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ECHOES IN TIME by Andre Norton


by Andre Norton & Sherwood Smith

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-85921-X
Publisher: Tor

In 1994’s Firehand, Norton joined forces with P.M. Griffin to launch a revival of her 30-year-old Time Traders series; now, to continue it, she’s taken on a fresh collaborator, Sherwood Smith, who worked with Norton on two Solar Queen yarns. Earth began to explore the galaxy in alien globe ships, but then had to foil an invasion attempt by the aggressive Baldies. Time-travel veterans Ross Murdock and his wife, Eveleen Riordan, now must learn to cooperate with their former rivals, the Russians, who took a beating in the Baldy attack. The Russians have lost a time-travel team on a distant planet where, eerily, archeologists uncovered a carving of a current time agent, the African musicologist Saba. The joint rescue mission arrives at the planet, finding numerous alien races devolved into animals. But back in the past when the Russian time-travelers were lost, the advanced Yilayil coexist with various other sapient races. The rescuer/investigators, however, soon fall sick. The Yilayil immediately recognize Saba and take her for special training, while the others search for the missing Russians and try to figure out what’s going on. Ross, Eveleen, and companions get sicker and sicker before Saba learns how to make contact with the planet’s plant-consciousness, which views all intelligent animals as enemies and produces spores to devolve them into harmless critters—hence the sickness. Then the Baldies attack. A much-improved, if more thoughtful re-revival, with believable aliens, a reasonable time-travel rationale, and properly worked-out consequences.