February 7, 2017
Time Siege, by Wes Chu
Having been haunted by the past and enslaved by the present, James Griffin-Mars is taking control of the future. Earth is a toxic, sparsely inhabited wasteland–the perfect hiding place for a fugitive ex-chronman to hide from the authorities. James has allies, scientists he rescued from previous centuries: Elise Kim, who believes she can renew Earth, given time; Grace Priestly, the venerated inventor of time travel herself; Levin, James’s mentor and former pursuer, now disgraced; and the Elfreth, a population of downtrodden humans who want desperately to believe that James and his friends will heal their ailing home world. James also has enemies. They include the full military might of benighted solar system ruled by corporate greed and a desperate fear of what James will do next. At the forefront of their efforts to stop him is Kuo, the ruthless security head, who wants James’s head on a pike and will stop at nothing to obtain it.
It was nice to see how addiction and isolation affects one of the main characters. In the book, as with life, James’ relationship with those around him morphs to his new reality. Behaviors that were acceptable when he was a revered salvager and chronman now put his friends and family at risk.
The corrupt Kuo is still the maniacal villain she was in the first book, but in Time Siege, her motives are more rooted in what I’d expect from someone in her position instead of the moustache-twirling villain she was in the first book. The intricacies of the corporations and the governments are fleshed out, and we see how hope for the denizens of the solar system appears lost. The divide between the wealthy and the lowest class is further exemplified with themes of subjugation and genocide.
Both books in the series are excellent sci-fi, and I’m looking forward to reading the third book this summer.
Unfortunately, Chu’s goals of using Hanes underwear commercials to launch a lucrative career following in Marky Mark’s footsteps came to naught. Despite phenomenal hair and manicured eyebrows, his inability to turn left led his destiny down another road. Instead of creating new realities with his skills as a thespian, Chu would dazzle audiences with his pen. Well, it’s a computer really, but the whole technology thing really sucks for metaphors. He had spirit fingers maybe? In 2015, Wesley Chu won the John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award. Chu’s debut novel from Angry Robot Books, The Lives of Tao, earned him a Young Adult Library Services Association Alex Award and a Science Fiction Goodreads Choice Award Finalist slot. His new series, Time Salvager, published by Tor Books, was released on July 7th, featuring an energy stealing time traveler with addiction issues.