Written in Time
by Jerry Ahern & Sharon Ahern
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781439133996
Date: 26 October 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Writer Jack Naile is a small time writer getting by in Atlanta, Georgia. He has some reliable fans, and has done a large variety of work to make ends meet. One of his fans sends him a photo that he came across in Nevada. It is a photo of a store front with what is assumed to be a distant ancestor. The odd thing is that it looks just like Jack and his family. Against all probabilities, it seems his family will time travel back in time.
The story seems that it is going to be a simple family trapped in time. It is actually so much more. The Ahern's explore the development of an ever changing time loop. Each loop changes things a little, leading in some cases to major changes that create the scenario that highlights the action.
Once the Naile's realize that somehow they will be sent back in time they begin to prepare for their trip. They can't affect history too much, but they can hope to bring a few modern conveniences with them to ease their lives. Their son David takes a different approach, he studies the economic history of the U.S. in preparation for running a business with knowledge of what succeeded and what to avoid.
When they end up back in time, they realize it isn't the first time their family has made the trip. But subtle changes to the timeline will make this time very different. Clarence, left behind, won't stop until he joins his family. The changes that he drives opens up a whole new avenue and will create new paradoxes.
The company that David founds and develops, creates its own changes to history. What develops is a competitor. The competitor will learn the secrets, via Clarence's endeavors, that will lead to a crosstime war.
The Ahern's also add a few little nuggets. Early on there is a scene at a Science Fiction convention. The descriptions are very well done, and it a scene that could be experienced by any fan. It is one I have experienced, well not exactly, but the autographing really does happen that way. The interaction with fans is something that many fans and authors enjoy.
Although it is a time travel adventure at heart, Written in Time, goes further exploring the ramifications of time travel than most other similar novels. Ward Moore's Bring the Jubilee does the ramifications to the same level. The modern technology war has echoes of Turtledove's Guns of the South. On top of everything else, this is a standalone novel! This is the first novel by Jerry and Sharon Ahern that I have read, but it won’t be the last.