Novel by Poul Anderson in the science fiction genre. This writeup contains some plot spoilers.


A compelling story about a boy born with the ability to travel through time. The time concept in this short story is similar to that of Douglas Adams's Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy; "it all fits together like a jigsaw". Paradoxes don't exist, everything eventually sorts itself out.

The story is narrated by the village doctor, Bob, who helped deliver the main character, Jack Havig, and is a friend of his mother, Eleanor. He is later consulted by her about some strange behaviour of Jack's, and a couple of weird incidents she's experienced with him. Bob shrugs it off and pulls the "that's completely normal"-speech, so as not to worry Eleanor.

In his late teens Jack gets in trouble when his stepfater finds what he thinks is Communist propaganda -- mimeographed on a pamphlet -- in Jack's room. Again Eleanor asks Bob for help, and he agrees to talk with Jack about it. After pressing him about the truth of how he got the science-fictionesque pamphlet, Jack reveals that he is able to travel through time, and gives a couple of demonstrations. He does not need any equipment to do it, he just wills himeself uptime or downtime.

From then on, Jack stops by the doctor from time to time, to tell of some of his travels. The adventure begins when he decides to try to find other "natural" time-travellers, like him. He eventually locates a group out recruiting in Jerusalem around 30 AD.

However, all is not good, because the group he joins turns out to be thieves and murderers. Jack decides to try stopping their raids through time, but this isn't easy when the undisputed leader of the group has ventured far into the future and confirmed his own continued leadership and well-being.


Wholly recommended reading! I found this novel in the collection Three in Time, ISBN 1-56504-985-3. Also in this collection are the novels The Year of the Quiet Sun by Wilson Tucker and The Winds of Time by Chad Oliver, neither of which I found particularly entertaining, sadly.

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