Title Time riders
Arther. Alex Scarrow
Date release 2010
About the Story
This story is about three kids with unique skills, who take on the role of “Time Riders”.
The boy is called Liam O’Connor. He has a tolerance to the effects of time travel (it doesn’t harm him to the extent experienced by others) and has the ability to adapt to cultural changes, making him a good choice for the job of “Time Rider” or time traveller.
Sal Vikram has an incredible ability to notice detail. She can spot changes in people, buildings, fashions and even climate so she is the Time Rider team’s spotter or scout. She stays in the present and observes changes as time shifts occur. Sal had been outside observing and ..” she was about to head for somewhere a little less busy, when she felt it…a passing moment of dizziness, disorientation, as if the world was a giant tablecloth and some one had just given the cover a very gentle tug. She reached out for a litter bin to steady herself. Then recovered her balance. Her eyes registered something very subtly different about where she was long before her brain did.” Pg 106
Maddy Carter is a great investigator and has a special ability to put the pieces of a puzzle or challenge to together. She is intuitive, analytical and can figure out encryption or complex situations.
These kids are recruited from their own time by a man named Foster, who is an experienced time traveller himself, and is from a previous team, now all retired (deceased). Foster takes each of them from the time they were supposed to die in and offers them the chance to live in return for helping him protect time.
Liam was a young trainee Steward on the Titanic and should have gone down with the ship. Maddy was supposed to die in a plane crash in 2010. Sal was supposed to be in a car crash in 2026. Foster pulled them out of these events and travelled them through time to 10 September 2001, which becomes their new present time in New York.
Their job is to make sure that the events of history are not tampered with and actually happen the way they did.
So the kids live in a consistent time loop of two days. All of their adventures take place in the real-time of 10 September 2001 to 11 September 2001, although when working in different time zones, the time Liam experiences is actually longer. For example his trip to the past during Second World War 2 lasted 6 months in that time, but was still only two days in the present.
There is also another character in the team. He is an A.I. cybernetic being, organically grown (in a tube). His purpose is to be a Support unit, and the young people name him Bob.
Foster takes the Support Unit (Bob) and Liam on a couple of training missions though time. This is to prepare them to go on specific missions through time on their own later as and when they are needed.
Sal goes out on a routine check of the environment and notices that the world looks like it is straight from World War 2. She observes a shift in time (like the ripple effect from a stone thrown in a pond). She realises there has been a major shift in time, right out there where she is. As she looks about her now she observes New York City in what looks like World War 2 time frame.
Foster confirms this is true and prepares to send Bob and Liam back in time to find out what happened. This entails them being immersed in a tank of fluid that will not contaminate another time period, when they enter it. Foster’s computer sets the journey co-ordinates and sends them back in a time bubble. They arrive in a forest outside of what turns out to be Washington, and have 12 hours to collect the needed data before returning to the same spot. They are supposed to jump back through the time bubble, which opens after 12 hours, for the return window.
They arrive in Washington as it is being attacked by the German army under the control of a man from the future and not Hitler as actually happened. The man who could also travel though time, had taken control from Hitler back in 1943 and changed the outcome of the end of World War 2.
In this new time the Germans win the war across Europe and are now in the process of conquering the USA, which of course should not be happening.
The mission for Bob and Liam is to collect data from this changed time so they can go back and fix the real outcome of history. Unfortunately Bob and Liam are separated. Liam is captured and put in a prison camp stopping him getting back to his own time. He meets a lot of people during his 6 months in the alternate time zone before Bob finally finds him and rescues him.
The way that Bob rescues Liam is a problem for this time zone as he is not actually human. The science that made Bob has yet been discovered. This leads people to believe he is a god like super hero as he is able to withstand being shot and badly hurt. In 1943 this was not yet possible.”This is what I heard” He goes by the name of captain fantastic or some such. Folks are saying he’s sort of military superhero” pg 318
They are able to get back to the real-time as a result of the work being done back in 2001 by Foster, Maddy and Sal. They work out a way to get a message back to 1943 so that they can give co-ordinates to BOB and Liam to find a new hole to jump back through time.
