As the title might indicate, I am a bit conflicted about the book Timeline by Michael Crichton. On one hand, the technology he chooses to use for this novel is really interesting, but the plot of the book just did not really keep my interest unless the technology was being discussed.
Well what was the plot of the book? It starts out promising enough; grad students working in France discover very old glasses in some ruins, glasses that belong to their professor who has been away for a while because he was called in by one of the companies funding their work. When the students begin asking questions, they are taken to the company headquarters and told that the professor was sent back in time to medieval France and is now stuck there. Determined to get him back, the grad students use the “time travel” technology to go back and rescue him.
The best parts of this book, I thought, were when it goes into how this “time travel” works; it actually isn’t time travel as the book likes to point out, but traveling to a parallel universes in the multiverse using quantum technology. Just as a general reminder, it should be noted that this is written by Michael Crichton, so the description of the technology, along with medieval setting, is probably not considering important limitations and major holes in logic abound. Yet the way Crichton describes the technology makes it seem possible (at the time of reading) and flows really well, which I feel is where Crichton shines in this novel.
This brings us to where I personally feel that this book falls flat, and that basically the story and characters are very bland, and that’s saying something since Crichton does not specialize in characters especially. As for the story, it gets really boring/bland when they get into the medieval time period, because a lot of it is talking about how it was really like back then; if you like or are interested in that kind of topic then this book is definitely for you, regardless of what I say. Another compounding issue is that I found the characters to be bland, even more so than Crichton’s other characters; all I really remember is the one or two talents they had that were relevant to the story.
Overall, it's an alright book, definitely not one of Crichton’s better stories, though it had engaging technological ideas, I just wish it dealt more with the technology than it did.