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The Map of Time: A Novel

The Map of Time: A Novel

Written by Félix J. Palma

Narrated by James Langton


The Map of Time: A Novel

Written by Félix J. Palma

Narrated by James Langton

ratings:
4/5 (21 ratings)
Length:
20 hours
Released:
Jun 28, 2011
ISBN:
9781442344785
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Set in Victorian London, with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H. G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence. What happens if we change history?

Félix J. Palma explores this question in The Map of Time, weaving a historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting—a story full of love and adventure that transports listeners to a haunting setting in Victorian London for their own taste of time travel.

A Simon & Schuster audio production.

Released:
Jun 28, 2011
ISBN:
9781442344785
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Félix J. Palma was born in Spain in 1968. A columnist and literary critic, his short stories have appeared in numerous publications and have earned him more than a hundred awards. The Map of Time won the prestigious University of Seville prize for literature in 2008 and will be published in more than thirty countries.

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What people think about The Map of Time

4.1
21 ratings / 14 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I absolutely loved Palma's first book but held off reading the second for a few years because I was afraid that creating a series wouldn't work very well. For the most part, I was wrong. Once again, I enjoyed Palma's writing quirks - metafiction-y bits, imitation of 19th century speculative fiction and adventure stories, complicated storylines that seem divergent but connect eventually, messing with classic tales, authors, and historical details. The first section was superb, though while I enjoyed the parts that read like 19th century adventure stories, I disliked the ones more like a modern horror movie plot. The second section was also strong, but by the third I was starting to get tired of the horror movie-esque running from the Martians. Wasn't too thrilled with the end and felt a little dissatisfied, though not for any definable reasons. This was a good read, but not quite as excellent as I remember the first book. Appreciated some humorous not-so-subtle nods to the next book in the series.
  • (2/5)
    As with its predecessor, The Map of Time, The Map of the Sky is a story told in three interrelated parts and is based on an H.G. Wells book. The first time around, it was The Time Machine, and this time its The War of the Worlds. Wells himself plays a character in these books, along with a cast of other, mostly fictional, characters; in particular, time-travel charlatan Gilliam Murray, the enigmatic Captain Derek Shackleton, and young man-about-town Charles Winslow.The first book in Palma's planned trilogy, The Map of Time, was an engaging, ambitious time-travel thriller that I enjoyed thoroughly. It would be best to read this before reading The Map of the Sky, but not absolutely essential.The Map of the Sky is an adventure story of the crew of a 19th-century exploration ship ice-bound in the Antarctic, a Martian invasion of London and Murray's clumsy attempts to win a hard-headed American woman named Emma. Palma melds real and fictional characters, fantasy, time travel, science, literature, history and romance. Palma clearly knows his stuff and has a terrific imagination, as he proved in his first book, but I found the translation of all of his ideas to the page didn't work this time around.Palma's characters are flat and largely unappealing, which is a particular problem with Murray and Emma in the romance thread. Palma showed in his first book that he had some weaknesses in characterization, but it's far worse this time around. While his first book could have used some editing, this one cries out for the red pencil. His writing is bloated, leading to a novel that is way longer than necessary and has no sense of pace. The descriptions of the many fight/battle scenes are so drawn-out and repetitive that they're drained of any drama or excitement. The Charles Winslow character repeats himself constantly and is especially tiresome when it never seems to have crossed his mind that Mr. Murray's time-travel business is a sham. If his dim-wittedness was supposed to be funny, that escaped me.On top of that, there are gruesome and gross-out scenes literally ad nauseam. Multiple scenes of evisceration, people being forced to eat unspeakable food, swimming through sewers, horrific human experimentation. This is all so difficult to take that there needs to be something truly excellent to make it worthwhile. But there isn't, until you get to the final 50 pages, where Palma suddenly elevates his game, bringing a depth, meaning, spirit and joy to the story. If only he had done the same throughout the book. As it is, though, I can't recommend slogging through 90% of a long book for a transcendent last 10%. I seem to be in a minority in my view of the book, so I hope I've been clear enough about my problems with it to help potential readers.DISCLOSURE: I received a free review copy of this book.
  • (5/5)
    Just fantastic. I'm so glad I reread The Map Time before going on to the second in the trilogy; I read it so fast the first time (I couldn't put it down and I couldn't slow down, either) that I missed a lot of wonderful detail. What could be better than a time travel novel (or is it?!) in which one of the main characters is H.G. Wells? and in which some of Wells's fantastical science fiction plotlines come to pass?
