THE TIME TRAVELER’S ALMANAC: AUGUSTA PRIME BY KARIN TIDBECK

TimeTravellerToday I’m once again posting a short piece as part of Time Travel Thursday – which I was introduced to by DJ at My Life My Books My Escape.  The other bloggers who take part have been gradually working their way through the stories every Thursday.  I’m a little late at getting on board and I might not be able to post every week but I’d like to join in as I’ve had this book for ages and this gives me the perfect inspiration to pick it up.

Today’s story Augusta Prime by Karin Tidbeck

Section Mazes and Traps

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5 Rating

I actually quite enjoyed this story, it was short and, well, not really sweet.  We start with Augusta playing a game of croquet on the lawn.  Augusta is a bit nervous because this is a very important gathering with only the most note worthy people being invited but, nonetheless, the sun is shining and what could possibly be more civilised?  Well, the game here has different rules than the game we’re familiar with – it seems the objective here is not to hit the ball through the hoop but to whack it with the mallet and try and hit as many people, pages and other servants, (not guests) as possible.  Nasty.  Straight away you know you’re somewhere slightly off kilter.  The brief glimpse we have of the setting almost has a Wonderland feel to it but the indolent, lazy, bored feeling of the players, their cruelty and (lets face it) the reference to changelings makes us aware that we’re perhaps in a fae court?

From this point on the text jumps around a good deal but we learn that Augusta has found a ‘human’ timepiece (okay a watch) and this makes her curious.  Her curiosity leads to investigations and questions, she keeps notes to remind herself of what she’s learned and eventually she asks her ‘important’ questions of somebody who is most wise.  According to the proverb – curiosity killed the cat – that isn’t a spoiler as Augusta doesn’t actually die at the end of the book – however her curiosity has certainly led to the last place she wanted to be.

This is a lovely twist on the myth of the fae – the difference in their world particularly concerning time and their immortality.  I like the way the story is placed in the ‘mazes and traps’ section which is very pertinent.

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The Time Traveller’s Almanac: Fish Night by Joe Lansdale

TimeTravellerToday I’m posting a short piece as part of Time Travel Thursday – which I was introduced to by DJ at My Life My Books My Escape who has been gradually reading and reviewing the stories within the Almanac with a group of other bloggers.  I might not get round to reading and posting each week but I will try and do a couple every month.

Fish Night by Joe Lansdale is the first story that I’ve read from the Time Traveller’s Almanac.  It’s only a short story and took but a few minutes to read but it was entertaining and Lansdale writes with the sort of prose that makes you stop in your tracks a little just to have a think about what he’s written.  For example, I love his descriptions of the desert and the shifting sands which make it feel like a midnight sea – it’s also a fitting description given the rest of the story.  Basically this is a story of a car breaking down in the desert.  It involves two characters, a younger and older man.  The older guy has a story to tell about an experience he had in this same spot many years ago.  A ghostly apparition if you will but not the kind you may suspect or ever guess.  In fact this tale seems unbelievably fantastical and at the same time harmless.   I must confess that I was prepared for something really dark and twisted, in fact I was expecting to be given the chills – what the author actually manages to achieve is to pull you in, in such a short spell, hook you and then give a twist to the tale that is really surprising.  I have to applaud Lansdale.  This was not what I expected and it caught my attention, not just for the short spell it took to read but also after I finished while I thought about the implications.

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If you want to join in: next Thursday: The Lost Pilgrim by Gene Wolfe