Killing Time

Killing Time

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by Caleb Carr
     
 

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Meet Dr. Gideon Wolfe, expert criminologist of the new millenium. A professor at New York's John Jay University in the year 2023, he lives in an era that has seen plague, a global economic crash, and the 2018 assassination of President Emily Forrester. In this turbulent new world order, Wolfe's life and everything he knows are turned upside down when the widow of a

Overview

Meet Dr. Gideon Wolfe, expert criminologist of the new millenium. A professor at New York's John Jay University in the year 2023, he lives in an era that has seen plague, a global economic crash, and the 2018 assassination of President Emily Forrester. In this turbulent new world order, Wolfe's life and everything he knows are turned upside down when the widow of a murdered special-effects wizard enters his office.

The widow hands him a silver disc from her husband's safety deposit box, hoping that Wolfe's expertise in history and criminology will compel him to track down her husband's killers. The disc contains footage of President Forrester's assassination, the same video that has been broadcast countless times on TV and over the internet-with one crucial, shocking difference: This version shows that before the video was released, it was altered with sinister special effects.

This explosive discovery will lead Gideon Wolfe on an electrifying journey from a criminal underworld of New York to the jungles of Africa and on a quest to find the truth in an age when all information can be manipulated. With this novel, Carr has boldly established a new genre-future history-combining the best elements of mystery and thrillers with unique historical insight. Breathtakingly suspenseful,Killing Time unfolds as the work of a master novelist.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

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Our Review
History in the Making
Though his background is in military history, with his bestselling thrillers The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness, Caleb Carr proved he could walk the historical-fiction walk on the streets of old New York. In Killing Time, a high-stakes technothriller that will leave your head spinning, Carr turns a new corner, conjuring up a haunting vision of the future that is as much a meditation on modern technology as it is an ominous glimpse of technology's consequences.

The year is 2023. Since the E. coli breakout of 2021, hamburgers have become a luxury, the oceans have become lifeless masses of brown sludge, and the air in New York has grown so polluted the mayor advises citizens to stay indoors for anything less than an emergency. But that's not all: A staphylococcus epidemic decimated 40 million people worldwide in 2006, and a devastating stock market crash leveled global economies in 2007. More importantly, the information age has not made good on its promise of a "free exchange of knowledge." Instead, societies have fallen victim to a "love affair with information technology," and their citizens have been virtually brainwashed by information under control of the nations' leaders. The structure of society itself has undergone an immeasurable shift, and only those countries whose poverty has kept them unwired have been spared.

But even a world in chaos can be turned upside down. Dr. Gideon Wolfe, a successful criminal profiler and professor of psychology at John Jay University in New York, is visited by the widow of John Price, the famed special-effects wizard who was murdered only days earlier. Mrs. Price gives Wolfe a computer disc with now-famous footage of President Emily Forrester's assassination, proving the footage had been tampered with and the Afghani accused of killing the president was nothing more than a digital image concealing the true culprit's identity.

A few short hours after Wolfe brings the evidence to his old friend Max Jenkins, a private detective, Jenkins is murdered. Wolfe is then swept onboard the amphibious ship of a small group of resistance fighters led by Larissa and Malcolm Tressalian, who soon catapult him into a new understanding of the world. The Tressalians reveal to him their responsibility for a number of historical "discoveries" that in recent years have discredited everything from the New Testament to human evolution to Winston Churchill. What began as mischievous tampering now threatens to yield disastrous global effects.

Reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984, with a tip of the hat to The Matrix, Killing Time combines traditional elements of the mystery and thriller with Carr's unique historical and psychological insight. Although at times Carr lapses into preaching about the dangers of runaway technology, this novel is ultimately a reflection on the vulnerability of history under the control of those in power. And although we can't predict the future for Caleb Carr, we can certainly commend him for offering us this terrifying glimpse of history in the making.

Elise Vogel is a freelance writer living in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375506482
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/18/2001
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
143,737
File size:
371 KB

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

SOMEWHERE IN THE MITUMBA MOUNTAIN RANGE OF CENTRAL AFRICA, SEPTEMBER 2024

We leave at daylight, so I must write quickly. All reports indicate that my pursuers are now very close: the same scouts who for the last two days have reported seeing a phantom airship moving steadily down from the northeast, setting fire to the earth as it goes, now say that they have spotted the vessel near Lake Albert. My host, Chief Dugumbe, has at last given up his insistence that I allow his warriors to help me stand and fight, and instead offers an escort of fifty men to cover my escape. Although I'm grateful, I've told him that so large a group would be too conspicuous. I'll take only my good friend Mutesa, the man who first dragged my exhausted body out of this high jungle, along with two or three others armed with some of the better French and American automatic weapons. We'll make straight for the coast, where I hope to find passage to a place even more remote than these mountains.

