TIME AFTER TIME by Karl Alexander


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You can pretty well imagine what happens when Dr. Leslie Stephenson (a.k.a. Jack the Ripper) escapes from 1893 London in a time machine that just happens to have been unveiled that night by its inventor, young H. G. Wells. Stephenson-the-Ripper lands in San Francisco in 1979, and H. G. follows, determined to apprehend the fiend. Before tracking the Ripper down, however, H. G. goes through a predictable string of Frisco culture shocks, some of which shake his faith in ""Techno-Utopia"" and a few of which have some fleeting charm: city traffic, Big Macs (""perhaps the most delicious food he had ever eaten""), movies, vending machines, leisure wear, etc. But H. G.'s biggest discovery is the sexual revolution--in the person of bank officer Amy Robinson, whose aggressive behavior in bed astounds him. Meanwhile, the Ripper is cleverly eluding H. G., grooving on 1970s decadence, up to his old slut-slaying tricks, furious that Charles Manson has eclipsed Jack the Ripper. And when H. G. has to take Amy on a little time-machine trip (Wednesday forward to Saturday) to convince her that he's really 113 years old, they learn from a Saturday newspaper that Amy herself is the Ripper's next victim. When they go back to Wednesday, can they change the future? Well, sort of, but the contorted final pages are the lowest point in this rather heavy-breathing, often precious or pretentious fantasy. When Alexander lightens up, however, there's some genial irony--in the same vein as Rod Serling's more whimsical Twilight Zone scripts. And the use of historical personalities is less strained and more neatly interlocked than in most of the other Ragtime/Seven Per Cent Solution spin-offs.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1979
ISBN: 0765326221
Publisher: Delacorte