I just finished Extant :A Time Travel Short Story by Anthony Vicino. The action starts immediately in this Science Fiction thriller – a character is shot and wants a “redo”. Chronos are people who can manipulate time – stop it, speed through it, or reverse it. Time doesn’t “solidify” for 30 seconds. A chrono can set the clock back 30 seconds so an ambush isn’t fatal. But the power comes at price. That cost is physical and emotional. Vicino guides you through the story as the final bill is required of all the characters.
I would say this is a good read for lunch, but one might forget to eat. The story pops with the characters jumping out of an airplane and into a firefight. The story alternates between the present action and flashbacks that explain time travel rules and consequences. Time travel is integral to the story. But Vicino manages to avoid the conundrums Star Trek uses with every third episode and gives me headaches. He uses the device well without abusing the reader’s willing suspension of disbelief.
Anthony strength is in his humor and his dialogue crackles with humor. Below is a sample from the opener.
“—gonna go for the triple backflip thi—,” Maddix was saying, half his body hanging out of the hover-jet’s open cargo door.
“Stop!” I grabbed the collar of his flak jacket and yanked him back before he could make a very regrettable mistake.
“Really? Already?” He frowned. “Did somebody miss the jump?”
“You got shot and fell off.” The wind played tag with my ponytail as I leaned out of the hover-jet and pointed to Haven hundreds of feet below. “In seventeen seconds three soldiers pop out from that service entrance.”
“Boy, that must be embarrassing,” Zoe said, putting an elbow in Maddix’s rib for good measure. “Didn’t even make it thirty seconds.”
I have always appreciate banter and there is plenty of that with these characters. But Vicino also manage to find painful emotions as the characters struggle with things that can’t be changed. These characters are fun but have losses we can feel.
Anthony has a great blog on writing that is always entertaining informative – One Lazy Robot. He has great advice on writing delivered with a sharp wit that makes one wonder if he takes anything serious. His blog also includes reviews of other books and authors and puts up some of his writing. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys good writing, wants to learn about good writing or who simply likes a good internet meme.
Check out his website and check out his short story. They are good reads.