Time’s Last Gift by Philip Jose Farmer
Time’s Last Gift (1972).
So, you might have noticed that this book was originally published in 1972. Therefore as up-to-date and ahead of the curve reviews go, this really isn't Instead I’ll restrict myself to my experience of reading this book, as if I knew nothing of Mr Farmer’s work. Which is actually true – this is the first one of his I have ever read. Being that this book is part of a series (based on something called the Wold Newton series and this is part of the Prehistory cycle) and therefore relies to a degree on the reader being aware of what’s gone before, probably not the best way to approach it. And I'm also very conscious that Farmer is a Science Fiction/Fantasy heavyweight, so I'm feeling incredibly disloyal about what I'm going to say.
The crew of a time travelling vessel arrive in 12000 BC from 2070AD and proceed to investigate and explore their environment, which involves making contact with the local tribes. The crew is made up of four talented scientists, their leader being John Gribardsun, an enigmatic individual to say the least and a man clearly with a hidden plan. As their mission proceeds Gribardsun shows himself to be a more than just an ordinary scientist; he is possessed of skills, knowledge and enhanced physical ability. This puts him into conflict with his fellows and he becomes the catalyst of a marital dispute between two of his colleagues.
The story itself is quite short and is told in a very mannered way, almost as if we are reading an account written by a chronicler/academic. The action was lacklustre, there was little sense of danger and the prose and pacing didn't allow for the mystery to grip. Whilst we are allowed glimpses into their psyches, I was never in a position to care about any of them. They behaved in ways that the story made predictable and at the end I just felt that I had scanned my way through an episode or addition to some other story. When I read the accompanying timeline and an afterword by Christopher Paul Carey (added into this Titan reprint) I realised that it basically was.
This book is part of a wider series exploring the life of the Tarzan, the immortal Lord of the Jungle and the happening at Wold Newton which imparted powers to certain individuals. It all made a lot more sense and I could understand a little better why the book was written the way it was. I also truly liked the mythology that Farmer has created and was intrigued by some of the other novels linked to this overarching concept.
However, as a story a rip-roaring adventure this is not. I’d say it’s even sub Doug McClure, and depending on what you feel about his movies, that might be considered rather damning. However, at the time it was written, I can see that it was an original piece of work and as such deserves its place as a forebear to what has come after and the influence it has had on later writers.
This Time’s Last Gift book review was written by Alex Janaway
Have you read Time’s Last Gift ?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Time’s Last Gift reader reviews
5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The year is 1939. Raybould Marsh and other members of British Intelligence have gathered to watch a damaged reel of film in a darkened room. It appears to show German troop...
Guy Gavriel Kay
Set in a beleaguered land caught in a web of tyranny, Tigana is the deeply moving story of a people struggling to be free. A people so cursed by the dark sorceries of the t...
A Christmas Carol
It is Christmas Eve in Victorian London, and all around the snow-covered city people are rushing home to be with their families. All except one man, that is: Ebenezer Scroo...
Sailing to Sarantium
Guy Gavriel Kay
Rumoured to be responsible for the ascension of the previous Emperor, his uncle, amid fire and blood, Valerius the Trakesian has himself now risen to the Golden Throne of t...
In the winter of his eleventh year, Little Hawk goes deep into the forest, where he must endure a three-month test of solitude and survival which will turn him into a man. ...
As they approach adulthood, Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee think they understand the society they live in and their place within it. At a select academy they study new airs...
The Moon and the Sun
Vonda N McIntyre
Louis XIV, the Sun King, rules the Western World from the Chateau at Versailles. Marie- Josèphe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her brother in the scientific ...
Come one come all to greatest city in the world. In London, all men are free, the streets are lined with gold and the naughty ladies are friendly to all. In London there ar...
Who or what is Endymion Spring? A power for good, or for evil... A legendary book that holds the secret to a world of knowledge... A young boy without a voice - whose five-...
Publius Varrus is the last legionnaire in Britain, and The Skystone is in many ways his story. He is a common man with aristocratic friends, and successful both as a soldie...
Dreaming Of Zhou Gong
The Wu have been living in isolation for decades while the Shang Emperor and his enchantress have ruled the land. It has been a terrible time for the common people and the ...
Kepler is like you, but not like you. With a simple touch, Kepler can move into any body, live any life - for a moment, a day or for years. And your life could be next. SOM...
The High King of Montival
Rudi Mackenzie has returned to Montival with the Sword of the Lady, ready to face the legions of the Prophet. To achieve victory, Rudi must assemble a coalition of former e...
The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest night the world has ever seen, Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation. But Dr Madeleine i...
Sold into servitude in the pagan splendour of the Night Court as a child, Phedre no Delaunay is a woman who struggles for honour and duty, whose loyalty to the land she lov...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
The Silver Mask
The gods and goddesses are dead, killed two hundred years ago. With their destruction the moon split apart, the sun dwindled and the land was devastated. Civilisation has re-e...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...