No Time to Say Goodbye, by Bill Adler Jr., is a speculative fiction novella about a man who mysteriously finds himself travelling through time.
When Dr. Dennis Tanner awakes to discover he can’t account for several hours of his life, he thinks little of it. But when it happens again at work, he begins to suspect he has a medical problem. After confiding in his wife Rachel, the love of his life, they seek an explanation together. Unfortunately, before one can be provided, he skips forward again, this time years into the future, confronted by an ailing and elderly Rachel.
Continually jumping forward in time—hours, days, years, decades, and eventually centuries—Dennis is faced with the prospect of missing out on the life he built for himself and losing all he holds dear faster than he can manage to grieve. But the question remains: Why is this happening to him?
No Time to Say Goodbye is, in turns, intriguing, heartfelt, and provocative. Readers might be reminded of Richard Matheson’s Somewhere in Time or Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, in that Adler skillfully examines the theme of lovers separated by time. But the story is more than that. It’s a tale of existential isolation, ephemeral moments, and transient relationships. It’s a meditation on change, and when the origin of Dennis’s unique affliction is revealed, it carries a cautionary message about the dangers of societal hubris.
The dialogue is serviceable without distinguishing itself, but Adler’s prose is admirably economical, managing to convey a great deal in a short work, which propels the story quickly. He imagines a future rich in detail, evoking authors from science fiction’s golden age, and he takes readers to an unexpected place when straight-ahead romance gives way to deeper philosophical reflection. For fans of speculative fiction in the vein of Amazing Stories, or anyone intrigued by time travel, No Time to Say Goodbye is a fully satisfying read.
Also available as an ebook.