||Feb 14 2003
Barnes & Noble.com
Science Fiction - A science fiction chase through time
Twilight by Nicholas Samuel Stember
Nowhen...Time travel ... but where are you while traveling from yesterday to tomorrow? What if you could be pulled into the very streams of time itself? A place that was nowhen, as opposed to nowhere? This is something that Air Force pilot Fletcher Taylor has to come to grips with when he’s torn from his F15 over the Middle Eastern deserts, and pulled into such a place. Trapped in nowhen, he starts to unravel the mystery that centers around the place hidden within called Twilight, and its elite mission force charged with the dangerous and necessary task of fixing injustices in time. It is here, out of time and space, that he must come to grips with his own inner demons, and his unexplained ties to this place, all while a very real and dangerous menace looms ... with the ability to unravel the very fabric of time itself.
Excerpt from Twilight
Gathering up the last of his strength, he pulled at his harness and turned around, determined to reach the manual eject on his own—and froze in astonishment. There was someone else in the cockpit with them, a person crouched over Con, checking his pulse. The intruder was dressed in black, with a flight style helmet and visor on, similar to his.
Then the stranger turned to him, and he gazed into her eyes, impossibly magnificent jade green eyes that pierced from under the few strands of red hair that hung out from her ebony helmet.
"He's dead," she called, her calm voice slicing through the howl of wind that whistled between cracks in the canopy, and the roar of the dying engines.
Finally finding his voice, all he could do was look back at the man who had been the only person he'd ever called best friend. "I know."
"We've got to go now," she urged as she took his hand, her black gauntlet grabbing his flight suit.
"Go?" he yelled through the noise, his faculties slowly returning. "Go where? Who the hell are you?"
"No time to explain," she informed him as an adorable quirky smile flashed across her lips, "just hold on tight."
Falling into the softness of those words, Fletcher had to fight for consciousness, as the pain in his head hammered away. "I don't understand."
"You will," she responded, her voice calming him like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. "Just hold on to me."
He grabbed her arm, as she touched a few buttons on some device on her left wrist, then glanced back up, her eyes suddenly sparkling shyly at him, touching him deeply inside.
"Here we go."
He wanted to ask her just where she thought that she was going again, but his words were killed by an impossibly blinding azure light that filled the small cockpit, and surrounded him like tingling electrical sparks.
All he could do was close his eyes, and keep thinking to himself, I've got to hold on ... as he finally slipped into blackness.
Sci-Fi Online give Twilight an 8 out of 10
First things first. If you had a problem working out how Marty McFly was able to be in the same place and time on more than one occasion during the Back to the Future trilogy, then Twilight is not the novel for you.
However, if you like having your mind messed with, then you'll be in your element here.
US Air Force pilot Taylor's world is thrown into turmoil when he is recruited by the good folk at Twilight - a group of humans that exist outside of time as we understand it. Their mission, to jump back and forth in time saving people in a bid to make the World a better place.
However, this is strictly controlled by a supercomputer that ensures that the space time continuum is never altered drastically - so there is no mending Hitler's ways before he goes wacko, or trying to persuade Abraham Lincoln that the production of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre is overrated and that he should spend a nice quiet night in instead.
The first three quarters of the book are fairly well paced, following Taylor's training, love interest and eventually appointment as a full time skimmer, but it is the final quarter of the book that caught me off guard. Suddenly, the action was thick and fast and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.
There are problems with the book, be they minor ones. For a start when Fletcher skims into a modern day London there is a soupy smog covering most of the familiar landmarks. Nah! Sorry that stopped happening once Jack the Ripper disappeared. And the regional Cockney accent equally draws it's inspiration from Victorian imagery. In fact, apart from Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, I don't think anyone has ever said: "I n-never even saw her, govn'r."
Also, a lot of the events don't stand up to close scrutiny. When Fletcher changes the time line he still remembers events, and people are still in his timestream that shouldn't be. While this is explained as Twilight time protecting them, it seems to be a law that doesn't always ring true. But to be fair, the writer does try to explain the reason for most of these events as they occur.
Another problem is that everyone knows all our lives are intertwined, so by change the events of one person, as small as they may seem, can dramatically change the future. For example, Fletcher stops an old man from being mugged. The old man is mugged by his grandson who, when he realises who he has mugged, commits suicide. Now that he doesn't do this he is free to have children that wouldn't have otherwise be born and one of these could discover a cure for cancer, or create a new form of deadly weapon... you get my point? Okay, I know the computer is monitoring such events and only chooses the ones that won't affect the future, but the smallest change can and will do so.
But ignore those very slight moans and the book is extremely engaging. Nicholas S. Stember's writing style is very visual, without being too focused on over describing every detail. You can almost see - and this is not meant to be an insult - the words "Hollywood blockbuster" written all over it.
For those of us that grew up loving the Back to the Future movies, Twilight represents a story of equal merit to a 30 something age group.
Okay, TWILIGHT is not my usual forte. But as my husband was finding himself bogged down, I offered to help clear his pile. I am so glad I did!
TWILIGHT is a world that is neither then nor now, nowhen as opposed to nowhere. Time doesn’t exist in TWILIGHT. Men and women who were in the wrong place at the wrong time find themselves in Twilight where they are given a chance to train to be “skimmers.” A skimmer is responsible for going back in time to prevent injustices from occurring. These injustices do not have historical impact, but instead change one person’s life for the better. The key to a successful skim is to get in, get the job done without bringing a lot of focus to yourself and then get out.
F-15 fighter pilot Fletcher Taylor is brought to Twilight after his plane breaks apart from a missile hit. At first, he is stunned and not sure what to make of things, but he agrees to become a skimmer. Though questions about why they want him so badly rest heavily on his mind. When he finds himself meeting his rescuer, Carridan “Carrie” Whitney, he is equally confused that she doesn’t seem to know him. The pair is teamed up, and soon their sexual tension is getting the better of them. Can they put their feelings aside in order to get the job done?
Hot on their heels is a rogue skimmer who is bent on destruction – mainly the destruction of Fletcher and Carrie. A race is on to learn the rogue’s identity and discover why he is set on eliminating them.
TWILIGHT has a unique premise that draws you in and holds you riveted to every page. I found myself so intrigued with Fletcher and Carrie’s missions that I got sidetracked from many of my routines. I do hope Nicholas Stember continues with this premise and turns it into a series. I think it would do fantastically.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Kelly Davis
Part Quantum Leap and part John Varley's novel Millenium, Stembers' Twilight is a fun, taut time-travel story.
Air Force pilot Major Fletcher Taylor finds himself whisked away by a beautiful woman who materializes in the cockpit of his fighter jet seconds before his death. Soon he's the newest recruit as a skimmer (one who rights wrongs of the past, ala Sam Beckett with supercomputer in charge, but without help Al or Ziggy), docked at Twilight, a sort of a space station docked in nowhen, but built in the 24th century.
Complete with love story, the ubiquitous time-travel paradoxes, and plenty of action, this story is a light and quick read, and I couldn't put it down. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for anything else this talented author writes!
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Reader Reviews for "Twilight"
|Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione
|This is one book that I have to put on my reading list. I have been meaning to get a copy now for awhile but with the funds at the moment I am going to have to wait until next month. This does have an Outer Limits Vibe and in fact would make a good movie; you should seriously write this into a screenplay. It would make a killer movie.|
|Reviewed by Brittany Renée
|Congrats on getting your book published! Sounds really interesting! Thanks for the excerpt... ;)