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The Last Minute Decision: A Review of Clocking Time

Clocking Time A Time Travel Short Story by Mark McClure book cover. Image on cover is a stylized drawing of planets and outer space. Title: Clocking Time

Author: Mark McClure 

Publisher: JFR Publishers 

Publication Date: October 31, 2020

Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult 

Length: 31 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb:

Two teenagers share a secret superpower: clock jumping.

Confined to his house by the authorities, remote viewer Briann enters into the life and times of a Japanese girl, Nina.

But as Briann’s feelings for Nina grow, he must overcome his fear of this unpredictable power and make one final jump before his time runs out forever.

A time travel short story about first love and tough choices.

Review:

Special powers were meant to be used, right? 

Briann and Nina’s growing relationship made me smile. I’m not generally someone who gravitates towards romantic science fiction plots, but these two made a great couple. I liked the fact that they’d already decided they wanted to be together by the time I met them. That was a refreshing take on the romance angle of it all! They also understood each other in ways that most other people did not, and their unfailing support of one another made me hope they’d get their happy ending. 

There were times when I found the world building a little confusing, especially when it came to Briann’s society. Everything people did there was tightly controlled, from what they ate to who they socialized with, to what forms of entertainment they used. I was intrigued by the many rules that had been created about how lower-class families like his were allowed to behave and wished the plot had gone into greater detail about that. If this portion of the storyline had been written as tightly as the rest of it, I would have felt comfortable giving it the full five star rating. 

Briann and Nina’s abilities themselves were explained well. The first scene went into plenty of detail about the precise steps they took to travel to see each other. It even went so far as to describe the breathing pattern Briann adopted just before the jump happened. This isn’t something that’s always explained well in some time travel stories, so it makes me happy when authors do get specific about how it all works. 

Anyone who loves time travel tales should check out Clocking Time.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: If I Won a Large Lottery Jackpot, I Would….

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

This is going to be an eclectic list.

Get All of My Dental Work Done at Once. It’s non-urgent and is being done slowly and as necessary. If I had a windfall of cash, I’d bite the bullet (metaphorically speaking) and get everything checked off the to-do list as soon as possible.

Woman holding a gift wrapped in gold paper and a gold ribbon Buy Ethical, Local, and Eco-Friendly Stuff. I’d buy as much food, clothing, shoes, electronics, and other various household items from local merchants and farmers as is possible here in southern Ontario.   Buying local can be more ecologically friendly in general, so I’d keep an eye out for businesses that were cognizant of that as well. There’s something to be said for supporting small businesses and your local economy if you have the extra money to do so.

Donate Anonymously. For example, homeless shelters and food banks have always needed donations, and the demand for their services is sadly higher than ever. They should focus on the fact that they suddenly had more resources to help people going through tough times and not worry about giving me credit for anything. I’m too bashful to pose for photo-ops. LOL!

Hire A Housekeeper. I would pay them handsomely to come over for a couple of days a week to clean, shop for groceries, and do laundry. It would be wonderful to have the time I currently invest in that stuff freed up for other pursuits, although I do feel a little selfish to even mention this. It would be such a big splurge.

Buy an Annual Membership to My Local Art Museum. I used to go there occasionally before this darn pandemic began. I’d love to have the freedom to go as often as I pleased and during quiet times of the day when there aren’t any lines to see any of the paintings.

Treat My Family to a Vacation. That is to say, I’d take my spouse, parents, siblings, nephews, and sister-in-law on whatever sort of trip everyone agreed upon. I’d pay all expenses and try to convince them to accept some spending cash, too. Money is only as good as the memories it makes and the joy it brings to others.

Top Ten Tuesday: Literature-Themed Colouring Books

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Close-up photo of colored pencils Technically, this week’s topic was “Book Titles That Sound Like They Could Be Crayola Crayon Colors.”

My apologies to Jana, but I couldn’t find a single title that fit this description no matter how hard I searched.

Due to this, I tweaked the topic to be literature themed colouring books. That is to say, colouring books that are inspired by actual novels. Get your coloured pencils ready!

1. Tolkien’s World: A Fantasy Coloring Book by Allan Curless

2. The World of the Hunger Games: The Official Coloring Book by Scholastic Inc.

3. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Coloring Book by Terry Pratchett

4. Hansel and Gretel: An Amazing Colouring Book by Fabiana Attanasio

5. The Alice in Wonderland Colouring Book by Rachel Cloyne

6. The Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogy Colouring Book by Nicolette Caven

7. The Walking Dead: Rick Grimes Adult Coloring Book by Robert Kirkman

8. A Court of Thorns and Roses Colouring Book by Sarah J. Maas

9. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Coloring Book by Terry Pratchett

10. The Official Eragon Coloring Book by Christopher Paolini

 

A Review of Apeiorn – Tales of an Argonaut 1

Apeiron - Tales of an Argonaut 1 by M.P. Cosmos book cover. Image on cover shows person reading a book in a blue bubble in outer space next to the milky wayTitle: Apeiron – Tales of an Argonaut 1

Author: M.P. Cosmos

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: November 28, 2020

Genres: Science Fiction 

Length: 25 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author. 

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb:

“It’s the 20th millennium.

Humankind has extended throughout the galaxy fighting against alien species to earn its place.

Millennium after millennium, humans managed to conquer almost all the Milky Way.

Much time has passed since the golden age of humanity; even though some colonies retain their splendour, most live in isolation.

Backward and unaware of having others like them through a galaxy that they once possessed.

I’ve been wandering from planet to planet since the beginning of time;

observing the magnificence and the horrors of this galaxy.

Watching over humanity until the time of action is upon me.”

This is a collection of 4 ten minutes stories.

Review:

Does human nature change? That is the eternal question. 

I’ll briefly review all four of the stories in this collection. The same narrator was present in all of them which provided a nice link between worlds and characters that would otherwise never have reason to be mentioned in the same place. 

In “The Price of Regret,” a scientist name Scaf and his wife worked for years to design robotic bodies for themselves that would never age or grow sick. As soon as Scaf figured out how to get his idea to work, he transferred his consciousness over to his artificial form without delay. This tale was interesting, but the ending puzzled me. I never quite did figure out what was happening with it, much less what the fates of the characters might have been. It would have been helpful to have a clearer understanding of what was going on there. 

The planet Koinon had transitioned into a state of global winter after a global war in “The Rise of the Machines.” As a result, all of the living things that survived that conflict now lived deep underground. The society humans built on this badly damaged planet was a fascinating one, especially when it came to how people handled the practicalities of doing everything they needed to not only survive but thrive so many miles below the surface. This could have easily been expanded into a full-length novel. It certainly had enough conflict for one, and the basic facts I learned about evolution of human society over time in this world only made me yearn for more information about it. 

“The Barrier” took place on a planet called Xatanvi where a man named Andrew had to decide whether to continue donating part of his meagre wages to help update a planet-wide barrier that not every human agreed was cost-effective or even necessary anymore. Humans can be good at minimizing the risks of things they haven’t personally experienced, so I was curious to see what he’d decide to do and how his personal decision might affect the lives of everyone around him. 

Last but not least, “The Thing Lurking” was about a man named Clotho lived on a feudal planet called Zoi. He was a simple farmer who dreamed of a more exciting life. When a mysterious stranger offered him a deal too good to be true, he decided to take it without a second thought. While I did find the plot twists in this one to be pretty predictable, I still enjoyed finding out what happened to Clotho. 

If you’ve ever wondered what humanity’s distant future might look like, Apeiorn – Tales of an Argonaut 1 could be right up your alley.