A Time Odyssey, Book One
by Arthur c. clarke and Stephen Baxter
read by John Lee
Produced by Blackstone Audio
Unabridged Approx. 11.5 hours
When It comes to science-fiction there are some authors that just have to be read. Any true sci-fi fan has read at least one Arthur C. Clarke novel, the most often mentioned would be "2001, a Space Odyssey." "2001..." was only book one of what turned out to be a four book odyssey in Arthur C. Clarke's future vision of religion, intelligence and mystery. This time around Sir Clarke has teamed up with Stephen Baxter to create another odyssey through space and time.
The total series came out to three books but the third book was published as the final chapter in the series and yet did not conclude the plot. The final book was published in December of 2007 and Arthur C. Clarke died in March of 2008 so we may never really know if there was a fourth book intended. However each of these books can be read as independent works of great science-fiction.
Blackstone audio has recently produced the first book, "Time's Eye," with John Lee as the reader. John Lee does what seems like a nearly impossible task of singlehandedly voicing the characters and brings them to life by using a diverse range of accents. This is no easy job since the characters range from British soldiers from the 1880s, ancient Greeks, Macedonians, Babylonians, Mongolians, Afghanis, Russians and Texans. John Lee keeps each character separate with their own accent and attitude.
The premise of this book creates a great "What if?" scenario. What if Alexander the Great were to battle Ghengis Khan? That question is answered in what turns out to be a great mashup of historical figures in a new world.
The story begins with an Australopithecus being (the possible missing link) observing a silver orb in the sky. She is then captured by British Empire (circa 1880) soldiers who are guarding a fort in India. The discovery of this strange creature and the floating silver orb is interrupted by the crash of a strange flying object. This object turns out to be a U.N. peacekeeper helicopter with its 3 crew members from the year 2037. The British Soldiers investigate the crash and soon befriend the crew, even though 2 of the crew turn out to be of Indian and Afghan descent.
After talking with each other the time castaways figure out they are some how in a strange timeslip that has something to do with these suddenly appearing "eyes," the silver orbs. Soon the 2037 castaways, the moderns, discover that they are not the only ones from 2037. Floating above the Earth, or whatever this newly formed planet consisting of slices of various times from Earth's history is, a Russian Soyuz capsule is returning from the space station and gets caught in the timeslip and returns to earth. They contact each other using ham radios and more is learned as the 2 cosmonauts and one astronaut from Texas, send pictures from space of the new planet they dub "Mir."
With no ground control the Soyuz capsule lands in the middle of Mongolia. The ruler of the nomadic tribes of Mongolia is the great Genghis Khan. One of the warlords immediately beheads one of the cosmonauts, leaving the other two to think fast. They go to Genghis Khan as emissaries of Heaven. Back in India, the armies of Alexander the Great meet up with the British soldiers and the first band of Moderns. Both groups decide to trek to Babylon, since that is the location of a mysterious radio signal each group of Moderns has detected.
After many months the two groups reach Babylon to battle for rights of the land.
In what turns out to be a very interesting social commentary on the ideas of peace and humankind's ability to hold the peace, Arthur C. Clark and Stephen Baxter have created an intriguing time odyssey.