Timecaster by Joe Kimball: Book Review

Oct 15, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Contributors, Every Other Book, Fantasy & Fangs, Jesus Ibarra, Mysteryrat's Maze, Teens

by Jesus Ibarra

Timecaster is sci-fi mystery set in the future, Chicago 2067, where Talon Avalon is a timecaster who operates a machine that can see the past. With the widespread use of these machines, crimes have become non-existent.

Talon, a guy who lives to be a cop, is kind of bored with nothing to do until one of his wife’s clients (she is a State licensed prostitute) asks him to look into a possible murder. He jumps at the chance. That is until he uses his time viewing machine and sees the killer is him, down to the ID chip everyone carries in their forearm. But, it isn’t really him, so to find out the truth he has to find out what the hell is going on. Due the increasingly connected reality in the future, he has to go off the grid to do so, which is equally as dangerous.

Kimball has written a hilarious, extremely optimistic version of the future where biofuel is the rage, there is no more energy crisis, the internet is just for information, there is no crime, there is a moon colony, and drugs and prostitution is legal. Don’t get me wrong, some of these things might happen, but not in fifty years. Nevertheless, it gives Kimball a great setting to explore certain liberal ideas that are not so popular right now. There are no hang-ups about drug use or sex, everything is out in the open and regulated.

I don’t generally like sci-fi because with that genre you kind of have to see it to believe it (spaceships on TV, or holograms in movies), so I applaud Kimball for writing the setting extremely well. The mystery itself is actually interesting, even though if you are a big sci-fi buff you will figure it out almost half way through the book. My usual hang-ups about certain thing in the mystery or urban fantasy genre are done here, but I don’t have the same problem with them as I did before.

For example, there is a lot of graphic, random sex, but since it’s the future, people are no longer so puritan about it. The sex is not with two characters I am supposed to believe just met and have fallen in love, it’s between people who just want to do it. Same with the drug use and other things that may seem a bit strange from now, but every time I saw something like that in the book, I said, “Hey it’s the future.”

However, if this isn’t your thing or you’re tired of recycled sci-fi plots from this genre, then you probably will not enjoy this book.

I think the setting and the main character make it interesting because, let’s be honest, almost everything in sci-fi has been done and redone; it’s no longer about originality or at least originality isn’t the most important thing anymore: it’s about the characters and setting. So if you have never read a sci-fi book or a you want to laugh at a highly optimistic future, then go get this book because it is highly entertaining.


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Jesus Ibarra is 19 years old and an ongoing contributor to our Teen Talk section; with a love of all media, he’s always on the lookout for the best finds.

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