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A Bridge Of Years (1991)

A Bridge of Years (1991)

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3.76 of 5 Votes: 3
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0385419376 (ISBN13: 9780385419376)

About book A Bridge Of Years (1991)

A BRIDGE OF YEARS is an older title by Robert Charles Wilson (1991) but one I had somehow overlooked or missed over the years. It’s similar in my mind to both 11/22/63 by Stephen King and one by the great Clifford D. Simak so old that it must be out of print (?)--WAY STATION. Simak’s classic was about an ordinary mortal (albeit a Civil War veteran still living as a young man in the 1960s) who was tasked by with the protection and maintenance of a portal to other intergalactic worlds. The portal was stuck off in the forested boonies, where it should have attracted less attention, but eventually was interfered with by the U.S. government, aliens and local hillbillies. Stephen King, of course, wrote an 850-page whopper about a man who steps through a doorway (literally) to the past, falls in love, and decides he prefers the early Sixties to the present day. A BRIDGE OF YEARS similarly involves time travel to the Sixties and a biologically enhanced man protecting “a temporal depot” (loc.3575) in a secluded rural place.Good time travel novels, like books about vampires, have to be scrupulous about what rules of operation the author lays out--i.e., they must be believable and consistent. Wilson decides on his interpretation of time travel (is the past immutable, or can it be significantly altered?) and sticks to it with good effect when depressed, divorced Tom Winter “escapes” from the Eighties in Washington State to New York City in May 1962. Back there/then he starts a new life among beatniks and falls in love. Unfortunately, a merciless soldier from the far future has made the trip way in advance of Tom and will use all of the weapons in his nifty suit of battle armor to remain the only ahead-of-his-era visitor extant in 1962. Also, the tunnel connecting 1989 to 1962 maybe has some creepy things called “time ghosts” inhabiting it. Tom is “smug with thirty years’ worth of cheap prescience” (loc.3048), but he’s not obsessed with changing an historical event on 11/22/63 (which was King’s premise). Poor Tom just wants the past to make room for him to live a new life. He decides “history was good because it was immutable” (loc.2138), but that doesn’t mean a time traveler can’t die there. Good characters, good writing, plenty of excitement and brain-stretching ideas. Not as showy as the chubby 2011 novel by Stephen King, but still a sharp, solid work of speculative fiction.

I kind of got this by accident. I really enjoy Robert Charles Wilson’s books and saw this available for pre-order on the Nook. I waited for months for the release date, then decided to get the audiobook because a credit cost less than the ebook. I was a bit surprised that the Audible Frontiers version was released in 2009, but just thought that the ebook version was new. As I’m listening, it seemed a bit dated. The current-day events in this time travel story occur in 1989. I did more research on the book and found out that it was originally published 20 years ago and was re-released in late 2011. I’m just saying this for disclosure because it really didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story.What did affect my enjoyment was this similarity between this novel and Stephen King’s newest, 11/22/63 which I listened to last month. I kept thinking that this book was so much like that one and had to remind myself that Wilson wrote it 20 years before King wrote his. In both books, an ordinary guy from the present travels back to the past. King’s protagonist to 1958 and Wilson’s to 1962. They both get jobs, rent apartments, make friends and fall in love in the past. The both face great danger because of their time traveling. As much as I enjoyed this, I felt like I was re-reading 11/22/63 and that really isn’t fair to “A Bridge of Years”. This book is worth reading, just don’t read it too close to King’s book.This audiobook is one of Jonathan Davis’s better narrations. His voice is perfectly suited to the story and his tendency to talk like William Shatner wasn’t as bad as usual.

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Fun read! It was creepy enough to give me a few thrills, but not creepy enough that I felt uncomfortable or freaked out reading it alone in a hotel room while out of town on a business trip. Also, it's set largely in the Pacific Northwest, which I have newly acquired firsthand knowledge of (there is a teeny tiny passage featuring a hummingbird that drew me completely into the book/moment - love it!). The time travel aspect of the book has the potential to be like Every Sci-Fi Book Ever (blah blah blah paradox-cakes), and we have a signature Robert Charles Wilson Sad Trombone Moment ("How did you know about [commonly understood phenomenon]?" "I read a lot of science fiction novels as a kid." :::sad trombone:::), but overall the book managed to avoid getting dragged down in time travel/sci-fi cliches. I thought the message was good, but I'll admit to having Views about nostalgia, so YMMV. Short version: well worth the download!
— Jessica

Although science fiction, this time-travel book explores the personal experiences of the travellers. How does the experience sit with those who travel? What is its impact on their live? Do they really want to spend their time in a different era? Add a brutal mercenary from the future running from his own conscription, and another level is added to the story; moving the plot along at a breakneck pace. A quick read, and a fascinating study in one's realizations and actions when confronted with the understanding of "place."Read it.

Bestselling author Robert Charles Wilson’s book, A Bridge of Years, recently re-released in paperback, has an interesting play on the idea of time travel, but remains true to its “rule” that there are always repercussions when one plays around with time travel, even when someone thinks they’ve been given a second chance.Tom Winter has made a right old mess of things, now without a job and a wife who’s left him; he’s hit rock bottom. With some leftover inheritance money he buys a simple little house in the secluded Pacific Northwest, looking to just get away from things for a while, and try to figure his life out. The only problem is the simple house he bought turns out to be a prime example of real estate where everything isn’t as it seems or should be. It begins minutely with his unclean plate with a few leftovers that he leaves by the sink overnight; in the morning it has been licked clean by something.At first he thinks it’s nothing, but it keeps on happening and he tries to film it but the camera mysteriously shuts off during the filming. Then there’s the weird sounds he keeps hearing, like little machines zooming around his house; a flickers of minute movement out of the corner of his eye. Then in the basement he discovers an extra room that leads to a tunnel that takes him back to another time and another place: 1963, New York City.Wilson has fun playing around with time travel in this short novel, building the mystery and setting up a far more complex story than readers will be expecting. As to the answer of what is eating the leftover food and why, it is both gruesome and shocking, but at the same time makes perfect sense.Originally written on April 9, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.For more reviews, check out Bookbanter.
—Alex Telander

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