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Chronospace Mass Market Paperback – Jan 29 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (MM); Reissue edition (Jan. 16 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441009069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441009060
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.3 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,243,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Two-time Hugo-winner Allen Steele wraps his time-traveling novel Chronospace around a pair of pretty interesting ideas: that UFOs are terrestrial in origin, but simply traveling to us from a different time; and that science fiction--and speculative nonfiction--can play a potent, and often unexpected, role in scientific progress.

One of Steele's two Hugos went to a 1997 novella published in Asimov's, "...Where Angels Fear to Tread," and that piece makes up the middle chapters of Chronospace, the story of operatives from the 24th-century Chronospace Research Centre who sneak into Nazi Germany and onto the Hindenburg in hopes of witnessing its fiery end firsthand. The only problem is, the famous zeppelin lands safely on that early summer evening in 1937, and the time travelers have to figure out what went wrong. Because, as they soon learn, their actions might have (have had? will have?) devastating consequences for the entire human race.

Steele has made good use of his already engaging novella, fleshing out what happened before, during, and after the original work, especially concerning present-day NASA scientist David Murphy, who--funny, that--has just been called to task by his superiors for writing a piece in Analog entitled "How to Travel Through Time (And Not Get Caught)." With well-researched detail concerning the Hindenburg and convincingly fabricated logistics surrounding wormhole-powered time travel, Chronospace further proves Steele's mastery of intelligent, readable hard SF. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Clearly written to please his fans and the editors of the science fiction magazines he frequently publishes in, this alternate-world novel by Steele (Oceanspace) panders (by excessive namedropping), without producing stellar results. In the 1998 of our world, David Zachary Murphy, a physicist with NASA who longs to be a professional writer of speculative fiction and see his name featured on SF magazine covers, writes a nonfiction article about the possibility that UFOs are time-travel machines. This story achieves every writer's dream it changes the future of the world. Especially the future for Franc and Lea, time travelers from the year 2314. When Franc and Lea go back to 1937 to observe the crash of the Hindenberg, their participation in the disaster somehow destroys their world and its time line. They are bounced into an alternate time line, in which Murphy and his postulations are a nexus. Franc and Lea's heavy-handed attempts to fix things (including impersonating one of Murphy's idols, real-life SF writer Gregory Benford) only make the situation worse. Meanwhile, mysterious "angels" are observing mankind, using their own extraterrestrial powers to try to stop the paradoxes caused by humanity's use of time travel before humans can infest the galaxy with their follies. Derivative and cloying, this isn't up to the level of Steele's short stories, which do grace the pages of many of the magazines he reverentially mentions throughout this novel.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
David Zachary Murphy is a NASA scientist but he's also a sci-fi lover and a wannabe fiction writer. Repeated attempts have come to naught and, sadly, Murphy realizes that his story-telling skills will never come up to scratch and compare with the likes of his idols such as Isaac Asimov or Gregory Benford. But, he is a good writer and, In spite of his shortcomings with respect to fiction, he successfully publishes a speculative non-fiction story in which he postulates that UFOs are not alien starships at all. He suggests they're time machines traveling from earth's own future and piloted by human historians examining their own past. His bureaucratic superiors are not pleased that he has drawn attention to the UFO phenomenon which NASA would prefer lie buried at rest and have called him onto the carpet for publishing such a story without their permission.

Whether or not the top brass at NASA like it, Murphy's speculations happen to be right on the money. Franc Lu and Lea Oschner are time travelers from the 24th century. They've returned to 1930s Germany, the era that saw Hitler's post-WWI rise to power, in order to witness the destruction of the Hindenburg dirigible when it docked in New Jersey after a trans-Atlantic crossing. Something goes dreadfully wrong when Franc and Lea somehow become part of the events they are only supposed to observe. This interrupts the natural timeline, diverts history onto a new path and the Hindenburg fails to crash and burn in a devastating ball of fire. The pilot of their time machine makes a unilateral command decision to retreat but instead of returning to their own time in 2314 they "crash" land in 1998, the world in which David Zachary Murphy has just been blasted for his untoward speculations on time travel.

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I, like many other lovers of the sci-fi genre, thoroughly enjoy time travel stories. Maybe it's the idea of visiting the future or (more likely) returning to the past to witness/change the course of history.
Kage Baker, in her "Company" books, solved the problem inherent in all time travel novels - how to handle changes in the past as they affect the future. She posited that one could not change RECORDED history but could affect else (neat trick). Apparently Mr. Steele does not follow that approach and in a way this is the logical path. There are really two tales here. The first involves the Hindenberg and how its success (or failure) affected world events. The second, more realized line, involves the creation of time travel.
Parts of the tale were excellent - particularly the parts that occurred in Tennessee, my home state. I have been to the very lake described in the book and those awkward meetings between future and present folks are the stuff of time travel novels. What the story lacked was polish. It dragged at times, read clumsily at others, and character development was stillborn. All that aside, the author has created a good yarn that was worth the price.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Being a time-travel stories fanatic (just check out my previous reviews if you doubt that), I was really intrigued when I heard about Chronospace. In fact, I dedicated an entire day to just sit at home and read it (I haven't done this in years!). Imagine, UFOs are really not extraterrestrial vehicles but are actually time machines used by historians from the future who want to study the past. Sounds good, even if somewhat unoriginal, no? Well, the entire book was a mixture of good ideas, but the end product was bad. It's as if the author couldn't make up his mind what he wanted to write about. Time Travel, aliens, paradoxes: these all sound like good ingredients, but SOMEHOW Mr. Steele has managed to get it very, very wrong.
The plot: Franc Lu, a 24th century historian, is being sent back in time to view what happened on the Hindenburg: witness first hand the destruction and what caused it. But somehow, he makes some changes, causing history to diverge and a paradox to be created. A parallel storyline tells about David Zachary Murphy, a scientist working for NASA at the end of the 20th century. David came up with the (correct) theory that UFOs are really time machine. How do both these threads join together? Just barely, and not in an interesting way. Read the book if you want to find out.
To summarize: I DON'T recommend this book. There are far better time travel stories, which cover very similar ideas in a superior way. (check out Joshua Dann's books if you want a glimpse). The reason I'm not giving this book one star is because it did capture my attention for about a third of the book, I was still convinced it might turn out to be a decent one, until this hope shattered.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first thing I've read by Steele and I was attracted to it by the time-travel theme. He does a pretty good job, but the style is somehow reminiscent of ANALOG of the 1950s and '60s -- which is fair enough, I guess, since the protagonist, NASA bureaucrat/physicist David Z. Murphy, is a lifelong fan of the magazine and now writes science articles for it. He doesn't know it, but his counterpart on another worldline is about to devote his life to the development of a working time machine, all because a research expedition from three centuries in the future has gone back to visit the zeppelin HINDENBURG just before its fiery demise at Lakehurst. Only it doesn't explode until a half-hour *after* everyone has disembarked. And in their bewildered flight back to their own time, the timeship crew manages to crash-land in 1998 Tennessee. Yes, it's all about as confusing as it sounds, but Steele manages to keep everything straight -- usually. He could have done with improved copyediting, though, especially in his chapter headings, which consist of dates -- and several of which are totally impossible.
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