Bestselling author Robert Charles Wilson’s book, A Bridge of Years, recently re-released in paperback, has an interesting play on the idea of time travel, but remains true to its “rule” that there are always repercussions when one plays around with time travel, even when someone thinks they’ve been given a second chance.
Tom Winter has made a right old mess of things, now without a job and a wife who’s left him; he’s hit rock bottom. With some leftover inheritance money he buys a simple little house in the secluded Pacific Northwest, looking to just get away from things for a while, and try to figure his life out. The only problem is the simple house he bought turns out to be a prime example of real estate where everything isn’t as it seems or should be. It begins minutely with his unclean plate with a few leftovers that he leaves by the sink overnight; in the morning it has been licked clean by something.
At first he thinks it’s nothing, but it keeps on happening and he tries to film it but the camera mysteriously shuts off during the filming. Then there’s the weird sounds he keeps hearing, like little machines zooming around his house; a flickers of minute movement out of the corner of his eye. Then in the basement he discovers an extra room that leads to a tunnel that takes him back to another time and another place: 1963, New York City.
Wilson has fun playing around with time travel in this short novel, building the mystery and setting up a far more complex story than readers will be expecting. As to the answer of what is eating the leftover food and why, it is both gruesome and shocking, but at the same time makes perfect sense.
Originally written on April 9, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.
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