Book Reviews 2006 #53: Years in the Making

My Fifty third book of the year is a NESFA Press collection of the Time Travel Stories of the one and only L. Sprague De Camp, Years in the Making


Years In The Making: The Time-Travel Stories Of L. Sprague De Camp (L. Sprague De Camp)
Wheels of If? Check.
Aristotle and the Gun? Check.
A Gun for Dinosaur? You betcha.
Lest Darkness Fall? YES!
De Camp is one of the grand masters of the modern SF genre, and Alternate History and Time Travels are a couple of his special provinces. Stories like the Wheels of IF are responsible, partly, for the careers of Harry Turtledove, S.M. Stirling, and their brethren.
And they are collected in this volume. It was great fun to re-read all of these stories again, and a couple of works new to me. The Gnarly Man, for instance, posits an ageless Neanderthal living in Modern New York City. Language for Time Travelers is a non fiction piece where De Camp, in his brisk and effective way, explains how languages change over time, and how a time traveler to the past or future might have severe problems.
Its a great collection.
I admit that, by modern standards, some of the stories have some glaring flaws in them. Female characters, for instance, are not De Camp’s strong suit at all, and I winced at their depiction in Wheels of If and Lest Darkness Fall. I don’t think the stories are overtly sexist, but I do think that De Camp is a product of his times, and that his inheritors (Stirling, Turtledove and others) have improved on the trailblazing he has done by having characters of the fairer gender every bit as equal to the male protagonists.
Still, if you like time travel stories, you owe it to yourself to read this collection.