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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nine-Tenths by Meira Penterman

Genre:: Dystopian Science Fiction

Setting: Earth in an alternate timeline

First Sentence: Nine-tenths of a second is just long enough for someone to make an irrevocable, unforgivable mistake.

If there is one lesson that countless time travel novels have taught us, it is that no good can come of attempting to repair a perceived mistake in the past.  For inevitably, a small change in a detail, often results in a more unpleasant future timeline.

Thirty-one years ago, Leonard Tramer caused a traffic accident.  In that accident, young Tommy Richardson died.  Haunted by his fatal error,  Leonard spent the next three decades trying to repair this horrible mistake.  His solution was to build a time machine, go back in time, and save Tommy's life.

He succeeds.  He saves Tommy's life.  But, when he returns to the present, the world he finds is not the world he left.  The country is governed by a totalitarian regime similar to East Germany during the cold war.  There are political prisons, spies, fascist youth corps, and rationing of basic necessities.

Leonard has no recall of his life in this timeline.  He finds he has a wife, daughter, son and job.  He needs to figure out how life works in this timeline.  One mistake could cost him and his newly discovered family their freedom or their lives.

I was interested in the basic premise of Meira Penterman's novel.  I agree with her  that a small event in history can create huge differences in the future.  I did not find her dystopian alternate world to be very believable.  I just felt that the main character would have had a more difficult time surviving in such a dangerous society.


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