  • (2/5)
    As with its predecessor, The Map of Time, The Map of the Sky is a story told in three interrelated parts and is based on an H.G. Wells book. The first time around, it was The Time Machine, and this time its The War of the Worlds. Wells himself plays a character in these books, along with a cast of other, mostly fictional, characters; in particular, time-travel charlatan Gilliam Murray, the enigmatic Captain Derek Shackleton, and young man-about-town Charles Winslow.The first book in Palma's planned trilogy, The Map of Time, was an engaging, ambitious time-travel thriller that I enjoyed thoroughly. It would be best to read this before reading The Map of the Sky, but not absolutely essential.The Map of the Sky is an adventure story of the crew of a 19th-century exploration ship ice-bound in the Antarctic, a Martian invasion of London and Murray's clumsy attempts to win a hard-headed American woman named Emma. Palma melds real and fictional characters, fantasy, time travel, science, literature, history and romance. Palma clearly knows his stuff and has a terrific imagination, as he proved in his first book, but I found the translation of all of his ideas to the page didn't work this time around.Palma's characters are flat and largely unappealing, which is a particular problem with Murray and Emma in the romance thread. Palma showed in his first book that he had some weaknesses in characterization, but it's far worse this time around. While his first book could have used some editing, this one cries out for the red pencil. His writing is bloated, leading to a novel that is way longer than necessary and has no sense of pace. The descriptions of the many fight/battle scenes are so drawn-out and repetitive that they're drained of any drama or excitement. The Charles Winslow character repeats himself constantly and is especially tiresome when it never seems to have crossed his mind that Mr. Murray's time-travel business is a sham. If his dim-wittedness was supposed to be funny, that escaped me.On top of that, there are gruesome and gross-out scenes literally ad nauseam. Multiple scenes of evisceration, people being forced to eat unspeakable food, swimming through sewers, horrific human experimentation. This is all so difficult to take that there needs to be something truly excellent to make it worthwhile. But there isn't, until you get to the final 50 pages, where Palma suddenly elevates his game, bringing a depth, meaning, spirit and joy to the story. If only he had done the same throughout the book. As it is, though, I can't recommend slogging through 90% of a long book for a transcendent last 10%. I seem to be in a minority in my view of the book, so I hope I've been clear enough about my problems with it to help potential readers.DISCLOSURE: I received a free review copy of this book.
  • (4/5)
    I must differ from all those who say this book was not as good as the first one, The Map of Time. I felt it was better. It held my interest far more and felt truly more like a science fiction book. The 'narrator' was an element that I felt added to the book and my enjoyment of it.After Wells has written the book, War of the Worlds, he is confronted with the knowledge that Martians do exist and he unknowingly sets in motion their invasion. The story involves new characters as well as characters from The Map of Time. I will just say that I found the character development to be excellent. Not only do the characters develop for your benefit, but they also grow and change.It is a difficult book to review with giving too much away. The plot flows well and I only had those "oh, I know what is going to happen" scant lines before it did. The book lives up to the premise offered by the beautiful cover. The words simply flow. It was a treat to read.
  • (4/5)
    When I read The Map of Time last year I did not realize it was to be the first in a trilogy. I enjoyed that book a great deal and was excited when I discovered The Map of the Sky continued the story of H.G. Wells. I did not expect other characters from the first book to show up, and especially not the way they did, but Palma ties the two books together wonderfully.Palma brings to life the stories of H.G. Wells in a new way as the author must participate in the adventures of his imagination. What if the Earth was truly invaded by Martians? Could H.G. Wells and his companions survive the attack or even prevent it from happening?Palma loads his novel with details. Some seem meaningless at the time they are presented but they are wrapped together eventually in an epic way. Stories that feel disconnected converge and characters who seem to be on distant paths find their purposes overlap. The beginning and the end, which seem so far apart initially, circle around on each other and create a complex system in space and time.Although The Map of the Sky is lengthy, I found there to be much less overlapping of the story than there was in The Map of Time. For me, this was a big improvement because it kept the story moving forward rather than replaying various scenes from another perspective. To be honest, it took me much too much time to read this book but only because personal circumstances over the last few months have reduced my reading time considerably. Whenever I got a chance to pick up The Map of the Sky I didn't want to put it back down again.Now that I know this is a trilogy, I am greatly looking forward to the third volume.
