After reading Tales of Yog-Sothoth and The Book of Yig, I decided it was time to fill in the few gaps in my David Hambling reading.
Given the title of the anthology, I was intrigued to read a non-Mythos piece of science fiction from him.
Review: Time Loopers: Four Tales from a Time War, 2020.
This is a curious anthology in several respects.
First, as you will note above, it has no listed editor.
Second, it isn’t what its listing on Amazon mostly suggests. (I couldn’t even find it on the Crystal Lake Publishing site, but it’s still for sale.)
Third, it’s actually a Cthulhu Mythos anthology.
David Hambling’s “Introduction” looks at the universal appeal of a do over in our life, approaching life like a videogame where we can cycle and cycle through one level in order to level up to the next one. The reasons for doing that are many, and the book’s stories look at several. He also mentions several films and books and their use of the idea. We get our first hint of what’s to come when H. P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out of Time is mentioned. What if something like its Yith showed a more sinister source and motive for time looping.
This book is structured something like a musical suite – if each movement was composed by a separate party. I’m going to go spare on the plot synopsis because these stories are also linked – linked in fact by the literary DNA of Lovecraft but also of one of the contributors, Byron Craft. That became obvious after I read some of his other works after finishing this book. I also don’t want to spoil many of enjoyable moments of revelation.
And, of course, time travel stories tend to have intricate plots with paradoxes. Not every mystery posed by these stories is solved. Not every ending has a resolved chord. But that’s alright. Mystery has its place in fantastic fiction and is a pleasing feature however much it comes across as mere incompetence in less skilled writers. And a puzzled reader, here, matches the frequently puzzled protagonists.Continue reading