Exploits in Time by Nicholas C. Thomas is a fantastic collection of 10 short stories with original takes on the mysteries of time travel and other ideas in science fiction.
Ten out of Ten!
A possible pitfall with collections of short stories is that there may be one or two stories which just don’t cut it. Thankfully this is not the case with Exploits in Time – I found all of the shorts to be engaging, and there isn’t one (or more) which I’d single out that I wish I’d not spent my time on.
This is a great feat when you consider the enormous scope of subjects within the collection! Actually the breadth of scope also bears testament to both the quality of the writing and the presentation of the stories themselves. For example, “Poltergeist” is about a Poltergeist (…obviously!). I’m not a fan of supernatural things so I was expecting my anomalously ‘bad’ story to be this one, but Nicholas C. Thomas puts a intriguing angle on it that it kept me engrossed all the way through!
Simply put, it’s the story and the delivery which make these short stories entertaining – not just the subject.
So Exploits in Time is up there with Jack Finney’s About Time which is the only other collection of short stories (to date) where I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each one. (Actually the main problem with About Time is that it inspired me to buy Time and Again which turned out to be a horrendous read *growl*.)
Generally speaking I find the length of each story to be sitting comfortably in the Goldilocks Zone – long enough to get stuck into and make it meaty, and short enough to keep it punchy.
I particularly like the style in which Nicholas C. Thomas writes – primarily he uses dialogue to paint pictures and describes things, and leaves out much of the dry narrative that often beefs up short stories unnecessarily. The result is a beautifully succinct short story which is sweet and to the point and I think marks Nicholas C. Thomas as a remarkable and unique author.
The other hidden gem is the scientific content. It’s not full blown and in your face, but it’s certainly there, and the ideas are presented with fascinating – yet consistent – twists and turns. For me, this is a real bonus; black box is fine, but getting into the nuts and bolts of it all (and having a good play around) is so much more fun!
Ultimately, Exploits in Time has at least something for everyone with an interest in science fiction, and if you’re lucky, it has even more!
Exploits in Time is published by Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd and is available from Amazon, Waterstones and Blackwell’s (see links at footer of publisher’s page).
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Disclaimer: A copy of “Exploits in Time” was sent to me free of charge to read and provide an honest opinion. This is it! (But of course you are more than welcome to read this book for yourself and form your own views! 😉
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