Review – Stolen Time by Keith Hughes (Podcast)

stolen_timeToday I’m reviewing Stolen Time, an audiobook/podcast novel by Keith Hughes. You can follow follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/edgizmo.

Synopsis: Ness Relevant has traveled through time before. Now once again he must use his machine to confront a determined foe. Only this time his personal stakes are even higher. Threatened by his future, he must find a way to save his wife and thwart a mad-man’s schemes for world conquest, or he’ll never regain his stolen time.

Production: The recording quality is very good. The music he chose for the intro is fitting.

Grade: B

Cast: Keith does this in a “reader’s theater” style, voicing all of the characters himself. He does a good job, as he did with his prior podcast outings.

Grade: B

Story: This is the sequel to Borrowed Time (click the title for a review I wrote). If you haven’t read or listened to the first story, go check it out. This is more of a thriller with science fiction elements than a true science fiction story. Keith does a good job building tension. Ness and his wife Angie are working together. She’s been kidnapped in the future and her only hope is for her and her husband to save her and for them both to get to the bottom of why she will have been kidnapped. Sound a little confusing? Well it is a time travel story.

Truthfully, though I enjoyed this story, it illuminates some of the problems I have with the whole “time travel” trope. You often end up with a fair amount of confusion in the characters’ efforts to either set the future or past right or prevent a paradox from happening. The listeners are treated with a little more information on how it works in this world, but since Ness isn’t an expert and the only real expert died in the first book, it remains something of a mystery. What’s important to know is that at one point Ness is chasing himself through time and helps himself to save himself more than once.

The drawback to this is the deus ex machina of the PDA is used too often. Ness gets in trouble? So long as he can reach the device he’s okay. The final confrontation in the book is a good example of this and of the confusion that can result. That served to rob some of the tension that the story could have had.

So what helped me to overcome that? Angie. I really enjoyed watching her deal with her husband’s adventures in time from the first book (something she wasn’t privy to) and I like watching her get a little bloodthirsty. I’m a sucker for women who kick butt. Ness wasn’t as well developed of a character in this one as he was in the first book. Maybe the inclusion of Angie as a more active character in the book contributed to that.

Grade: B-

Verdict: There were some definite weaknesses in Stolen Time, but I did enjoy it. If you want some lighter fare with a good dose of action then this might be the podcast for you. It gets moving quickly and if time travel is your bread and butter then add it to your MP3 player today.

Grade: B

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