A Window into Time: A charming SF novella

A Window into Time by Peter F. Hamilton science fiction book reviewsA Window into Time by Peter F. Hamilton

Julian is 17 and, though he looks like a normal teenager and he’s a really nice kid, he’s something of a misfit. He doesn’t have a normal family life, he doesn’t have any friends, he’s a little too smart, and everyone thinks he’s strange. The weirdest part about Julian, though, is that he remembers pretty much everything that ever happened to him.

When Julian starts remembering things that didn’t happen, he decides there must be some twist in the fabric of space-time that’s causing his life to get mixed up with someone else’s. That person seems to be in danger and Julian would like to warn him but, if he gets involved, he’ll be risking his own life. However, if Julian can’t figure out how to straighten things out, without causing a time paradox, he may be facing an existential crisis that’s even more frightening than the simple physical danger he’s already in.

After recently slogging through Peter F. Hamilton’s 3000 page NIGHT’S DAWN trilogy, this little science fiction novella was an unexpected and welcome treat that has redeemed Hamilton in my eyes. I loved uncoordinated and safety-conscious Julian right from the start, a feeling I never had toward any of the many characters in Hamilton’s trilogy. When I realized, after a while, that Julian was probably “on the spectrum” I loved him even more and delighted in his quirky way of relating to the world and the people around him. This is definitely the best part of A Window into Time and I can tell Hamilton had a lot of fun creating this charming character.

Julian’s story is exciting and it moves quickly. The writing is sharp and gloriously succinct. The end has a nice mind-bending twist that I expected but enjoyed anyway. Best of all, the story manages to be both funny and moving.

Tantor Audio released an audio version of A Window into Time that’s excellent. It’s 3.5 hours long and narrated by Chris MacDonnell. I recommend purchasing the Kindle version for $3.99 and then adding the Whispersync audio for $2.99. That’s the most cost-effective way to acquire it.

Published July 28, 2016. Whip-smart thirteen-year-old Julian Costello Proctor-better known as Jules-has an eidetic memory. For as long as he can remember, he has remembered everything. “My mind is always on,” he explains. But when an unexpected death throws his life into turmoil, Jules begins to experience something strange. For the first time, there are holes in his memory. But that’s not the strangest part. What’s really weird isn’t what he’s forgotten; it’s what he remembers. Memories of another life, not his own. And not from some distant past. No, these memories belong to a man who’s alive right now. With bravery, ingenuity, and quirky good humor, Jules devises a theory to explain this baffling phenomenon. While tracking down the identity of his mysterious doppelganger, he finds himself enmeshed in the hopes and dreams of a stranger . . . and caught in the coils of a madman’s deadly plot.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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