Project Eight Ball (Books One & Two)

Flash Back and Extreme Peril by John Turiano

Project Eight Ball Series. John Turiano, 2020

What if time travel was a possibility? What if it actually was a reality and people could move back and forth in time? What alterations would it cause and what would be the consequences?

That’s what John Turiano delves into with his Project Eight Ball Series (three books in total so far).

In Book One, Turiano considers the possibility of going in the past and describes the vicissitudes of a group of scientists studying time travel. How great would it be to go back in time and prevent events with considerable impact on world history? We all probably would love that. Unfortunately, each time trip opens a new dimension, some sort of alternate reality, where the untampered reality keeps existing, while the new one develops in parallel. 

Problem is, not everyone goes back in time to prevent catastrophic events. Ultima Imperium is an example. Ultima Imperium, a radical secret society rooting back into 18th century Illuminati and considering itself the “Final Reich”, are using time travel to shape a new reality where they will be the only winners.

Book Two presents an alternate universe xenophobic Germany, no longer part of the European Union, where a black American soldier is accused of raping a civilian white girl. Ultima Imperium is behind a lot of decisions and the fear of an incurable disease pretty similar to Ebola has everyone on edge. It’s a scary, out of control situation that no one seems capable of stopping.

With events being unpredictably altered by a multitude of players and references to a too close home reality (unstoppable pandemics, the rise of far right movements), the book is a captivating, hard to put down read. Turiano depicts some very strong characters, each of them characterised in a way that is reminiscent of 1940s noir stories. However, the pace is somehow broken by the too frequent changes of narrative voice, space and time, unsettling the reader just like the characters are when they time travel. The lack of basic descriptions leaves a sense of dissatisfaction for not drawing the reader more into such a brilliant fictional world and idea, making us live, breathe and see what the protagonists are seeing.

But all in all, this is one of the best time-travel ideas I’ve come across since Back to the Future. As the author reiterates on a number of occasions, time travel presents an incredible paradox: if you went back in time and killed your grandfather, you would actually prevent your father and yourself from being born, but if you don’t exist, how can you kill your grandfather? Turiano, keeping this paradox top of mind the whole time, is able to escape it an a magistral way.

The Series is available to purchase at:

About John Turiano

John is the author of three time travel adventures, blending science fiction and history in an exciting new way. He wants to write in multiple genres and next up is a psychological thriller.

John lives in upstate New York with his wife Sue and their dog Duffy. When not writing he can be found camping, hiking and biking. His most recent trips: Puerto Rico, where he hiked the El Yunque National Rain Forest; Alaska where he visited the Denali National Park; and Mexico where he explored the ruins of Tulum and an amazing river cave. 

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