Cover Image: Footprints In The Future

Footprints In The Future

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Member Reviews

I like dystopian novels and adding time travel to that sounded exciting. 
Unfortunately the story felt too boring and the characters weren't really interesting, neither Mark's love story or the other characters got me hooked. An okay read, but forgettable and not standing out in the masses of other books.
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I enjoyed Footprints in the Future, a first novel by TG Winkfield from what I can find, but I did find myself wishing for a little more there.

First, the story. A pair of academics in the mid-seventies manage to invent time travel. They put together a team of other academics to oversee the project, and start recruiting young people to actually travel through time to observe. The first try is something of a failure, since the young man who was assigned to observe da Vinci actually falls in love with him, and abandons the 'present' to stay with him, and time is tweaked as a result. After that they go for implants to track their travelers. As time goes on, there is hints of other time adjustments, and that maybe there are other time travelers out there, working towards their own goals. As well, one of the academics pushes for trying to time travel to the future, where it turns out that a man-made disaster has caused widespread destruction.

The characters, unfortunately, are less interesting than the story ideas. There is little to differentiate them, so I kept getting characters confused (mostly the male characters, since there were only three real female characters, with two being mother and daughter, and the third having a very minor role). The author really needed to more clearly define them as individuals. All in all, the characters seemed to take a back seat to the ideas.

While I enjoyed the story, there were a few things that threw me out rather solidly. The biggest one was a massive anachronism that had me stop reading so that I could do some research (okay, I googled it). A female student is sent back in time to the late sixties (why so recent a past? no one ever mentions), and she makes a comment about at least not having to worry about AIDS in the summer of love. Since she was sent back from 1978 or 79, that struck me as completely wrong. First of all, I didn't hear about AIDS until the eighties, and it was still considered 'the gay disease'. And according to Wikipedia, the disease was not identified in a lab until 1981, and it wasn't until late 1982 that it was actually referred to as AIDS (initially it was called GRID - 'gay-related immune deficiency'). I tried to tell myself that a world with time travel would potentially have different timelines for things like diseases, but really, it felt like the author just goofed.

Also, when they identified the disaster that caused so much destruction in the next century, I was a little surprised that they were debating whether or not to try and stop it from happening? I would have thought that it would be a no-brainer, since they are not doing something that would wipe themselves out of existence. And they never really seem to come to a decision, other than sending people to the future to do more investigation.

And in the end, I felt like I was missing sections of the book, since there were definitely plot gaps, and a lack of a full resolution. Hopefully it's only the first of a series, since it does need some more expansion.
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There is so much more to this story than its premise reveals. However, the writing and the very structure of this book isn't engaging enough to show all of its merits.

It took me a few attempts to really get into it and even then it didn't feel all that unputdownable. I guess, I prefer more flowing and addictive plots.

But overall it's original and refreshing and truly one of a kind futuristic attraction read.

Thank you Netgalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Unfortunately, I found this book lacking two important features. 

The first was lively, fully-rounded characters. I never did get the three men on the Committee straight; they were so lacking in definition that they blended together in my mind. By the end of the book, some of the characters were beginning to approach definition, but none of them really seemed to be passionate about anything. Even though they were British, they should at least have wanted something strongly and pursued it, if they were to be proper protagonists. 

The second issue was the plot, or relative lack thereof, which was a consequence of the unmotivated protagonists. It wandered here and there, with things happening, but there wasn't a clearly defined beginning, middle, or end - or rather, there was a beginning and a middle, but the middle extended to the back of the book; there was no real resolution of anything, because nobody had really been striving for anything in particular. 

There are local exceptions to the above generalizations; some of the characters did appear to be motivated in particular directions, and even experienced change, but because this was an ensemble cast, and the group as a whole spent most of the book stumbling from one reaction to another, it wasn't enough to give me a strong sense of structure or character growth. 

I received a copy via Netgalley for purposes of review.
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This book should have been properly labeled as LGTBQ, and it was not.  Our class did not read past the prologue.
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