  • (4/5)
    Summary: H.G. Wells is quite a successful author, who is able to capture the world's imagination like no other, but after the debacle following his publication of The Time Machine, he's rather sensitive to other people capitalizing on his ideas. So he's not best pleased when the American author of an unworthy (and unauthorized!) sequel to his latest novel, The War of the Worlds, asks him to meet. But Wells barely has a chance to properly chastise the man before he reveals something incredible: aliens are not fiction, but real, and there is in fact an alien corpse hidden in a secret chamber beneath the British Museum. Wells is at first inclined to disbelieve, but when events from his novel begin to come true, he is left with no choice but to accept than aliens are real - and to fight against their invasion of Earth however he can.Review: This one was a bit of a disappointment, I'm terribly sad to say. Not that it was bad, far from it; taken on its own merits, The Map of the Sky is good-to-very-good, with some parts that I absolutely loved, and overall just beautifully written (and translated, to give credit where credit is due). But I was completely blown away by this book's predecessor, The Map of Time, so I went in expecting and hoping for more of the same magic, but unfortunately, The Map of the Sky didn't quite live up to it.One of the things I loved most about The Map of Time was how it took three totally disparate stories, and tossed you from one to the other without regard for narrative convention, but then at the end brought them all together in a way that was so perfect and complete that it took my breath away. Palma attempts to duplicate that same structure in The Map of the Sky, but it doesn't work as well. The pieces are enjoyable on their own - in particular, I thought the first section, with the discovery of the alien by a team of Antarctic explorers was fantastic, and just wonderfully creepy and claustrophobic and suspenseful. But the various pieces don't seem to tie together as smoothly as I wanted, and there weren't the kinds of twists and turns that made you reconsider everything that had come before. (Although perhaps because I knew something of what to expect from the story structure, I was more on the lookout for plot twists?) In any case, while the ending did a credible job connecting the various story lines, it was just somehow lacking that spark that knocked my socks off in the first book.Another reason that this book fell a little short of my expectations is probably entirely idiosyncratic: namely, it turns out that I like time-travel sci-fi more than I like alien invasion sci-fi. That's entirely a personal preference, but something about time travel stories captures my imagination in a way that aliens just don't. So for that reason, I found a substantial chunk of this book, in which the aliens actually are invading Earth, to be less compelling than it could or should have been.But, even with all that being said, I still definitely enjoyed the book. (Not as much as I enjoyed the first one, but that is admittedly a very high bar to clear.) These books are just so original, interestingly written, and full of a bunch of neat ideas and exciting action scenes, that it's hard to even compare them to anything else. But worth reading, however they're categorized. 4 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: While I recommended The Map of Time to historical fiction fans even if they didn't typically like sci-fi, I can't really make the same recommendation here; the science fiction elements are a lot more prevalent in this case (although it is certainly historical fiction as well). This book is a sequel to The Map of Time, and although it could potentially be read as a standalone, it does work better in order. (Plus the first one is so good you shouldn't skip it!)
  • (5/5)
    I am completely in love with this series. Felix J. Palma is my hero. Seriously. I loved The Map of Time (which deals with H.G. Well's Time Traveler) - so it was inevitable that I picked up The Map of the Sky with anticipation, and thoroughly expecting a story that dealt with Wells's sky-themed book like.. say.. War of the Worlds. People, I cackled out loud several times as I read this story.Something I've learned to appreciate, over the last year especially, is how a narrator can make or break a story. If you, as a writer, choose to write in the first person and the character you have speaking is unlikable or annoying in any way, the narration is going to get on the nerves of your readers. If you choose third-person and that intimate moment crops up when we need to be in the head of the character, then you've made a blunder there as well. Then there are geniuses like Felix J. Palma who give us a third-person narrator who is a character in his own right. This book is like having Palma's voice in our heads, enjoying the story right there along with us, and guessing (correctly in my case) what are reactions will be and then calling them out in the text itself. It was downright spooky at times - but a good spooky!I knew from The Map of Time that I could expect another story intricate in its weaving, and filled with misdirection. But even knowing all of that, the misdirection was not easy to spot, and when I did spot it, I fully expect that Palma intended it to happen at that time because just a page later it was brought to light so matter-of-factly I felt foolish for feeling a bit jubilant.I am not going to talk about the plot, other than to tell you that in three distinct sections, Palma writes such a complete story that is committed to all of the details, that even if you are dying for the answers, it's impossible to not thoroughly enjoy the ride in getting to them.This book was fun, pure and simple, and I am loving that the covers were flashy enough to catch my eye and make me pull them off the shelf.
