Kate's Book Reviews

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Robert Silverberg - Up The Line (Sphere)

ISBN 0-7221-7835-2 (paperback)

First published in Great Britain 1975.

A neat little time travel romp, written in a racy, slightly ironic style. There's no hard science here - the time travel's done with a little black box that the narrator doesn't even try to understand. Indeed, there's as much history as science here as Silverberg returns to one of his favourite themes, Constantinople in its heyday. Jud Elliott, a child of the uncannily sixties-inspired mid-21st century, signs on as a tour guide conducting rich Americans around the past, specialising in Byzantium. These "Time Couriers" (something like a cross between a film director, a history lecturer and a primary school teacher in charge of a zoo trip) have to keep a wary eye out for time paradoxes while keeping their charges safe from harm, or face the penalties imposed by the Time Police.

Nothing here to make you think too hard, but enjoyable nevertheless. If you liked the historical theme, check out Silverberg's excellent short story, Sailing To Byzantium.

25 June 2000

See also Jon Davis' review of Up The Line.

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