Ebook review: The Last of the Time Police by Kim Howard Johnson

My goodness but a rainy day makes such a huge impact on the mood! As the wind blustered through the station, the platform became not just awash with rain and spray but also a lethal assault course of umbrellas inexpertly yielded with more or less total abandon and lack of forethought. It happens every year of course and we all do it. We forget how useless a golf umbrella is in a gale, in a crowd, and in a hurry. Not only is the unwieldy instrument hard to handle, but by the time it is taken down and man handled in order to board the train it seems that the owner is as sodden as everyone else. Oh well, what to do apart from get ones hands on a time machine to go back a few weeks to the summer sun?

About the author: Kim “Howard” Johnson is the author of a series called “Time Authority”. He is a lontime Starlog and Monty Python writer who knew Douglas Adams and wrote “The Last of the Time Police” as a tribute to him.
From the dust cover: “It’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” meets “Time Bandits” in this action-packed science fiction adventure.

Stan and Jack are the last remaining members of the Time Authority, a government unit formed to correct disruptions to the established Time Line. Although time travel has been officially outlawed, Stan and Jack must make a quick time hop to 16th Century France to clean up some of their careless littering.

Unbeknownst to them, however, Leonardo DaVinci stows away and tumbles out (along with the operating manual for the time machine) in 18th Century England. This disruption is discovered by the Time Authority, as it creates a Chronological Anomaly that begins advancing toward the future and threatens to wipe out all reality. The military and civilian leaders clash before agreeing on a scheme to build one final time machine and send Corporal Spumoni back to correct the Time Line, even though it may ruin any chance of Stan and Jack returning home.

Stan and Jack must crash-land their time machine in 1848, where they discover, due to DaVinci’s influence, a futuristic Victorian England. After nearly colliding with Maggie Wells on her flying machine, she helps them hide their broken Time Hopper. Stan and Jack realize their only hope to fix their machine is to recover the operating manual, if it still even exists. But Special Services agents, led by Maggie’s former boyfriend James Burton, are constantly searching for them. And Jack’s growing attraction for Maggie is tempered by the thought that she could be his great-great-great-great-grandmother.

Meanwhile, in 1768, DaVinci has become a favorite of King George III of England. His only rival is Benjamin Franklin. Jealous, with the help of Lord Frederick North, DaVinci frames Franklin for the theft of his own notebooks. But when DaVinci learns Britain’s plans for his own war machines, he realizes he must work with Franklin to stop Britain’s domination of the globe.”

My Ebook review: this was a refreshing change of pace and it was immediately apparent from the first couple of pages that “The Last of the Time Police” is written in a very engaging and easy to enjoy style.
Time travel is an amazingly jumping off point for so many stories and has been used with due frequency. It can be horrific or hilarious or just downright irritating depending upon the skill of the author. Johnson takes a very down to earth view of the ‘short lived’ fad of time travel and the clearly short lived desire of folk to hop around in time once their pensions are secured. So once it is all over bar the picking up of rubbish, the scene is left to our heroes to do one simple task. Of course it goes totally pear shaped and is the catalyst for a romp through the ages.
We follow several key players in different times in a continuously scene shifting storyline. It is held together by careful writing and wit. The plot develops its depth from the fact that all of the characters are simple humans being very and somehow unfortunately human. There is plenty of adventure from the start all the way to the slightly shocking end.
The last comment must be about whether this book does what it says and for me I will have to say yes it does. It brings a sense of fun and life and smartness that is reminiscent of the Hitchhicker series to a serious science fiction theme.


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