Time Wars
by David Loper
Stratton Press

"He had heard songs about America being an illusion. To what degree? It made him wonder."

Dave is a normal boy growing up in a low-income 1960s family, attending Catholic school and part of the local Boy Scout troop. On a week-long camping event, he starts having difficulty breathing and passes out, waking up in a Vietnam hospital in the middle of the war. When a Vietnamese soldier kills a Marine while he’s using the bathroom, Dave does what comes naturally and uses his knife to kill the enemy combatant. From this point, he becomes recruited by the CIA as a decoy, given strict instructions as to how to behave and sent on various clandestine missions. Going through college, starting a family, and finding employment, Dave tries to live a normal life while at the same time knowing that there is more to the world than meets the eye and that he is in the middle of a universal conflict.

Utilizing an avant-garde narrative that contains aspects of science fiction as well as historical fact, this story never even attempts to slow down, offering a straight injection of action and mystery from the very beginning. As is fitting with the themes of espionage, intelligence, and subterfuge, none of the characters in the story are ever given a proper name, save for a single mention of the protagonist as Dave. The primary source of the plot’s forward momentum is Dave’s paranoia and his mental state, and as that slips away through his fingers, the storytelling accelerates to a dizzying speed that will leave the reader coming up for air at the end. Containing hidden cultural references and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it subtle narrative clues, the length of this story is perfect for repeated reading and analysis.

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