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A Scientific Romance Paperback – Jul 7 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada; 1st Vintage Canada ed edition (July 7 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676971075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676971071
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #272,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Amazon

In London at the turn of the 20th century, H. G. Wells's time machine mysteriously appears--empty--in a squatter's flat. Whence did it come, and for what purpose was it sent? The answers to these questions--though not to an even greater mystery connected with the machine's appearance--are contained in a letter written by Wells on May 2, 1946, which falls into the hands of one David Lambert on the eve of the millennium. Lambert, an industrial archeologist, reads the letter foretelling the arrival of the machine and, half convinced the whole thing is a hoax, goes to the address Wells provides, where, at the appointed hour, the time machine materializes. Thus begins Ronald Wright's fine and fantastical novel A Scientific Romance.

Romance can refer to an affair of the heart; it can also describe a heroic tale of extraordinary events. In A Scientific Romance, Wright plays on both possible meanings as he weaves a tragic story of betrayal and lost love into a larger narrative of time travel. Lambert, having lost the woman he loved, is reckless enough to test Wells's machine himself, catapulting 500 years into the future, where he finds London--indeed, all of England--a deserted, semitropical landscape. As David explores the future, he also sifts through his own past, creating in this Möbius strip of time and relationship a chilling cautionary tale about the limits of science and human ambition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

English-born historian Wright, who lives in Canada, is the author of several celebrated works of nonfiction, including Time Among the Maya and Stolen Continents, but his first novel is such a triumph that it's a wonder he didn't get around to writing one earlier. The plot is something of a curiosity: English archeologist David Lambert stumbles upon a Victorian time machine?the very one, it turns out, that H.G. Wells described in his famous novel. When Lambert discovers that he may have the same disease that killed his lover, he lights out for the future: A.D. 2500, to be exact. There Wright creates for him a vivid, compelling world, a depopulated, tropical dream of what had once been England. The book's central drama is Lambert's struggle to excavate and uncover the exact nature of the calamity that erased London. At the same time, he sifts through the shards of his own unhappy personal history?which he is, of course, tempted to touch up a little with the help of the time machine. The narrative bristles with fascinating characters, both fictional and historical, and Wright furnishes it with a rich store of enthralling scientific Victoriana. His writing is charming, unpretentious and wonderfully literate. J.G. Ballard explored this same territory in his disaster novels of the 1970s, but never with Wright's psychological insight or pathos.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stone Junction on Feb. 4 2003
Format: Hardcover
It may seem to be a contradiction in terms, to use a time machine to travel into the future to pour over the details of one's past. But that's exactly what Ronald Wright accomplishes in his marvelous novel A SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE. Part futuristic travelogue, part nostalgic reminiscences of the past, ROMANCE is a thinking person's science fiction, a completely enthralling apocalyptic dystopia that reveals more about the present-day human heart than one would expect.
Taking a page from H.G. Wells's classic THE TIME MACHINE, Wright has fashioned a fiction based on the 'reality' of a fiction. Wright's protagonist David Lambert, archaeologist and devotee of Victorian machinery, discovers that Wells based his novel upon a factual incident. Lambert subsequently discovers the time machine, intact but riderless, and decides to travel to 2500 A.D.. What he discovers raises more questions than answers about the fate of humanity, but it also raises questions as to what events led Lambert to this point in his life. As he travels the futuristic England countryside, he retraces his past with his friend Bird, and the woman they both love, Anita. The farther Lambert treks through England, the farther his despair over past actions becomes.
Not having perused Wells's classic, I am unable to compare his and Wright's styles. I can reveal that there is a deeply pleasing antiquated feel to Wright's tale; something in his style evokes the nostalgic prose style of Jules Verne. The font also seems charmingly old-fashioned (and for anyone who doesn't believe a font can affect a story, please discover Chip Kidd's terrific novel THE CHEESE MONKEYS, which covers just such a format consideration).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30 1998
Format: Hardcover
Since a synopsis of the plot is already printed, I won't bore you running through it here. Unfortunately, I was bored running through the book. What a great premise -- H.G Wells' Time Machine exists and an archeologist is going to take a ride into the future! What a let-down. There's no denying that this is a well-written book, but I like books that are plot and character driven. This book is a great idea. There is little "story" and the characters are poorly developed. Such interesting people and I never got to find out more about them! It's a great hook, but when I expected the book to really take off, it just ran out of gas.
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By C. Baker on Nov. 15 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting concept novel used to drive home a point about technology and scientific hubris run rampant that eventually chokes our planet and all but destroys the human race.
In 1999 David Lambert, really a rather wandering soul, is a museum curator who has lost the love of his life to Mad Cow disease and his best friend in a falling out over a nasty love triangle involving the same woman. Unbelievably a letter falls into his hands that purports to be from H.G. Wells informing the reader of the return of the time machine to London-a fiction that turns out not to be fiction. So off he goes on his jaunt into the future.
This is a poor attempt at using the time travel concept as a plot device. There are just way too many coincidences and way too many convenient plot devices to move the story along. And it drags on unrelentlessly in the middle with some very tedious slogging as the author gets carried away over describing the future he finds.
At times, the novel is very good and it does have some merit. But frankly, the plot devices used, especially in the end, undermine the novel.
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Format: Hardcover
It may seem to be a contradiction in terms, to use a time machine to travel into the future to pour over the details of one's past. But that's exactly what Ronald Wright accomplishes in his marvellous novel A SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE. Part futuristic travelogue, part nostalgic reminiscence of the past, ROMANCE is a thinking person's science fiction, a completely enthralling apocalyptic dystopia that reveals more about the present-day human heart than one would expect.
Taking a page from H.G. Wells's classic THE TIME MACHINE, Wright has fashioned a fiction based on the 'reality' of a fiction. Wright's protagonist David Lambert, archaeologist and devotee of Victorian machinery, discovers that Wells based his novel upon a factual incident. Lambert subsequently discovers the time machine, intact but riderless, and decides to travel to 2500 A.D.. What he discovers raises more questions than answers about the fate of humanity, but it also raises questions as to what events led Lambert to this point in his life. As he travels the futuristic England countryside, he retraces his past with his friend Bird, and the woman they both love, Anita. The farther Lambert treks through England, the farther his despair over past actions becomes.
Not having perused Wells's classic, I am unable to compare his and Wright's styles. I can reveal that there is a deeply pleasing antiquated feel to Wright's tale; something in his style evokes the nostalgic prose style of Jules Verne. The font also seems charmingly old-fashioned (and for anyone who doesn't believe a font can affect a story, please discover Chip Kidd's terrific novel THE CHEESE MONKEYS, which covers just such a format consideration).
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

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