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Island in the Sea of Time Book Review Summary

Detailed Plot Synopsis of Island in the Sea of Time

What a great idea for a story! Nantucket Island is transported back in time to 1250 BC. The 5,000 residents of the island wake up to discover that the infrastructure that connected them to the world is gone. No more food or fuel shipments. No more electrical grid.

The focus of the book moves from survival (too many mouths to feed, too little farmland) to exploration and trade, to rapid industrial development, to reigning in a renegade with ambitions of empire building.

Stirling answers the question of what one does to build a modern society if one has a fair amount of knowledge but a scarcity of equipment and infrastructure. He has obviously given it a lot of thought and his solutions are convincing. If I have any reservation here, it is that Stirling goes into a lot of detail about how to smelt iron and build a ship and a variety of other technical considerations. He gives more than I want and I found myself skimming some of these passages.

The characterizations are generally very good. The good guys are well fleshed out. They have their foibles and blindspots but they learn from believable (within the context of the novel) experiences. Captain Alston strains suspension of disbelief a bit. I have no trouble accepting an accomplished black lesbian Coast Guard captain. However, her physical prowess and skill with the sword evoke comparisons to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The bad guys tend toward the two-dimensional. Walker is an Iago with no redeeming characteristics and Hong is just plain twisted. I would prefer to see a bit more character development here. Perhaps in the two sequels.

Overall, a thoughtful and entertaining read.
This report prepared by Greg Careaga



A fascinating time-travel story. The entire island of Nantucket is mysteriously catapulted back to the year 1250 BCE. It is a harsh, violent era, where human life is shorter, brutisher (sic), and nastier than ever. If the Nantucketers want to go on living a civilized life, their only choice is to raise the local tech level as much as possible. The result is an intriguing hard-SF tale of exploration, engineering, and ingenuity.
This report prepared by Jeph Gord








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Chapter Analysis of Island in the Sea of Time

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 30%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% Tone of book    -   very upbeat FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Time Travel:    -   largely backwards/past Plotlets:    -   surviving natural elements on planet Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Time Travel story?    -   Yes Story largely takes place in    -   Really long ago

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male    -   Female Profession/status:    -   navy soldier    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's

Setting

Terrain    -   Jungle    -   Desert    -   Water    -   Mountains    -   Forests Earth setting:    -   general past Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very explicit references to deaths and torture scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   a significant amount of technical jargon    -   the book is simply packed with technical jargon Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   descript of touching personal anatomy    -   licking    -   impregnation/reproduction    -   actual description of sex    -   lesbians!    -   description of breasts    -   descript. of non-breast female anat.    -   rape/molest (yeech!) How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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S.M. Stirling Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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