Monday, September 20, 2010

Andre Norton’s The Time Traders

Miss. Norton’s novel The Time Traders is another oldie, but, a goody. The Time Traders was first published in 1958 and the tone is typical of that golden age of Sci-Fi Lit. The main character, Ross Murdock, is a juvenile delinquent who is drafted into a top secret government program instead of receiving criminal detention. This program or project involves tracking the secrets of the “Reds” but the chase is through time as well as across the globe. The backdrop of the Cold War does not have the effect, with the immediate relevance, it held sixty years ago but it still serves as a meaningful historical marker and plot point.

The “project” takes the Time Agents to a time on the fringes of civilized history. The agents pose as traders of the era, the Bronze Age of Western Europe, in order to move through the ancient society in freedom. They, the agent -traders, must learn the language and practices of their historical setting to pass as legitimate members of the ancient society. I’m a real sucker for these 1950s era Sci-Fi and Norton has woven an intriguing story with the elements of time travel, history and alien involvement. The pace of the book was quick and I seemed to fly through the one hundred and ninety-one pages. The plot pace reminded me of a Robert E. Howard adventure containing action around every corner or chapter. The Time Traders is one of the Sci-Fi books on the 501 Must Read Books List. The Time Traders is also available as a Google Book, through Project Gutenberg and Paperback Swap dot com.

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