Short Take: “The Tower,” Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Pros: Neat idea
Cons: Abortive
Rating: 3 out of 5

Kristine Kathryn Rusch brings us the novella The Tower. A company called Portals, Inc. is experimenting with time travel. They’re sending Neyla Kendrick back to 1674 to try to verify a historical question about a couple of skeletons found on the premises of the Tower of London. Thomas wants to go back in time to steal one of the Crown Jewels–a certain ring. He manages, with help, to snare a place on Neyla’s team. She’ll do anything in her power, however, to keep Thomas from ruining her trip.

I was shocked when I got to the end of this novella and realized there was nothing more. This is one time when the length of the book doesn’t feel like the correct length for the story. It honestly felt like the whole thing was cut short and summarily ended right when it should have just been getting started.

There are some great details about, for example, the guy who does the costuming for time travelers. But the story about the skeletons Neyla wants to check out is completely dropped, so the amount of detail that went into that setup feels wasted.

This could have made an excellent novel or simply a longer novella. As it is, we spend barely any time in the past, have even less interaction with it, and then end preemptively.

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