The map of time : a novel
What if someone published a novel that changed the way an entire culture thought about a concept? How would that new way of thinking affect people and the way they live their lives? And how might the long-term ramifications of those changes manifest themselves? This intriguing idea is explored in Felix Palma'a novel The Map of Time.
This tale is set in the late 1800's during the scientific revolution that swept Victorian London--and the rest of the world--with the promise that science could, and would, open new doorways for humanity and solve all of our problems. During this time, a young writer named H.G. Wells published his first novel, The Time Machine , which resulted in many people pondering for the first time the possibilies that could result from traveling through time.
Writing with an engaging style and a wry sense of humor, Palma explores the effects of these new ideas on the denizens of Victorian London in a genre-bending novel that includes elements of Gothic romance, science fiction (more specifically Steampunk), pulp adventure stories, and historical fiction. The cast of characters includes stalwart heroes, prim Victorian ladies and ruthless cads (Although to be honest, it's not always clear who is whom until the end!), and historical figures like H.G. Wells, Jack the Ripper, Joseph Merrick, and Bram Stoker. The novel also features a humorous all-seeing, all-knowing narrator, who makes observations and revelations to the reader as the story progresses. While Palma describes how glorious it must have been to live in London during this age of discovery, he also illustrates how difficult this London was, with its strict code of behavior, class politics and tightly defined limitations for women.
Credit must be give to Nick Castor who translated Palma's writing from Spanish to English. The book reads fluidly and lacks the literary clunkiness often associated with translated works. This is a rollicking adventure, romance and thoughtful exploration of how we navigate the sea of time.