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No Enemy But Time Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1989

3.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Spectra (September 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553281879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553281873
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,043,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a great piece of thoughtful science fiction. The main character Joshua Kampa (aka, John-John Monegal) has, since his infancy, had vivid dreams of Pleistocene Africa, where humanity's ancestors Homo habilis roamed--he has had accurate dreams of the fauna and flora of this era since long before he was old enough to read anything about them. When this ability of his comes to the attention of a leading paleontologist and an airforce physicist, he is enlisted in a time travel project. The physcist's time travel device can only work if it can harness the consciousness of someone like Kampa, whose consciousness is already connected with some point in the past. The workings of the time machine are only briefly justified with some linguistic slight of hand, but the way Bishop takes around the usual problem of paradox (going back in time and accidentally altering the future) is intriguing. In any case, Kampa travels back in time and eventually is able to join a tribe of Homo habilis. This may all sound sort of dull. It's certainly not an action-adventure novel. It is, instead, a thoughtful one, about relationships--those Kamoa has both with adoptive family and those he develops with the members of the Homo habilis tribe. Which is not to say there is no tension--at times, Kampa's life is danger from prehistoric giant hyenas and an exploding volcano, but that is not the focus of the book. Bishop does a remarkable job of making Homo habilis seem realistic--human in so many ways, but yet not quite. As one other reviewer noted, Kampa's narrative voice is sometimes needlessly flip, but this did not ruin the book for me. I also found the way he ended up getting drawn into the time travel project a little contrived.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If I recall correctly, Nebula awards are typically voted on by the SF Writers of America Association, which means that by winning one it's generally a mark of recognition by your peers, a sign that you're admired by other writers in your field and worthy enough that a majority of them voted to give you an award (as opposed to the Hugo, which is generally voted on by the fans). In that sense, this is probably a book that will appeal more to writers than SF fans, if only because there is very little SF in the book at all. That doesn't mean it's not a well written, well constructed novel, it's just not very science-fictional. Those looking for a time travel type novel in the realm of Gregory Benford's "Timescape" or even HG Wells' "The Time Machine" will probably find themselves disappointed. Some time travelling apparently does occur but this isn't really a book where the focus is on fancy machinary and weird theories involving quantem physics. What we have here is the story of Joshua, a man who constantly "dreams" of a prehistoric past, a time when the forerunners of man walked the earth. He's tapped for a secret Air Force project in Africa where they have machines that will somehow harness his dreams and take him back to that time period, where he can report on what actually went on back then, things that the anthropologists can't figure out with just fossils and tools and whatnot. So Joshua goes back and winds up spending way more time there than he initially planned. Interspersed with the story of his adventures with proto-man are scenes from his early life, showing him growing up, interacting with a foster family and laying the seeds for what eventually would be his time travelling.Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am trying to read all of the Nebula Award winning novels this year. This is the winner for 1983.

I am amazed at the difference in readability of the various Nebula Award winners. Some are fantastic. Some are mediocre. This is the first one I have run across that I simply cannot finish. It is just plain too boring. I stopped at about 40%, even though I generally try to hit 50% before I give up. I cannot figure out what the story is. There is really only one character who is not well developed despite the author forcing us to jump from his youth to his present (which is in the past) over and over again. Both his childhood and his adulthood are without much interest or story line.

If I can't finish a book, I always give it one star. In this case, I wish it were possible to give it -1.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinary work of fiction that tells a gripping story of the twists and turns of a man who dreams more vividly than most of us could imagine, but also imagines the very limits of our connection with ancient hominid species. The language is full of surprises, and though I found Bishop's use of arcane words sent me all to often to the dictionary, and the possibilities of time travel stretching credulity, I enjoyed every page and and through his gripping originality got more and more caught up in an ancient world whose lived reality I longed to imagine more fully because it is the past of all humanity.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Told alternately from first person (the past) and third person (the present) POV, this unique time travel story manages to be a modern take on the family as opposed to that of human ancestors two million years in the past. The main character, Josh, is beset with vivid dreams of a place and time long ago, but his dreams are far from normal. They are more accurately to be described as links to the past and it is this unique 'gift' that allows him to travel back in time. Others, including the physicist Kaprow who invents the time machine, are likewise afflicted but for different times and places.
It is often very intense, filled with very unusual passages that made me wonder what was really happening, if it was all a dream or real, and that is part of the intrigue leading up to the satisfying conclusion.
This is not your typical time travel novel, where a person goes back in time to change the future. In fact, for most of the novel, the time travel seemed incidental to the story, odd as that may sound, because this novel is about love and acceptance within the family unit and crosses the most unusual of boundaries, sometimes in shocking unexpected ways.
I have to admit, I did not see where this one was going but I'm happy I went along for the adventure. Well written, beautifully structured and well worth the time.
Highly recommended.
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