The 1963 scientists start to recieve transmissions during an experiment unrelated to the future. What happens is that one group of scientists are labeled kooks because they originally believe that they may be recieving information from outerspace. What the readers find out about scientists is that they are just like everybody else and will fight over trivial matters instead of concentrating on the work. The 1963 timeframe is recieving information about long chain molecule chemicals of which it has no knowledge yet and this has set off the controversey.
Timescape is chock full of hard science. Benford has written a book based on sound thoery of tachyons and more than one possible universes including mini-universes. He has made the theories easily understandable without clouding the explanation with intricate math. The reader can gain a working knowledge of both multi-universes and the idea of tachyons. The fact he was able to weave these heavy ideas into a well written story is amazing. This book is well worth the effort and is highley reccommended.
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.
There's continual contrast here between the characters on a dying earth and those in an earlier era. The science-fictional theme is, obviously, time-travel or rather the communication through time.
This is a book to be patient with. It's necessary to accept the characters, not dismiss them as dull and uninteresting. The characters are people like you and me who are facing their challenges in the best way they can, same as you and me. These challenges placed against a cosmic type of fate therefore become significant.
This book gives a deep look at life itself through the depiction and contrast of the working life where the characters in two different time periods are dealing with mind-boggling events on the one level and on the living of their personal lives on another.
This book isn't for an action and adventure fan. It's one which presents concepts that will stretch your mind, and at the same time show how everyday life complexities are part of the picture.
If you allow yourself to become absorbed in this book, you'll find much to think about, both on intellectual and on personal levels.
I did have one fault with the book. It begins in 1998, and I would have liked to see it end in 1998 showing the changes in the primary characters as well as the development of those who we meet in the 60's.
As other reviewers have pointed out, the character development is somewhat weak. However, this cannot stop me from giving a 5-star rating. The final resolution will keep you glued to the book and the technique used to transition the 2 possible futures for us is done very well.
Fortunately it's easy to skim through or even skip 30 or 40 pages at a time without missing anything "important. Read more
2. This book is not environmental friendly, because only 10% of the 400 pages tells a story. Read more