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Time's Last Gift (Wold Newton Prehistory) (Wold Newton Universe Novel) Paperback – June 12, 2012
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Starting in 2070 this book is the story of a group of scientists, led by the enigmatic John Gribardsun, who travel back to 12,000 BC in order to study the Magdalenian culture. As is so typical of Farmer, you get a master class in understanding how such a trip into our history would actually work. The issues that would be encountered, the joys that would be discovered. It's a fascinating, page-turning read with an ending that will make you look on Farmer's imagination in awe. I promise, your eyes will literally widen as you read the conclusion.
This book is billed as a Wold Newton Prehistory novel and I guess most people conversant with Farmer's work will understand why that is the case. Even if you are not interested in a wider reading of Farmer's work you will have a fine time with this book. The story is informative, fast-paced and entertaining. As part of the wider Wold Newton Family it is a lynch pin novel that opens doors to countless possibilities. I sincerely hope that if this is your first foray into Farmer's canon it entices you to read more, you won't be disappointed.
If you're a Farmer fan you no doubt already have a copy of this novel (do check to make sure you have the later versions with the epilogue - that alone makes this Titan reprint worthwhile) so you may be wondering if it's worth buying this version. It certainly is! As well as the full text there are a couple of fascinating additions.
Firstly, there is an afterword from Christopher Paul Carey, a real expert on Farmer, who deftly explains the Wold Newton Prehistory claim.Read more ›
The story is a timeless one about a man who is the epitome of the hero archetype, and what that means in cultural and temporal terms for those around him, and for those yet to be born. Through the character of John Gribardsun, Philip Jose Farmer tells the story of a familiar hero who becomes the eternal man of myth, something that made Time's Last Gift a true classic.
Furthermore, using the concepts of time travel, archaeology, anthropology, and linguistics, Farmer is able to give the novel's four chief protagonists the tools necessary to remake the world of the past one person, family, tribe, and village at a time. Farmer was ahead of his time when it came to his views on the possible temporal and geopolitical ramifications of time travel. However, Farmer was also wise in his view that nature would allow for such tamperings, and still correct itself to keep the chronological narrative in check. At least on the surface, that is. Farmer wouldn't be Farmer if he didn't have a few jaw dropping twists that left fans wanting more. Farmer is the epitome of the writer as a trickster, and it shows in Time's Last Gift. Just when you think you have it figured out, Farmer throws you at least one or two curve balls. That's the sign of a great writer.
Moreover, where the Titan Books edition of Time's Last Gift soars is with the inclusion of the Afterword written by Christopher Paul Carey, and the extensive Gribardsun chronolgy written by Win Scott Eckert and Dennis E. Power. Carey, Eckert, and Power are accomplished writers who have carried on the legacy of Philip Jose Farmer as literary archaeologists and creative mythographers.Read more ›
I've always preferred what is called 'hard' Sci-Fi rather than fantasy Sci-Fi. I like my heroes flying space ships rather than dragons. But even 'hard' Sci-Fi has a lot of silly science and as you get older and pick up some real science you are in danger of losing your sense of wonderment. A rare solution for this problem is Phillip Jose Farmer.
Farmer writes stories that are filled with plausible technology and plausible people. But the stories are not really grounded in reality. Farmer writes stories that truly 'far out'. This novel is like that. It is filled with realistic people who act like normal humans but there are plenty of 'far out' elements that serve to make the situation interesting.
Phillip Jose Farmer is fun.
None of Farmer's works exemplifies his imagination better than his novels, stories, and essays about the Wold Newton Family, an interconnected family tree of mainstream, pulp, adventure, and detective fiction heroes who owe their remarkable qualities to their ancestors' exposure to the radiation of a meteorite that fell in the Yorkshire village of Wold Newton in 1795. As Christopher Paul Carey's excellent afterword demonstrates, this is perhaps the most important entry in the Wold Newton cycle. Keen-eyed viewers will notice many similarities between John Gribardsun, the mysterious leader of the expedition into the past, and one of Farmer's favorite characters, a prominent member of the Wold Newton Family. I will not say his name, but the initials of the title of this book provide a strong hint. Farmer sprinkles hints at his true identity throughout the book in a distinctly non-overbearing manner, and makes many startling revelations about this man's later life. Carey's afterword and an equally superb chronology by Farmer scholars Win Scott Eckert and Dennis E. Power further reveal the startling implications for the Wold Newton Family and the universe in which they exist.
Phil Farmer was, and still is even after his passing in 2009, one of the most controversial and groundbreaking authors in science fiction.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
PJF never disappoints. The author just has a very unusual insight and a soaring imagination. If you see a PJF book, buy it!Published 27 days ago by 46liter
Masterfully written.Plot elements include primitives showing courage when facing modern weaponry.Character dynamics of tribe members.Published 4 months ago by Kirk Alan Edwards
This is the first time I've read Philip Farmer. He has a very interesting look on things. All in all I like it.Published 7 months ago by Charles F. Rossel
Phillip Jose Farmer wrote a lot of great stories in his lifetime but this was without a doubt the crowning masterpiece of his career. Read morePublished 14 months ago by James D. Charles
Time's Last Gift is a time travel story featuring a team of scientists traveling from the year 2070 A.D. to 12,000 B.C. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jason Aiken
This book was OK but I was somewhat disappointed that it did not entertain me as well of some of P.J. Farmers other books. Read morePublished 17 months ago by SteelersPens Fan
I really expected more from Farmer. This was a trite, unsatisfying read. The last 20 pages are ridiculous.Published 21 months ago by JDR
"Time keeps a man human. But eternity would give him a nonhuman dimension." - Drummond Silverstein
Okay, so I've previously had a lot of trouble with Philip Jose... Read more