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Fantasy Friday – The Map of Time



The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma


Review by Bruce


J.R.R. Tolkien said, “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory.” George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”  Felix J. Palma dreams big and asks “Why not?” in his fantasy novel “The Map of Time”.  Palma’s prose is rich and inventive and his story of time travel and parallel universes is eccentric but fun. Set in late 1890s England, Palma vividly creates the Victorian England made familiar by Charles Dickens and injects a dose of illusion and fancy as he takes his readers on wild ride.

“The Map of Time” consists of three parts that could stand alone as novellas. Each part has a unique story that ultimately connects with the others, mostly through famed author H. G. Wells and a company called “Murray’s Time Travel”.  Palma leaves no stone unturned as he includes romance, murder, deceit, robots, time machines, ray guns, famous novelists, and mystery in this first installment of a planned trilogy.

The first chapter, which can be classified as romantic fantasy, begins with a young man born of wealth and privilege preparing to commit suicide over a lost love. Eight years earlier, Andrew Harrington fell in love with a Whitechapel prostitute. They secretly carry on a torrid love affair until he finally garners the courage to admit his love to his father. But as he is doing so to disastrous results, his young love has become the latest victim of Jack the Ripper. Just as Andrew is ready to exit this world full of constant sorrow, his cousin convinces Andrew to visit Murray’s Time Travel in an attempt to go eight years back in time to stop the Ripper before he can murder the girl. Palma has given us a unique love story that really resonates with the power of redemption and second chances.

The second chapter tells the story of a young lady bored with the rigid constraints of Victorian society who visits Murray’s Time Travel with the hopes of slipping away to a new life and a new future. The story requires the reader to believe people of this era were unbelievably gullible but once you suspend your disbelief the story can be very engaging. This is escapist literature after all.

The final chapter is the most whimsical of all. Three victims are found murdered by a weapon not yet invented and the murderer leaves behind quotes from three novels not yet published.  Famed authors H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, and Henry James follow the clues provided by these quotes from their unfinished novels and face a time traveler who has come to protect their works from theft by another time traveler who intends to publish the novels under his name. In this segment Palma lets it all hang out. To this reader, the story gets bogged down in circular logic and convoluted threads of parallel universes and the consequences of time travel. It read like “Back to the Future” on steroids. Palma is obviously having a lot of fun with the what ifs of time travel but not everyone will appreciate the tedium and minutiae of the authors explanations.

Overall, not a bad outing and Palma sets the foundation for future novels.


The second installment of this planned trilogy, The Map of the Sky, is set to be released on Sept. 4, 2012.





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