Home > Books > Timescape – Gregory Benford

Timescape – Gregory Benford


Messages from the future, oceanic blooms, a womanising councilman and bitchy scientists


Benford’s SF novel combines all the elements so loved by SF authors – time-travel; ecological disasters; and grandfather paradoxes – with believable characters communicating across two eras: 1963 and 1998.


In 1998, the world is dying from fast-growing oceanic algae that kill off the fishes and spreads onto land. A group of physicists use Tachyons to send dire warnings, as Morse code, back to 1963. The warnings arrive in La Jolle where a young professor, Gordon Bernstein, picks up and decodes the warnings through his magnetic resonance experiments. Later, we see that it changes history in a big way: John F Kennedy survives Oswald’s assassination attempt. This causes the timelines to split. Gordon’s 1963 has a different (and presumably brighter) future than bleak 1998, although they both exist. What a way to side-step the grandfather paradox.


Like the best stories, there are plenty of dilemmas – the impending end-of-the-world, prejudices, fears and annoying colleagues – for each character. For example, the 1963 version of Gordon Bernstein becomes a pariah, because of his messages from the future, amongst the local physicists until another scientist received the same messages. Academic bitchiness and closed-mindedness? Most definitely!!! 


Pub. 1980 | Call no: BEN | Synopsis: Wiki Entry


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