Time-travel yarn, bulging with pop-culture references—the chapter titles are Beatles songs, for instance—from the prolific storysmith and novelist.
Widowed professor Stephen Bonaventure, unable to cope with his precocious ten-year-old daughter, Roxanne, reluctantly sends her off to boarding school in California. Here, an old lady, wounded and evidently dying, appears in a flash of light; she gives Roxanne a bracelet, the “Sofia,” which, Roxanne will discover, can open doors to past and future, indeed, alternate pasts and futures. Later, she explores the Beatles’ career—all of them, including the one where Pete Best remained their drummer. She shows her dad the far future, and tries numerous stratagems to prevent his dying from cancer. She meets herself, a self that didn’t acquire a Sofia but did marry the lover who dumped Roxanne. In the 1890s, she helps Sexton Blake–like detective Sanford Blank crack a case involving H.G. Wells and an inventor who time-travels by means of a mysterious crystal. She’s abducted and questioned by an agent of the inept and ignorant Chrono Defense Corps, but does learn of time-travel doorways beneath the Antarctic ice; learns of another time-travel device lying far off in space and time; gets dragged into the remote future to meet the LORDS TEMPORAL; and jaunts through worlds where fictional characters are real. In the 1930s, a desert-archaeology adventure involves her grandfather Jules. In the 16th century, she visits a time-traveler whose presence changes the future. And, eventually, all the odd time-travel clues will add up.
There’s little or no originality to Roberson’s scattershot storytelling, and seemingly the future bores him—none of Roxanne’s trips there hold any lingering interest. Overall: exotic and ephemeral, like lychee-flavored bubblegum.