Tuesday, April 9, 2013

$0.99 eBook Review: Time and Again by Matt Curties

Downloading my first 99 cent eBook, I wasn't sure what I was getting into. One reads accounts of the varying quality of works on the Kindle store: books with formatting problems, spelling errors, and serious editing problems. In the Wild West of Amazon self-publishing, no middleman might mean no quality.

Thankfully, Matt Curties' Time and Again doesn't suffer from those kinds of errors. It's a clean, brisk read. Internet myth busted.

Time and Again follows the time-traveling exploits of Lex, a disgruntled geologist who finds a mysterious "time wand" in the desert and uses it to go back to the Old West. Lex plans to use time travel for his own profit, and, well, you can guess how that turns out.

And that's the main problem with Time and Again: it tells a story you've heard before without adding enough to it. There are hints at another, more supernatural angle involving a shaman staff, but this is never explored. The time travel mechanic also creates a troubling second-level paradox that may not have occurred to the author.

Time and Again's prose also doesn't enhance the material. It's very straightforward and uses some cliche phrasing. The writing approaches the quality of some popular authors at points, but without a novel enough story hook.

All this sounds like I was dissatisfied with my reading experience, but at 99 cents it's really, really difficult to complain. Time and Again would be about 40 printed pages, a short novella, and it took me two commutes to read. It was a light, cheap snack of a read, kind of like a 1995 episode of the Outer Limits without the second twist at the end.

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