First Lines: Time and Time Again

Ben Elton’s Time and Time Again got me.

There are plenty of reasons why the book should not work: most importantly, the story is completely bonkers — it’s 2024, the word is in shambles, and a former special-ops soldier gets involved in a plot set up by Sir Isaac Newton to travel back in time to 1914, in order to prevent the Great War from happening, which should Make Everything Great Again. As we all know, time travel is never that simple.

Also, our main hero seems a bit underdeveloped. He’s basically James Bond on steroids, but with loads of baggage. You see: he lost his wife and kids. Which makes him a Big Sad. All. The. Freaking. Time. Anyhow, he gets talked into going back in time. Which leads to a (probably well-researched) romp through 1914’s Europe, with lots of attention to detail and what-ifs and alternate history scenarios. But that whole set up takes a lot of time, leading to a somewhat rushed finale.

And that finale, that’s where he got me. Turning the whole thing upside down, time and time again.

No, Time and Time Again isn’t a particularly great book. But despite its flaws, it is very entertaining.

Book read
Ben Elton — Time and Time Again
First line
In Constantinople, on a bright chill early morning in June 1914, Hugh Stanton, retired British Army captain and professional adventurer, leant against the railings of the Galata Bridge and stared into the waters below.