There’s a great number of things that contribute to the robust and complex personality of Nelson Rockingham. One central pillar to my identity is a love and appreciation of science. Within that wide world of scientific study, I particularly have an affinity towards physics and astronomy. So when Matt told me that he had a book that involved time travel, I was highly intrigued. Einstein’s famous Theory of Relativity laid the theoretical framework for moving through time, and ever since there have been movies, books, etc. that have used that as a key plot device. Things like the Back to the Future trilogy, Dr. Who, the Magic Treehouse series, and my favorite, the TimeSplitters video game series all explore the idea of time travel in their own unique ways. When it involves traveling to the past, sometimes you’re able to alter events, other times the sequence of events is fixed in order to not allow paradoxes, and others have infinite parallel timelines that vary based on slight changes to events and the time travelers seamlessly move from one to another. Needless to say, I was interested to see where Rebecca Hefner took A Paradox of Fates within the larger context of time travel themed pop culture.
This story follows Dr. Elaine Randolph in the year 2075. She is a scientist who lives in an isolated underground compound in the mountains of Virginia along with a team of half a dozen fellow scientists/allies. The world she lives in is vastly different to ours. In 2035, Dr. Elaine’s grandfather, the United States’ President launched a first strike in what would become an all-out nuclear war. The resulting catastrophe, coupled with rising sea levels due to global warming, have dissolved all modern nation states. The surviving people have clung to isolated villages set on the more higher elevation areas and the majority of remaining electronic technology exists only on the 4 isolated scientific hubs. Looking to capitalize on the chaos and dominate the world is the ominous New Establishment. They’re what is left of President Randolph’s faction prior to Armageddon, and serve as the story’s main antagonist. It is Dr. Elaine’s singular goal in life to build a machine that would allow her to travel to the past and prevent the actions of her grandfather that led to her current post-apocalyptic way of life. She encounters a few unexpected friends along the way, most noteworthy is the rugged and sexy Captain Hunter Rhodes who quickly becomes a love/lust interest.
The plot is thrilling as Dr. Elaine struggles to solve the riddle of time travel as the New Establishment is starting to take an interest in, and forcibly seize the various scientific hubs. Time is starting to run out in the race to master Time. In regard to what “type” of time travel universe we have here, I’d say it’s likely the infinite parallel timelines version. Each act of going forward or backward in time, alters events slightly, thus sending the travelers into a completely different timeline. In this universe, time is neither linear, nor is it merely a flat circle. Instead, it is an infinite number of flat circles lying on top of another like a stack of space-time flap jacks.
As the “Note from the Author” at the beginning of the book makes clear, there was a significant amount of research and consideration to make A Paradox of Fates as close to being scientifically realistic as possible. What does that mean in a post-nuclear apocalypse world when trying to accomplish something that is merely theoretical at best? I’ll leave that up to you, but I can say as a
slight science dork that Hefner does an exceptional job at putting in Big Science concepts in a way that would not lose or confuse a layperson. Are one or two aspects of things, strictly speaking, perfectly scientifically accurate? Yeah, but they are minor and don’t detract from the story in any way. Like I said, the characters in the story are trying to solve something that is only theoretically possible and may be impossible, so there’s still some room for artistic license.
Hefner does a wonderful job in creating interesting and relatable characters, with various interconnected subplots that make the reader yearn for more. When I got to the end of this story, my mind was racing with ideas of how the story will diverge going further. Time travel is a very tricky venture, and I think as the only known species that has a concept of capital “T” Time, humans can derive some joy in these sorts of temporal puzzles.
Now, mild spoiler alert, eventually things get hot ‘n’ heavy between Dr. Elaine and Captain Rhodes. There is a tremendous amount of build up until the final release, so if you enjoy foreplay and teasing, this pacing is right up your alley. And while I did enjoy the scenes when they did eventually happen, my only complaint was that they were a little vanilla in terms of variety of positions. However, this is only Book One, and the good stuff doesn’t come (lol punz) until you’re 80% of the way through the story so the lovemaking and sexual chemistry can only go up from here.
Rebecca Hefner’s A Paradox of Fates was just released February 25 on Amazon (and probably other places too, but Amazon’s the big boi of online shopping) and you should absolutely pick up a copy. Just as important, you should set aside some money for the subsequent books, because I can tell you that you’ll definitely be wanting more after this initial taste.
Special thanks to Rebecca Hefner for providing an advance copy of A Paradox of Fates to TehBen.com for review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Author’s Twitter: @RebHefnerAuthor
Purchase Link: Amazon (Released 2/25/2020)