time’s eye (a time odyssey, book 1) by arthur c. clarke and stephen baxter, in addition to having a clumsy title, also ends up being a choppy ride. the basic premise is that the world gets remixed, time-wise, by mysterious aliens, and there ends up being little pockets of different bits of history that collide with each other, eventually boiling down to the army of genghis khan facing off against the army of alexander the great, with a few 21st century soldiers and cosmonauts and late-19th century british troops thrown into the mix.

one of the biggest flaws of the book is the actions of one of the cosmonauts, which plays out in a frightfully predictable way. (sadly, i was thinking at one point that it was refreshing to see the authors had not leaned on the sort of character/plot device that a more mediocre talent like michael crichton would, but then just a little bit later they went and did exactly as i feared.)

what is most interesting about the book is really the larger-scale problems brought about by the mix-and-match of different parts of earth from different times, and some of the interplay between the characters about what it means. in that sense, the book feels like a little bit of a mix-and-match: a michael crichton book plopped into the middle of an arthur c. clarke framework.

but my real disappointment is that i finished reading it just a short while ago, after the library was closed. if i had been thinking, i would have hit the library earlier to get some more books, since it will be closed tomorrow.

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