San Francisco Chronicle Review

Richard Bowes, author of Feral Cell and Minions of the Moon, presents From the Files of the Time Rangers (Golden Gryphon; 270 pages; $24.95) as a "mosaic novel," something more integrated than a simple story collection but not confined to a singular, linear narrative structure.

Across a multitude of alternate Americas, the Time Rangers — most of them recruited as young orphans and runaways — travel up and down the Time Stream on errands for Apollo and the other Greek gods. New York is a favorite destination, and there they mingle with gangsters, cops and politicians. Some of the Rangers are especially concerned with shaping the destiny of Tim Macauley, scion of a wealthy family that maintains a sacred site on a remote island off the coast of Maine. Macauley is perhaps the last, best hope of a multiverse teetering toward chaos.

In his afterword, Bowes places Time Rangers in the tradition of "fix-up" novels, like Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles and Clifford Simak's City. It's a mostly, but not completely, apt comparison. Bowes' cast is expansive to the point of being unwieldy, especially given the multiple identities the characters adopt and the paradoxes of history they generate.

Some episodes work better than others, but in the final three chapters, Bowes manages to weave the disparate narrative strands into a compelling, though somewhat mysterious, conclusion.

— Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, August 28, 2005


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