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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
How far would you go to stop a war? To save a world? To save a child? These are questions that the protagonist Dr. Ophelia Box must answer in The Water Bear by Groucho Jones. Dr. Box has been recruited into a covert peacekeeping unit with a mission to prevent a genocide that took place in the past. As time travel becomes a thing of the future, Box becomes involved in a mission that will reveal the wonders of the star systems and the depths of its infinity. As she becomes part of The Water Bear, a brilliant ship with the quiet ambiance of a luxury train, and ready for fight, flight, and parley, Box, together with her companions, must rectify a grave mistake from the past while the rest of humanity is in chaos.
The Water Bear is frantically busy in its intelligence and loud in its adventure. I am a bit lost in the mathematical explanations presented in explaining time travel but thank heavens for the context so that I got the gist of the whole idea. Groucho Jones gives you out-of-the-world characters with plenty of things to say ranging from history to technobabble. But there is sensory beauty to the novel that makes it impressive and astonishing to the point where you become a happy, unseen observer inside The Water Bear. Simply put, there is something pure and compelling about this novel. I can’t recall a science fiction novel in which so many characters created a lasting impression on me. Perhaps it is because Jones has weaved a tapestry of space drama where every character plays a part to keep the wheels of the storyline turning. This is a beautifully written speculative fiction novel—one that I would recommend to anyone who has a taste for stories that truly put fiction into science.