Appel, Allen

Tagged: Author

(1945-    ) US photographer and author whose Alex Balfour Time-Travel sequence – Time after Time (1985), Twice Upon a Time (1988), Till the End of Time (1990) and In Time of War (2003) – hovers, as do so many tales of this sort, between sf and fantasy. The protagonist's visits (first to the Russian Revolution; then to the time of Mark Twain and General Custer, dealing en passant with the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans; then to Hiroshima, whose destruction he does not prevent, and which the Japanese people have coming to them; and finally to the American Civil War), are without sf explanation beyond a vague reference to the protagonist's genetic tendency to slide through time; but in the third tale Balfour's opportunity to intervene in the 1945 catastrophe (see World War Two) engages him potentially in the sort of time-track manipulation generally conceded to be an sf trope. What distinguishes the books from many others is their intense focus on the ethical dilemmas that must face any adult protagonist given the chance to manipulate time-tracks, to kill a butterfly and change the world. [JC/RK]

Allen R Appel

born Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: 6 January 1945

died

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Alex Balfour

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