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A Long Time Until Now

Written by: Michael Z. Williamson
Narrated by: Dennis Holland
Length: 22 hrs and 10 mins
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 46.23
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Publisher's Summary

Book one in a new series from the creator of the best-selling Freehold Universe series.

A military unit is thrust back into Paleolithic times with only their guns and portable hardware. Ten soldiers on convoy in Afghanistan suddenly find themselves lost in time. Somehow they arrived in Earth's Paleolithic Asia. With no idea how they arrived or how to get back, the shock of the event is severe. They discover groups of the similarly displaced: imperial Romans, Neolithic Europeans, and a small cadre of East Indian peasants.

Despite their technological advantage, the soldiers only have 10 people and know no way home. Then two more time travelers arrive from a future far beyond the present. These time travelers may have the means to get back, but they aren't giving it up. In fact they may have a treacherous agenda of their own, one that may very well lead to the death of the displaced in a harsh and dangerous era.

©2015 Michael Z. Williamson (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • QZ
  • 2018-10-25

loved it

I'd listen to this more than once. well narrated. had me picturing myself in the story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Hartmann
  • 2015-06-11

Different Than Expected--But an Excellent Listen !

When an author provides a prospective reader with 22 hours of book it is a sort of a offer to enter into a contract: "You invest 22 hours of your time -- and I will make it worth your while." I went into this (based on the title and reviews) thinking it would be an epic 'Small military Unit versus Historical Bad Guys Lost in Time Story." (We have had civil war units, aircraft carriers, destroyers and infantry.) But this is NOT a bang-bang-shoot-em-up story. It is the thinking person's military. I felt as though I were reading the progeny of a cross between Desmond Morris' "Naked Ape" and either "The Martian" or "Seven Eves".

That is lofty company considering the sales of those books! But this author carries it off, albeit somewhat slowly. Compare a police procedural mystery to a cop show with car chases -- this is an 'military-anthropological procedural'. (Some reviewers have characterized "The Martian" as an engineer's recounting of the practical problems with being stranded on Mars, mixed with the single-character study of the psyche of that engineer. This is the "how to" guide to showing up 11,000 years ago matched with a study of small group dynamics.)

It is fascinating. The author clearly knows the real military, weapons and how to write. The surprise is the degree of scholarship beyond things military. It is a little gritty in day-to-day human functions...but there is nothing gratuitous. Also, the narrator is really excellent -- almost worth the listen himself. I'm doing something rare....I highly recommended this book and expect that it may become a one of those you will remember for a long time.

One final note. At least one reviewer felt that the narrative lacked pointers that would indicate which character was talking. As a paper book that might be a problem. For me, this is one of the first books that was written to be listened to. No constant "he said" or "Mike exclaimed." It added a great deal to the experience for me.

70 of 71 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike From Mesa
  • 2015-07-27

Different than I expected

When I bought this book I thought I was probably getting a standard out-of-time book with shallow characters and too much action. Normally I would not buy a book like that but the idea intrigued me and I wanted to give it a try. Surprisingly this was not the book I expected, but something much more substantial and interesting.

10 soldiers are plucked from a convoy in Afghanistan along with their vehicles and transported 10-15,000 years in the past. They must try to survive as a group and as individuals and somehow find a way to make a life completely out of their own time. Along the way they find other groups, also plucked from their times, who are trying to do the same. What we have in this book is more of the day to day struggles, both physical and emotional, to build a working society than warfare between the groups and, given that they are in the pre-historic past rather than in someplace like historic Greece or Rome, there is little of what might be expected in a book like this with people trying to get ahead in what we think of as early civilization.

While I found the book to be interesting and became involved with the characters I was a bit surprised by the way the book ended and it is hard for me to see how there will be a sequel. Since this is listed as Book 1 of the Temporal Displacement Series (see the Kindle version of this book at Amazon) it is clear that there will be a sequel but it is hard to see how it will involve the same characters as in this book.

If you are looking for warfare, in-fighting and the clash of different groups this is probably not your book. If you are looking for an intelligent look at how people might have to struggle to survive in the far past this might be for you. It is well read and I was still involved with the events and the characters at the end of the 22 hours.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 2015-07-23

Not a series!

Enjoyed the hell out of this story. Author didn't try to make the narrative too dramatic or beat up his characters in a gratuitous manner.

The performance of the audiobook was masterful. The narrator kept a consistent and distinct voice for each character.

