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Retcontinuum by Shaunn Grulkowski

 

While time travel isn’t physically possible, science has found a way to record all of your present thoughts, feelings, and experiences over your consciousness at a fixed point in the past. This gives the user the ability to drastically alter their future.

The system works using your brain as an analog recording device, but, as Ray Irvine is finding out, all analog media is subject to degradation with repeat recordings.

Note: Retcontinuum contains pervasive harsh language; also, some graphic violence.


A serialized novel, updating twice weekly

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Listed: Mar 30, 2014

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Well-Crafted Sci-Fi

By E_Foster, author of Cages

Jul 15, 2014: Retcontinuum tells the story of Ray, a man who makes his living by participating in experimental trials. At the beginning of the story, Ray signs up for a research study sponsored by the Sinclair Group that involves the implantation of a device in the brain that allows the subject to make jumps in time. However, making these jumps begins to erode Ray’s memory, so although he has important information inside his faulty memories, he cannot access it. This does not stop the Sinclair Group—and its henchmen—from coming after Ray in an attempt to prevent others from gaining access to evidence of the Sinclair Group’s more unsavory and unpublicized experiments.

While the scientific elements in the story can be a bit difficult to follow (time travel always ties my brain in knots), overall, the story is very enjoyable. This plot takes a number of completely unexpected turns that kept me on my toes. The author also gave his primary narrator, Ray, a funny, conversational voice which made him, as a character, really likable, but, more importantly, made the story really easy and fun to read.

Though there are a number of strong components to this story, two aspects were particularly notable for me. First, I really liked the structure that the author used in the first twenty or so chapters. He alternated chapters narrated by Ray with chapters that contain memos, interviews, and other information that provide further insight into the characters and the inner workings of the Sinclair Group. These chapters helped ground me in the narrative and did a great job teasing future plot points.

Second, I found the characterization, for the most part, to be really strong. Ray in particular is very well written. He is a highly flawed character, one who is rarely the master of his own destiny, but, as the story progresses, he becomes aware of his flaws and works to become more active in his own life. The other characters are also complex and fairly well-developed—though some of the female characters could use a bit more depth. While they are tough women who can take care of themselves, I wish that I got more insight into their personalities like I did with the male characters.

I would definitely recommend this story to anyone who is looking to read a really well-crafted science fiction story. The narrator is funny, and the plot is both unique and amazingly compelling. One warning: if you start reading this story, you may end up doing what I did and reading the entire 45 chapters in one day.

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