BooksOfTheMoon

Palimpsest

By Charles Stross

Rating: 4 stars

I enjoyed this novella that covers some of the more intricate nature of time travel. The Stasis is an organisation that has access to time travel and uses it to shape human history, preserving the human race, and reseeding it on Earth after it goes extinct, as it inevitably does.

Our protagonist is Pierce, someone plucked out of time in the early 21st century after he fulfils the initiation of killing his own grandfather and we follow him as he progresses through his training to a full agent of the Stasis, his loves and lives (yes, lives: time travel, remember). The palimpsest of the title refers to time being overwritten and the creation of unhistories as it is done, something that becomes important later.

The scope of the ideas in this short novella are amazing, as two competing futures are described, each spanning deep time, and the kinds of mega-scale engineering required for both is quite brain-popping and jaw-droppingly impressive. It takes some concentration to keep on top of the timey-wimey stuff but it’s totally worth it.

Book details

ISBN: 9781596064218
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Year of publication: 2009

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