This is a collection of eight time-traveling stories that have been published before in previous Fiction River anthologies: Pulse Pounders, Recycled Pulp, and Christmas Ghosts.

Publication year: 2020


Publisher: WMG Publishing

Format: ebook

Time travel is one of my favorite SF elements and I enjoyed this collection a lot.

Thomas K. Carpenter: ”Tower One”: Set on September 11th in the World Trade Center during the strike. One of the main character’s friends died there and she traveled back in time to see her one more time.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch: “September at Wall & Broad”: Philippa is an agent for the United States’ Time Division of the Justice Department. She’s sent from the year 2057 back to September 16th 1920, just before a terrorist bombing of Wall Street. For some reason, New York at that time is under an unofficial time shield. Philippa goes in to find out who or what has done it. But she doesn’t return.

Scott William Carter: “The Elevator in the Cornfield”: Hank lives on his farm with his youngest son Timmy. One morning a blue elevator stands in the cornfield. Hank doesn’t want anything to do with it.

Kelly Cairo: “Sacred Poet from the Future”: Tess goes to see her grandfather in a home he lives in. He has had a stroke and can be quite forgetful. This time, one of grandpa’s old friends has come to see him, too. Except that grandpa calls him Arnie who is Tess’ younger brother. Surely grandpa is just confused…

Dean Wesley Smith: “The Wages of the Moment”: The Garden Lounge has a jukebox that can make people travel through time. Stout is the former owner of the bar. When an older version of himself appears next to the jukebox, he knows things are getting weird.

Chuck Heinzelman: “Three Strikes”: Jackson is at a baseball game, waiting for his girlfriend to arrive. He’s about to propose to her. Instead, he gets a phone call: he has half an hour to get a package and deliver it or she will die.

Lisa Silverthorne: “Christmas, Interrupted”: Mallory isn’t looking forward to Christmas: her family is far away and she broke up with her boyfriend over a year ago. Last year, she was about to go out with her high school crush, Rowan. But he never showed up. Only now she finds out that he was murdered last year on Christmas Day. But she might be able to save him.

Sharon Joss: “Love in the Time of Dust and Venom”: Keiko’s grandfather is 97 years old. He had to move away from Japan after the nuclear plant disaster, but both his son and wife died there, so he wants to return so that he can die there. But the only way to return is to travel through time. He doesn’t want to go to the past. Instead, he wants to travel a hundred years to the future. Keiko is afraid of losing him, but must obey his wishes.

This is an excellent collection of time travelers even though not all of them are told from the point of view of the traveler. The stories have quite a lot of variety including a couple of race against the clock -stories, mysteries through times, people wrestling with their emotions, and a sweet Christmas love story. Most of them have mystery elements. They all have very human characters who have very human motivations.

I’ve read Sharon Joss’ story a couple of times and it still moves me. “Three Strikes” has a time travel trope I really enjoy and haven’t read enough of, but I won’t spoil it here. I enjoyed almost all of the stories. “Love in the Time of Dust and Venom”, “September at Wall & Broad”, and “Three Strikes” are my favorites.