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Timescape Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1992
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Timescape merits the tag "hard science fiction"; it tells the story of scientists, and readers can't help but learn something about tachyons and physics while reading it. Yet much of the story is about humanity: the men John Renfrew and Gordon Bernstein and their relationships--between husband and wife, lover and lover, English working class and upper class, professor and student, and academician and colleagues.
Winner of the Nebula Award in 1980 and the John W. Clark Award in 1981, Timescape offers readers a great yarn, in terms of both humanity and science.
From the Back Cover
1962. JFK is still president, rock 'n' roll is king, and the Vietnam War hardly merits front-page news. A young assistant researcher at a California university, Gordon Bernstein, notices strange patterns of interference in a lab experiment. Against all odds, facing ridicule and opposition, Bernstein begins to uncover the incredible truth... a truth that will change his life and alter history... the truth behind time itself.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is full of details on the science that are highly believable, and as exact as feasible without messing up the plot. That's the point of hard SF, and it succeeds marvellously. For those of the reviewers that expected "mainstream" SF or a non-SF fiction it is a major distraction.
It also spends a lot of time on character development, which is unusual for hard-SF, and many reviewers seem to have expected traditional hard-SF.
On the other hand if you do love hard SF but find most hard SF to have two dimensional characters, this is a book for you.
The book juxtaposes 1963 and 1998. In '63 America had survived the missile crisis, and there appeared to be progress all around - the test ban treaty was being signed, the economy was booming, and the centers of education in California were seeing a massive growth, with a bustling research establishment. Kennedy was pushing the space race. In '63, Gordon (one of the main characters) were assistant professor, had a sexy,sexually liberated girlfriend and was frantically working on a problem that could make his career. It was all good.
The books 1998 is a world in crisis, mostly described via the impacts it has on the main characters - a research team at Cambridge and the rather unsympathetic Mr Peterson - responsible though tough at work, but an chronic womanizer outside of it. The ecology is badly messed up, and we get to see it not just in terms of headlines, as you might in more typical hard SF (i.e. food production is down, fish is dying off, blah. blah.Read more ›
Initially, Timescape caught my attention with its central premise of a dying future (well, 1998, the future when the book was written) finding a way through tachyon messages of contacting the past (1962). But the book does tend to tread water for a long time, and some of the character conflicts get a bit tiresome. But in the finale, which contains a stunning surprise, the strange science at last coalesces into a emotionally stirring vision of time as a landscape. It was at this moment that I saw the book itself become a whole-and an admirable whole. As the thoughtful afterward points out, the book tackles many different types of stories, not all of which will appeal to every reader. Give it shot, even if Hard SF insn't your thing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good - I cannot agree with those who found it difficult to read - it is 'SCIENCE' fiction. No, I didn't get all the physics but then it is also 'FICTION'. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Adam Childs
Have you ever read a book that was really, really good? You want so much to know what's going to happen that you can't make yourself put it down? Read morePublished 1 month ago by Melanie D. Typaldos
Probably one of the top 5 SciFi books I've ever read, but it helps if you're really intrigued by the physics of time travel like I am.Published 2 months ago by Darvish Shadravan
Maybe it's just me but I could NOT get into this book. Dull characters. Hard to follow storyline with so much back and forth with timelines and dull characters. Read morePublished 2 months ago by STEVEN W. EVANS
A "shtunk" of a book. The SF premise and hard SF aspects intrigued me but I had to give up the book based on the author's poor choice of emphasis on the personal... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Radar Blip
This book was written in 1980 and is as timely today as it was when first released 36 years ago.
The concept of time travel has been seriously discussed since the U.S. Read more
This was my first Benford read and despite being outdated, I was pretty entertained (25 years after publication).Published 6 months ago by Tree
In "Timescape," Gregory Benford toys with the notion of what might happen to present affairs if we were somehow able to change the past. Read morePublished 12 months ago by R. P. Cotta Jr.