by Wesley Chu
Series: Time Salvager, #1Hardcover, 380 pg.
Tor Books, 2015
Read: September 12 – 15, 2015
Guess I should start with this: there’s nothing in these pages that’ll remind you of Chu’s Tao books. They could be written by completely different authors. Which is a combination of good news and bad news. The good news is that the reader doesn’t get a deja vu feeling reading, Chu’s ability as a writer and worldbuilder is displayed, and we get to see that he’s not a one-trick pony. The bad news is, the Tao books were better.
Not that this is bad, it’s just not Tao.
Chu is really smart about the way that he introduces us to the world, to the concept of Time Laws, and ChronoCom and all the rest of the things that you can read about in the jacket copy (or at the link above). Maybe it shows that I read too much bad SF as a kid, but I’m still really impressed by SF writers who are able to blend things into dialogue and story rather than just resorting to info dumps.
This is a Time Travel story where the Time Travel’s not really all that important. It’s just a tool. Like a cell phone — something that people use, but don’t really understand. No one (well, one person) here understands how it works, but they can use it. Ditto for all the nifty future-gadgets. So it makes it easy for us to not worry about it, too, and just go with the flow.
When you clear away all the bells and whistles this is a pretty straight-forward story about corporate greed, ecological/societal collapse, and a few people trying to do the right thing with the cards stacked against them (even if that pits them against each other). The bells and whistles turn this into a SF/Time Travel/Dystopian Love Story.
Not the best thing I’ve ever read by Chu, but interesting enough to make me glad I read it, and I’ll be back for #2. Maybe with is he can do something to make the series something I can get excited about.