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Time Salvager, by Wesley Chu

Review copy provided by Tor Books.

This is a crapsack future full of anti-heroes and Tuckerizations.

So why did I finish it?

Well…uh…it was going really fast, and I wanted to see what happened. I actually really did want to see what happened. And whether the world was going to get less crapsack.

Seriously: this book has already gotten picked up by Hollywood (vague wording because I don’t know the details), and I can honestly say that I can see why. Reading it is incredibly like the experience of watching an action movie. Incredibly like. I see very few details that would even need to be changed to make it filmable–almost everything can just be read from the page and put directly on the screen, assuming sufficient special effects.

Chu walks a great line on the SF exposition in particular, between explanation that is necessary and that which will bog down the pace. The story he’s telling doesn’t depend a lot on the semblance of exact physics. It does depend on humans’ perceptions of that physics, and one of my favorite things about this book is the way that it undermines what the smartest minds of its setting think they have figured out. I also liked the way that time travel was not, as in some books, one future and a ton of past settings, but multiple iterations of future, each with its own problems and mistakes.

This will not be a book for everyone; the grimness of the grim future is awfully grim. But it executes quite well on what it’s aiming at, well enough that I stuck with it even though it’s not my usual sort of thing.

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