Time Travelling with a Hamster
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This issue’s cover illustration is from Love Song by Sophia Bennett. Thanks to Chicken House for their help with this cover.
In October last year there was media excitement that young time traveller Marty McFly was due to arrive as foretold in Back to the Future 2. I would guess that Ross Welford was one of those waiting expectantly. His first novel is a reworking of the original Back to the Future, moving locale from California to North East England, and setting his 2015 time machine’s destination to 1985, the year in which Marty began in the first place. Whereas Marty and Doc Brown’s DeLorean was appropriately upmarket for the West Coast, Albert Einstein Hawking Chaudhury has to make do with a zinc bath, an old Apple Mac laptop, a mysterious black box and a network of connecting wires, all put together by his recently deceased dad. But, while it doesn’t look as impressive, the machine works just as well. So, prompted by a mysterious letter from his dad given to him on his twelfth birthday, Al sets off with the intention of preventing the childhood accident that sowed the seed of his dad’s later death. If this isn’t the ‘truly original’ debut novel the blurb claims on the proof copy, it rings some interesting changes on the idea, including the figure of Al’s grandfather, an appealing mixture of down-to-earth North Eastern common sense and Indian wisdom. Despite its length, it holds the attention with humour and invention, in a time twisting series of adventures, in which nothing quite turns out as Al would like, including being responsible for his dad’s premature death and so (shades of Marty) putting his own existence in question. No pale imitation this, but an ingenious homage and variation.