Orphans of Time-Space
by Robby Charters
Release Date: November 1, 2016
At nine years old, Drake was sure he had a best friend named Timmy Browning, but it turns out, Timmy never existed.
Later, at age sixteen, he has other weird memories, which remind him of his earlier one of Timmy Browning. While looking further, he realises he also knows things that he shouldn’t, such as the interior of the actual house that Timmy would have lived in, and Timmy’s mum (now the mother of Drake’s girlfriend, Jeanette); and weirder still: the name of a mysterious assassin.
These types of memories are the mark of one who has the “gift” of time perception. Thus, Drake’s adventures begin…
Saving Timmy Browning is the first in a collection of short stories, novelettes and a novella, all set in the same universe, some with the same characters. Saving Timmy Browning is a novelette, with an “uh-oh” ending if you want to take it on its own; or a cliff-hanger if you want to read straight into the sequel…
Saving the Time-line: Timmy Browning and his younger sister, Jessica have been saved from non-existence, but now the world has been plunged into a nightmarish alternative history of international proportions (no, not like Biff Tannen’s Hill Valley)
By now, we’ve already met Johann, a member of “The Order”. They have the task of streamlining history, and helping humanity avoid nasty things like nuclear war and mass genocide. They’ve been working overtime to keep the USSR and Argentina from a devastating war. They’ve run out of options, except for one, that Drake, Timmy, Jeanette and Jessica can help them with.
Episode Three is more like a chapter in the book that ties a few loose ends together.
The Murder Victim Who Was Still Alive is a stand-alone short story, set in the same universe, same premise. Police Inspector Dylan Murphy is working on a weird case: the body of a six-year-old boy was found buried under a pavement that hadn’t been been dug up in fifty years. But the time of death was only two hours ago. What’s even more strange: the boy, Mickey Stewart, is still very much alive.
The Great Time Shift (What would happen if Hannibal didn’t defeat Rome?) – How “The Order” was founded; Thoma tells the story of how it all started in a monastery in Iskandar (Kandahar). It was a time-line in which Rome never rose to be a great empire. First century Judea was under the Parthian Empire, so Christianity spread Eastward instead of Westward. India and China have been Christianised and Yoga is a Christian discipline. Thoma and his fellow monk Yoseph discover time-travel, and how to do it safely, avoiding the dangers of becoming embedded in the earth or dropping from the sky (because of the spin and orbit of the earth).
This novella answers the questions: how did history shift from the Parthian to the Roman time line; and how could the Incarnation and the rise of Christianity have possibly occurred in such a barbaric civilisation as the Roman Empire?
The Orphans of Time Space is a rather intriguing collection of stories, all revolving around the possibility that some people may not only be predisposed to perceiving broken timelines, but also to traveling forwards and backwards along them.
The main character in the first one is Drake, and his story is all about discovering his own abilities and then learning to use them to save his abruptly non-existent friend, well, exist again. It gets complicated when he figures out that if he saves Timmy, his girlfriend Jeanette will go poof instead.
My favorite of the stories, however, is the one that stands alone in the middle, The Murder Victim Who Was Still Alive, even though the 6-year-old murder victim was incredibly well-spoken, especially when it cuts to his perspective. Still, I liked it. There was tension, and it really drew me in.
The longest one, I think, was the one about the history of The Order. It gets pretty deep, and Drake and friends reappear, but only as observers or students hearing a story second hand. I enjoyed the interesting take on the first Christmas. Clever.
Obviously, the author did a lot of research on the historical figures and put some real time into working through some plausible alternate realities, paradoxes, and methods to protect his time travelers from the influence of their own actions. I’m not as well versed in my history, but I didn’t any have trouble following along and enjoying the story.
The stories seem to be written in such a way as they could be read as standalone works, but as such, there are some redundancies, particularly in explaining the logistics around time travel.
Overall, I really liked these stories, particularly the mystery, the Saving Timmy Browning one, and the one with the first Christmas in it. It’s an eclectic collection, all in the same world, but not all directly linked.
I received the review copy of this book from the author.
About the Author:
On a side note, this isn't the first book I've read by this author. Nope, the first was The Zondon, which I picked up on Amazon back in 2013 because it started with a Z, it wasn't about zombies, and I was trying to complete an A-Z reading challenge.
Here's my review for The Zondon on Goodreads. It's one of those books I still find myself thinking about even a few years later.