Book Review: Assignment in Nowhere by Keith Laumer

Book Review: Assignment in Nowhere by Keith Laumer

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Spread throughout the story are passages apparently from an ancestor of Johnny Curlon. I found myself skipping over them after a cursory glance. They appear to be included in an attempt to give a background of the swords and the history of the rivalry between two rival factions, both wanting to control of an ancient throne, and the factions were brothers. But the passages just felt out of place. As a result, I decided to read this book deeply and to write my essay about it.

What did not feel out of place however, was the interactions between Ironel, the sole human inhabitant of one of the timelines that Johnny travels to, and the native animals. Her needs are provided for by her friends. The author does an excellent job describing how the animals tend to Ironel’s needs, and what they do to help her.

As the story progresses, the explanations and descriptions that lead Johnny from place to place, are well thought out, and have a logical order to them. This gave the flow of the plotline a smooth transition from location to location, timeline to timeline.

Pros

  • The author did a good job painting pictures with his descriptions of the characters places and objects as they were introduced within the story. I never felt as if I wished there was a better description of something.
  • The explanation that there was a timeline disturbance, focused on Johnny and his sword, was presented slowly from the beginning so that when it was told to us outright, it seemed plausible and believable.
  • The storyline for the entire series was about travelling between different timelines, ensuring the security and safety of the separate timelines by watching the use of the ability to travel between them. This novel held true to that theme throughout and it didn’t end with the reader wondering what would happen next.

Cons

  • As with the first two novels, there were spelling and grammar errors which interrupts the flow of the story and causes the reader to try and determine what the author’s intent was.
  • The inclusion of the historical passages, typeset in italics, did not seem to enhance the story flow. In fact, it seemed to distract me from the main story, mostly because it felt like a totally different story being told while the main plot unfolded.
  • The plotline of one man wanting control over the timelines was very similar to the one in the first novel and it had a sense of Déjà-vu to it.