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Island in the Sea of Time Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 1998

4.1 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; Reprint edition (March 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451456750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451456755
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 3.4 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #223,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

A cosmic disturbance transports the island of Nantucket and its inhabitants over three thousand years back in time to the shores of a Stone Age America. In addition to coping with the day-to-day problems of survival and the trauma of losing all connection with the modern world, the residents of the time-stranded island find their lives complicated by the presence of native tribes across the water. Stirling's (The Ship Avenged, Baen, 1997) imaginative foray into time travel should also please fans of alternate history. A good selection for most sf collections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“A perfectly splendid story…endlessly fascinating…solidly convincing.”—Paul Anderson

 

“A compelling cast of characters…a fine job of conveying both a sense of loss and hope.”—Science Fiction Chronicle

 

“[Q]ite a good book…definitely a winner.”—Aboriginal Science Fiction

 

“Meticulous, imaginative….Logical, inventive and full of richly imagined characters, this is Stirling’s most deeply realized book yet.”—Susan Shwartz, author of The Grail of Hearts

 

“Utterly engaging. This is unquestionably Steve Stirling’s best work to date, a page-turner that is certain to win the author legions of new readers and fans.”—George R. R. Martin, author of A Game of Thrones

 

“One of the best time travel/alternative history stories I’ve ever read, period. Stirling combines complex, believable characters, meticulous research, and a fascinating setup to produce a book you won’t want to—and won’t be able to—put down. An outstanding piece of work.”—Harry Turtledove

 

“The adventure that unfolds, powered by Stirling’s impressive stores of knowledge and extraordinary narrative skill, is an enormously entertaining read.”—Virtual North Woods Website

 

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm going to preface this review with the statement that I was unable to finish this story and will not be reading the sequels either because I could not stomach the actions of the villans. This is not a series for anyone who can't cope with depictions of torture, and deliberate actions of cruelty. I sincerely hope that Alice Hong gets what's coming to her in future installments.

That aside, I really did enjoy the rest of this book. Unless you're an 'expert' with a bone to pick with anyone who dares to dabble with your field of expertise, or have issues with strong women, homosexuality, academics, vaguely left-wing politics or semi-graphic sex scenes, you have a pretty good chance of really enjoying this book.
The characters are interesting, varied and well fleshed out, as are the friendships and relationships between them. I enjoyed reading about the people of Nantucket reacting to the Event, organizing their society, travelling and meeting other cultures. It's obvous that a lot of research has gone into this story, and there is some fascinating as well as sobering stuff in here.
If this book didn't have Alice Hong, I'd give it five stars and pride of place on my shelf.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When the entire island of Nantucket is thrown back into the bronze age, the islanders have a problem. Their technology depends too much on imports from the now-vanished mainland. And even feeding the island will be tough--with no grains closer than England. Fortunately, a coast guard training square rigger was caught up in the time event and so the island isn't helpless. But even contacting the bronze age civilizations of Europe, let alone the stone-age cultures of the new world, has its problems. Plague for one thing as the time travellers replicate the European accidental genocide of the Native American population. But the bronze age savages of Europe are tough--and are good enough sailers that they could reach the new world if they knew where to look--and learned what a treasure-trove an entire island of 20th century technology can offer.
The island has a chance if everyone pulls together and police chief-turned political leader Jared Cofflin and coast guard captain Marian Alston do their best to ensure that everyone does so. Unfortunately, human nature rarely allows pure altrusim. In the case of Nantucket, there are those who want to carve out their own kingdom and those who want to prevent the re-creation of western culture. Either could be dangerous. Together, the two forces might just scuttle any hopes for survival--let alone return to the days of the hot shower.
Author S. M. Stirling writes an exciting story. A small city like Nantucket has close to the critical mass needed for modern civilization, but lacks the raw materials that are essential to our lives. As the time travellers contact other people, their risk grows. Stirling personalizes Cofflin and Alston, making the reader care about these characters and their attempts to recreate order in the midst of madness.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I tried reading it but couldn't complete it. A lot of what happens in here seemed to be way too convenient and easy, like people who just happened to have requisite Bronze Age survival skills on the island before it was blown back in time, the era's locals having a high-enough learning curve to pick up English within a couple of months, the Coast Guard training barque Eagle being on scene and her lesbian captain scoring a hot blonde native babe, and practically the entire Nantucket town government and police department being on the mainland before the transition as well as the Massachusetts State Police's Nantucket barracks (a ready-made ground militia right there) not even making the journey. There was also a fair amount of stupidity from some characters who wanted to commit some revisionism without fully understanding the situation, like a black Coast Guard cadet wanting to warn Africa about European slavers even though the great African kingdoms won't exist for a least another millennium, and one woman who wants to give the Olmecs a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica to prepare for the conquistadores even though they literally don't understand English.
It was a good idea for a book that just didn't play out that well.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
S. M. Stirling's book, "Island in the Sea of Time," succeeds greatly as a piece of escapist fiction in a speculative history context. The story consists of the late 20th century island of Nantucket being unexplicably (Stirling doesn't even try to explain it) sent back to the Bronze Age. This book details their initial struggle to adapt and survive in this world, at once familiar and alien.
The main characters are largely believable. Stirling thankfully takes the time to develop them to be more than talking props for his storyline. One flaw is that by the end of the book, the characters do become rather predictable. Everyone except the villains seems perfectly content with their role and function, and perfectly comfortable with the roles and functions of each other as well. Ambition, unpredictability, and simple growth and change have abandoned the Nantucketers by the end of the book. Also (with the single exception of one Bronze Age woman rescued by the Nantucketers early on) Stirling leaves the Bronze Age characters very two dimensional, predictable, and inferior to modern people in every respect.
One notable success in characterization is Stirling's main villain, William Walker. Rather than casting him as stereotypical "evil" man, Walker is depicted as merely ambitious. His love of the Bronze Age and desire to rule it are perfectly understandable and plausible. His Machiavellian tactics and modern knowledge make him very powerful by Bronze Age standards, and therefore immediately and believably threatening to the Nantucketers.
Stirling's decision to cast his main hero as a female, black, lesbian is the first example of gratuitous multiculturalism I remember seeing in a book of this sort. There simply was no point to it.
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