Fathers of Cambodian Time-Travel Science

C&R Pr. Oct. 2020. 190p. ISBN 9781949540154. pap. $18. SF
This collection combines magical realism, horror, and fantasy with just a touch of sf into a fever dream of sadness and desolation where hope generally turns to either horror or despair, and where things are always darkest just before they turn completely black. The strongest stories in the collection, “The Beard of Human Weakness” and the title story, “Fathers of Cambodian Time-Travel Science,” play with the possibilities of time travel and the effect that it has, not on those who travel but on those who meet the time travelers. Both stories are rather about recovering the hopes and dreams that are left behind when one travels in the only way that always works—forward into the future, one day at a time. They are about the effects of the travel rather than any possible mechanism for doing so.
VERDICT The stories here are offbeat and dark, skewing either horror (“The Milkman,” “The Mask of Cajolo,” “Magellan”) or postapocalyptic dystopian (“The Franklin Thesis”). Readers with a penchant for the weird and feverish will enjoy, but this is not an essential purchase.
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