First Impressions: The Arrow of Time

Find out The Space Girls’ first impressions of SPSFC contestant, The Arrow of Time by B. T. Lamprey.

As part of the Self-Published Sci-Fi Competition, my team (The Space Girls) has been given 25 books to read. Of this initial allocation (or ‘slush pile’), we are reading the first 30% and then voting Yes or No on whether we’d like to continue reading further. You can see our full allocation in my previous blog.

Here are the team’s first impressions of The Arrow of Time by B. T. Lamprey. (You can find all of our first impressions posts here.)

The cover for The Arrow of TimeBook blurb

Only minutes after his tragic murder—and a hundred million years before he’ll be born—Aloysius Cook gets the offer of a lifetime.

Joining a team of time-traveling commandos may not sound like a cushy gig, but at the moment Al’s only alternative involves a closed casket. If he hopes to survive working for The Institute at the Beginning of Time, he’ll need a crash course on temporal paradoxes, recursive causal loops, and the very real possibility of the multiverse folding in on itself like a poorly made origami giraffe.

Luckily for Al, every new recruit receives a copy of The Everyday Timekeeper’s Almanac, the only guide to spacetime a time traveler will ever need. Compiled by an infinite number of researchers from across all possible realities, it contains every fact and every theory that might prove useful to a time traveler, plus helpful tips on how to avoid obliterating the multiverse.

Armed only with his Almanac, Al must dive into the time stream alongside a short-tempered saint, a self-centered cyborg, and an embittered survivor of the climate apocalypse. To prevent a cataclysm that threatens The Institute itself, they’ll need to outwit a deadly cadre of rival time travelers—hopefully without stepping on any butterflies or becoming romantically involved with someone’s grandmother.

Goodreads / Amazon

Our first impressions

Nancy: Lots of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy vibes, a sort of quirky time travel police comedy that can be read super fast. Didn’t see major typos in it and the ending is fulfilling. Joan of Arc is the mission’s team leader! Sadly, I couldn’t connect to the characters that spent far too much time arguing over petty things and didn’t understand why two supposed time travel veterans in the team didn’t know anything about the time period they were supposed to visit for their mission. However, I am certain plenty of other readers will enjoy the book. (N)

Kerry: Humour, like a book, is highly subjective and despite the odd moments, unfortunately the humour here didn’t work for me. I found myself more irritated by the main protagonist than amused. I did enjoy Joan of Arc’s character though. 

For these reasons I will be cutting this book.

Like I said though, humour is subjective so there are bound to be readers that enjoy this type of comedy. (N) 

Katherine: This was an odd book for me, with an entertaining writing style whose narrator was distant enough to get away with omniscience. Unfortunately by the 30% mark, we hadn’t gone beyond introducing two characters. Not much else had happened by 50% either. The mission they were given didn’t stand out from anything you might find in other time travel stories. My main problem was that I found all the characters unlikeable, including the main one who was an absolute irredeemable idiot, rude to all his colleagues.

The book spent far too much time on attempts at humour between the characters that were painfully unfunny. (N)

Our verdict: Cut

Please note that these opinions are the judges’ initial impressions of only a part of each book. A book being cut doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad or not worth reading.