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Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait
K.A. Bedford
Edge, 324 pages

Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait
K.A. Bedford
K.A. Bedford was born in Fremantle, Australia, and attended Murdoch University in Perth where he studied writing, theater, and philosophy prior to becoming actively involved with the Australian SF community. He currently lives with his wife, Michelle, near Perth, Australia. He is the author of Eclipse, which won the 2005 Aurealis Award for best Australian science fiction novel.

Modem Noise: K.A. Bedford's Blog
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Hydrogen Steel
SF Site Review: Eclipse
SF Site Review: Orbital Burn
SF Site Review: Orbital Burn

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

Time travel has fascinated humans for eons. To skip across years, see historical events that have passed and try to change your world for the better… or worse. But imagine a world where time machines are as common as a toaster oven. How would it affect choices, consequences and human nature?

K.A. Bedford creates a strange dystopian future with Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait, a murder mystery science fiction adventure that's wrought with paradoxes, unrequited romance, gory death and the end of the universe. Our hero is one Aloysius "Spider" Webb, a disgraced police officer, who fixes time machines and hates his job.

Bedford does an incredible job of setting up a world where time machines have been available for several years and are routinely used. He adds a few rules, such as mass-market machines do not allow travelers to screw with certain historical events, but overall, it's easy to drop back in time a few decades to visit your grandmother or slip back a few hours to catch a flight. True, there are a few alternated timelines created, but that has just become a way of life these days.

The story really begins with Spider finding a time machine hidden within another broken time machine containing a dead body. What starts as a simple curiosity that his former police training can't ignore, grows to encompass alternate time-lines, future versions of himself getting murdered, his estranged wife Molly disappearing and a journey to the end of all time where the mysterious Vores are eating what's left of the Universe.

Spider's foil through the story is the blustering yet enigmatic Dickhead McMahon, a character who is both antagonizing boss, mysterious leader of one sect of the Zeropoint organization and manipulative self-proclaimed voice of God. Whereas Spider is a very downtrodden character, Dickhead is the exact opposite in every respect and tends to command the page when he is featured. The reader will find him both annoying yet endearing all at the same time, making him the most interesting character in the piece.

Unfortunately, the novel gets muddled about two-thirds of the way through. The initial murder investigation leads Spider to multiple suspects, some even himself from the future and then to a strange end-of-all-creation Branch Davidian-type set up on some space ships. However at that point, after Spider encounters his war-torn future self, the story slips back into a murder investigation with a slightly sadistic twist.

It does feel that Bedford is setting the novel up for a sequel as the ending is rather unsatisfying, although it does keep with the overall tone of the story, which is definitely dark and futile. Page 324, the final page of the novel, being left blank, is a nice metaphor. Fundamentally, though Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait does ask some interesting questions about fate, destiny and whether we have any free will and choices, or if it's already been planned out by some Dickhead.

Copyright © 2009 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories while acting on stage, screen and television. He can sometimes be seen giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood and occasionally playing Norman Bates. Really.

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