Time Was: Time and Again Book 1, by Nora Roberts

The Latin phrase is: De gustibus non est disputandum. Basically this translates as “In matters of taste arguments are pointless.” (I give you context, not exact translation.)

These are words I recite to myself when I run across a popular writer whose writing is, to me, close to abhorrent. And I do give them a chance. I read the whole book. In trying to decipher my late wife’s taste for Danielle Steele I read three of the damn things with less understanding at the end than when I started.

As a time travel book this roughly falls into the category of science fiction. Since it’s Nora Roberts it’s romance posing as science fiction. As a science fiction fan for over 50 years I feel secure in speaking for all other fans in pleading with Roberts to knock it off. Go despoil another genre. Join Danielle Steele in ruining the mystery. Or westerns. Westerns are already pretty crappy and could use some soulful eye contact and tentative kisses and humping and pouting and separation and reuniting. Go, Nora. No, really, go.

A thunderstorm brings a handsome spaceship operator from the future crashing near the remote cabin of a beautiful child of hippies made wealthy through their creativity. It doesn’t matter how and I’m not going to push the point. I read Kindred by Octavia Butler with great joy and there’s not a word about how or why the character keeps zooming back to the 19th century, and the book is so good I didn’t care. I won’t subject Roberts to unfair comparisons. He’s handsome and remote. She’s happily single and independent. He’s from a time when sex is casual. She was raised by hippies so …. She finds out his secret. Uh-oh. Parents arrive unexpectedly. His computer, which apparently has downloaded the entire whatever-the-internet-is from his time is able to calculate a return home. Will love survive? If Roberts wants to sell another book it damn well better. There’s at least one more of these, now being sold in tandem. If you read it and believe it’s the new Great Gatsby I’ll just take your word for it.