This is my CBR White Whale for two reasons. One: I don’t remember when I bought this book, but I’m certain I wasn’t pregnant and the kid is one and a half, so it’s been a minute; two: this beast is nearly 1000 pages. I’m a sucker for cheap books and this was dozens of short stories about time travel – my favorite sci-fi variation – for 2.50 at a local bookstore. I had to buy it, especially because the authors included in this short story collection spoke well of it. Ursula LeGuin, Arthur C Clarke, George RR Martin…. and that’s just the bolded names on the front cover.
Funnily enough though, my favorite stories from this doorstop of a tome were the ones from writers I didn’t know. I don’t have the book in front of me to check the names (but I believe they’re “20 counting up” and “40 counting down); one interesting set of stories follows a man going back in time to save his marriage by fixing their courtship from his younger and older selves’ perspective. Another has a grad student going back in time to meet her idol without being able to warn her about her untimely death as she falls in love with her. Another finds a small town man and his unusual short term tennants visiting from another time, but why is the more interesting question.
Of course “a sound of thunder” is present, as is an excerpt from “the time machine,” but this book is remarkable for the varied perspectives on time travel it contains. This easily could have been the same story a dozen times over – ultimately you go back in time and things change or they don’t – but this thing was diverse enough that it coulda covered the CBR bingo sheet in and of itself. Gay, minority, old, new, humorous, serious… This is a contender for the best book I’ve read for the money per page even at retail cost.