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Old 01-25-2009, 11:02 PM   #5
Xenophon
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I hadn't read The Time Traders since I was in high-school (30+ years ago). I was surprised by a number of things that I either didn't notice at the time or forgot in the interim.

The first of these was what an anti-social hard-case Ross Murdock was, at least at the beginning. I remembered him as a tough guy, but not as a "record as long as your arm, cynical about the system, out for himself" type. This, in turn, led me to wonder about his conversion to an enthusiastic team-member. Stopping the Red agent's getaway fit his character as presented. His stated reason -- "Because I don't like the setup on his side of the fence." -- is a perfect fit. Reading farther, I found that Norton presented the change as (more or less) the opportunity to do something well in the company of competent people who value his contribution.

My next bit of surprise was that none of the team questioned the rightness of taking derelict technology from the "Baldies." On reflection, it fits the attitudes of the '50s when the book was written. Keeping up with (or beating) "the Reds" was often seen as a matter of national survival, so many folks didn't ask too many inconvenient questions. That said, excavating a multi-thousand-year-old wreck is one thing (in my view); helping yourself to a wreck whose owners are still around is quite another. I was disappointed that no character even questioned whether it was a good ethical choice. Do any of the rest of you have strong opinions on this issue?

I too was pleased to see the people of the past treated as real, ordinary folk with just as much intelligence as the next guy. Far too many authors get that one wrong even now.

Over all, a fun read but certainly not great literature.

Xenophon
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