The Epsilon Papers
Time travel has captured the imagination of many authors over the past two centuries, from H.G. Wells, author of The Time Machine, to Emily St. John Mandel, author of Sea of Tranquility. Bob Nosler, in The Epsilon Papers: A Tale of Murder, Politics and Time Travel, tackles the genre with a tale of two United States senators who learn about the time travel capabilities of the Epsilon project.
Senator Manny Ogden, acting at the direction of Senate Majority Leader Thomas Scott, travels to a remote backwoods Pennsylvania estate to investigate the work of Dr. Chau Li. Ogden, whose codename is SOTUS, meets with Dr. Li to uncover what Li has done with $250 million in taxpayer funds. Ogden finds that Li has discovered the secret to time travel. Li demonstrates the discovery by traveling back in time to the Battle of Little Big Horn, where he obtains gatling guns to use against the Native American tribes massed against the Seventh Cavalry. He ultimately stabs Sitting Bull with a spear to the chest. Ogden follows up by traveling back to Munich, Germany on April 9, 1945, to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Ogden’s report back to Senator Scott sets off a chain of events that ultimately attracts the interests of the Chinese, Russian and United States spy agencies, and they jockey to obtain the secret of time travel. Meanwhile Senator Scott, who is nearing bankruptcy, maneuvers to secretly sell the time travel discovery and embezzle the funds through an elaborate time travel scheme.
The Epsilon Papers takes the reader on a wild ride. The narrative is slam bang, as knowledge of Epsilon spreads to the intelligence agencies. The plot turns and twists with new surprises as new characters enter and depart the story. The time travel sequences are arguably the most interesting parts of the novel as several of the characters engage in extensive time travel as the plot unfolds.
The novel has some interesting quirks. For example, the story doesn’t always address the butterfly effect of time travel in which small actions cause major changes. The characters’ time travel and change the course of historical events; however, we don’t always see the impact of this on current time. Secondly, some historical facts are either muddled or the reasons for the changes are not clear. However, this is fiction, so artistic license is allowed. At the end of the day The Epsilon Papers has an intriguing plot that twists and turns to a surprise outcome. It is fun and worth the read.
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