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Time, Again by Tim Maly

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This is a guest post by Inez Ponce de Leon.

Time travel stories have almost run their course: whether you’re reading The Time Traveler’s Wife or a classic by Jules Verne, it seems that man’s obsession with time travel has gotten tiring, if not overused. However, once in a while, there comes a story that makes you actually think: what if time travel was truly possible? What would happen? Where would you go?

In Tim Maly’s short Time, Again, we find ourselves looking at the world through the eyes of a man desperately in love, but confused in a world increasingly plagued by war. He is nameless, perhaps adding more to his believability. He loves a woman who travels through time, who loves the technology and is well versed in it.

Like The Time Traveler’s Wife, his likewise nameless wife comes back several times, and at different ages. She is young, full of life and brilliance; she is almost a child, but with wisdom beyond her years; she is his age, and his ardent lover. They make love, they kiss, they speak to each other as equals, she comforts him as she leaves.

However, unlike The Time Traveler’s Wife, Tim Maly’s story is short, succinct, and packed with emotion without going overboard. The story is not so much about the technology of time travel itself, but its impact. It is here where Maly works his magic with his prose: as the husband grieves and nurses his fears about the war, he struggles to remember the many times his wife returned, in different ways.

The past, present, and future tense all merge and interact, like a swarm of bees that is as incongruous from the outside looking in – but that forms a pattern that the reader/observer can easily follow. Maly’s prose is easy, and his imagery is vivid. He shows more, tells less, from the broken egg on the floor that rebuilds itself – a testament to a broken time machine and changed patterns of time – to his lead character’s eyes lingering over his woman’s body, even as she tries to preoccupy him with her knowledge of time travel.

The lead character is developed strongly, with an even pace. He comes off as a typical macho man who wants to control and understand everything, and yet who hides his broken heart. And yes, she does break his heart, in this story without end that travels eternally through time.

Maly’s story is surprisingly easy to follow, even with its jumps through tenses. His prose is his strongest point, as he shows how a brief tear in time changes lives completely.

You can read the whole story here

Inez Ponce de Leon has a background in molecular biology and science communication. She loves to write on a wide variety of topics, even Procera AVH.