2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
What if humans discovered alien technology deep in the ocean that allowed us to travel back in time? What if you could discover the secret of how the pyramids were built? What if you could go back and carry the cross for Jesus? Most importantly, what if the aliens wanted their technology back? These incidents and more await readers in the science fiction novel, Rufus, by Jim Fayssoux.
It all begins when an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico finds a small, glasslike pyramid. The sides of the pyramid are 3.14159 inches long (the number pi), and it is not of this world. Eventually, the researchers discover that by projecting lasers into the crystal, they can see a holographic representation of past events. Further experimentation leads to the realization that this is a time machine and the right traveler could actually interact with the events. The project is turned over to a mysterious character, Dr. K. He reveals that this is not the first time a crystal like this has been on earth. In 1943 experiments on hiding ships from radar caused one to completely disappear and reappear 3 hours later. The scientists involved discover a 25-year cycle that allows crossover in time. So, twenty-five years later the ship appears, they send it back, and a spaceship appears with two dead aliens and a mysterious crystal. Two more aliens appear to retrieve the crystal. Now humans have another crystal to continue the experiments. The rest of the story is about recruiting a time traveler named Rufus and sending him on several missions. There are some great action scenes with alien attacks as two different species try to get the crystal. There is also an overriding mystery about who is funding this program and what their intentions really are.
My favorite parts of this book were the time travel scenes. The author obviously did research to make these sections authentic. It was interesting to see snippets in history and see how Rufus interacted with the past. However, he did not seem to be very worried about interfering with the timeline. He even takes a wife and starts a family at one point. There were some pretty surprising connections where events would not have turned out as they are portrayed in history books if the traveler had not been there. I always enjoy reading about such time travel paradoxes.
Unfortunately, the appealing plot was held back at times by several problems. First of all, the book was apparently not professionally edited. I found over ten errors, mostly related to commas, in the first twenty-five pages. I was glad to be able to quit counting at that point and try to ignore them. Also, the author has a habit of giving an extensive back-story and description of each character the first time they are introduced. It made the plot lag and interrupted the action. Additionally, there was an incident where the author switched from a character telling a story in first person to the narrator finishing it in third person. This too could have been caught and corrected by a good editor. Another glitch for me involved Dr. K who conveniently had created several pieces of technology necessary to make the time travel work. This included a universal translator. It would have been easier to suspend disbelief if they got the tools from different scientists. Lastly, more than one character uses the n-word when referring to the main character. Like cursing, this type of language can be appropriate to the scene at times, but this particular word is so derogatory that the story would be better without it.
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. The premise had so much potential. Unfortunately, with the editing errors and plot dragging, I can only give it 2 out of 4 stars. There are some accurately described violent scenes, so anyone sensitive to that would want to pass on this book. However, with the help of a good editor, this would be a good book for science-fiction fans.
View: on Bookshelves
Like teacherjh's review? Post a comment saying so!