Time Eaters by Jay Wilburn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
After a childhood tragedy, Al, with his best friend Nick, devotes his life to building a time machine. Will they destroy the universe in the attempt?
I've had my eye on the Time Eaters for a long time. When Perpetual Motion Machine Press announced their ninety-nine cents sale, I decided it was time.
Time Eaters is a cautionary tale about the dangers of time travel. In this case, the dangers of time travel are time paradoxes and ravenous cannibal time travelers. Al and Nick, best friends, encounter other versions of themselves, a woman named Angel, and lots of flesh eaters, all the while trying to piece together what has happened/will happen/is currently happening.
The book is told in two threads, one entitled Before and the other Then. It gets confusing at times but with two groups of the same characters at different points in their time lines, I don't see any other way Jay could have done things.
Jay Wilburn crafts a hard-hitting tale. It's only 216 pages but I almost wish it had been shorter. All the gore was a little hard to stomach at times. Also, Jay's flavor of time travel is never easy, leading to a traveler's hair and nails getting burnt off and assorted other complications. It reads more like a survival horror tale than a time travel story a lot of the time.
Once time travel is on the table, the story kicks into high gear, with Time Eaters materializing all over the place and the three lead characters trying to stay one step ahead of them in both threads. It's a high-octane tale, that's for sure.
The ending wasn't what I expected but I'd be open to reading another tale set in this world, even with the implications at the end.
If I was going to pick some nits, I'd point out the typos I ran across or the difficulty of keeping track of which timeline I was reading about, but I'll pass on all that. Time Eaters is by far the craziest time travel story I've ever read, part timey-wimey, part gore horror. 3 out of 5 stars.
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