À Island in the Sea of Time Ñ Download by Ï S.M. Stirling originalLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.
After a strange electrical storm, the residents of Nantucket discover that their entire island and its surrounding waters have been sent back to 1300 B.
C Now this society, which is mostly based on a tourist economy, must figure out how to establish a new identity in prehistory This includes clearing and farming land, building ships, finding new sources of fuel, salt, and other necessities, and most difficult of all, developing a constitution and befriending native trading partners.
Fortunately, Nantucket has some citizens with valuable knowledge and skills who find themselves naturally rising to leadership positions a brave and competent Baptist police chief, a widely read and level headed librarian, a black lesbian ship captain, a history professor, an astronomy student, the manager of the local grocery store, and a Catholic priest.
But of course there are also some citizens who cause problems the church whose pastor teaches that sending Nantucket back in time was Satan s plan to prevent the birth of Christ, and the flake and nut contingent who want to arm the natives so they ll never be oppressed by future Americans Then there s the biggest threat of all the ambitious Coast Guard Lieutenant William Walker who sees all this confusion as an opportunity to set up his very own kingdom.
I have a thing for time travel novels especially the Survivor style stories in which modern people are forced to live in uncivilized and unsophisticated times Island in the Sea of Time has the added fun of actually having modern conveniences but not having the power or fuel to run them Thus, the people of Nantucket must disassemble their cars for sheet metal while raiding their museums for whaling and milling antiques.
There s to this story than survival and industrial revolution, though Island in the Sea of Time is full of characters who feel like real people people you might actually know For the most part their relationships and romances are believable and understandable as former strangers work together to create a new society The villains, however, are over the top It s hard to believe in the doctor s sadism, William Walker s vast knowledge and foresight, and the granola crowds naivet their leader is shocked that the natives are sexist, patriarchal, and abusive of animals and that they don t immediately trust the Americans.
At times, Island in the Sea of Time becomes a bit teachy as characters discuss token economies, division of labor, ship building, linguistics, farming techniques, iron casting, steam engines, canning, the production of gunpowder, the use and care of firearms, etc And it gets a little preachy as they discuss the creation of a new constitution But generally I thought S.
M Stirling did a good job with this aspect of the book.
I read the audio version of Island in the Sea of Time, narrated by Todd McLaren and produced by Tantor Audio The best thing I can say about it is that I mostly forgot I was listening to an audiobook McLaren s voices and cadences were so natural that they never called attention to themselves The only time I was brought out of the story was when McLaren used his Boston voice for the U Mass astronomy intern But that s not McLaren s faultIsland in the Sea of Time comes to a satisfactory end, but most readers will be eager to continue the islanders advances and adventures in the next book in S.
M Stirling s Nantucket series Against the Tide of Years.
This is an alternate history in which the island of Nantucket is unexpectedly and inexplicably thrown back in time from 1998 to 1250 B.
C Nantucket is a real island, part of Massachusetts in the U.
S The story focuses on how they survive, considering Nantucket had relied mostly on outside food sources They also needed raw materials that were limited in supply in order to make various goods, tools, and weapons, and politics are involved as they decide how to rule their island and how to handle the distribution of labor and supplies A Coast Guard ship was conveniently near the island at the time of the event, so it was caught in the past too, providing a valuable resource for seeking trade among the natives of both North America and England Most of the story held my interest I liked the political parts, and seeing what they had to do to survive, and I loved the parts where they met native cultures for the first time and learned about each other There were times, though, when I started to lose interest and got bogged down in details that didn t interest me as much The event that caused them to be thrown back in time is never explained There s some speculation in the beginning, but nothing remotely close to a real answer I don t know if it will be addressed later in the trilogy, but my impression so far is that it was just the vehicle for the story the author wanted to tell and probably not something that will ever be dealt with in detail.
As a side note, the Kindle edition I have has erratic section breaks Sometimes there were section breaks in the form of a little extra line spacing, and sometimes there weren t any breaks at all and it wasn t always immediately clear that the setting had changed.
I m giving this 3.
5 stars on sites where I can give half stars, and rounding up to 4 on Goodreads I enjoyed it well enough to try the second book in the series.
