Time travel is one of the best travelled staples of science-fiction, from books to television shows to movies, it is the ultimate form of exploration. The concept of time travel is almost as old as the history of writing, with the first known written example dating to around 400 BCE. In the Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata, King Raivata Kakudmi journeys to heaven to meet Brahma, the Hindu creator god. When he returns to the moral world, centuries have passed. Time travel in fiction, from this ancient epic to Stargate and Doctor Who, usually involves physically transporting one-self through time, bringing your body and memories with you. Threats include meeting your past self, or encountering the grandfather paradox, or making changes to the past which may affect the future. Very rarely do we get a novel in a similar vein to Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, where time travel is a person journey into your own memories.
This review marks the end of a full week of Wayward Pines reviews. Pines, Wayward, and finally The Last Town. The hallmark of a trilogy is one, complete story told over the course of three parts. There is a structure. Part one established the world, the tension, the characters, and sets up the main conflict which will percolate through the entirety. Part two ramps up the tension, answers some questions and leaving others for the finale, and ends in such a way as to set up the final part. When part three begins, it is non-stop. Everything that came before ends here, and most, if not all, questions must be answered. This is the final chance for the creator to show the story as they want it to be shown, to impress upon their audience what the story truly meant.
The second part of a trilogy has a few very specific jobs to accomplish. After the first part sets the stakes and shows the main characters achieving some measure of victory, the second part slows things down a little. It shows us the new normal after the first part and, over it’s course, ramps up the tension and stakes until ending on a cliffhanger to set up the third and final part. A good second part will answer questions you had leftover from the first part, while raising a few more, and leaving some you may have asked since the beginning unanswered until the very end of the trilogy. If the second part has done its job, the eventual cliffhanger will be something you did not expect, something which makes you excited, eagerly awaiting the finale to the story.
As you may have noticed, I tend to post one book review roughly every two weeks; more frequently if I burst through a novel. The Wayward Pines trilogy is one series that just seems to speed by. I finished Pines, the first novel, in four days. I finished reading Wayward, the second novel, today. It took another four days. At this rate, I’ll have finished The Last Town, the final novel in the trilogy by the end of the week.
This is going to be a busy week here on City on the Moon. Where Paradise is Home, my review of Pines, went up this morning. Expect a review of Wayward to go up tomorrow morning, and a review of The Last Town Friday morning.
The United States of America is a large country, with settlements ranging in size from cities like New York and Los Angeles, to towns with only one or two permanent residents. To the residents of these small towns, it is likely paradise. To an outsider, there are few things more frightening than finding yourself trapped there. Small town Americana has been a favorite setting of thrillers and horror films for decades, with good reason. In these small towns, everyone knows their neighbors and their neighbors’ business. Outsiders are immediately recognizable, and there is usually the sense that they will never fully integrate. The remoteness nature of these small towns breeds a fear of lawlessness for the outsider, the worry that they could simply disappear from the lives of their friends and family, never to be heard from again.