Félix J. Palma: The Map of Time (review)

the-map-of-timeOh what a ride this was. What a ride!

In a novel split into three separate but intertwined story lines, we meet a young man and a young woman having troubled love life in ways, that are not so easily remedied. Like for instance Andrew Harrington who is madly in love with Marie Kelly – who is then murdered by Jack the Ripper. Andrew is thrown into huge depths of despair which after 8 long years causes him to want to kill himself. However, his cousin intervenes, claiming that it will be possible for Andrew to travel back in time and save Marie by killing Jack the Ripper.

Because time travel is possible. A man has opened a business in the middle of London where he offers the possibility to travel to the year 2000 and see the final battle between the humans and the automatons. So the cousins visit this man, Gilliam Murray, to make him help them go back in time.

But time traveling is not all that easy so Murray encourages them to enlist the help of the one man responsible for putting the idea of time traveling and dreams of the future in to the minds of everyone, the author of The Time Machine, H.G. Wells. Because guess what he has stashed away in the attic?

Meanwhile, Claire Haggerty is quickly making herself impossible, refusing to bow down to her parents’ expectations about how it is proper for a young lady to behave. When she and her cousin goes on one of Murray’s time travels to the year 2000, she falls in love with the handsome captain leading the human charge, Derek Shackleton. Another impossible love, separated by more than 100 years and with unforeseeable consequences should one of them attempt to stay with the other.

Not much is exactly as it seems in this novel. People are not telling the truth, real historical figures rub elbows with imagined ones, and with the possibility of time travel nothing is sacred. Everything is subject to change. Or so it seems.

And just when things really get weird or when people start getting intimate, the author calmingly inserts himself to explain a few things, point something out that the characters may not know (yet) or even to give them a bit of privacy. He does this all the way through this book and I loved that!

I’m fascinated by the paradoxes time traveling causes. In this book, the characters are faced with the typical ones; the ones, we know from Return to the FutureDoctor Who and more. What happens if you kill your own grandparents? If you change something in the past, how will it effect the future? And is time traveling even possible?

I really haven’t read much science fiction, I haven’t read anything by H.G. Wells, and I don’t know much about the theories behind parallel universes but I absolutely loved this novel. Parts of it were better than others, but still, the ideas in this novel are so fantastic and amazing that I just loved it. I am no judge as to whether these are actually new and amazing ideas or I’m just new to the genre, so keep that in mind but this one comes with my warmest recommendations. This is the way I like my speculative fiction!

With surprise guests like Bram Stoker, Henry James and The Elephant Man, this novel is a roller coaster of unexpected twists and turns. Reality is not what you thought it was – or maybe it is – or maybe it isn’t. Who knows? You’ll have to read this thing to find out what’s real and what’s not because I’m not telling. And guess what? There’s a sort of sequel so it doesn’t end here! Or maybe it does…

‘Aren’t there lies that make life more beautiful?’ (p. 418)

  • Title: The Map of Time
  • Author: Félix J. Palma
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Year: 2012 (original 2008)
  • Pages: 514 pages
  • Source: Own collection
  • Stars:  4 stars out of 5

3 thoughts on “Félix J. Palma: The Map of Time (review)

  1. I’m so glad we missed out on the Battle of the Automatons in 2000. *snort*

    I really wanted to read this with the Chunky Book Club, but my libraries don’t carry it, and I couldn’t afford to buy it at the time. I am definitely going to read it now, though. Great review.

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