This is probably a pretty good book within the subgenre of time travel alternate history, but that is damning with faint praise There are so many pitfalls that have to be avoided that it usually isn t worth bothering to open the bookThe only one I can recommend Pastwatch The Redemption of Christopher Columbus If you ll settle for just alternate history, try the incredible The Man in the High Castle, or for just time travel, maybe the almost incredible Doomsday Book The biggest problem here is that Stirling wanted the intrepid Nantucketeers to survive and thrive, and that is absurdly unlikely Take an island of roughly 10,000 folks and toss them a few millennia back in time, and most will be dead within a year If any descendants survive, they ll be indistinguishable from the natives of that era within two or maybe three generations.
Why Even if all of those 10,000 were highly intelligent and able bodied adults, there are simply not enough to fill all the productive roles in any semblance of a modern economy.
To even begin to reverse those odds, Stirling has to give his doughty islanders an astonishing array of expertise as well as some world class machine tools But the trump, of course, is that one of the two Coast Guard sailing ships just happens to be training in the neighborhood and comes with them, along with its crew and 150 cadets Yes, that would be the real world USCGC Eagle Also impressive is the fact that not one, but two officers on board are experts at sword fighting.
Even with these advantages, their many bronze age escapades are only possible with massive doses of luck and omissions of some hazards Cross cultural miscommunication turns out to be not a problem at all Navigation to distant waters is a snap, even without GPS One of the Coast Guard officers remembers without notes everything necessary regarding how to design and build the kind of wooden sailing ship ideal for the situation Was it a carrack or a caravel Can t remember.
And that is, of course, the problem The author has to give all the important characters too much skill or too many skills so they can deal with the vast variety of problems they d face A few disposable characters are tossed in to try to disguise this, but it isn t a problem that can really be hidden.
On the other hand, the central character was a hoot Hmmm, a black lesbian Coast Guard captain with advanced training with her beloved samurai sword Honestly, take her out of this book and make her a movie action hero Unfortunately, she was wasted here.
The villain, sadly, isn t memorable at all Wafer thin character development, with nothing to drive his nastiness than arrogance and glory seeking A little nuance might have helped he could, instead, have wanted the islanders to conquer and rule the bronze age with benevolence and the hindsight of three millennia, putting him conflict with those wanting to lead by democratic example No such luck Honestly, I would have bet against the democrat folks, since the underlying necessity of trusted institutions would have been absence, rendering democracy no than a rubber stamp for tyranny by a tribal majority, happy to be sanctified by elections while abusing their vile opponents We see enough of that in the 21st century Oh, yeah a number of other reviews here have lambasted this book for deviant sexuality I m a San Franciscan, so I m pretty hard to shock, but nothing here was outrenough to raise an eyebrow One superfluous character goes in for extreme masochism amounting to torture, but the acts themselves are left to the imagination That the author chose to add such an unlikely and grating aspect to the story was really no than evidence that the story just isn t very good.
Not recommended Unless you re really into this kinda stuff, which means you already are pretty tolerant of many of these kinds of problems.
Wow I had this book on my to read shelf for some time as I d heard it was a good alt history book but I never got around to reading it til one of my book clubs picked it as a series read And I m glad I finally read it.
A fascinating, thrilling story of an incident which send the island of Nantucket, MA, USA plus a sailing vessel of the Coast Guard back in time to around 1250 BC The affected having to come to terms with the loss of everyone and everything they once knew and learn to live in the Bronze Age.
Now I will admit there is a lot of handwaving here It seems to be amazing luck that they have fishermen, farmers, blacksmiths, historians, anthropologists, a vast array of people who know how to make or find everything required to get a society running at at least Industrial Revolution standards But you know what I didn t care It meant the book kept moving and didn t end after two chapters with everyone dying Which is what would happen if 9000 random people from my city were sent back to the past.
I loved the little details of the civilisations of the time I wanted to see interactions and explorations but I believe that will occur in the rest of the series This book really was about getting the Islanders to a stable point from which they could be self sufficient plus the breakaway groups There were times that I wish this book was written at a higher level though like Opening Atlantis or Foundation, spanning generations to see what changes the Event caused Especially, and this ties in with something that bugged me, when they were getting close to year 0 So here s something I really disliked After everything else going ok, yeah sure existing tribes and civilisations would be completely changed but they had to survive somehow, they decide to unleash Christianity on the locals A religion based on someone who wouldn t even be born for over 1000 years I guess they at least might get a coming of Jesus But I wouldn t have thought the scientists who were helping oversee would have just allowed that through without some challenge Though they were all thrown thousands of years into the past by an unknown force Maybe that s a good time to start praying to someone.
