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The Grandfather Paradox: A Time Travel Story Reviewed By Dr. Wesley Britton of Bookpleasures.com
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Dr. Wesley Britton

Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his  WEBSITE

 
By Dr. Wesley Britton
Published on January 26, 2017
 

Author: Steven Burgauer

Publisher: Battleground Press

ISBN: 978-1542454476   ASIN: B01MR40744



Author: Steven Burgauer

Publisher: Battleground Press

ISBN: 978-1542454476   ASIN: B01MR40744

In 2016, I had the pleasure of reviewing two of Steven Burgauer’s novels, the World War II set Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou and the story of a Neanderthal family in Night of the Eleventh Sun. Both books were very different in both style and substance. And neither is really comparable to the achievement of The Grandfather Paradox.

For one matter, both of Burgauer’s previous stories were fairly well locked into specific places and times. Not so The Grandfather Paradox. While the book’s subtitle signals a time travel adventure, it takes some time, as it were, for this element of the story to be introduced. In fact, the book is really two books sandwiched together.

The book opens with Andu Nehrengel captaining a spaceship exploring a remote part of the galaxy. Then his crew mutinies and forces him off the ship in a small runabout which crash-lands on an alien planet. There, Andu has to survive attacks by large carnivorous alien bird-beasts before he meets three beautiful female human clones who are also marooned on the planet. Andu learns the clones are the lone survivors of a Mormon ship that had been set out to find a new home for the church. On the clones’ ship, Andu learns much more which leads him and one of the beautiful clones to leap through both space and time to, in part, find the gene that will correct a deadly virus Andu is carrying.

Along the way, readers who like hard science in their science fiction are rewarded with in-depth theoretical discussions that make cloning, time travel, and space exploration understandable and plausible. For some, perhaps the physics lessons might seem to bog down the story. For me, I felt I was being educated while going along with the fantastic and very unpredictable events. After all, the whole thing starts light years from earth before taking us to a steamboat on the Mississippi River where a young Mark Twain becomes a central character. Then Burgauer takes us to the 1862 battle of Shiloh where Andu searches for the ancestor with the untainted genetics he needs.

Part two of the book is very much centered on Henry Morgan’s—the name Andu uses in 1861—friendship with Twain as Burgauer pretty much retells the 19th century author’s early biography, lifting whole passages from Twain’s writings, especially Life on the Mississippi. While the book remains very descriptive and detailed, everything is far different from what came before. But Burgauer weaves everything together in a complex tapestry of actual history along with speculative science fiction.

The book’s title comes from a concept argued as far back as 1931 about any historical inconsistencies that might occur if someone went back in time and killed their own grandparent, ostensibly resulting in the demise of the time traveler. The entire idea of time travel has been debated logically as to what implications might arise from any changes to known chronology, and a good overview of the literature and debates on the “grandparent paradox” can be found at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandfather_paradox

Of course, Burgauer’s take isn’t to kill anyone in the past but rather to get uncorrupted DNA from an ancestor to save one of his descendants. The result is a very engaging, often philosophical epic crammed to the gills with twists and turns that span both centuries and light years. Highly recommended.