A darkly humorous romp…
Murphey’s swiftly paced second installment in the Physics, Lust and Greed series is an invigorating and emotionally satisfying SF drama. After the time travelers failed to significantly alter the past, Global Research Consortium is in danger of disintegrating with its financial backers threatening to pull out. With Sheila Schuler transported to another dimension, the vastly significant time travel project on the brink of collapse, and a temporary fling with the handsome Marshall Grissom becoming a full-fledged emotional affair, threatening to break the lonely safety of her emotional solitude, the veteran time traveler Marta Hamilton has her hands full. As she assumes her role as administrator of the time travel program, she must do everything in her power to protect the past from a greedy future while fending off political meddling and foil a murder plot originating in a parallel universe. With characters’ backstories thoroughly explored in the first installment, Murphey shifts focus to the slick, lightweight SF plot in this installment. The clever, futuristic setting with its concept of multitude of time dimensions and parallel universes is crafted with skill and aptitude. The smoothly paced narrative is filled with dark humor, high tension, constructing and settling a major conflict in the past while creating more complex story arcs. A generous dose of witty dialogue and hilarious situations (the Happy Home Companion software designed to take care of residents’ psychological well-being with its hilarious interpretations of everyday human interactions; the old dear Nadine’s solution to her own dilemma of time traveling without her cloths, “I worked my way through college as a stripper, honey. Just stick a pole on that platform, tell everyone to bring two-dollar bills and I‘ll feel right at home.”) keep the reader turning pages. Murphy’s deeply realized characters populate a thoroughly realistic world, and the gradually budding bond between Marta and Marshall is a pleasure to watch unfold. Murphy skillfully balances Marta’s occasional sentimentality by her hardheaded calculation. Marshall with his strict code of ethics and gullibility is endearing. The Old Bob Buttons, the golf cart driver, and Nadine, the lunchroom lady, don’t get much space but they are absolute darlings. A sinister web of corporate and political corruption lends mystery and a stark realism to a thrilling setting of multiple time dimensions and parallel universes. Despite its hard SF theme, the novel’s tone stays lighthearted. This entertaining novel will intrigue and entertain lovers of humorous time travel.
(Physics, Lust and Greed #2)
By Mike Murphey
Pub date October 1, 2020
Price $4.98 (USD) Kindle edition, $14.99 Paperback