by Chris Roberson



285 pp/$25.00/April 2005

Here, There and Everywhere

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

Chris Roberson's novel Here, There and Everywhere is a time travel novel which opens with a Beatles press conference in 1995, giving a clear indication that this isn't the world we live in.  However, despite the title, the opening and the chapter headings, Here, There and Everywhere has very little to do with the Beatles.  Instead, this is the story of Roxanne Bonaventure and the strange artifact she has found which allows her to travel through time with reckless abandon.

Tracking through most of Roxanne's life, the reader gets to see her grow up and move from using the device, which she has named the Sofia, for quick jaunts to the a more serious attempt to revisit her personal history to more universal exploits.  Much faster than the reader does, Roxanne learns not only how to use the Sofia, but also learns how to hide herself in the various eras she travels to and acquire the skills and monies she needs to live her life of leisure.

Throughout the majority of the novel, Roxanne is shown as an immensely capable, extremely intelligent woman who manages to blend in to her surroundings while using her ability to travel in time to achieve the maximum results.  Whether she is in her Victorian London flat living the life of a Victorian woman or traipsing around less civilized regions, Roxanne is always shown as being prepared, almost like a Heinleinian superhero.  Although Roberson doesn't show Roxanne gaining the experience and abilities she demonstrates, he does explain how she used time travel to acquire the time needed.  Furthermore, he makes it clear that the amount of time she has lived is very different from her chronological age.

Roxanne is an appealing character in her abilities and her relationships with people throughout the ages, which is good since the entire novel hangs on the reader's ability to connect with and care about her.  However, Here, There and Everywhere is more than just about Roxanne's jaunts through time and her eventual meeting with other time travelers.  Roberson postulates numerous ideas about how a multiverse would work and how time travel would fit into the picture.  Naturally, as fiction, Roberson could postulate whatever he desires, but for the duration of the novel, his world(s) holds together extremely well and invites the reader into it.

There seems to be a rule that two out of every three time travel novels include H.G. Wells as a character, and Roberson is in the majority.  While authors clearly include Wells in order to pay homage to his work in defining the genre, it also seems to do Wells's imagination a disservice, an implication that he could only have come up with the concept of traveling through time if it was something he either witnessed (as he does in Here, There and Everywhere) or experienced.

While many of the ideas Roberson plays with in the novel will be familiar to many readers of science fiction, whether through the writings of Robert A. Heinlein ("By His Bootstraps"), Isaac Asimov (The End of Eternity) or H.G. Wells (The Time Machine), Roberson combines the elements in an interesting and often unique way.  When paired with Roberson's writing style, it makes for an entertaining and intriguing novel.

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