Well Team, I hate to say it, but this is another book I didn’t finish reading. I was really exited for The Big Time by Fritz Leiber as the synopsis said it was about a time war and I thought that was a cool concept, but unfortunately the story didn’t really deliver in that regard.
The Big Time is about the Change War that happens all over the world between two factions called the Spiders and the Snakes. Both sides are constantly trying to change past and future events. I think to be able to control the world and “win”, but I’m not really sure. The writing style is the classic style of the ’50s, which interestingly features both a lot of world-building and somehow not enough world-building. I found myself confused several times at what exactly was going on. So maybe it just wasn’t an effective kind of world-building.
The story itself takes place in The Place, which is a recuperation zone outside time where soldiers can go for R&R after a mission, since fighting in the Change War can take a lot of out them mentally and physically. It’s narrated by a woman named Greta who works at The Place as what I’m guessing is a mix between a nurse, prostitute, and entertainer. And this is where The Big Time misses the mark for me. It doesn’t actually show the Change War or follow any soldiers on a mission. It’s about Greta and the soldiers who come to The Place to recuperate. I think perhaps Leiber’s idea was to still give a sense of the War through the soldiers talking about the various operations they’ve been on, but for a story about a time war, we don’t really experience any of that as the reader, so the stories of the soldiers simply land as so much exposition.
I could imagine this story being a good play (if it were written well), since it takes place entirely in one setting. I could also imagine it being more compelling as a novel if the narration style were a bit clearer, but I’m realizing that this was simply the style of writing in the ’50s and it’s just not my cup of tea.
So I put down The Big Time and have moved on to the next book on my list, A Case of Conscience, which I’m pretty sure I’ve read before though I can’t remember under what circumstances. So I’ll read it again as part of my Sci-Fi Novel project, and hopefully I can finish it.
That’s all fow now!