A new book by Ed Goodwin
Last year it was Journey to the Moon, this year it is Amazing Adventures in Time. Comic writer, Ed Goodwin, has turned out another book this year, based on the same family: would-be techno-wizard Dad, sceptical but resigned Mum, daughter Suzy sometimes trying out things for herself, and Connie, the youngest, who mostly goes along with Suzy.
It is billed as a book for children but, as with its prequel, some of the conversations have an Alice in Wonderland appeal to logic. The conversations dance about between reality, play and pretend:
Adventures in time
“It’s working now,” [Dad] said excitedly.
“You mean you can go backwards and forwards in time,” said Mum.
“Well not exactly, no, but the lever works.”
“Oh good”, said Mum.
This was not the enthusiastic response he had been hoping for.
“We can pretend to go back to Suzy’s birthday now,” he said.
“I suggest you just let them play with the machine, and they could pretend it really works,” [said Mum].
Like a married couple
The altercations between Mum and Dad show that this is really a comic book to appeal to adults. Dad, constantly coming up with unworkable solutions, reminds me of the roles the actor Richard Briers took in the 1970s sitcom ‘The Good Life’ or the 1980s ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’.
“So, I can give them the time machine today and explain that we can’t really use it go back in time for a couple of weeks.”
“Well, it won’t be much use as a present then,” said Mum.
“You haven’t seen it yet,” said Dad, “it’s still rather wonderful.”
“If you say so,” said Mum.
It would make a good TV script
One can just imagine the voice tones and expression of a skilled TV actress like Penelope Wilton voicing that. I wonder if author Ed Goodwin has ever tried to enrol as a writer of comedy scripts for TV?
Skilful plot construction
As a reviewer, I should not wish to disclose the entire plot, but I must point out that the plotting is skilful. There is not just one adventure, but several adventures, each surprisingly different, and going both backwards and forwards in time. The reader, like Mum, just has to suspend disbelief and go with the flow.
As the plot proceeds, there is not just one time machine, but also another, though both of them are based on old armchairs fit for the tip, with some electronics screwed on. Also, a TV screen and a digital clock are required for some tests. Just enough to be plausible in a childish sort of way.
Ending with a twist
Each character in turn has some sort of adventure with time. Yes, even sceptical Mum. Each adventure is scary and unpredictable. They are not really in control of the machine. Are these just tricks of the imagination or…?
There is a final twist to the plot, bringing it back to the mundane reality of Suzy’s school class, with a jolt. But I cannot reveal what it is. I can simply highly recommend this sparkling new book of comic adventures just published by Conrad.