Killing Time

Killing Time

by Caleb Carr

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Information flows freely in 2023, but is all—or "any"—of it accurate? Criminal profiler Dr. Gideon Wolfe investigates the murder of a friend in New York City when he is suddenly caught up in the company of a beautiful woman, her ingenious brother, and a band of techno-terrorists at war with the world itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446610957
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 01/01/2002
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 771,106
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.79(d)

About 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.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:

August 2, 1955

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


Attended Kenyon College, 1973-75; B.A. in history, New York University, 1977

Read an Excerpt



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 It was a desire to get that meaning back that originally made me choose this place to hide, this remote, beautiful corner of Africa that has been forever plagued by tribal wars.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.

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Killing Time 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 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

JayDugger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I feel very fortunate to have borrowed this book from the library vice buying a copy. Reading this book wasted my time. The central idea, that an information society has special vulnerability to propaganda and manipulation by elites, strikes me as counter-factual and condescending. As sermon, this book failed to convince me. As an adventure story, it failed to convince me. The idea of a secret elite with a high-technology airship manipulating the fate of the world's population lacks originality. (See Verne's Robur the Conqueror at Project Gutenberg.)The book's ending relies on deus ex machina, and one that lies off-stage. It failed to convince me. In fact, the author relies on the very same mechanism for the ending that he condemns throughout the rest of the book: manipulation by an elite.I can say only one positive thing about this book. I now know to avoid this author's work.
Cygnus555 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Drivel. After reading his brilliant books (Alienist and Angel) I thought this was a HUGE disappointment. What happened??
ntempest on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am of two minds when it comes to this book. The characters were wooden and I had a difficult time really caring about them. However, I liked the overall concept a great deal, regarding time travel and the altering of the future. Carr's earlier books are so fabulous that I can't help but wonder what exactly happened here. Was this an earlier manuscript tucked in a drawer that his publishers hoped to sneak out to ride on the coattails of his earlier successes? Feels much more amateurish than his Alienist books.
wingedpotato on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So-so thriller about the dangers of info tech. Not the best I've read.
cobalt027 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Information deceit. Information overload has ruined the world. People just take theories and possibilites and consider them true before they are proved. Super intelligent twins decide to show the world the shortcomings of this system, and it backfires. Using time travel, he fixes things.
DocWalt10 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Been sometime that I read it, but remember as a good read.
ct.bergeron on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The year 2023, and information is everywhere: free flowing, abundant, instanteneous. But is all - or any - of it accurate? Criminal profiler and psychiatrist Dr.Gideon Wolfe is investigating the murder of a fried in New York City when suddenly he is caught up in the company of a beautiful woman, her ingenious brother, and a band of techno-terrorists at war with the world itself. While earth sags under the wight of violence, poverty and disease, one man has discovered the only way to save humangkind from itself. And with a little help from Gideon Wolfe, all it will take are a few little lies - and one astounding piece of truth.
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Caleb Carr's vision of the future looks a lot like the Victorian era he writes about so well. While still a master word smith and story teller, Carr's version of the future is not as intriguing as other authors. The premise of the book, that the Internet is set up to deliberately disseminate *false* information could go along way to explaining the quality of information that is available now. Sadly, this cynical avenue is never fully exploited. While the story is still undeniably Caleb Carr, it is sadly no where near the equal of The Alienist.
BlackDoll on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Major disappointment from one of my favorite authors. Oh well. His other books are great.
Black821Library on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this book should be required reading. I greatly promoted this at Book Club. The Thought Police that we read about in 1984 are real now.
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!
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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.