Friday, September 26, 2014

The Children of Possibility by Thomas T. Thomas

 I first encountered the fiction of Thomas T. Thomas several decades ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I bought nearly every novel he published, and then he disappeared, quit being published. In those pre-Amazon years it was difficult to find out what happened, but quite frankly I though he'd passed away, like many of my favorite authors were doing for a while there. When I stumbled upon Mr. Thomas' web site a few weeks ago, and found that he had been writing science fiction, among other things, all along, but just not getting published until the recent wave of Amazon self-published works became available, I was delighted. I rushed out (figuratively) and bought one of his novels, to see if his new stuff is fun to read, too.

The Children of Possibility is all over the map, temporally speaking, from the far future to the Devonian era. There is a corps of time travelers known as the Jongleurs who voyage from the far future into the past to fix problems here and there, and to repair the meddling of other sailors in the stream of time. About this future society:

"Their direct ancestors, who were now the progenitors of most humans alive on Earth, had started by cleaning their children's embryos in vitro of all known disease mutations. Next, they rearranged their chromosomes and eliminated redundancies - or engineered new ones, where having backup copies and variations of a gene made sense...Finally, they redesigned the entire organism for metabolic efficiency and longevity, with the ultimate goal of a human that had no natural life span - people who were potentially immortal."

The main story lines follow Merola, a Jongleur who goes off the reservation, so to speak, in order to save her sister from a financial crisis (whatever happened to the cashless society of Star Trek?) and Rydin, her mentor, who has to track her down when she is ambushed by a coven of renegades, and loses her capability to return to her own time.

The plot weaves to and fro, and Thomas gives us a few new wrinkles on the theory and practice of time travel. I liked Merola and Rydin, and I kept going back to the book to find out how they got out of their messes, but I really liked Rydin's AI the best. Just had that wonderful snarky way of expressing itself that reminded me of the entities in the Culture series by Iain Banks.Glad to see the return of an interesting and thought provoking author.

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