiple versions of history, and multiple times. It is a richly detailed background that is easily capable of sustaining further novels in the Timeline Wars Series. This is a massive canvas that later novels will take to an alternate colonial America, and an alternate Rome.

Patton's Spaceship is clearly the opening novel in a trilogy and is in some respects most interested in setting up its concepts and introducing its lead character. It does both quite well. This is not a dense novel of ideas, however, but more of a pulp cold war story waged across dimensions and time. This is not a bad thing. I enjoyed it immensely and I intend to seek out the other two novels in the series. A fun, quick read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A bit of a cross between Heinlein and Laumer. The science may seem implausible in the Patton reality, but the science was based on mathmatical equations from a book from the distant future. Taken in its entirety the escapes might seem implausible, but individually believable. Isn't that what makes a hero in epic novels? I look forward to future episodes, but hope the main character doesn't learn too much about the weapons that he is using. Makes it more suspenceful. I'm a picky reader. So, I am starting to read the author's other books. I find it very rare to find a writer of this caliber. Try it. The cover is iffy, but the content is marvelous
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 31, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I love alternate history, especially when it involves time travel. So this series appeared to have all the ingredients I would need to find it enjoyable. Add to that that I had read some of John Barnes earlier works, and while they were nothing profound, I found them enjoyable. This book started out in fine fashion, but the moment the hero, Mark Strang, encounters the Crux agent, things seem to go off track for a while. His entrance into the alternate earth was poorly written, in my opinion. Barnes gets back on track shortly thereafter, but can't seem to sustain any stretch of good writing. The book bounces between periods of excellence and mediocrity. At one point, the protaganist Strang is in a car with electric windows, which have been disabled by gunfire. So he cranks the window down. Huh? I've never seen a car with both electric windows and a crank handle, have you? Well, it IS scifi. Late in the book, Strang makes the revelation that he became a bodyguard because he likes to hurt people. Charming. Also, off target. Throughout the book to this point I got the impression that, while Strang did resort to violence when necessary, it wasn't something he enjoyed. All in all, this book was very uneven in both its tempo and it writing style. I almost gave up on it about a third of the way through, but I muddled through and was glad I did. There was just enough there to make it possible that I will read the subsequent books in the series.
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