A history professor finds that he is able to travel back to 1968, the year he was sixteen—here, he finds a slew of mentors with the same ability, including Robert Heinlein, Albert Einstein, and Philip K. Dick and becomes a successful Hollywood screenwriter until some wicked time travelers try to subvert him.
Like all the best sci-fi authors, Mr. Benford really means it. The quantum world, he insists, is the real world ... That’s what sci-fi is all about, 'vistas unknown' and 'times untouched,' and that’s why reading it is a unique literary experience. When it’s done full-throttle, the way Mr. Benford does it.
A hugely ambitious novel, the kind of book that Benford, with his background in physics and his decades of experience as a writer, is among the few qualified to write. It is, in every way, a brilliantly conceived and executed novel. And it’s not just a great science-fiction novel; it’s a great novel—period.
Sometimes puerile but otherwise accessible ... Benford’s blend of hard science, pop culture, and character study is entertaining, but the hypersexualization and commodification of women throughout the book, coupled with Charlie’s own misogynistic outlook, make the story as a whole feel dated and disappointingly immature.