Silverberg’s The Time Hoppers and Simak’s Enchanted Pilgramage

Well, I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t have a New Year’s resolution of not missing a blog…that resolution would already be blown. Geez. I didn’t even realize I’d missed last week when I sat down to write this entry.

I’ll catch up on writing stuff next time. This time I want to talk about my holiday readings. I was sans internet for about a week during Christmas (some of that time intentional) and I got some good reading in. As you probably already know, I’m a fan of classic science fiction and I got in two books I’ve been wanting to read for some time.

Clifford D. Simak’s The Enchanted Pilgrimage was the first of the pair. This is my least favorite of the two. The content should not have really surprised me as the story is exactly what the title suggests: A odd assortment of characters who embark on a pilgrimage peppered with magic. Not a big reader of fantasy, there were a few odd characters that I initially had trouble getting a handle on: swamp goblins or some such. After wadding through the explanation, I was fine, but still a little unclear as to what a few of the characters were.

The short of it is a university librarian finds a secret page in an old book and decides he has to take it to a forbidden area where he thinks there is another university that can help him understand the language and meaning. As he goes, he picks up others who accompany him on this quest, including the swamp goblin (or whatever) who wants to return a special sword to the Old Ones.

There’s obstacles, of course, but not a lot of real tension. They figure things out one thing right after another and keep moving. It’s not a terrible read at all, just not something to keep you on the edge of your seat. A nice light read…exactly the kind of thing I was looking for over the holidays!

I also read Robert Silverberg’s The Time Hoppers. You know that I’m a big fan of time travel, time stories, etc. Generally, if it has “time” in the title, I’m going to pick it up and look at it. Heck, my novel of 2010 has the “flavor” of time travel. Unlike Simak’s book, I didn’t exactly get what the title led me to believe. “Hopping” implies multiple hops. Not so in this book.

The main character is a “CrimeSec,” a futuristic policeman. With rampant unemployment, people have found a way to “hop” out of their time and go to sometime in the past where it is assumed they can thrive. It is the CrimeSec’s job to find how the hoppers are leaving and to capture the equipment being used. Seems the ruler of the world (people are given numbered ranks based on status—the only #1 is the person who rules the planet) wants to get the equipment so he can simply toss dissidents into the past and be done with them. Problem is, they’re deathly afraid of messing up the past for fear they’ll mess up the timeline and cause themselves to not be born.

The funny thing is the date they begin recording “hoppers” arriving is 1979. The book was published in ’67, so it makes sense…it was still kinda funny. This one was an enjoyable read. Anyone else ever read either of these books and if so, what was your take on it?

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2 Comments

Filed under Books/reading

2 responses to “Silverberg’s The Time Hoppers and Simak’s Enchanted Pilgramage

  1. Okay, Rolo, I’ll look for that Time Hoppers book. I remember a discussion we all had once back in the day about trying to get a true time travel sequence to work out logically. I think we concluded, it really can’t. I remember one of our colleagues arguing, with that in mind, the best time travel movie ever was “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”

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