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Anthologies are always hit or miss for me.  Usually if I like the premise then I'm likely to find it harder to enjoy the individual stories.  If I am only mildly interested in the premise and picking the book up more for the authors included, I fare far better.  Such is the case with Timeshares.  Six of the authors listed are of interest to me for various reasons and the premise was interesting enough to garner my attention.

Who hasn't wanted to travel back in time?  I know I used to dream about traveling back and meeting Cleopatra or taking some leadership lessons from Queen Victoria.  Here in the present we can look at the past and see exactly where we can get our answers instead of working them out for ourselves.  I was shocked at how few were about going back and learning wisdom from famous people.

My favorites by far were "The Shaman" by Annie Jones, "A Portrait of Time" by Kelly Swails and "But I'm Not the Only One" by Chris Pierson.  All three were surprisingly touching and well written.  "The Shaman", about a woman who accidentally finds herself thrown back in time to Ancient Arizona, was simple and inspiring.  "A Portrait of Time", about a woman who travels back to save her twin sister, was heartbreaking because of the depth of feeling both the women felt.  And lastly "But I'm Not the Only One", about a famous musician's trip to the future, was both surrealistic and touching (especially in the end). 

Surprisingly I enjoyed the anthology as a whole, finding each different writer's take on what could happen unique and interesting.  Some of them ended well ("Limited Time Offer" by Dean Allen Leggett and "Unsolved Histories" by Greg Cox) and some ended quite badly for the character at least ("Timeless Lisa" by Robert E. Vardeman), but no two ideas were similar.  No two writers wrote their character's motivations and reasoning to be the same as another's.

There is some great little known talent in this volume, as well as great introductions to some well known talent, but I think in the end there will be a story, or setting, for everyone to enjoy.

Book Blurb for Timeshares

Jean Rabe (Editor), Martin H. Greenberg (Editor)

Sixteen original stories about taking your dream vacation-in any era you desire.

Take a vacation through time with the help of a Time Travel Agency offering excursions into the past and future. Readers will find themselves in exotic, adventurous locales-and in all manner of trouble and mysteries. And figures from the past will be able to squeak by the other way.

Picture Cleopatra in modern-day New York City, or Hannibal searching for elephants at Wisconsin's Circus World. And that's just the beginning of the thrills and danger...

Night Owl Reviews Mar, 2010 3.75