Time travel. It`s an overused science fiction plot device, but one that still has some life to it, provided you can either offer the reader a new spin, or find a new way to incorporate it into a story that uses it, but doesn`t rely upon it. Ferrell does both, providing us with a weary time traveler who spends every birthday with his selves - those who`ve come, those who`ve gone, and those who might never be. This year, however, the party takes an unusual turn, leaving him to find out who will kill him in the coming year.
This is a clever read that almost falters under the weight of its paranoia, but which really hinges on an uninvited guest at the party. It`s a very literary tale, one that sometimes tries a bit too hard to eclipse its genre roots with moments of artistic eccentricity, but which largely succeeds. It`s a near-future mystery, a science fiction drama, and a human interest story, all rolled into one. It`s not as odd or as oddly funny as I expected, but that`s likely a good thing - given the variations on the main character, and novelty of simultaneously investigating and possibly causing your own death, too much humor could have propelled this into the realm of parody.
If you like your science fiction big, bold, and bombastic, then this isn`t the story for you. If you`ve any appreciation at all for one-man-plays and cerebral dramas, then give it a shot. You`ll be glad you did.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins