Marooned in the present, their only hope for the future lay in the past.
But first there was still the small matter of staying alive. The planet they were marooned on was crawling with bird-beasts, parrotlike carnivores that stood two meters tall, weighed upwards of fifty kilos, and had a giant scooped beak like a pelican. They normally swallowed their prey whole, though not before crushing them to death in their vise-like jaws.
Then there were the vipers--writhing snake-like creatures armed with dozens of sucker-bearing tentacles. They sprayed their victims with acid, then ate them while they were still alive.
But it got worse. Much worse . . .
Now, join Andu Nehrengel and his three female clone companions on an intense voyage through time. First stop--the Civil War and the Battle of Shiloh, April 1862, only one of the most horrendous land battles of all time. Meet Mark Twain when he is still a riverboat pilot. Journey on with him to Missouri when he joins the Confederacy. Then it's back to the future and on to Mars!
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In this brilliant new science fiction adventure, veteran storyteller Steven Burgauer weaves an intricate narrative bristling with technological insights and historical detail.
And, along the way, he spins a good old-fashioned space opera about a stranded trio of female clones, a man with a mission rooted in the past, and a sweeping journey across time and space to put an end to a genetic curse.
In the opening pages of this tale, Captain Andu Nehrengel, the victim of a mutiny in deep space, finds his way to a nearby planet to discover giant, carnivorous parrot-beasts and — astonishingly — human footprints close by. He follows these footprints and winds up as the prisoner of three gorgeous female clones — the sole surviving members of an expeditionary band of Mormons dispatched from Earth more than two centuries earlier to establish a new colony.
Things progress in a satisfactory manner — at least for Nehrengel. The trio has never seen a man before and — well, let’s just say they are delighted to finally meet one. However, on a trip back to recover batteries from his downed ship, the bird-beasts attack and kill two of the triplets before Capt. Nehrengel can lay waste to the avian attackers.
Heartbroken and now alone, the surviving clone — named Prime Alpha — cozies up to Nehrengel and agrees to go with him on a trip back in time to try and change history.
But before you say: “Been there, done that on a million time-travel stories before,” hang on. This one delves deep into uncharted fictional waters for one of the most imaginative plot twists we’ve seen in years.
After acquiring a space-worthy ship, Nehrengel and his lovely new friend set their sights on a place Prime Alpha has never seen — the storied home world she has only read about: Terra. Soon the lovely blue-white ball is growing in their forward viewscreen — Planet Earth, circa 1861.
In Part 2 of this exciting adventure, Nehrengel and Prime Alpha — now going by the name of Margaret — find that they have miscalculated a key component of their journey and must adjust their plans to contact the object of their trip — Nehrengel’s great-great-granduncle Byron Matthewson — and correct a calamitous wrinkle in the fabric of time.
Along the way, they sail on a riverboat, discover that Alpha/Margaret can put her telepathic powers to profitable use in a friendly game of poker, meet an American writer of some fame — Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain — and become embroiled in the terrible conflict that was the American Civil War.
“It has been said that war is the continuation of politics by other means. This was unquestionably the case with the American War Between the States. Not for another five hundred years — not until the Great War — would more American blood be spilled for less reason.”
Some passages of this novel are purely poetic in their power to convey a sense of scene to the reader. Nowhere is this power more clearly on display than in the section in which Andu — playing the part of a Union soldier in search of his kinsman — gets caught up in the fray:
“Shiloh was a battle fought on a rough, wooded plateau. It was a battle fought up and down and along the ridges of deep gullies and sloping hills. One fought amid thick underbrush and heavy timber. A battle saved only at the eleventh hour by reinforcements. A battle so potent in its results it very likely changed the entire course of the war.”
Can they do it? Can they alter time to suit their purposes and survive all the adventures they encounter? Pack your things and tag along as Andu, Alpha/Margaret and the venerable Sam Clemens get themselves into one seemingly inextricable situation after another on the way to a surprising and satisfying conclusion.
Five stars to The Grandfather Paradox. It’s a saga worth savoring, from beginning to end.
THE GRANDFATHER PARADOX
by Steven Burgauer
This particular author has written some entertaining sections in this kitchen sink novel that involves time travel back to the post Civil War era, a trip to the planet Mars, being marooned in another system, and so on. There's also clones, monsters, battles, escapes, etc. The writing is occasionally rough but competent for the most part, and you won't find much more in the way of adventure than is contained herein.
by SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE'S Don D'Ammassa, August 1998
“ . . . readers who like hard science in their science fiction are rewarded . . . Burgauer weaves everything together in a complex tapestry of actual history along with speculative science fiction. The result is a very engaging, often philosophical epic crammed to the gills with twists and turns that span both centuries and light years. Highly recommended.”
— Dr. Wesley Britton for BookPleasures.com, January 27, 2017
Video Book Trailer — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO1PwyFffBk
In 2016, I had the pleasure of reviewing two of Steven Burgauer’s novels: the World War II set Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou and the story of a Neanderthal family in The Night of the Eleventh Sun. Both books were very different in both style and substance. And neither is really comparable to the achievement of The Grandfather Paradox.
