The Many-Colored Land

{4.5/5} “The notion that time-travelers might disrupt the present world by meddling with the past had seriously troubled Madame Guderian for many weeks after the departure of Karl Josef Richter. She had concluded at last that such a paradox must be impossible, since the past is already manifest in the present, with the continuum sustained in the loving hands of le bon dieu. On the other hand, one ought not to take chances.”

A time travel mechanism has been invented but it’s a one-way trip to the Pliocene Era, 6 million years ago. Who would go on such a trip? People who don’t fit into life in the Galactic Milieu. Since around 50 000 people have travelled back, the ones going now wonder what kind of society they’ve created. When they arrive, they are shocked to find that humans are not the only form of sentient life in the neighbourhood.

The Many-Colored Land by Julian May was published in 1981.

I liked this book a lot — the situations and characters were intriguing.

The beginning of the book introduces a bunch of different characters — one every chapter for a while — but then you realize what they all have in common. A lot of time is spent — and it’s well spent — on introducing the characters and their reasons for going into “Exile.”

What’s the Pliocene Era like? No dinosaurs — it’s much later than that. There are ape-like creatures who are on their way to becoming humans. In general terms the Earth is much like it is today, but details are significantly changed by the coming ice age.

I haven’t read any other books by May.

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