A story of time travelers from the 19th century, each with different reasons for jumping through time. The story begins in London with Andrew Harrington, a man who has fallen in love with a prostitute, Mary Kelly. He soon discovers that Kelly has been killed by Jack the Ripper and contemplates suicide until his cousin Charles steps in with an alternate solution. In an elaborately staged conspiracy, a group of people come together in the hope of alleviating the young man's suffering through a time travel experience where he comes face to face with Jack The Ripper.
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The second story turns to a focus upon the time travel scheme of Gilliam Murray, a man who has supposedly discovered a way to slip in to the future. He claims to take people by train, to a point in the future where humanity is fighting a race of robots called Automatons. One traveler, Claire Haggerty, falls in love with the hero of that future war, Derek Shackleton. Derek, or rather the actor Tom, has been employed by Murray to play out this role of deceit and lands himself in big trouble with the boss when he jeopardizes the secret behind their whole scheme. With the help of author HG Wells he begins to write a series of love letters to Claire Haggerty, to arrange a meeting time in the past, a meeting that could negatively affect the fabric of space time. At first it appears as if things do not end well for Tom.
In the final story science fiction author HG Wells is the hero. He unwittingly uncovers a plot to kill the authors of the books Dracula, Time Machine and War of The Worlds. He happens to be the author of the latter two and soon realizes that someone is out to steal their inventions for their own scrupulous gains. Along the way he is forced to consider the possible effects of altering timelines by the choices he makes in the present moment. He gets caught up in underworld schemes and plots, only to be joined at the last moment by the illustrious Derek Shackleton, antihero of the previous story.
In the end Wells sits in contemplation of the facade Murray had presented to the world, somewhat disillusioned that time travel may not be a good thing after all.
Best part of story, including ending:
The story is well written, but anyone hoping for a true time travel experience may end up feeling a tad disappointed.
Best scene in story:
Gilliam Murray has set up an elaborate train time travel experience and has spared no expense to make people believe they have actually traveled through time. There is one scene where we ride with the passengers on this journey, forward in time to the scene of a great battle in the year 2000. It is fun to see the lengths that Murray has to go to in order to convince any who might be skeptical that they are indeed experiencing time travel to another dimension. The description of a future London, which includes images of fragments of Big Ben in a dried up desert, makes for a bit of a chuckle too.
Opinion about the main character:
HG Wells is technically the main character, even though he seems to take a lesser role in the first two stories. He is a good man, with good intentions to help others through his writing and his exploration of the concepts of time travel adds curiosity and fascination to the story.