Friday, February 12, 2016

Chicago Nerds- Time Salvager

For February's Chicago Nerd book discussion, we read "Time Salvager" (2015) by Wesley Chu.

To summarize: fractally dumb. Astonishingly, breath-takingly bad:
  • Painful, terrible writing. Shocking to us that editors of a major publisher would sign off on this.
  • Sneaky, creepy sexism. Not as blatantly bad as the puerile wish-fulfillment of "Lives of Tao", but maybe worse for that. Normalizes/excuses abusive, controlling behavior.
  • Dumb, dumb, a thousand times dumb. Science, logic, continuity, common sense: leave them behind.
  • The cleverest suggestion put forth is that this is actually an ironic work: a poorly-executed, derivative novel about ineptly ripping off the past. Clever! We don't buy it, though.
  • Shockingly little time-travel, really.
  • I would like to pass a law that when characters do/say something unnecessary purely to drive home that they are villains, they must twirl their moustaches, whether or not that makes sense.
  • Despite our opinion of the book, a discussion full of laughter. And groaning.
  • We are now completely cynical about blurbs and reviews.
The end! I'll waste no more brain-time on this. I took literally 100 notes on this, in order to stay sane, which I won't burden you with. Indeed, if this novel had been written a little better, I would have stopped reading: it was only a sense of editorial horror--"what basic grammar will he forget next?"--that kept me going page to page.

Next time we're reading Charlie Jane Anders' "All the Birds in the Sky", which narrowly edged out Jeff VanderMeer's "Southern Reach" trilogy. Clearly, we are craving the good stuff.

Also, a reminder: lots of Chicago Nerd stuff coming up, including C2E2-related events and Pi Day.  Keep up to date via the CNSC website and Facebook.


  1. Now I _really_ wish I'd been able to make this one. I thought the book was bad too and nothing's more fun than when the discussion turns into a roast.