Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mixed Doubles

Mixed Doubles

Daniel Da Cruz

Date: 17 July, 1989   —   Book

product page


Fiction, Science Fiction

Damn the torpedos and full speed ahead.

This particular story takes a silly idea and does the only appropriate thing with it, which is to push it as far as it will go. The timid lose to the bold in a case such as this; caution makes such a tale unreadable. In fact, the only problem with this book is its timing; its publication just as the Cold War begins to collapse makes its mindset— and the casual assumption of complete human extermination from nuclear war— seem outdated.

But that's not the focus of the story. The focus of the story is the time machine, and the larcenous young composer who wants to be famous, mostly by stealing bits and pieces of other's work. The real pity of it is that Justin Pope has some measure of talent, but not quite enough; he wants to be famous in his own lifetime, and when he is still young, though his talent obviously needs years of quiet to fully develop. So he steals the time machine, drops his scientific helper in the past, and manages to kidnap and cure one of the musical geniuses of the past, so as to install him far in the future and claim his music as his own.

Straightforward so far. But— and here's where the fun creeps in— he's not the only one who can indulge in a bit of theft. The time machine, music, and even identity of certain people gets swapped around, tangling up in a bizarre manner that ought to end up in murder but never does. And the title makes more and more sense as the story progresses and couples pair off... but more I won't say. This is a romp more than anything, a fun little story based on "what if?" Even better, it goes on to "and then what? And then?" What a fun little read.

No comments: