“You want to know why we’re the ones responsible?" Gunny asked.
I looked up into a pair of wise eyes that had seen far more than mine.
“Because there’s nobody else,” he said.
Well, now we know why ‘our’ Earth is called Second Earth. Turns out there is also a First Earth, which seems to be quite literally the past: specifically in the 1930s. Since we’ve been told a number of times that a traveler (somehow) always arrives when they need to, I’m not sure why these would be separate worlds at all, but so it goes.
The story itself is fairly interesting. It’s much more grounded than what we saw on on Denduron or Coral, leaning on what that reader actually knows / has read previously about the 30s, including gangs and corruption throughout cities and the upcoming threat of World War II. I really like the ending, where (mostly avoiding spoilers) you end up with a somewhat standard time travel trouble of having to chose between the evil you know happened and possibly upsetting everything.
Characterwise, I like the new traveler from First Earthy: Gunny. It’s interesting to see a different, much older viewpoint on the whole thing, that still hasn’t spent as much time around anything other than his own world. Spader returns from Cloral. Throughout most of the story, I like what I liked last time around: he’s fun loving and competent. Towards the end though, we really get a taste of what I was worried about last time around: he’s passionate to a fault, willing to sacrifice quite a lot to do what he believes needs to be done–even when people he should trust tell him otherwise.
So it goes.
I don’t like this as much as the previous stories. It’s a combination of time travel just not feeling like it makes sense / something that’s needed in a universe like this + the aforementioned issues with Spader. Looks like he’ll be taking the next book off though, so onward we go! It’s still a fun enough read.