I'm not a big fan of the time travel genre, but Nora Weston launches into a tour de force arm flailing tumble down the rabbit hole of temporal fiction. While reading the book, though, I couldn't help but feel that I fall distinctly outside of the target audience of this story. Because of that, I will break this review into two parts; First will be a largely critical review of the book as a consumer of hard sci-fi... then again as someone who enjoys an awesome B-Movie action hero romp through death, blood and violence.
The plot summary goes as following: Dr. Zane Grayson is head of a time travel agency whose purpose seems to be temporal purification. Zane and a small army of genetically altered supermen travel into the past on missions to make sure that events unfold the way they were supposed to. While indulging in an illicit habit of his, browsing time or "time surfing", Zane stumbles upon something that causes him to reconsider his place both in space and time.
In retrospect, Guardian 2632's plot doesn't actually feel like a time-travel plot. In my opinion, the story of Dr. Zane Grayson could have been told without any wormholed traipses into the past at all. Maybe It's just because time machines are such a mark of high science fiction that the author couldn't help herself... I blame H.G. Wells. Let me give a fairly concrete example of what I'm talking about. There is a point in the book where Zane is forced to spend some length of time in the year 2632. There is a sense of urgency in the good Doctor as he frets about getting back to the past in time to prevent some impending doom. Except for vague references to rules set out by Dr. Grayson himself, this drama is artificial. He should be able to return to the past the moment after he had previously left.
Coming in at just over 200 pages, my next criticism is that the book tries to do too much in too few pages. I could easily see the book expanded out to twice its page count. It would help the suspension of disbelief quite a lot to see the various explicitly named gadgets explained out through a combination of exposition and plot rather than as a bullet point in the glossary at the end of the book. Let's hear a little history about StaticAirVI or give us a flashback to the smart alec quantum computer's first steps with its version of Dr. Chandra. Finally, I get that love at first sight is a reasonable plot device... and coupled with being at the right place at a right time (literally)... mad crazy love can result. I would have really liked to have seen more expression and introspection from Dr. Grayson and his main love interest.
Anyway... enough of the negative nancyness... let's talk about what I liked about the book. Weston shows a lot of creativity and doesn't get shy about writing punch-in-the-face action. Also.. as an Asian-American, it's nice to see stories focused on one of my peeps. Yellow Pride! Looking for a little terror? Just imagine super-inhuman scaly skinned Time-Mercs popping out of thin air to take you out; muscular giant gila monsters of the future... and they'll stop at nothing to have your squishy bits dripping through their claws... yeah. terror.
There's also something awesome about rampaging into the past without care for the consequences. It's like that classic Simpson's episode where Homer ends up mucking up his future via his time traveling toaster. Nothing tickles the asskick funnybone like futuristic beam weapons melting 20th century concrete. Nothing.
Oh, Katie! Nora Weston's world? Coke is good. Pepsi is bad. Thought you should know!
I'm giving Guardian 2632 3 face-punched action-packed sheep.