REVIEW: Someone in Time edited by Jonathan Strahan
Even time travel can’t unravel love
Anthology of inclusive tales of people through time looking for one another and for ways for the world to be better.
Time-travel is a way for writers to play with history and imagine different futures – for better, or worse.
When romance is thrown into the mix, time-travel becomes a passionate tool, or heart-breaking weapon. A time agent in the 22nd century puts their whole mission at risk when they fall in love with the wrong person. No matter which part of history a man visits, he cannot not escape his ex. A woman is desperately in love with the time-space continuum, but it doesn’t love her back. As time passes and falls apart, a time-traveller must say goodbye to their soulmate.
With stories from best-selling and award-winning authors such as Seanan McGuire, Alix E. Harrow and Nina Allan, this anthology gives a taste for the rich treasure trove of stories we can imagine with love, loss and reunion across time and space.
Including stories by: Alix E. Harrow, Zen Cho, Seanan McGuire, Sarah Gailey, Jeffrey Ford, Nina Allan, Elizabeth Hand, Lavanya Lakshminarayan, Catherynne M. Valente, Sam J. Miller, Rowan Coleman, Margo Lanagan, Sameem Siddiqui, Theodora Goss, Carrie Vaughn, Ellen Klages
CW – homophobia, anti LGBTQIA slurs/violence, gay bashing, brief mention of miscarriage, abortion, death by suicide
As with any Anthology, there are stories that work for a reader and some that probably – for whatever reason – won’t. I had heard of a lot of these authors already even if I hadn’t actually read work by some of them. Plus our recent conversation on time-travel made me look at this more closely and request to read it. I was primed to read it after I was approved.
Most of the stories center on LGBTQIA characters. Some have elaborate time travel mechanisms or reasons. Some have time travel that has become almost – or in one case literally – a roadside attraction. Stories have time travel in order to save humanity or to redirect past persons to do certain things needed for history *not* to be changed. There are stories in which time travelers go back over and over while others are intended to journey on a one way trip. A few mesmerized me, most entertained me, and one or two I could barely make heads or tails of. But overall, I enjoyed this anthology very much.
Let me pick a few of the stories and why I like them. In “Bergamot and Vetiver” by Lavanya Lakshminarayan a future (for us) scientist goes back to the Indus Valley Civilization to learn water management secrets from a city we know as Mohenjo-Daro to try and save a parched future world.
Zen Cho’s “The Past Life Reconstruction Service” has a director take five journeys to his past lives to rejuice his inspiration after his latest film flops and his young lover leaves him. Soulmates are real even if they take different shapes, or species, during each incarnation.
“Roadside Attraction” by Alix E. Harrow has a gay guy who’s not in Kansas anymore meeting up with a sweet time travelor coming from the past to live in a place where he can just be.
“Unbashed, or: Jackson, Whose Cowardice Tore a Hole in the Chronoverse” by Sam J. Miller broke my heart. Seriously, I cried over this one as a young man mourns his lost love and repeatedly mentally plays “if only.”
I think for me the “winner, winner, chicken dinner” entry is by “The Difference Between Love and Time” by Catherynne M. Valent who has her heroine love and be loved (or will be loved, or was loved) by the space/time continuum because that’s everything, baby. Everything that is/was/will be all at the same time. It’s time travel without having to travel because all time is now/then/will be. It’s funny, sad, thoughtful, more funny, and angry with breakups and reconciliations and whispered conversations of love and words you can’t take back. I loved the writing in this one.
The space/time continuum is the sum total of all that ever was or will be or ever possibly could have been or might conceivably exist and/or occur, the constantly tangling braid of physical and theoretical reality, (steadily degrading) temporal processes, and the interactions between the aforementioned.
It is also left-handed.
It is, as you have probably always suspected, non-linear, non-anthropic, non-Euclidean, and wholly non-sensical.
In point of fact, it’s a complete goddamned mess.
It has severe social anxiety.
And a weakness for leather jackets.
We first met when I was six. Our fathers arranged a play date.
So a few entries get an A range grade, one I couldn’t finish, but for the sum total, I’d give this collection a B