Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: The Kronos Interference by Edward Miller and J.B. Manas

Grade: D+
Whether or not to use your time machine to kill Hitler is a question that plagues everyone, not just alternate historians. The Kronos Interference by Edward Miller and J.B. Manas provides adds its two cents to the discussion. It is another installment in the classic time travel genre where our hero travels back in time to prevent something horrible from happening.

Physicist Jacob Newman is pulled from his family and his job when he gets a call about a strange vessel discovered at the bottom of the South Pacific. Seemingly alien in design, Newman and the team of researchers quickly find evidence of time travel by some unknown force that has been studying violent episodes of human history.  Some believe whoever created the vessel has been building a case against humanity and a judgment day is imminent. To forestall the end of the world and to save his own family, Newman travels back in time 1924 to kill Adolf Hitler when he is still locked in prison. There is a specific reason he chose this date: his grandfather was part of an abandoned plot to kill Hitler and now Jacob is going to convince him to go through with his original place. As can be expected from time travelers with good intentions (see 11/22/63 and The Company of the Dead) the resulting outcome does not go as expected and paradoxes abound.

The plot was solid, but my greatest issue with the story is with the characters. I found them to be unrealistic in their depictions. First, they took everything in stride, whether it was murder or being stuck on the bottom of the ocean inside an alien vessel. The character were limited in their abilities to express shock, fear or awe in situations when they should have been freaking out. There was also too much tell instead of show in the novel. I only knew that the character Beeze was the comic relief because I was told he was funny by Newman. Finally, and this is always a big annoyance of mine, there were just too many instances of dialogue with a character saying "as you know". People generally do not use that phrase when stating the obvious, and even if they do, they do not use that phrase exclusively.

I really wanted to like this novel, especially after seeing how many 5 star reviews it got on Amazon and Goodreads. I did find Newman's interview with Hitler to be one of the more intriguing moments of the books, so there are pros to the novel that prevented me from giving it a lower rating. I would check out some of those other reviews as well before you make your final decision, but in my opinion the The Kronos Interference is a story with potential, but poorly executed.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a volunteer editor for Alt Hist and a contributor to Just Below the Law. His fiction can be found at Echelon PressJake's Monthly and his own writing blog. When not writing he works as an attorney and enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana.

3 comments:

  1. I agree with your review. Awkward. Only person with a personality in it was Hitler. But an interesting idea and plot. Except: If there was no WWII in Europe, the possibility of JFK running against RMN in 1960 would be vanishingly small.

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    1. Good point, although you might have Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. surviving since he never would have been KIA in WWII. He was supposed standard-bearer of the family...

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  2. Just adding my thoughts here. I'm a time travel geek and a science fiction freak...Not really an Alternate History type. When I saw the starred review of this on kirkus, I was intrigued by the cover as well as the Time Travel story. I can see if you are truly and Alternate History buff..this would not be your kind of book. Personally, to me, I found it more suited for Sci/Fi Time Travel genre. I truly liked the book as it was my type of story. I've always liked "What if" kinds of books. But the reason I liked this story is that it didn't follow the norm. It was full of surprises...That being said..I can see why it would not be "Your Cup of Tea" for Alternate History.

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