Thursday, 21 July 2016

Time Trap

Nicholas Fisk
Puffin Books

A teenager in the late 21st century discovers he can time-travel using a drug supplied by his "Uncle" Lipton, a man who has already lived over 130 years and likely to live at least 100 more. Together they escape the horrors of their mindless present to experience life in the past. But time travel has its own dangers, and Uncle Lipton isn't totally honest about his motivations.

The day after I read this odd little sci-fi by Fisk it was announced that he's passed away which was a sad coincidence.  I've read two of his books before - 'Grinny' and 'A Rag, A Bone And A Hank of Hair' - ands had mostly enjoyed them and the cover art on this one was so good it pretty much jumped off the shelf into my bag.

'Time Trap' tells the story of a disaffected teen named 'Dano' who lives in a sterile and uneventful future society within a sealed environment called 'Homebody Unit 362'.  He is enlisted by his 'Uncle Lipton' to go time travelling with him using some sort of secret drug called 'Xtend'.  Journeys into the past and the future follow with Dano becoming increasingly controlled by the thrill seeking, hedonistic Lipton.

The book, albeit very short, moves at a slow pace all the way through Dano's first sojourn into the past - the British countryside during WW2 - but after that races along breathlessly into the future even more dystopian than his own time.

When the book ends it does so with a slamming halt that leaves a number of unanswered questions that have arisen including that of his death and of the nature of the pairs travelling.

It has however entertained along the way and provided an unflinching and unappetising future society where individualism and free self expression have been subsumed and life is essentially without either value or meaning both of which Fisk seems to imply reside with the family and experiences particularly with regard to nature.

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