by K. W. Jeter
Plot Summary:Just what happened when the Time Machine returned?
At the end of Wells' classic tale, the traveller returned to the far future in search of his Eloi love. Having acquired his device for themselves, the brutish Morlocks have come from the desolate far future to Victorian England to feed upon docile humanity and cause mayhem and disruption. But the mythical heroes of Old England have also returned, in the hour of the country's greatest need, to stand between England and her total destruction.
Review:There are a few things that surprised me about this sequel to The Time Machine. The first is that we don't see anything of the Time Traveller. This story has little, if anything to do with the ideas of time traveling - as time travel is more of a device to deposit the ultimate evil in our midst. And not even the Morlocks are the main villains of the story. So this is a sequel that completely overlooks the main character of the original, the Time Machine, and the Morlocks. This story focuses more on the return of England's mythical hero - namely King Arthur and Merlin. I suppose on it's own, this is an interesting tale but the fact that it has little to do with further developing any aspect of The Time Machine so that the story could be worthy of being a sequel kinda bothers me. There's just none of the ingenuity and cleverness of the original tale, and more of an adventure romp with Edwin Hocker as he tries to find and combine the different Excaliburs that have been taken out of their time. And with each new issue or challenge, the main characters resolve it rather quickly, making the story feel even more unrealistic.
Most of the characters were very one-sided, especially Edwin Hocker's sidekick - the taciturn Tafe who seemed more like a prop and had very little personality. Just overall - from the plot holes (Merlin can time travel? I don't understand why there was such a problem with Excalibur then...) to the poor characterization this was just such a disappointing read that had me disinterested and unengaged. I think it was very interesting that the author tried to work in the old Arthurian legends and a little bit of Atlantis besides, and there was a twist in the end that I didn't see coming, but I wouldn't recommend this book to fans of The Time Machine.