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Old 01-25-2009, 03:54 PM   #1
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Discussion Thread: The Time Traders (spoilers)

Hi All,

Yes.. lets discuss this month book club selection. You all read it right.

MODS... please sticky this thread and unsticky HOTBs thread. Thanks.

BOb
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Old 01-25-2009, 04:10 PM   #2
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I'd like to thank Madam Broshkina for the version I downloaded from MR for my CyBook. The cover was lovely, and the quality of the text excellent.


As to the story, I found it an easy read but not a particularly gripping one. Within the first few pages I was a bit confused about the way Norton handled a pilot suit - at one moment it seemed outlandish, and the next it was treated as an everyday item. I don't know whether this was supposed to presage the alien suit we encounter later in the story - but I suspect nothing so subtle was intended.
The plot stretches the reader's disbelief, and there is very little attempt to explain the scientific basis of the time travel. Similarly, there seemed little attempt to give any depth to the characters. Another drawback is that it is the first in a series, so the resolution is incomplete.
There were a few moments of impressively imaginative writing that raised it above the level of average SF pulp imho. I'm glad I read it, but it wasn't enough to spur me into reading the rest of the series. 6/10
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Old 01-25-2009, 04:16 PM   #3
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MODS... please sticky this thread and unsticky HOTBs thread. Thanks.
ok.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:25 PM   #4
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I thought it was a fun read, but it didn't draw me in or make me care about the characters. I thought that some elements of the plot were confusing, but this may just be a generational thing. It's hard for me to think of "The Reds" as a unilateral force as opposed to a ragtag collection of communist countries such as exists today.

I didn't get some of the technology, either. I'm willing to put up with hand-waving and technobabble when things are explained, but there was not much exposition, it was just there.

I also don't care how macho someone is supposed to be, at a certain point of physical trauma or abuse, people go into shock and/or die. The firewalking scene was especially ridiculous.

I did like the way the author dealt with the bronze age stuff. There is a tendency among some authors to portray ancient people as stupid, and I did not see too much of that.

If other volumes in the series are available for $5 or less in a format that I can use, I might be convinced to purchase and read them.

Last edited by Fledchen; 01-25-2009 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 01-26-2009, 12:02 AM   #5
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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.

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Old 01-26-2009, 01:21 PM   #6
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Norton was more of a Science Fantacist than Fictionalist. She often would use rubber science in order to get her stroy moving. She was always more interested in the people and their struggles. That said, one of the tings about her writing that was repetitive was that there always seems to have been an "epic journey" or two where one or more characters has to move from point A to point B and overcome the environment, the enemy, and themselves as the real goal. In this case it happens at least three times. I like her stories a lot, mostly because of the pleasant childhood memories of the reads I had with her way back then. This is not her best story, but it is prototypical Norton.
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:53 PM   #7
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Time Traders was an interesting story. It was hard to place "when" it occurred. But apparently the cold war is still going on.

I do agree that Ross quickly decided to be a team player.

The comments here about stuff just being paralleled some of my thoughts. A little back story would have helped. Where did they get the time travel stuff. How did they know the reds had it. What has changed. How do you know if the future has been changed. I'm not sure if any of this back story is provided in later stories.

Also, I don't think the book condoned striping the ship. Remember it was the reds doing this dirty deed.

I am not a fan of people being so badly damaged, tired, uncomfortable for so long and still being able to win fights and such.

I also don't think the reds would have just dumped Ross in a hole to die. They would probably shoot him in the head.

The story didn't seem organized to me. It seemed to jump around quite a bit. There was also alot of supposition without any basis. Where the aliens tracking Ross using the suit or was it his paranoia? We the aliens in Ross's head or was he just going batty?

I do not plan to read more in this series.

BOb
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:05 PM   #8
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I was a bad girl and read "The Time Machine" instead. Which, by the way, was pretty awesome.
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:54 PM   #9
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I was a bad girl and read "The Time Machine" instead. Which, by the way, was pretty awesome.
There's still time to read The Time Traders. (pun intended)

BOb
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:56 PM   #10
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There's still time to read The Time Traders. (pun intended)

BOb
That was a terrificly bad pun.
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Old 01-26-2009, 04:04 PM   #11
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That was a terrificly bad pun.
Thanks. Karma is gratefully accepted.

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Old 01-26-2009, 04:30 PM   #12
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Thanks. Karma is gratefully accepted.

BOb
I would, but apparantly you were the last person I gave Karma to, you greedy man
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Old 01-26-2009, 07:56 PM   #13
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I've just discovered that two other books in the series are available from Project Gutenberg, "Key Out of Time" and "The Defiant Agents."
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:07 PM   #14
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I've just discovered that two other books in the series are available from Project Gutenberg, "Key Out of Time" and "The Defiant Agents."
Isn't there also Galactic Derelict. There are a few others but I don't think written by Norton.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/n/andre-norton/

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Old 01-26-2009, 08:18 PM   #15
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Isn't there also Galactic Derelict. There are a few others but I don't think written by Norton.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/n/andre-norton/

BOb
Galactic Derelict is part of the series, but it's not on Project Gutenberg. I don't know if that's because it's still in the works at P.G. or if the copyright was renewed and it's not eligible.
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