Review by Australian Reader

Gary J. McCleary, A Time for Susan (Burleigh : Zeus, 2010) ISBN 978-1-921731-16-7 $24.95

In A Time for Susan, David Jameson, as a young man, starts researching time travel, and he soon realises that his work is a success. He receives a special visitor, his daughter Susan, who has come from the future in order to warn him of danger. But he must make a choice, between a world with his daughter and a world without one, and, when it comes to time travel, nothing is simple or straightforward.

A Time for Susan is a well-plotted science fiction novel that explores the intricacies and effects of time travel as a literary device. While it sets up particular constraints on the use of time travel, it does so in such a way as to maintain the reader’s disbelief, and in such a way as to maintain the novel’s pace and tension. As a result, A Time for Susan reads easily and quickly, while presenting its central ideas in a clear and lucid manner.

The characterisation is, on the whole, capable and deft. There are some areas where the characters could have been more subtly handled, particularly with some of the antagonists, but these are flaws that do not detract too much from the overall impression of A Time for Susan.

In doing so, the author’s worldview, and the relation between A Time for Susan and his other work becomes clearer. This has the potential to cause some readers to withdraw from the novel, however the way that the supernatural elements are handled with subtlety and restraint makes the whole work an effective and absorbing read.

Overall, A Time for Susan is an enjoyable and absorbing book. It deserves as wide an audience as is possible, and it is testament to the quality of speculative literature currently being written in Australia. It is, as a result, a book deserving its place on the shelves of Australian science fiction.

A Time for Susan is available from the publishers Zeus Publication and from all good bookshops

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