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First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch

By Samuel White

First Time by Sam White

 

First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch

  • To read a sample from First Time from the book's web site, click here.

    Review

    Scientist Garison Fitch grew up in the Soviet Americas, in a place called Marx, near the Japanese border. Fitch's latest experiment has gone strangely wrong. Instead of propelling himself through alternate dimensions, he has sent himself backwards in time 266 years. He finds an idyllic life in the past until one day when the experiment reverses itself and he is back in the 21st century. But the Soviet Americas are gone, replaced by something called the United States of America. Garison begins to realize that something he did in the past created the world we know. So he must decide whether to go back in time once more and try to return the world to normal, or to stay where he is and leave the worldas it is.

    From page one, I was caught. The storytelling is excellent, the pacing is fast, and the characters are intriguing. Garison Fitch himself is a wonderful contradiction. Incredibly smart and "movie starhandsome", he is also painfully shy and beset with an odd mixture of self-confidence and self-doubt.

    While there are many minor characters with various roles to play in the drama, the two that stand out the most are Sarah and Heather. Sarah is the young outcast Garison meets in 1739. As a reader, I wanted to know more about her and wanted Garison to know more as well because what we do learn is so intriguing--and charming.

    The other major character in the drama, Heather, is a young woman whom Garison meets when he returns to the present. She claims to be his wife, though he has never met her before. Is she a spy, he wonders. Could she really be who she says she is? If so, what happened to the Garison she married? Is he gone? Heather is also an interesting character because at first she seems to be too perfect, in looks and in attitude. As the story unfolds, however, I found myself as drawn to her as I had been to Sarah (even thought I wanted to hate Heather because of Sarah!).

    First Time is told primarily in third person, but not entirely by that same third person. Interspersed withinthe narrative are sections from Garison's journal, Heather's diary, and an interesting but somewhat cryptic document that purports to be a history of the Fitch family. Discovering why this family history is included was (for me, anyway) a revelation. It's as if there were two stories being told: the main narrative and a "shadow story" which proves to be intimately connected to the primary story. Also, the Fitch family history read as if it were written by another person, so much so that I at times wondered if White were quoting from an actual family history written by someone else. There are also hints within the book that the person telling the story is one of the characters within it, though I won't spoil that revelation in this review.

    White's view of time goes against most of the standard science fiction visions and may be, thus, a bit hard to conceive of at first. A second reading, however proves that he seems to have taken a specific view of time (that time is strictly linear and there is only one time line in the universe) and remained logical to that particular view throughout, despite what might be considered conventional wisdom on the matter. Agree or disagree, it will make you think.

    Additional Notes:

    While this story seemed complete to me, White's web site includes a sample chapter from the sequel to"First Time". It's hard to get a good feel, based on just a few pages, but the intro certainly makes mewant to read the next story.

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To Order This Book

  • First Time - from the publisher - $17.

  • First Time

    - from Amazon - $17-$34.


  • Recommended Reading

  • That Hideous Strength - by CS Lewis

  • Hangman's Curse - by Frank Peretti

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