It seems years since fate cast me among Dugumbe's tribe, though in reality it's been only nine months; but then reality has ceased to have much meaning for me. It was a desire to get that meaning back that originally made me choose this place to hide, this remote, beautiful corner of Africa that has been forever plagued by tribal wars. At the time the brutality of such conflicts seemed to me secondary to the fact that the ancient grievances fueling them had been handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth alone; I thought this a place where I might be at least marginally sure that the human behavior around me was not being manipulated by the unseen hands of those who, through mastery of the wondrous yet sinister technologies of our "information age," have obliterated the line between truth and fiction, between reality and a terrifying world in which one's eyes, ears, and heart can no longer be trusted.

There are no newspapers here, no televisions, and above all no computers, which means no damned Internet. Dugumbe forbids it all. His explanation for this stance is simple, though no less profound for its simplicity: information, he insists, is not knowledge. The lessons passed on from one's elders, taught by the wisest of them but recorded only in the mind, these, Dugumbe has always said, represent true knowledge. The media I've mentioned can only divert a man from such wisdom and enslave him to what Dugumbe calls the worst of all devils: confusion. There was a time when I—a man of the West, the possessor of not one but two doctorates—would have laughed at and disdained such beliefs; and in truth, during the time I've been here the laws and folklore of these people have come to trouble me deeply. Yet in a world stuffed full of deliberately warped information, of manufactured "truths" that have ignited conflicts far greater than Dugumbe's tribal struggles, I now find myself clinging to the core of the old king's philosophy even more tightly than he does.

There—I've just heard it. Distant but unmistakable: the thunderous rumble that heralds their approach. It'll appear out of the sky soon, that spectral ship; or perhaps it will rise up out of the waters of Lake Albert. And then the burning will begin again, particularly if Dugumbe attempts to forcefully resist the extraordinary brother and sister who command the vessel. Yes, time is running out, and I must write faster—though just what purpose my writing serves is not quite so clear. Is it for the sake of my own sanity, to reassure myself that it all truly happened? Or is it for some larger goal, perhaps the creation of a document that I can feed out over what has become my own devil, the Internet, and thereby fight fire with fire? The latter theory assumes, of course, that someone will believe me. But I can't let such doubts prevent the attempt. Someone must listen, and, even more important, someone must understand . . .

For it is the greatest truth of our age: information is not knowledge.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

CALEB CARR was born in Manhattan and grew up on the Lower East Side, where he still lives. In addition to fiction, Mr. Carr writes frequently on military and political affairs. He is the series editor of the Modern Library War Series, and is a contributing editor of MHQ. He has also worked in television, film, and the theater.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
August 2, 1955
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
Attended Kenyon College, 1973-75; B.A. in history, New York University, 1977

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Killing Time 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Caleb Carr's third novel grabs the reader's attention with its first page. Although the subject is decidely new for Carr, his writing style remains similar to the novels The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness. Killing Time grabs you from the start, and doesn't seem to let go until long after you've finished reading it. Not only does it have a fascinating story line, it also exposes the dangers that could come along with people's continued use of the internet. Some of the characters lack depth, however, which is a little sad because Carr's other novels were so detailed. My only other complaint with Killing Time is that it is too short. The ending will surprise you and make you question not only your role in this new information age, but also the ever rising cynicism about the human race. As with all of Carr's novels I recommend reading it slowly. Though it is tempting to let it become a page turner, a lot will be lost if thought is not put into the reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed Carr's other fiction works, 'The Alienist' and 'Angel of Darkness' both dealing with early 20th century serial killers. His foray into Science Fiction however left me wanting for another sequel to the two earlier books, instead. 'Killing Time' was not bad and I suppose for SciFi Readers maybe it was better. To be fair, I am not a big Sci Fi enthusiast. If yoiu are like me and enjoyed 'Alienist' and 'Angel of Darkness', consider 'The Poet' by Michael Connelly, instead.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a tremendous fan of Caleb Carr's, yet this did not live up to my expectations. It is quite different from The Alienist and the Angel of Darkness. Not only is this science fiction as opposed to history (note: i'm not a big fan of 'time travel' books), the plot and characters were not as captivating as his previous work. If you enjoy futuristic novels, perhaps you'll appreciate this more than me. I'll look forward to Carr's next historical thriller.
harstan More than 1 year ago
By 2023, the force of the Internet lies in misinformation and outright lies that easily fools the general public into accepting what it says as Gospel truth. Many individuals stare at their monitor in the same manner couch potatoes watched TV in the previous century. The world is a bad place where excesses have gored the environment and Mother Nature seems bushed. Few places seem pure of the IT disease, but those isolated spots mostly in Africa and Asia are breeding grounds for deadly outbreaks.

