Spheres of Influence is a novella that seeks out the consequences of time travel in three dimensions – the past, present and future. Driven by a millionaire convinced he can conquer death with money and innovation, Gunther Hessman enlists an engineer, a physicist, and mathematician to overstep death’s shadowy grip by projecting himself years into the future.
Before Hessman himself travels back in a soil-protected sphere, these three men must undertake their own explorations, contractually obligated to ensure their employer will be safe on their final journey. Yet the past is continually relived, not in time travel, but rather in the heads of the scientists who must mastermind the machine and destination, and these recollections threaten the sanctity of the mission, as the power of the spheres is corrupted not to save their employer, but rather to explore their own past and future, and attempt to upset the trajectory of our world. Within the characters’ heads, a strong sub-story develops, which leaves the reader feeling well-connected to the dialogue and its narrators.
The dialogue and backstory are both well-developed, but where Spheres of Influence stumbles is in its sometimes unclear prose and technical descriptions, which could benefit from clearer expansions of the technology behind the spheres, and stronger editing. Several grammatical errors detract from the flow of the story.
Spheres is less of an expose on time travel and its practicalities, but rather a mentally captivating and thought-provoking story on the implications of time travel, and the timelines that we ourselves repeat in our minds. The true gift of this story is in its power to captivate readers with its story of humanity, thus departing from the sci-fi genre into a strong piece that blends a fascinating concept with ideas of personal sacrifice and the rhythmic cycles that define ourselves and the world we live in. With strong interpersonal relationships that science fiction as a genre sometimes overlooks, Spheres of Influence is refreshingly plausible.
Number of Pages: 61
Recommended For: a long afternoon, a bedside table, book club
Enjoy it With: a glass of amber lager
For fans of: science fiction