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The Map of the Sky: A Novel (The Map of Time Trilogy) Hardcover – September 4, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The unreal becomes real, fantasy becomes history, and the reader is thoroughly entertained by an unending parade of bafflements and surprises. This book is a complete delight.” (K.W. Jeter author of Infernal Devices)

“"The Map of the Sky" keeps the reader guessing, checking and thinking, all the while providing many sidelights on the literary history of sci-fi itself.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“This story is much akin to what Orson Welles tried on Halloween, 1938, with his radio show. This time the saucers really fly. All this, simmered in a rich broth of keen imagination, exceptional narrative control, wit, and an obvious affection for sci-fi and adventure stories and with great respect for the readers of same. Cool factor: 3-D end papers. Glasses included with first editions only.” (Tulsa World)

"A cross-genre masterpiece" (Associated Press)

“Having used H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine as the starting point for 2011’s The Map of Time, Palma now takes The War of the Worlds as the basis for this top-notch sequel…Fans of intelligent science fiction as well as historical thrillers will be rewarded.” (Publisher's Weekly starred review)

“Palma's gorgeous prose works its magic yet again...in this worthy successor to The Map of Time.” (Library Journal)

“Palma writes with shrewdness and glee.” (The Washington Post)

“Palma Keeps the reader guessing, and the twists and turns coming.” (Booklist)

About the Author

Félix J. Palma has been unanimously acclaimed by critics as one of the most brilliant and original storytellers of our time. The Map of Time was his first book published in the United States. He lives in Spain.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Map of Time Trilogy (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451660316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451660319
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Those who read Felix J. Palma's The Map of Time are well aware of the author's hijinks and trickery. Be forewarned, he is again up to his clever tricks--though not, perhaps, exactly the ones we've seen before. No, this is a writer who will keep readers on their toes!

So, about The Map of Time... You should read it before you even think of picking up this book. For a long while, I thought it would be unnecessary, but as I got deeper into the novel, it became obvious that you'd be missing much without having read the first volume in the trilogy. And if The Map of Time is Palma's homage to H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, then The Map of the Sky is his homage to The War of the Worlds (as well as other early science fiction classics).

This second volume is similarly structured. It's told by the same omnipotent narrator about whom I desperately hope to learn more in the final volume! This unnamed voice is a major presence in the story he tells, with remarks like: "What happens next is hard to describe. Perhaps a more seasoned narrator would have no difficulty--I am thinking of Wilde or Dumas--but unfortunately it falls to me." And, "I hope you will forgive me for having left our hero in such a delicate situation; think of it as my homage to the serialized novels of the time." Yes, that kind of intrusiveness can grow precious, but Palma walks a delicate balance and really pulls this device (as well as the literary equivalent of breaking of the fourth wall) off terrifically well.

Also like the prior novel, The Map of the Sky is told in three parts, each of which is a distinct, but linked story. And again, author H.G. Wells, plays a role in each.
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Format: Hardcover
As with its predecessor, The Map of Time, The Map of the Sky is a story told in three interrelated parts and is based on an H.G. Wells book. The first time around, it was The Time Machine, and this time its The War of the Worlds. Wells himself plays a character in these books, along with a cast of other, mostly fictional, characters; in particular, time-travel charlatan Gilliam Murray, the enigmatic Captain Derek Shackleton, and young man-about-town Charles Winslow.

The first book in Palma's planned trilogy, The Map of Time, was an engaging, ambitious time-travel thriller that I enjoyed thoroughly. It would be best to read this before reading The Map of the Sky, but not absolutely essential.

The Map of the Sky is an adventure story of the crew of a 19th-century exploration ship ice-bound in the Antarctic, a Martian invasion of London and Murray's clumsy attempts to win a hard-headed American woman named Emma. Palma melds real and fictional characters, fantasy, time travel, science, literature, history and romance. Palma clearly knows his stuff and has a terrific imagination, as he proved in his first book, but I found the translation of all of his ideas to the page didn't work this time around.

Palma's characters are flat and largely unappealing, which is a particular problem with Murray and Emma in the romance thread. Palma showed in his first book that he had some weaknesses in characterization, but it's far worse this time around. While his first book could have used some editing, this one cries out for the red pencil. His writing is bloated, leading to a novel that is way longer than necessary and has no sense of pace. The descriptions of the many fight/battle scenes are so drawn-out and repetitive that they're drained of any drama or excitement.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I almost immediately regretted my decision to buy this book (I really need to start using my library membership again). My biggest problem with this book is the use of the omniscient narrator (not my favorite style, though it can work). I felt that I was stepping into some kind of circus sideshow, with the grandiose announcer-style narration. The thing is, it never let up and I began to feel that Palma was patronizing his readers.

I was, also, put off by the prominent role that H.G. Wells played in the story. I don’t mind the presence of historical figures in well written stories, as long as they aren’t too integral to the central storyline. (Deborah Harkness does this nicely in her book, Shadow of Night). I probably wouldn’t have read it at all if the blurb was more honest about Wells' role.

Another major flaw: the length. I enjoy and prefer long books as long as they are interesting. This book was so wordy that it quickly became a tedious read.

On the plus side, the language and imagery was beautiful and I enjoyed the Victorian style of writing. The cover art is a reader magnet, for sure. Occasionally, I would begin to look forward to what would happen next and there were times that I found myself wondering if I might change my mind about the book, but I'm afraid Palma's story was not consistent enough to convert me.

Overall, I found that the story was just all over the place and there is no forgiving the use of such an obnoxious narrator. This book has encouraged me to reevaluate my screening process of the books that find their way to my shelf
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