For one matter, both of Burgauer’s previous stories were fairly well locked into specific places and times. Not so The Grandfather Paradox. While the book’s subtitle signals a time travel adventure, it takes some time, as it were, for this element of the story to be introduced. In fact, the book is really two books sandwiched together.
The book opens with Andu Nehrengel captaining a spaceship exploring a remote part of the galaxy. Then his crew mutinies and forces him off the ship in a small runabout which crash-lands on an alien planet. There, Andu has to survive attacks by large carnivorous alien bird-beasts before he meets three beautiful female human clones who are also marooned on the planet. Andu learns the clones are the lone survivors of a Mormon ship that had been set out to find a new home for the church. On the clones’ ship, Andu learns much more which leads him and one of the beautiful clones to leap through both space and time to, in part, find the gene that will correct a deadly virus Andu is carrying.
Along the way, readers who like hard science in their science fiction are rewarded with in-depth theoretical discussions that make cloning, time travel, and space exploration understandable and plausible. For some, perhaps the physics lessons might seem to bog down the story. For me, I felt I was being educated while going along with the fantastic and very unpredictable events. After all, the whole thing starts lightyears from earth before taking us to a steamboat on the Mississippi River where a young Mark Twain becomes a central character. Then Burgauer takes us to the 1862 battle of Shiloh where Andu searches for the ancestor with the untainted genetics he needs.
Part two of the book is very much centered on Henry Morgan’s — the name Andu uses in 1861 — friendship with Twain as Burgauer pretty much retells the 19th century author’s early biography, lifting whole passages from Twain’s writings, especially Life on the Mississippi. While the book remains very descriptive and detailed, everything is far different from what came before. But Burgauer weaves everything together in a complex tapestry of actual history along with speculative science fiction.
The book’s title comes from a concept argued as far back as 1931 about any historical inconsistencies that might occur if someone went back in time and killed their own grandparent, ostensibly resulting in the demise of the time traveler. The entire idea of time travel has been debated logically as to what implications might arise from any changes to known chronology, and a good overview of the literature and debates on the “grandparent paradox” can be found at:
Of course, Burgauer’s take isn’t to kill anyone in the past but rather to get uncorrupted DNA from an ancestor to save one of his descendants. The result is a very engaging, often philosophical epic crammed to the gills with twists and turns that span both centuries and light years. Highly recommended.
Publisher: Battleground Press, January 17, 2017 / ISBN: 978-1542454476 / ASIN: B01MR40744
“an interesting and intriguing work . . . that will keep many reading straight through to the very end. Author Steven Burgauer clearly has an extremely creative mind, and a great ability with world creation, a skill that is paramount in the genre of science fiction. His writing is clear and his characters are vividly drawn.”
— Readers Favorite, January 26, 2017, Tracy A. Fischer
In an interesting and intriguing work by author Steven Burgauer, The Grandfather Paradox is a book that will keep many reading straight through to the very end. Follow the story of protagonist Andu Nehrengel as he careens from the 25th century through history, including to the American Civil War, where he and his band of female clone companions visit the horrendous Battle of Shiloh in April of 1862, meet Mark Twain, and join the Confederacy. When they return to Mars and the 25th century, Andu needs to prepare himself to fight off the ferocious bird-beasts ready to make them their next prey. Will what they learned in the past help them in their present? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
I enjoyed The Grandfather Paradox. Author Steven Burgauer clearly has an extremely creative mind, and a great ability with world creation, a skill that is paramount in the genre of science fiction. His writing is clear and his characters are vividly drawn. I certainly enjoyed his descriptions of the environments in the future as well as those that took place during the time of the American Civil War. While there were areas in the book where the author seems to wander a bit from the main story line, most readers who enjoy science fiction will find the overall read to be one that is well worth it.
I am pleased to be able to recommend this book, and will certainly look into reading more from author Steven Burgauer when I am able to do so!
“ . . . a rip-roaring science fiction adventure story that will resonate with SF readers on multiple levels, The Grandfather Paradox proves another highly enjoyable read from Burgauer and is strongly recommended.”
— BookViral, John Reese, February 6, 2017
A Highly Original Time Travelling Science Fiction Novel
As with any popular genre, science fiction has its share of clichés and anything relating to time travel is certainly one of them. Far too often novels with time travelling themes seem cobbled together from half-baked ideas with overly complicated plots so it’s always refreshing to come across something a little different. Burgauer always brings a certain zeal and element of social commentary to his novels and though The Grandfather Paradox is a step change from previous works this is still very much in evidence along with his ability to create a strong visual contrast between his futuristic characters and their incongruous settings. Particularly notable is the way in which he has weaved Mormon beliefs into the tapestry of his narrative and the consideration he has given as to how these beliefs might change in a future science fiction world setting. This is one of the softer elements, along with the inclusion of historical figures such as Mark Twain, that distinguishes Burgauer’s novel from harder Science Fiction and in doing so makes it highly relatable without becoming overly embroiled in the contradictions of time travel.
Simply telling a rip-roaring science fiction adventure story that will resonate with SF readers on multiple levels, The Grandfather Paradox proves another highly enjoyable read from Burgauer and is strongly recommended.