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A secondhand book dealer finds a small volume of poetry in a bargain bin with a love letter between two British soldiers in World War II enclosed within it. So begins a search for the past and a story of love and war. Moments in time are but stanzas, breaths of connection and emotion and memory in a longer epic whose whole we can’t see all at once. All a glimpse of a beautiful mystery I hope Ian McDonald will soon explore further.— Jocelyn
Ian McDonald weaves a love story across an endless expanse with his science fiction novella Time Was
A love story stitched across time and war, shaped by the power of books, and ultimately destroyed by it.
In the heart of World War II, Tom and Ben became lovers. Brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar, the two founded a love that could not be revealed. When the project went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished into nothingness, presumed dead. Their bodies were never found.
Now the two are lost in time, hunting each other across decades, leaving clues in books of poetry and trying to make their desperate timelines overlap.
"With echoes of H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine and replete with the inimitable scent of used bookstores, Time Was weaves an exquisite spell of love, war and quantum physics that is timeless in its appeal. A scientific romance in the most evocative sense of the word." —Nina Allan
"McDonald’s gift for storytelling is on full display as he captures the emotional nuances of a decades-long love while exploring issues of military and scientific might and the state of the contemporary book industry." —Booklist