A Long Time Until Now by Michael Z. Williamson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reviewing this book without spoiling is difficult, so I’ll break this down into two sections.
A group of ten U.S. Military personnel are zapped back in time to the year 10,000 BC (appx.) They have only the tools and knowledge their group had on them at the time. The book is a survivalists tale, told from a military structured point of view. It is interesting if you are into how to redevelop or maintain from a bare bones starting point. It is not interesting if you are looking for battles between cavemen and machine guns, or fighting woolly mammoths with bayonets. It is not an action book. It is a speculative book on social consequences and tech differences between eras in time. In that perspective, it is really good.
The best parts of the book for me had to be the primitive conditions, and trying to create a safe and comfortable living environment with limited equipment and manpower. I think most of us take for granted the vast majority of our current conveniences & luxuries, and would be hard pressed to survive without them. The book does an excellent job of exploring, and overcoming, many of those issues.
There are drawback in the book. There’s lots of talk about the desire for and fixation on sex. There is a feminist character who is annoying to the point of reach-into-the-book-and-slap-them-able. There is a very condescending negativity toward Christianity. I could tell it was not meant to be insulting, but was probably meant to express an alternate viewpoint. It still came off that way to me. I’ll address these in more detail in the Spoiler Section.
I liked the book in general. I’m giving it 4 stars for inventiveness. It’s more like 3.7 or 3.8, but I’ll be charitable and round up. I call it an Entertaining Read.
Review Section 2 (has spoilers):
As for the feminist in the group… gah. I believe most of that because I’ve seen it on social media. She is over the top, but that’s where it’s going in this day and age. I don’t, however, believe she would have kept her opinions as time went on in the situation they found themselves in. Mainly because I don’t believe the first part about the soldiers constantly obsessing over sex.
Finally, the Christian…not quite bashing, but roughing-up at least, was something that could have been left out of the book without much loss. Especially since the author chose to make his character obnoxious about his faith. Regardless, you cannot invent a scenario of time travel to 10k BC, use that as ‘proof’ that the Bible’s dating may be wrong, then shame the ‘Bible Thumper’ Christian character you invented for believing in the actual Genesis timeline without it being considered a disparagement to someone with the same beliefs. That’s not the only roughing-up that happened either. In the far future, religion has been devalued to philosophical status, thus ‘proving’ it’s all just hokum… bad argument to me.
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