The best part was that while it was a long novel, the author resolved the story and didn't try to turn it into a multi-book series. I'm getting kind of tired of that.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 2015-08-23

Time travel, yes!

I expect most science fiction fans will enjoy this story. Possibly the author's characterization could be better, but I didn't have an issue. The narration is well done. Totally worth the money and time.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark Patterson
  • 2015-07-20

Well-Researched Military Time Travel

“A Long Time Until Now” does a great job examining how a small Army patrol would cope with suddenly being transported to Paleolithic Central Asia. The author clearly did his homework and didn’t gloss over any inconvenient details, including problems with language and the psychological impact of the displacement (almost a standard in the time travel genre). There may have been a tad more capabilities in the ten members of the team than you might find in an average patrol, but it wasn’t unbelievable. Williamson also clearly knows his military jargon. Someone without a military background would not catch a lot.

The reader did try to distinguish voices, though sometimes not as the author intended. He also made everyone sound happy too often. And finally he didn’t check with a soldier (or even an Airman) on the proper contextual pronunciation of “hooah.”

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul Houser
  • 2015-08-02

Everyday Life While Deployed to the Past

Day to day with a mixed crew of military personnel. Small challenges, petty irritations and all the complications of working closely with a crew of varied individuals. This was a comfortable book that made me feel like one of the protagonists. Thanks, Michael.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • R
  • 2017-11-03

MEDIOCRE

Absolutely mediocre.

Performance: Tolerable, not outstanding but better than the writing deserved.

Writing: Bland, bland, bland. All the characters spent their time being bored, doing chores, being emotionally shell-shocked, thinking with their block and tackle (if they were male), or worrying about potentially being raped (if they were female). Seriously. Every time the perspective bounced to a new male character one of the first things they that cropped up in their thoughts was how much they wanted to have sex with one of two notable female characters or one of the numerous nameless primitive locals. As much as the author tried to paint the sole feminist in the unit as being a high-strung over-sensitive b*tch, to judge by how obsessed the men around her were with getting their rocks off, she had every right to be terrified of them.

Speaking of the sole feminist, she was clearly such a straw woman that I really started to wonder just what the author's goal was with that character. At least she was not 'shown the error of her ways' at some point. Granted, I cannot really complain about her considering the general lack of nuance in all of the characters. Save for two, only the characters I am really able to remember are the ten soldiers and that was mostly because I spent 22 hours having their names repeated at me. They might as well have been referred to by their stock archetypes and were mostly interchangeable outside of a few specializations.

I do get what the author was doing, he wanted to focus on just how well a unit might survive in absolutely primitive conditions with only the gear they had in two trucks and to be fair, he did a good job portraying the sheer mechanical aspect of that, how traumatic it might be, primitive survival techniques and improvising tools, and psychological impact. He also did clearly did his research on prehistoric cultures and wildlife, but this ground has been tread before by better authors using more interesting settings, with better grasps on conflict, pacing, and character development. Honestly, you'd be better off listening to the first couple of books from S. M. Stirling's Emberverse series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • KAG
  • 2017-02-17

Man it really could of been so much better

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Just wore me down with the draining female soldier interaction. I was a soldier for years and still work for the army......not very realistic I thought. I was expecting a lot more given the history of the writer's background.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Where to start.......

Was A Long Time Until Now worth the listening time?

No

Any additional comments?

The concept I really liked.....but it's a mission fail

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Brian S. Preston
  • 2017-02-09

Meh

Would you try another book from Michael Z. Williamson and/or Dennis Holland?

Perhaps. Not a definite yes and not a definite no.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Time travel was compelling. I kept waiting for the story to finally take off. It felt like one looooooong prelude to something more exciting.

What didn’t you like about Dennis Holland’s performance?

I didn't find his performance particularly compelling. For military fiction some of his recital was downright embarrassing (HUMVEE/HMMWV) is not pronounced by each letter, but is usually called a "Humvee".

Do you think A Long Time Until Now needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Not really. Once was enough. Compelling concept but poorly executed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Craig J Martin
  • 2015-10-29

This is a great book.

What made the experience of listening to A Long Time Until Now the most enjoyable?

This is a great book

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Long Time Until Now?

I liked the way that the crew used modern technologies to overcome ancient issues and the other way around.

Which character – as performed by Dennis Holland – was your favorite?

The characters are soundly built and defined. Some you can grow to like or love, others drove me nuts.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A clash of all times

Any additional comments?

The storytelling is very well timed and smooth

3 of 3 people found this review helpful