A Scientific Romance

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9780312181727: A Scientific Romance

It is 1999, and David Lambert, jilted lover and reluctant museum curator, is about to discover the startling news of the return of H. G. Well's time machine to London. Motivated by a host of unanswered questions and innate curiosity, he propels himself deep into the next millennium: an England ruined by mysterious civil war, now returned to wilderness. As he sets foot in a luxuriant but menacing new landscape, he also explores the ruins of his life, a labyrinth of erotic obsession and remorse involving his old friend Bird - jazz musician, classicist, and small-time crook - and Anita, the beautiful, eccentric Egyptologist they both loved, mysteriously dead at 32. For readers of H. G. Wells, J. G. Ballard, and Aldous Huxley, this novel is an odyssey through human error, an evocation of beloved books and authors, and an unforgettable vision of the end - and renewal - of civilization.

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Review:

In London at the turn of the 20th century, H. G. Wells's time machine mysteriously appears--empty--in a squatter's flat. Whence did it come, and for what purpose was it sent? The answers to these questions--though not to an even greater mystery connected with the machine's appearance--are contained in a letter written by Wells on May 2, 1946, which falls into the hands of one David Lambert on the eve of the millennium. Lambert, an industrial archeologist, reads the letter foretelling the arrival of the machine and, half convinced the whole thing is a hoax, goes to the address Wells provides, where, at the appointed hour, the time machine materializes. Thus begins Ronald Wright's fine and fantastical novel A Scientific Romance.

Romance can refer to an affair of the heart; it can also describe a heroic tale of extraordinary events. In A Scientific Romance, Wright plays on both possible meanings as he weaves a tragic story of betrayal and lost love into a larger narrative of time travel. Lambert, having lost the woman he loved, is reckless enough to test Wells's machine himself, catapulting 500 years into the future, where he finds London--indeed, all of England--a deserted, semitropical landscape. As David explores the future, he also sifts through his own past, creating in this Möbius strip of time and relationship a chilling cautionary tale about the limits of science and human ambition.

From the Publisher:

A SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE has won Britain's prestigious David Higham Award for Fiction.

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Wright, Ronald
Published by Picador USA (1998)
ISBN 10: 0312181728 ISBN 13: 9780312181727
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Wright, Ronald
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Ronald Wright
Published by Picador USA (1998)
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