J.R. deSylva

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 368 Price: (paperback) $20.99 ISBN: 9781532075827 Reviewed: January, 2020 Author Website: Visit »

This futuristic science fiction novel focuses on a military time traveler trying to influence positive changes in the future by going back to the past.

Divided into five parts—“Discover,” “Contact,” “Secrets,” “Rubicon,” and “Wormhole”—the book reveals various interconnecting stories ranging in time from 2049 to 2186. Employed by the Consortium Space Force, Colonel Ophrinu (of the Boa species) jumps back and forth through time to keep the antagonistic Arbitrators species in line and to determine the motives of the seemingly benign Vermillion. As he travels, his personal life remains the same—until one mysterious jump changes everything.

The book delivers a well-developed plot, and the author excels at world-building, depicting four-armed aliens, female aliens who look male, suspended animation for long-distance space travel, and flesh-eating Nanobots. A detailed backstory regarding the Consortium Space Force, while overlong, adds to the intrigue.

Unfortunately, the story is hampered by several flaws. Some of it is written in third-person omniscient narrative and some in Ophrinu’s first-person point of view. This storytelling technique and inconsistent use of tenses, which shift between and within sentences (e.g., “Intrigued at the culture he is observing, Lt. Larder was assessing a world of intelligent beings…”), make a complicated story about time travel even more difficult to understand.

Additionally, the narrative is often dense and filled with large information dumps, rather than lively dialogue. Minimal character development also impacts engagement.
The book suffers from repeated words, grammatical problems, spelling errors, and poor sentence structure, as in: “The Master Sargent is nobodies [sic] nurse. Her job is to act as liaison between officers and noncoms, and keeping the enlisted focused on the job at hand.”

With judicious editing to address such issues and expound on the major characters, this sci-fi tale (which the author intends to continue in another book) could usher in an interesting new series. As is, readers will find it hard to remain engaged throughout.

Also available as an ebook.

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