Time Scout by Robert Asprin and Linda Evans

Title: Time Scout
Author: Robert Asprin & Linda Evans
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In purusing my bookshelves for something to review I let my finger run by “Time Scout.” Once, twice… pausing at the third time. Maybe it’s the holiday season or having written upwards of three pages of content a day, but suddenly I thought, “Does every book I write about have to be one of the best ever written, by a highly respected author, a giant blockbuster, or controversial?… No, I guess not. I’ll just write about something fun.”

When one ponders science fiction, Robert Asprin’s books don’t come immediately to mind. As a young reader I was a huge fan of the comical-fantasy “MythAdventures” series. Over the years, when I felt like reading something fun, light, and distracting, I often hit “A” in the SF&F section, knowing that I would have an amusing few afternoons’ reading.

The question in my mind is whether or not this novel is truly science fiction. In the end, it isn’t anything else, so it must be. But it is soft. Extremely soft. Cream cheese soft. And that’s okay.

The premise of this near future universe is that time travel is now possible due refts in the space/time fabric caused by a catastrophic physics experiment gone awry. Although the present time suffered enormous devastation, wiping out many millions around the world, one side effect was the creation of time gates.

These gates allow individuals to travel back into a variety of time periods ranging from the roman empire, to mid-19th century england, to mongolia during the reign of Attila the Hun. A time scout is one of the suicidal individuals who is willing to jump through unexplored gates to ascertain their viability as tourist destinations.

Through a host of oddball (and not always totally believable characters) a series of wild myth – er – misadventures ensue in a hodgepodge of historical environments. Romance, violence, backstabbing, and near death encounters make this novel read more like a Tom Clancy thriller than a science fiction piece… and that’s okay.

It’s not thought provoking, it’s not cutting edge, it’s not prophetic, but it is a whole lot of fun and it’s nice to know when it’s finished, there are three more in the series to continue the roller coaster adventure through the centruries.

Lisa K. Dec. 23, 2012

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