Monday, July 18, 2016

Time War (1973)

Time War (1973) by Lin Carter was a tribute to A. E. van Vogt. This sort of novel was a huge throwback to a former days of SF, in the 30's and 40's, when van Vogt wrote his convoluted stories of the super man. (And, incidentally, reminds us of the racism of the time which so permeated SF.) Lin explains the the style of the novel in the epilogue.

In this story, a man learns that he can teleport, and soon after, learns that he is the radionic superman, a rare event in the history of the world. From there develops not only a convoluted plot, taking only 160 pages to resolve, but endless amounts of describing and redescribing the same situation over and over. Yes, at merely 160 pages, the book feels padded. Quite often, my eyes glazed over and I failed to read paragraphs at a time, but that didn't matter. The same facts were deployed again and again, just in case you missed one.

In case you were in doubt, there's only one beautiful woman in the book, and the guy ends up with her end in the end. This sort of book is a male self-fulfillment fantasy.

This books also feels a bit like a conservative fulfillment fantasy as well. It should be noted that the ordinary people of the future acted like children, lived without responsibility, and were not awake to their predicament. That sounds like an awful lot like today's modern Conservative rhetoric. In contrast, the Conservative Superman takes his business to the top, his astonishing mind destroying his foes, untangling tangles plots, and generally self-making himself. He needed no help.

In all honestly, I can't rate this book as low as it deserves, but I can't rate it highly at all. The book bored me in a mere 160 pages. That's an astonishing feat. If you happen to like this classic stuff, then maybe you'll enjoy it. Myself, I'll give it a pass. I'll also give Lin Carter another try, just not by reading a tribute to a classic style.