Historian and best-selling writer Gideon Wolfe learns that the assassination of President Emily Forrester five years ago was digitally altered to trick the public. The widely viewed web page containing the killing is very popular but has split an already divided nation further. Gideon tries to prove his contention only to meet a group of scientists and military experts who were the professional liars behind much of the official public misinformation floating on the Net. Now they fear their web of deceit has released the nuclear genie and unless they can rebottle it, Armageddon will follow.

The concept of KILLING TIME is brilliant with the Internet serving as an information source that contains many misleading items and outright lies that seem veracious. The 1984-like story line slows down a bit due to too many cliffhangers (sort of like a nineteenth century serial novel) disjointing the pace. However, the description of the future world and the players surfing the Internet are intelligently described and provides the entertainment that makes Caleb Carr¿s dark tale worth reading by futurologists.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How could the man who created The Alienist write so badly. Not only bsd writing but horrendous story. Could pass for an offering from a high school creative writing class. What professional writer keeps saying: And what happened next will astound you? Caleb, come on!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
'I really liked the premise of this book. It was based on a thought provoking question: have the information age and technology become the major downfalls of our civilization? Can we use those same technology and information abilities to show mankind how we have been decieved? Although the author's story revolved around these 'information terrorists' and their escapades I kept wondering, 'Where was the editor?' and I wondered why he portrayed the main character, Gideon, as decisionally incompetent when the author seemed to think he was the common sense strain of the story. I don't feel the story was very thought out. The book was originally intended as a serial story in a publication and possibly that is why it seemed very jumbled with too much information crammed into a tiny space. I read as far as 75 pages from the end. My fellow book club members did not care for it either and they all stated it seemed the author ended the book with a 'it's time to end it, what is a quick way I can do it?' manner.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr Carr picks up the ponderous pace of his historical novels to warn us about the uncritical love of information. Malcolm is remniscent of Captain Nemo, but several social issues are reasonably extrapolated. The quick pace makes for an easy read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hadn't read a Caleb Carr book in a while and was pleasantly surprised to run across 'Killing Time' in the local library. Things became less pleasant once I started reading. It was quite apparent throughout the book that Carr was simply wrapping his own social commentary in trite science-fiction devices. It's the closest I've come in a very long time to putting a book down before I finished it. One can only hope that Carr has given up on writing serial science-fiction and is tucked away somewhere working on his next brilliant historical piece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carr is an exceptional historian, but really lousy at this furturistic stuff
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, at first interesting and alarming, is extremely dissapointing at the end. Essentially, it is a rewrite of Verne's 7000 leagues under the sea, with sex. It is also a little like other pulps of years ago. But the ending is just awful, and ruins the somewhat promising dystophian future story. I was caught up in it, but very annoyed at the ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed with this book. Nowhere near the quality of his first two novels, Mr. Carr's vision of the future makes for a fast read, but not much else. There is, however, an eerie undertone given the recent events in Afghanistan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't wait to read this book after reading Carr's Alienist and Angel of Darkness. I loved those books but was very disappointed in this one. Carr seems to have a knack for writing historical novels and should stick to them. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been an avid fan of Caleb Carr's from the moment I picked up The Alienist making it difficult for me to admit I found this book to be disappointing. Carr breaks format creating a story about our future. In doing so, he lacks the ability to create the in-depth historical pictures that he presented so well in his first two novels. The reader does not get the level of intimacy with the characters as previously accomplished. I can't say I cared about any of these characters or what happened to them. Overall, the story was not awful, but I did not find it to be up to par with his previous work. I wouldn't deter Carr's fans from reading this book, but I do advise that you may be disappointed by the expectation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Caleb Carr, author of such incredible time-bending murder mysteries as 'The Alienist' and 'Angel of Darkness', tries travelling again, only this time forward...into a world that is ripe for war and gullibility, it seems. 