Time And Time Again
Release Date: OUT NOW!
384 pages | Hardback/ ebook Author: Ben Elton Publisher: Bantam Press
As co- writer of TV
classic Blackadder Goes Forth, comic- turned- author Ben Elton would seem like a natural fit for a story based around the events that set off World War One. Throw time travel and changing history into the mix, however, and things don’t seem quite as certain, with Elton’s latest novel proving to be an odd and haphazard tale that mixes interesting ideas with some deeply clunky execution.
The story follows Hugh Stanton, an ex- soldier turned “professional adventurer” in 2024 who’s recently lost his family, and is enlisted by a gang of Cambridge intellectuals for a daring mission. They’ve discovered a way for someone to travel back over a hundred years, to 1914 – and their plan is for Hugh to foil the events that set off the Great War, thus hopefully rebooting the 20th century along much more peaceful lines.
Naturally, things don’t go according to plan, although with Elton aiming this novel firmly at mainstream readers, the emphasis is largely on general historical suspense and intrigue, with only a small dash of genuine sci- fi in the mix. There are evocative details and some decent setpieces in here, but Elton’s clumsy writing style favours purple prose and broad caricatures. Despite a late burst of full- on SF concepts, Time And Time Again is stuck with a tone of pompous lecturing that ends up more annoying than engrossing. Saxon Bullock Both Elton’s grandfathers fought in WW1 – but on opposite sides. His paternal grandfather was awarded the Iron Cross.