The whole adventure has left them very shaken. The team nearly lost Liam and Bob and Foster has aged remarkably quickly trying to teach the team and run the mission. At the end of the story the team have a new awareness of the challenge they have taken on to become Time Riders and the need that the world has for them to stop others corrupting time and history.
A character I found interesting is Bob because he is incredibly powerful physically, and an “epic” character like any kind of super hero. As an A.I. Unit he has a vast amount of information and knowledge he can draw on from his computer brain. He can be really funny because his way of speaking is unnatural.
The best way to sum up Bob’s personality is to compare him with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in Terminator 2. His relationship with Liam is pretty similar to John Conner.
Another character I found interesting was Liam O’Connor because he came straight out of the time from the Titanic in 1911 and arrived in 2001. He adopted very quickly with his Irish sense of humour and his wonder at the new world around him did not overwhelm him. Liam was really smart, even though he never had time to really discover this in his previous life. No matter what problems he came up against in the new time he could adapt and learn how to act and survive. What Liam did not know was that Foster had chosen him, knowing from his own time travel that Liam was very suited to going in the field as a time rider agent because of his ability to adapt and learn quickly
Challenges the characters had to overcomes
Probably the gravest challenge that Liam had to overcome was his fear of water and drowning because of his experience on the Titanic. In order to Time Ride he needed to get fully submerged in a tank of fluid but it was more like a small pool.
Once he was in Germany Liam had the challenge of trying to understand the World War 2 environment, which was not part of his own history because he technically died before it happened. And not only that, the mission’s World War 2 was not the really one anyway so it was very confusing for him to make sense of the small amount of learning he had before being sent on the mission.
Liam had to survive 6 months of prison camp in a time zone, he had no way of understanding and not stand out or get killed before he had time to complete his mission. He had to fit in with people who found him very odd.
Bob’s challenge was to not stick out in this time zone as well. the way he spoke was very mechanical and made it obvious he was different. “the time has come o people” This is bob saying good by to his followers. “Liam winced at the way Bob’s flat voice delivered the lines ….. it sounded painfully embarrassing”
Bob had to complete his mission, but more importantly as an A.I. he had to find a fuel source. His body needed protein and without Liam to find him food and tell him how to behave Bob was a bit lost. In the end he succeeded because rebels saw his fighting ability and came to believe he was some kind of God and they chose to follow him. Bob was successful in finding Liam with their help despite himself.
The challenges facing the three team members left back in 2001 were great. Maddy, Sal and Foster had to deal with ongoing time shifts and the resulting post-apocalyptic America. This happened because the man who took over from Hitler was determined to destroy the world before it destroyed itself. He went mad in his assumed role of leader of the German army and set off a nuclear weapon attached to his own time travel device with the idea he could could destroy all of humanity. “You have an atom bomb linked to a time machine. Kramer shook his head. It’s not a time machine . I need things I can’t get my hands on in 1957 to make one of those. No…it’s a doomsday bomb” pg 113
As a result of his interference with time the world was damaged. Mutant cannibal humans evolved, whilst Liam and Bob were away. These creatures were always trying to attack Foster, Maddy and Sal, while they were desperately working a way to get Liam and Bob home.
Messages I took from the Text
When you mess with time you are messing with forces you cannot control and should not be messed with in the first place. The idea of changing the outcome of a war to better improve the future back-fired on the bad Time Rider because of the ripple effect in time.
It is not one person’s right to change history. If you try to change history you could change the future and make it worse. It is unlikely one person can change history and make it better for everyone because everyone else has a different idea as to what the future should be for them.
Who I would recommend this Book For
This book was a real challenge to read and very detailed. It had a lot of text and you need to concentrate when you read it. It is an interesting idea that we can travel through time and that there might be Time Riders out there protecting us right now.
I would recommend this book for people who like to think about science fiction type ideas.
It had moments of being really funny, because of Bob, but it was mostly quite intense. It was hard to put down as the action moved quite quickly and the short chapters pushed the reader along to find out what would happen next.
It is targeted at young sci-fi followers who can probably relate to the teenagers who are the heroes.