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on May 14, 2013 :
I really wanted to like this book as I find such topics fascinating. Unfortunately I found the book unreadable. By far the biggest problem is the frequent and sudden switching to and from first person present, first person past and third person present tenses. Especially as I am not certain who the "I" who's only occasionally narrating the story is.
The only real character introduction is done all at once in the form of a (at the time) meaningless list. This lack of showing and intimate introduction of characters combined with the constant change of tense and perspective leaves me always wondering who anybody is and why should I care.
Finally, this book is mostly telling with very little showing. It doesn't transport me to 9th century England the way Eric Flint's "1632" transports me to 17th century Germany. The characters have no depth and very little interaction. Don't tell me there's a barbecue, sit me down there in a main character and have a meaningful conversation that explores their character and informs their decisions later in the story over food that is a sensory experience and relay's their personal tastes and peeves. If you can't show me what's going on through dramatic action and dialog that moves the story forward, at least tell me with dialog that develops the characters.
I have not read all of this book but reading the other positive reviews I'm going to give it one more chance. If it unexpectedly improves I will adjust my review accordingly.
(review of free book)
on Sep. 29, 2012 :
Great story I came back to smashwords to buy the rest of the series. I was surprised to see they're free as well.
As has been noted in other reviews this could be really
exceptional with some editorial polish I would definitely buy the series.
(review of free book)
on May 31, 2011 :
Time travel/alternate history somewhat in the 'Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court' (or' Crosstime Engineer') vein. Reads like the Mission Diary it's framed as - the writing is promising journeyman work - but for a REALLY interesting mission. The main characters are pretty bloody minded - nukeing a medieval city to get rid of maybe 5% of the population would take a thicker skin than mine, for example. Heinlein's 'Time Enough For Love' is referenced, staying just this side of the homage/fanfic line. Was surprised to find this one offered for free - it's worth paying for. There is certainly worse out there from major publishers. The author might - if he hasn't already - consider submitting to Baen Books, which has published a deal of similarly themed work.
(review of free book)
on Feb. 11, 2011 :
I have read all three books now and felt it was time to come back and add a review for each. I'll start with the first book.
There is no doubt that the book could use the finer editorial touches the more poular authors receive, but for a self-published first book - well done! It takes awhile to get used to the NZ references (especially from us Canadians!), but using a Kindle allows the reader to look up unfamiliar words.
Yes, the storyline was basic, but it was also thoughtful and certainly very detailed - perhaps a little overboard even for us "A" personality types. I did very much enjoy the premise and the characters. The next two books add to the character's backgrounds and development.
I would have enjoyed some more adversarial aspects in this book, but you get some rewards if you move on to books 2 & 3. Keep up the good work Wayne, I'm looking forward to the 4th book!
(review of free book)
on Jan. 27, 2011 :
This was a fun book to read! I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in the possibilities of time travel!
(review of free book)
on Feb. 27, 2010 :
Mr. Watson has produced a future-past fantasy of considerable dimensions. Its characters hop gleefully from 21st Century New Zealand, to a far distant planet they call Transit, to 9th Century England, to 8th Century New Zealand, and assorted points in between and beyond. Their spatio-temporal gate allows them unlimited flexibility of movement through both space and time, at apparently no cost...except for the cost to the various organizations whose military goods they requisition for their undertaking.
The thrust of the novel is the protagonists' desire to create a time-branch, one that would avoid the accelerating totalitarian tendencies of this time line. They aim to do this by bringing high-tech firepower to 9th Century England, that the Danish incursions that so retarded social and technological progress there might be thwarted and a genuinely free society nurtured.
Much of the early going of the book reads like a recipe for exactly that sort of enterprise. It's replete with equipment lists, training schedules, and orders of deployment. Fascinating, in a way, but this reader was itching to get on to the main event, and discover the inner motivations of the Marquee characters.
The adventure proceeds smoothly -- for the protagonists, that is. The Danes find themselves on the nasty end of quite a bit of advanced ordnance, and are beaten back repeatedly without the good guys suffering a single casualty. Local Englishment rapidly warm to their new protectors, who instruct them in replicable technologies they would normally have discovered by trial and error over the course of the coming centuries. In the process, the mingling of 21st Century and 9th Century Anglosphere cultures produces some interesting alterations to the latter.
The book has its satisfactions, but it also has two flaws of note. First, there are a significant number of "mechanical" mistakes. These include numerous spelling and punctuation errors, not all of which could be attributed to typos. Also, the RTF format copy I downloaded suffers from many, many changes of font size and shifts to and from italic, with no clear reason for either. Were these corrected, the reading experience would be greatly improved.
Second, as is often the case in a story written to reify the author's desires, the heroes win far too easily. The time-traveling lovers of freedom are too well supplied with every imaginable resource, both human and material, owing to the infinite possibilities of unlimited free movement in space and time. Beyond that, not one of the Marquee characters appears to have any significant character flaws or dark motives. The result is a lack of dramatic tension. This reader reached the end of the book hoping against hope that some force -- perhaps another time-traveling band, this one dedicated to establishing totalitarian rule over all places and times -- would come along to give the heroes a genuinely hard time. It doesn't happen.
Meddlers In Time has its pleasures. In particular, it was educational to read a well-thought-out plan of attack for "hothousing" a subsistence culture toward an advanced state. Mr. Watson has obviously put a good deal of thought into the problems involved. Perhaps there's a time-space gate on his shopping list, if not on his storeroom shelves!
--Theme: I can't grade this, as there was essentially none.
--Plot: C / C+
In short, a fun read, but no more than that. Perhaps Mr. Watson has better shots in the locker; I hope to see some.
Francis W. Porretto
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Nov. 23, 2009 :
You like Heinlein and Vance? Then you will love Wayne watson. Although less polished and a tad rough around the edges, this is SF for blokes that like their meat red, their beer cold, and their women hot. Add bulldozers, excavators and all sort of weaponry, plus the good old boys' dream of what you could do with 21st century technology in 13th century times, and you've got the crux of this book. Riveting and compellin, this is a page turner that'll leave you wanting for more. I eat my hat if this story isn't going to be picked up by some Hollywood crowd one day.
(reviewed the day of purchase)