Jay Wilburn is a former teacher, a brilliant science fiction author and a full-time dad with Time-Eaters being, according to his own testimony, a partly biographical tale. I don’t know if that is a good thing.
Time Eaters is a time-hopping tale, about a boy named Albert who discovers his time-hopping powers which he discovers after his father’s suicide, deciding to use said powers to prevent the series of events that led to his father taking his own life, with mixed results. The premise of the novel is, of course, as grim as they come but Jay Wilburn still manages to weave a darkly humorous and terrifying time-hopping tale. While of course, this sort of narrative makes this book a very easy sell for me, I could not help but notice that Wilburn deftly avoids a lot of the tired clichés that said stories tend to drift towards, while at the same time avoiding pulling his punches (as time-travel authors often do).
Matthew Revert’s cover art, despite being an excellent example of old-school 70s sci-fi weirdness however, put me off. This is because the cover hearkens to old-school Doctor Who type of stories and clashes with the story’s motif, making it more at home in perhaps a pulp novel than on a book with as grim a tone as Time Eaters.
I absolutely recommend this book, as it is an excellent exercise in how to write great science fiction and urge you to look out for more of Jay Wilburn’s work in the near future.