The Winding (Time Corrector Series Book 1)

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When Vincent Abajian was eight years old, his best friend Akane and her family disappeared as a result of time turbulence. Although the process and consequences were only little understood, time turbulence was recognized as a rip in the fabric of time that appeared suddenly and at random and that pulled people out of reality. Those who encountered time turbulence were never seen again. As a lonely orphan with only boarding school to call home, Vincent was devastated by the loss of his friend, which resulted in a feeling of abandonment that set the tone for his future relationships.

As an adult, following the death of his partner Elise in a plane crash, Vincent has dedicated himself to the study of artificial intelligence, shutting himself off from almost all social contact. Pursuing his research interest in the potential of robots to replace humans as managers (and, perhaps, to replace politicians with not particularly complicated algorithms), Vincent and his group are focusing on transferring “consciousness from an organic body to an artificial one while keeping all the knowledge and nuances intact.” The research is being funded by Nardin Robotics, one of a multitude of companies owned by billionaire inventor Philip Nardin.

Progress on the project seems to be going well, but things take a turn for the peculiar when Emika Amari is hired to help the group with memory transfer experiments. Vincent is immediately drawn to her, although he soon comes to suspect that something is wrong. Time turbulence, despite having apparently ceased to occur, is now better understood and it is known that those who encounter the phenomenon are split from their body and deposited in the body of another individual, where they live on as a kind of split personality. Based on this knowledge concerning time turbulence, Vincent comes to believe that Akane’s personality is trapped inside Emika. Can he find a way to save the woman who might just represent his future and, at the same time, free the most important girl from his past?

The Winding principally takes place in the very near future of 2024, where things are generally much the same as now but with a number of intriguing technological enhancements, although there are also plenty of flashbacks to Vincent’s childhood and earlier life. Avi Datta has clearly put a lot of thought into the worldbuilding for the novel, coming up with currently impossible but certainly plausible technologies and ensuring that the environments the characters inhabit are both somewhat familiar and recognizably changed. The concept of time turbulence is particularly intriguing and represents a significant point of differentiation from other science fiction novels.

The story is told from the first-person perspective of Vincent, which provides interesting insights into his thought processes as he attempts to tackle the Akane/Emika conundrum and also helps to humanize him. The action jumps about in time and space quite a lot, which can initially be a little confusing and somewhat detract from the pace of the story. The same is true of the rather stilted dialogue; the story would flow considerably more smoothly if the characters sounded more natural. Overall, however, The Winding is an innovative science fiction tale that mixes action with deep introspection to create an engaging and sometimes surprising narrative. It’ll be interesting to see what Datta has in store for readers in the next volume in the Time Corrector series.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 314 pages
Publisher Bublish
Publish Date 03-Feb-2022
ISBN 9781647043902 Buy this Book
Issue February 2022
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy