The Time Warriors
Written by: Owen Quinn
From the very first paragraph of The Time Warriors: First Footsteps certain influences on the writer are very evident. Everything from Doctor Who (replace Varran with The Doctor for example and I would say you have much the same character) to Star Trek and all good sci-fi in between!
Each story flows and drags the reader in and you feel immersed in the story. The imagery is very vivid and helps you feel as if you are there with the characters, experiencing what they are thanks to the powerful descriptions Quinn gives, for example the dying moments of Xereba and the majority of its inhabitants. Couple this with the fact we aren’t told exactly what has happened for this situation to occur and it only serves to heighten the tension and your interest. The writer’s unique writing style and imagination is there in every chapter and it is this that keeps you hooked and coming back for more.
Over the course of this first book you can see each character being gradually fleshed out and layers of their personality becoming more clear. Because there are four main characters it is important that this is handled in the correct way and they are not just thrown on you and Quinn avoids this by giving them their own individual little stories within the context of the whole chapter. For example, out of all the stories that make up First Footsteps there was one particular story that stood out for me, when Tyran meets Sril in the story Tombs of Ether, Sril transforms into a cat-like creature and then we hear of how Tyran had killed the cat when she was younger. I initially thought this was the reason for Sril’s transformation into this creature was a way of representing Tyran’s past coming back to haunt her in a way and subsequently Tyran is absolved of this sin by helping the Etherians escape The Collector. I have discussed this with Owen and he said that the conclusion I came to regarding this scene wasn’t what he had in mind when writing the story. For me this proves the quality of Owen’s writing. Not only does it entertain it also connects with you in such a way that it makes you think outside the box. Ultimately, despite all that you learn about Varran, Jacke, Michael and Tyran, you are get the feeling that there is still much more to learn about them, their personality, their history etc and this is what keeps you involved with and hooked on the story.
As a group, the four main characters work very well with each one’s personality complementing the other. You get the impression that Jacke, Tyran and Michael look up to Varran as a mentor or even perhaps a father figure and, in turn, Varran feels responsible for them and wants to look after them as much as he can, but at the same time letting them have their independence. This to me is very much taken from Owen’s obvious love of Doctor Who and the way The Doctor treats his companions. There is also a sense of a natural camaraderie within the group which feels natural and you can tell that the chemistry that exists between them all as a group and also between the two pairings of Varran/Jacke and Michael/Tyran has been fostered and nurtured by Owen over the years that he has been working with these characters.
The alien villains in First Footsteps will be very familiar to any sci-fi fan. They are identifiable. This is not to say that they are ripped off from other sci-fi stories, they are all original creations, each with their own back story and how they came to be involved with The Time Warriors but they wouldn’t seem out of place in an episode of Doctor Who or indeed perhaps in standing at the bar in Mos Eisley Cantina. Each race of aliens has been well thought out and given their own back story, each one is as nefarious as the last or so it may seem. For example, The Vorg: warriors for hire, a mercenary army after their home planet has been decimated by civil war. Lead by the fearsome General Tork, they seek to rebuild their once proud home planet with the spoils of war. Or the Mentara, a cross between a spider and a Centaur, this particular race have a taste for human flesh. Owen uses all these elements to present a villain that plays on basic primal, human fears.
Owen tags the Time Warriors series as sci-fi with a heart and essentially he has nailed it. Too many times with sci-fi it becomes about the story or the overall message and the characters get lost somewhere in between, but thanks to the way Owen presents the story we see it from the individual character’s perspective as well as an overall one and because of this we can’t help but care for the fate of the characters, even the minor ones. This can only come from how well they are written and how easy they are to identify with.
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