'Killing Time' is based on the premise that the world depends almost solely on the internet and television for its information and news, and that every individual is gullible enough to believe all that they find in their apparently endless thirst for knowledge and the latest information. And of course, these poor souls depend on the infallibility of the world wide web to be truthful, even as easily manipulated as it is. That a band of renegades, zipping through space, is messing with the world's news sources by digital reconfiguring of historical 'facts, turning information into propaganda, misinformation and nasty rumour, is the plot device that Carr uses to lure us in. Unfortunate for the reader, because while this literary ploy allows the author to create numerous interesting situations in a relatively small number of pages, it never allows the reader to fully grasp the emotional depth of the characters themselves, nor care about them in the manner one wants to. Carr's writing ability is still one of the best around, this fatal flaw in the story itself is what causes ultimate disbelief and disinterest from those he relies on to sell books. The story poses a lot of intriguing 'what if's', but those are shallow points to be able to hang onto with any real interest..and it makes the story seem shallow and somewhat pointless. The tale does serve as a prophetic warning to the souls who reside in this day and age...don't believe everything you read. Too bad that this adage applies as well to 'Killing Time'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Did I miss something? In the beginning I was intrigued by this book, wondering where it was going and what it was going to say. Well, I¿m still wondering. Mr. Carr must have wanted to shake he reputation for writing stories set in the past really bad! Well he did get the last of that sentence right, really bad. There is no real point to this story. The writing is not bad and he does have a good beginning characterization. But, for the most part, the reader only gets a superficial look at the characters. The ending was dismal. Almost like the author say, ¿well that is enough pages, I need to end this thing `. I really hope that Mr. Carr doesn¿t plan on another one of these ¿future¿ books. Please Mr. Carr, go back to the 1800¿s. Those books are wonderful. You are at your best in that time. And please readers don¿t waste your time on this book. Let alone your money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I expected more from Caleb Carr after his other two works of fiction. This one reads like Jules Verne meets Sheri Tepper. Both lose. He took a short story premise and spun it into narrative that does not work on any level. This is just not worth reading. On this one, Carr was the victim of bad advice from his editors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness, so I rushed out to get the hardcover of this latest Caleb Carr novel. Would that I had waited and saved myself the money. Reading like a mix of '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' and a sixth grade creative writing project, with cardboard characters and simplistic science, the novel moseys along and goes no where. The plot is moved along by neat things that the good guys ship can do. Not enough to make a story, Caleb. This book is trite and boring. I am incredibly surprised to see ANY positive reviews from other readers. Everyone should avoid this book like the plague. I won't even lend this to anyone. I would feel awful subjecting anyone to the torture of this book. And, to be quite honest, in all the time I have had this book I have still not reached the end. I don't think that I ever will -- time is too precious to waste on something so awfully, awfully bad.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the characters and information are very realistic ,the book is one you couldn't get enough off ,i hope these character reappear in another novel soon,excellently writtn
Guest More than 1 year ago
Captain Nemo meets the Time Machine might be a better title for this major disappointment from Caleb Carr, who set my head to spinning with his magnificent historical thrillers The Alienist and it's sequel, The Angel of Darkness. Apparently, Carr penned this details-lacking novella to be some sort of series ofpublished installments in a magazine but someone got the not bright idea to print it in book form. BAD mistake. The characters lack substance and the techtronics referenced lack any substantive basis in scientific reality or detail. We are given many realities but no explanation why a thing is so, how it occurred or even why. Your average, creative high school writer could have come up with the details lacking plot of a semi-mad super brain and his flying Nautilus. Even details of what the super ship looks like are vague. Carr has tried and failed to build on the master, Jules Verne. For super sci-fi time travel, try Timeline by Michael Crighton. For good, period mystery and detectiving, look towards Owen Parry and Faded Coat of Blue. Caleb....for all our sakes, please get back to the genre you're so good at.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ofttimes, when an author reads his or her own work a heightened understanding, a richer intent is added. Such is the case with Caleb Carr's latest, 'Killing Time.' Mr. Carr imbues his rendering with a chilling sureness. The author's first two novels, 'The Alienist' and 'The Angels Of Darkness' were set during New York City's Gilded Age. This time out Mr. Carr takes the reader some years hence - the year 2023 to be exact when Dr. Gideon Wolfe, a professor and criminal profiler comes upon a photo of a recent presidential assassination that has been digitally altered. In Dr. Wolfe's day public opinion is largely dictated by the Internet. Opposing sides are vying for popular favor. 'Information,' as Mr. Carr has pointed out, 'is a double-edged sword. You have to know how to look underneath it.' In addition to information and its dispersal, 'Killing Time' also tackles financial uncertainty, a depletion of natural resources, and mass murder. It's a rather fearsome but fascinating take on the Information Age - read superbly by the author.