Tag Archives: Alan Tucker

Book Review: Knot in Time

Knot in Time cover art

Knot in Time cover art

Darius Arthur Heisenberg “had been adopted as a baby into a relatively famous — at least in scientific circles — family. [His] great, great uncle, Werner Heisenberg, had come up with one of the fundamental ideas of modern physics: the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.” This we learn early on in Alan Tucker’s time travel novel, Knot in Time (Tales of Uncertainty, Book 1). Darius, whose friends call Dare, isn’t stupid, but his grades in school haven’t reflected it. He’s often in trouble, so his prospects in life aren’t great. That is, until he meets Bob.

Bob is an alien who recruits Dare to work for the Keepers, a secret society of aliens who have made it their job to  protect the threads of reality from unraveling. There are many different threads, each representing a different reality. Dare forsakes his current thread to help protect the entire tapestry of threads. So what exactly does the job of protecting the threads of reality entail? Time traveling, of course! Dare has to jump around in time (and space) to thwart whatever mischief other time travelers attempt.

Now I don’t want to give away too much here. I can say that the book kept my interest all the way through, but then I’m partial to time travel stories. Beyond that, I’ll have to get into some details of the story, so some of what follows might be considered spoilers.

There’s not just one thread of reality. There are many threads. The threads all influence each other, so that they all are very similar, even though different. A change in one might change the others. A corruption of one could corrupt all of them.

The Keepers have this nifty little trick of tying off threads in a knot — hence, a knot in time. When they knot a thread, they insert a time traveler into a thread, and the time traveler can’t be taken out of the thread until the end of the knotted section of thread is reached. Whatever happens in the knotted section of the thread becomes reality across all threads, and it can’t ever be changed. At least, that’s how I interpreted it.

So Dare gets inserted into a thread that’s being knotted. He has to make sure he does everything right — knotting the thread means he won’t get a second chance. It’s through this knotting mechanism that author Alan Tucker maintains suspense in his time travel novel. He allows jumping around in time and changing history, but then he also invents the ability to put a knot in time to prevent changes in history when it suits the Keepers. It’s not believable as something that would ever work in the real world, but it works for the story.

The one thing that bugged me the most came at the very end of the story. After the thread is knotted, there is some debate as to whether to do something that might change it. Huh? I might be nit picking, but if you can tie off a thread to ensure that what happens in that knot can’t be changed, then why tie the knot and then turn around and talk about trying to change something in it? (What I’m referring to has to do with altering the course of a comet five hundred million years ago, in case you’re curious.) Like I said, that business comes at the very end of the story, and it might not even be noticed by many readers.

The story overall is entertaining. It has time travel, alternate threads of reality, adventures that occur on a planet other than Earth, aliens, and sexy women who make Dare blush. If you like that sort of fiction, you should enjoy Knot in Time. I’ll give it 4.5 stars out of 5.

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