Mirror in Time by D. Ellis Overttun
Hello everyone, today I have a review of Mirror in Time by D.Ellis Overttun, a time travelling yarn that I read earlier this week. I would like to thank D. Ellis Overttun for sending me a copy of his latest book to review.
As the sun sets, eerie contrails appear on the dome of the firmament, ghostly streaks that have replaced the stars that should fill the night sky. These “ribbons in the sky” appeared 70 years ago. Since that time, planet Arkos has experienced increasing climatic and seismic activity.
Jo’el is the director of the Jomo Langma Mountain Observatory, a high altitude astronomical facility situated atop its namesake. Tasked with finding a solution to this problem, he has concluded something outside the universe is tearing apart the very fabric of space time. He has also discovered a gateway to another universe. Sadly, any pathway to this portal has now become compromised.
Go back in time and engineer a planetary exodus to the safe haven before it becomes inaccessible. It is a seemingly impossible task, but desperation is the mother of invention and the stuff of storytelling. Jo’el is not alone in this quest, with him are two lifelong friends, Chief Physician Kyros and Chief Psychology Officer Auberon. While only aware of Jo’el’s need for their support, they have a camaraderie born of trust that enables them to jump into the unknown knowing they will land safely.
Space time mechanics are outside the realm of Jo’el’s expertise. So, he has enlisted the aid of Prefect Godvina, head of the Cosmological Data Collection and Compilation Center. His plan is to meet with her, confirm his findings and proceed on with his friends. However, their meeting arouses the interest of Prefect Tarsus, Head of Intelligence. The unwanted scrutiny disrupts Jo’el’s plans. Now, the Director must improvise, and he reluctantly includes Godvina in the fold.
Are they successful in their travel back through time? Of course! Without it, there is no story, but how do they get there, what do they find and do they make good on Jo’el’s plan?
Mirror in Time will take you on a journey beyond the galaxy then to the ancient world of Ziem as a band of intrepid time travelers struggle to save existence.
Mirror of Time is set on the Planet Ziem, populated by two races of people, the Gendu and the Celesti, revolving around a set of intrepid time travellers who resolve to save their world which has some form of atmospheric catastrophe looming over it. Signalled by contrails in the sky, commonly called Ribbons in the Sky.
The book opens immediately with an action sequence, introducing you to one of the main characters, even though we don't really know her name, but we know that she is a dignitary who is being transported when their vehicle comes under attack from unknown assailants.
As the matter is investigated, it becomes clear that there is something deeper afoot and we learn of the frail political system of the Planet Ziem.
Meanwhile a clandestine group of scientists are meeting in order to determine a plan in which they save the Planet from impending disaster.
We learn that the group have secretly manufactured a ship, built without the knowledge of the ruling council, and that they plan to go back to a time where they can change the present.
This is my first introduction to D. Ellis Overton’s complex world of Ziem and even though this is the fourth novel in this world, I found it easy to get into and navigate the story, although I cannot comment on the impact of other books set in this world.
Story wise, it revolves around a time travel premise and the groups interactions in a period where they are out of time and at odds with the culture.
I think the main here to mention about the book is it's actual format. It's a dialogue led book that proportionally has very little descriptive exposition. Now this is a tricky format to pull off as it relies primarily on the characters intervention with the environment to relay what is happening and the world around them. In addition to this it requires strong characters to be able to do this and also carry the narrative, which D. Ellis Overttun does very well.
Another thing that jumped out at me in relation to the structure of the book is that it reminded me stylistically of classic 1970' s British Sci Fi like Doctor Who or Blake's 7, and seemed to have a serialised structure to the book. Throughout, I had the BBC Radiophonic Workshop playing in my head at key parts in the book and I could easily imagine this transposing to say something like Big Finish Audio.
At times, I did have some difficulty with the dialogue, particularly when the party travel back in time to their pre - history, and the dialogue style of the early celestians, mainly their propensity for repeating certain words at the beginning of a sentence and then it be repeated later in the sentence. Now, I realise that this was to illustrate the differences in linguistic style and how the Celesti language had evolved over time, and I experienced similar difficulties to Dr Kyros in the book in relating to archaic way of conversing.
In Mirror in Time, D. Ellis Overttun provides us with and ensemble cast, that each gets their chance to shine in the spotlight. I like how it feels that each member is a crew of the ship and whilst they have their own egos, none really overshadows the other, and when it does become the most interesting is at the point they are thrown into the past.
On the whole, I enjoyed this first foray into D. Ellis Overttun's writing and will be investigating further at some point in the future.