  • (4/5)
    Short Review: Not as good as the first one, somewhat overly long with too much philosophical questions in between. The story is good though, and I especially loved that the little "mistakes" and incongruities that I came across while reading the book were explained at the end of the book, as intended discrepancies. It reads more like a horror story than the previous one (well, 3 horror stories), to the point that you are actually frightened and spooked out. Yet, where H.G. Wells is involved, I was never really able to suspend my disbelief. Maybe it was the fact that I know this author is always up to something, but it just didn't ring plausible, even within the context of this universe. Oh, and I really liked to see old characters appear, and see how they had changed, and get to know a bit more of them.
  • (5/5)
    Quite a unique read, for being over 600 pages it was impossible to put down, devoured it in 3 days. The magical way in which the story intertwined its characters mixing both history and fiction was outstanding. I enjoyed the first and third parts most tremendously!
  • (2/5)
    Got through 16 chapters and gave up. A rambling overly detailed mess (at least the start of the book). I try to give every book I read/listen 100 pages. Just nothing of interest happens to get the reader involved in any characters.
  • (5/5)
    Once again, Palma has created a masterful story. He truly deserves a place as one of today's greatest authors. His ability to have his novels double back onto themselves, creating more and more intensity is a true gift. Palma gives an insight into his mind in one part of the novel, stating: "Writers perform an extremely important role: they make others dream, those who are unable to dream for themselves. And everyone needs to dream. Could there be a more important job in life than that?" I am looking forward to his next work.
  • (4/5)
    Teampunk London with HG Wells. What's not to like?!
  • (4/5)
    H.G. Wells is an unhappy man. His latest work, The War of the Worlds, has a sequel that he didn?t write. Having agreed to meet with the American author who he believes has unjustly made money off his idea, Wells grumbles his way through the streets of London to the pub for the meeting. This author, who impresses Wells more than he cares to admit, tells him incredible tales of monsters and aliens and when Wells fails to believe, he offers to show him. In a locked room at the natural history museum, Wells gazes upon what he believes to be a true Martian --- just like the creatures he created in his latest book. At the same time, in America, young socialite Emma Harlow is once more declining the attentions of almost every eligible man in her social circle. When one of the men, Montgomery Gilmore, manages to annoy her to the point of a challenge, she tells him what it will take to win her hand in marriage. A fan of H.G. Wells?s latest book, she wants him to re-create the Martian invasion from The War of the Worlds. Gilmore, a man with money to burn, accepts the challenge and sets out to construct the invasion in the hope of winning Emma?s heart.When the day arrives for Gilmore?s event, people gather around a supposed space ship in a field outside of London. Among the onlookers are Emma and Wells who was drug there by an inspector from Scotland Yard believing Wells would know what is going to happen. What happens is beyond them all and has them running for their lives.Palma takes several different stories and weaves a tale that starts in London, travels to the Antarctic, heads to America, and then lands back in London. I have to admit that starting this review was daunting simply because I didn?t know where to start. There is so much going on in this book but Palma manages the story well, tying up loose ends and making each part of the book feel complete. The Map of the Sky is the sequel to his first novel, The Map of Time. While I want to say this book can stand alone, there are some characters that return, in new incarnations, and having the entire back story does help in reading this one. Palma obviously has a special regard for Wells?s work and even though his works are prominent aspects of this book, I don?t think one has to have read the books --- in this particular case it is Wells?s The War of the Worlds --- to enjoy the story. Time travel, aliens, historical figures --- it?s a nice mix. I enjoyed the odd historical figure thrown in, Edgar Allan Poe for example, and Palma does a good job of not making you feel as if he?s tossing out names but creating enough back story for that character to make sense in the full context of the book. I appreciate that. However, I will caution that this isn?t a book that lets you come and go; there?s a lot going on for it to be a leisurely read. It?s more the type of book that sucks you in with the small hints buried in the story and twists and turns that don?t seem to have an ending until the entire scheme is played out. Palma is an appealing writer and I have to say I enjoyed both of his books. He?s into the details which make his stories come alive.