One of the other points I really loved was the questions and implications raised by such an event Should they have tried to live a completely isolationist existence They had to resort to whaling for oil and food and other by products, but was that a bad thing in a time when whale populations would be immense and sustainable hunting could be enacted from day 1 view spoiler I understand needing to help the local British inhabitants protect themselves from a force lead by an American but was the wholesale slaughter and hatred of the Olmecs necessary The way they talked about eradicating them was akin to genocide Plus destroying the Olmec culture would lead to their being no Aztecs or Mayans or any other Central South American civilisations hide spoiler This book puzzles me The pacing is excellent, the action is quite frequent, the characters get into every conceivable terrible situation that could happen if you landed in 1250 BC, and yet I can only say that I liked it and not that I really liked it I feel like this should be a four star book I would chalk it up to a bad mood but there s that little problem that I m not in a bad mood Also, I read this maybe five years ago and I ditched it around 75% So apparently it s not the here and now, it s just that the book is decent without making me love it It s so right up my alley, too It s just a bit boring and a bit good.
In a word, terrible.
In several words, racist, sexist, and just problematic in ways than one The ones concerned about having supremely negative effects on the current civilizations are the ones that are delusional, incompetent, and lead to failure.
The sole mentioned Asian American character is a woman who gets her rocks off by torturing people The black woman who is in charge of the coast guard people stranded with the island and is part of the closest thing they have to a military is a lesbian.
One of the other few black people with the Nantucketers is so, so terribly obsessed with Black Egyptians and Black African Supremacy The two Jewish people are paired up with each other.
All of the unmarried and childless women are quickly paired off with someone for purposes of procreation There s also the fetish for martial arts and Japanese swords and armor that practically all of the characters, regardless of their background, possess I was hoping for something along the same lines as 1632, but instead I found an awful book filled with terrible fetishes, awful stereotypes, and characters that can do no wrong if they re the protagonists.
Utterly Engaginga Page Turner That Is Certain To Win The Author Legions Of New Readers And Fans George R R Martin, Author Of A Game Of ThronesIt S Spring On Nantucket And Everything Is Perfectly Normal, Until A Sudden Storm Blankets The Entire Island When The Weather Clears, The Island S Inhabitants Find That They Are No Longer In The Late Twentieth Centurybut Have Been Transported Instead To The Bronze Age Now They Must Learn To Survive With Suspicious, Warlike Peoples They Can Barely Understand And Deal With Impending Disaster, In The Shape Of A Would Be Conqueror From Their Own Time Not bad In 1998, the island of Nantucket is trapped in some sort of disaster that casts it backwards in time to 1250 B.
E Survival, war and trechary are the new order of the day for the islanders.
I give credit to Stirling for making such an accurate time travel story and for clearly doing his research, making it as realistic as possible However, that s one of the only satisfactions I received Eventually said research became overbearing, and instead of letting his readers learn and come to understand the world through the lives of their characters he resorted to info dumping in excruciating detail, and often in the most annoying places There would be numerous times in the middle of character interaction he would pause and proceed to explain in one to three long paragraphs things happening that were of no real interest how a machine works, how a ship is built, what s needed to feed a couple thousand people, etc , taking you briefly out of the story There were also times where he would dedicate an entire scene to characters talking about how such and such works No relevance to the story whatsoever.
You don t get a whole lot of feel for the characters either They re all pretty much shadowed by this drivel Except, perhaps, Marian Alston, which I found to be a likeable character The rest of them were boring with no inner dilemma to make them seem real and even less outer drama with each other Unless, of course, you were a bad person The bad people were basically anyone who disagreed with the main characters, whether it was to an extreme and they wished for physical harm, or if they just had different beliefs Please I only buy into the black and white characterization with children s book because it s something children can understand I let that pass By the time you re writing adult fiction, however, I think you should have enough experience in life to be able to write characters who are not all good or all bad People have faults and make mistakes, even if they do good things And guess what, not all people who oppose them are evil.
It s sad because I think he could have done a lot with the story itself and the characters had it not been something of a circle of friends with a lot of unnecessary information crammed in.
I loved this book, and the two that followed in the trilogy Quick synopsis the island of Nantucket and a wooden Coast Guard ship are mysteriously whisked back in time several thousand years The only reason I didn t give this one five stars is that Stirling gets a bit carried away with some of the unsavory sexual behavior of some of his characters This seems to be a consistent trend of his in most of his books He can t seem to write plain old vanilla sex his sex scenes are either of lesbian and or EXTREMELY brutal acts of sadism.