Time and Time Again collects sixteen of Hugo and Nebula award–winning author Robert Silverberg’s short stories involving time travel. With dazzling prose and original plotlines, Silverberg proves himself to be a master of the genre.
From the first story, “Absolutely Inflexible,” ingenuity is evident. The manager of a company that seeks to imprison time travelers, hoping to avoid the spread of now-extinct diseases, finds himself sent back in time by mistake. Secrets are revealed in time with the character’s discovery of them, keeping the suspense and sense of mystery alive. This is true of all of the stories in the book. They all offer thought-provoking questions about physics, society, and the nature of time.
The book’s imagery strikes a balance between being imaginative and lusciously evoked, as in “Sailing to Byzantium,” where various historical civilizations are reconstructed for time tourists to experience. Each city, from ancient Alexandria to the not-yet-existent New Chicago, is gorgeously rendered through palpable descriptions. Characters mesh well with their environments, no matter the place or time.
The stories cycle through an amalgamation of science fiction and fantasy conventions while remaining definitively original; many read like classics. From a future where lobsters have become the dominant life form on Earth to a love story in which a jealous man seeks to kill his girlfriend’s lover—before she meets him—the enormous scope of possible plots is surprising.
Silverberg provides a brief essay before each story to give context to when and why it was written. He reveals that, despite the compelling nature and believability of his stories, he personally considers time travel to be implausible due to inescapable paradoxes, a theme that his stories explore for great entertainment.
Time and Time Again is a mind-bending collection of fantastic tales that belongs on any science fiction fan’s bookshelf.
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