Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Time Agency by Aaron Frale

The Time Agency by Aaron FraleTime Agency by Aaron Frale

Genres: Science Fiction
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on August 24, 2016
Pages: 194

Purchase: Amazon

Fugitive 07760 woke to a busy city street. His memory was blank. A well-dressed man approached him. He left a locked briefcase at 07760's feet. An agent named Nanette tracked 07760. Her agency had been following the anomalous man through time. But the case was different than all the rest. Her well-dressed protégé had given the fugitive the briefcase. A fellow time agent getting involved was cause for panic. 07760's memory came back slowly as the technology in his body began to regenerate his neural pathways. Fragments of a past bubbled to his conscience. He wasn't sure if it was worth reliving. There was a blond woman from years ago, and she disappeared because she was curious and asked too many questions. 07760 would not disappear quietly in the night. He needed a plan, but there's no time to think with the time agents hot on his heels

I have always been a fan of time travel stories.  I have stopped listening to experts when they say time travel cannot be done.  After all, how can there be time travel experts if there can be no time travel (some kind of conspiracy maybe?). I also like stories that weave a web of mystery.  So, when I saw this book it seemed to fit some of my favorite categories.

We start off the story with a deep mystery.  It is the main character only we do not know who, where or even when he is.  It is an interesting variation on teaching a new world through a new inhabitant or student.  Here we have somebody well versed in its intricacies only, he can’t remember what they are.  The problem comes in the narration.  I’m not averse to the more experimental but, I believe the experiment failed somewhat here.  The book used not only two different POVs, it used two different perspectives.  Perspective shifts from third to first person every time the POV shifts back to the main character.  The reader has to be especially watchful for changes in voice to pick up on this change.  It does highlight the unreliability of the main character as narrator but, I still believe it could have been done a bit more elegantly by sticking to one perspective.  It would have made for a longer story but, if it is a good one, who would mind.

Character development is another tricky aspect with this one.  In this case, it isn’t a bad thing.  The main character is in constant flux because he is constantly reevaluating himself and his own motivations as much as everybody else around him if not more so.  It can be one part maddening to two parts exciting depending which part of the book you are in.

I am a big Doctor Who fan (Whovian if you please) and can withstand the mental stresses, strains and leaps required to really get into any time travel story.  With that said, this book wore me out with its whiplash changes in time, scenery and perspective.  Oddly, it took a bit too much time to straighten some of it out in my head for me to really enjoy it.  The language and violence land this one firmly in the PG13 rating.



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Robert is a husband, dad, electronics technician, and National Novel Writing Month winner. He is an avid fan of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal (fiction or non-fiction) in books, movies or TV.

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