Anna (_ocelott_) wrote in sci_femmes,

Newton's Sleep by Daniel O'Mahony

Series: Faction Paradox
Publisher: Random Static, 2008
Genre: Science Fiction
Sub-genre: Alternate history/time travel

Read the full, spoiler-free review here.

For those who don't know (I didn't!), Faction Paradox is a Doctor Who spinoff, a sect of Time Lords who like to go through history and tweak things. Fortunately, you don't have to be familiar with Doctor Who to get through the book, though.

O'Mahony has put a lot of wonderful historical details in here, with a clever use of language. Covering about 50 years during the tumultuous mid-to-late 1600s, there's clearly been a lot of research done, and it's a pleasure to visit some of these historical places and people, particularly Aphra Behn, who was a real woman.

The complex storylines, woven and intermingled in surprising ways, involve a whole lot of politics and scheming as well as the edges of an intergalactic war. A lot of this is spoken in subtleties, especially considering most of the characters are from the time period in which the book is set and have no concept of time travel or worlds outside their own.

Between the sophisticated, occasionally overwritten language and the non-linear flow of the narrative, this is decidedly not a quick or fluffy read. Actually, I spent more time than I would have liked completely confused, trying to figure out where and when this part of the book was set. That whole last chapter I read, did that already happen? Or is that in the future compared to the bit I'm reading now? Wait, did that bit of history just get erased, as in the characters won't remember any of this for the rest of the story? Bwuh?

Admittedly, I'm generally more interested in alternate history than time travel, which might have had something to do with my level of enjoyment. Of the other two reviews I found for Newton's Sleep, both reviewers loved the book with a ferocity I usually reserve for chocolate.
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