An Uncommonly Good Time Travel Story

I met Nathan Van Coops at the Eckered College Writers in Paradise Conference this past January. In fact, he and I were in the same workshop group and he was kind enough to provide each of us with a signed copy of his debut novel, In Times Like These.

Having read the beginning of the sequel, I knew I’d enjoy In Times Like These. Nathan’s writing is never forced. He has a solid command of the language and has invented a time travel technology complete with enough science to make it the believable foundation for his story, which is no easy task.

Here’s the review I posted on Amazon & Goodreads:

Time travel stories are inherently difficult to do well because it’s easy to let the technology get in the way of the story. Stories can easily get bogged down in the mechanics of time travel and writers can get hung up on the implications, such as what happens if you meet yourself in the past.

Nathan Van Coops, for the most part, avoids those problems in this, the first of what is conceived of as a three-book series. Occasionally, I did get lost understanding the mechanics of time travel in his world, but had no trouble keeping going as a result of a smooth, error-free writing style, the human interest level of his characters, and the basic plot. In fact, this was an easy book to keep reading. You definitely don’t have to be a sci-fi fan to enjoy it.

If I were to offer any advice to the author for books two and three, it would be to build tension earlier in the story. In In Times Like These, Van Coops misses a couple of opportunities early in the book to ratchet up the stakes. The story doesn’t divurge from the standard fare of “how do we get back to our own time” until two-thirds through the book when the unwilling time travelers find themselves in an unexpected huge jam.

At the end the main character is primed for more adventures and perhaps romance as well. I’ll definitely make time for the sequel.
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