- Series: Daw Book Collectors (Book 1202)
- Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: DAW (October 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0756400120
- ISBN-13: 978-0756400125
- Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.8 x 6.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,201,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Past Imperfect (Daw Book Collectors) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2001
From Publishers Weekly
This fast, lightweight anthology of 12 time-travel tales contains a handful of standout stories, but many others rely on familiar tricks: Will the hero change his destiny by changing his past? Will the hero realize that that sound he heard all those years ago was his meddling future self? The most successful stories toy with genre conventions or use time travel as a device in support of bigger concerns. James P. Hogan's slyly amusing "Convolution" focuses on time-machine inventor Professor Abercrombie. The professor loses his notes before completing his machine, but a future version of himself sends a time machine back, embroiling Abercrombie in a neatly dovetailed succession of weird cross-time commutes. In Nina Kiriki Hoffman's amusing "Mint Condition," time travel takes a backseat to time-traveler Sissy's realization that her bosses are playing her for a fool. Family-centered stories include Jody Lynn Nye's light "Theory of Relativity," in which Rachel recruits another version of herself and tracks down their grandfather; Peter Crowther's emotionally fraught "Things I Didn't Know My Father Knew," about a man's opportunity to see his dead father; and Gary A. Braunbeck's touching "Palimpsest Day," wherein a man has the chance to change his life by intervening at one moment in his past. Newcomers to the genre will find many stories engaging, but too few of these entries question the clichs they perpetuate. (Oct. 9)Forecast: A cover featuring a warped clock and a cartoon-like air vehicle will appeal to young readers more than to SF aficionados, and won't do much to boost sales.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
The authors of these new stories on the classic sf trope of time travel let it lead them as it may through genres including mystery, romance, space opera, and quiet reflection at home. The book's selections are excellent, which isn't surprising given the likes of Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Jody Lynn Nye, and James P. Hogan as contributors and the fact that lesser-knowns proffer fine stories, too. Altogether, they take us to both the future and the past. William H. Keith Jr.'s "Iterations" goes so far into the future that it is nearly incomprehensible, and Kathleen Massie-Ferch's "A Touch through Time" begins with a scientist in love with a woman who has been dead for nearly a century. Sometimes, even the past travels, and in Peter Crowther's "Things I Didn't Know My Father Knew," fog brings more than low visibility. Veteran anthologist Greenberg and his latest collaborator have crafted a well-balanced and entertaining anthology. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Showing 1-7 of 9 reviews
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There was only one story which was more or less okay, "Blood Trail", about a police officer who is sent in time to try and find the identity of a serial killer. The officer is not allowed to change anything, but he CAN try and gather information about the killer which will enable catching him in the present. However, the officer really, really doesn't like to see people killed in front of his eyes...
To summarize: if you have nothing else on your list, go for it, or even if you just MUST read every time travel book you can find (like me). However, don't expect anything above average, and most stories don't even live up to that.
Three* of them, however, do not belong in this collection. They are good stories but aren't really time-travel stories. It is as if the author wrote a story and then made a couple changes to slide them into this sub-genre. The editor should not have included them (IMHO).
Here are the stories ranked in my personal preference:
Theory Of Relativity
In The Company Of Heros
A Touch Through Time
Jeff's Best Joke
*Things I Didn't Know My Father Knew
*The Gift Of A Dream
I really liked most of these stories and was quite pleased to add this to the collection. They run the gamut from straightforward "I built a time machine and here's what happened" to the odder "kinda mind transfer" approach. As an engineer I was rather more taken by the harder science stories than the more mystical ones but there's good stuff from everybody. That's of course the strength of such a collection -- if you don't like something just skip it and move on.
Very recommended for anybody who likes good collections, especially those dealing with time travel.
As for the stories themselves, only a few of the twelve were worth the read: "Palimpsest Day" and "Gift of a Dream" stand out, but others were fairly old-hat, "oops, I just killed my future self"-type tales, or ones that were high on technical merit but short on human feeling.
If you're a time-travel fanatic and want to read all-new stories, you may want to skim this book, but be prepared to trip over typos. A better option, in my opinion, would be to peruse some oldies but goodies in _About Time_, a collection of time-related stories by Jack Finney.
~Addendum, 9/17/04: Thanks much to Hilary for IDing Jack Finney's "I'm Scared," from his excellent short story collection "About Time," as the origin of the timeslipped paint stripe concept.