Now, if you know me, you know that I love stories about time and time travel. This storytelling idea holds a great deal of fascination for me. Bearing an Hourglass features the Incarnation of Time, someone who can travel to any point in time, can bend time to his will, and who freaking lives backwards. This should be a book of endless fascination, one of my favorites in the whole series. This book bored the ever-loving snot out of me. Even as a kid, when I first read these books, this one was my least favorite.
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Plot summary[ edit ] Some time in the future as evidenced by technology in use that is much more advanced than in the first story , Norton —a man of about forty—is living a life of nomadic wandering when a ghost named Gawain asks him to father a child to his wife, Orlene, with whom Norton eventually falls in love.
Gawain then asks Gaea, the Incarnation of Nature, to make the child in his own likeness so his bloodline would continue. Orlene then commits suicide. Feeling depressed about the disastrous results of his affair with Orlene, Norton is approached by Gawain again, who offers Norton the position of Time Chronos , where he must rule over all Earthly aspects of time. The ghost baits Norton, explaining to him that, by living backwards, he can continue to see Orlene, since she is still alive in the past.
Norton immediately starts literally living life backwards in time, though he can temporarily go forward to interact with others. However, when he is living backwards, he is not visible to mortals.
He also realises that this will make it impossible to have a relationship with the forward-living Orlene. He does, however, have an affair with Clotho , the youngest aspect of Fate. This is both awkward and intriguing to Norton since her past is his future.
At his new residence in Purgatory, Norton is then visited by Satan, who informs Norton that while he can travel anywhere in time with his hourglass, he cannot leave Earth. Satan claims to have the power to travel the whole universe, since evil permeates all of reality, and gives Norton some samples of this ability by having him travel to other planets where, Satan claims, time flows backwards, allowing Norton to live normally and to get involved in both a space opera "Bat Durston and the BEMS " and an epic fantasy adventure.
Satan offers Norton the ability to have that power if Norton will grant Satan a favour; to go back in time 20 years and save a man from committing suicide. However, a relic Satan had given Norton turned out to be a demon in disguise. Due to some of the limitations of the hourglass, intercepting this demon is difficult, but Norton eventually manages to stop it. Not giving up, Satan tries one more time by trapping Norton on one of the other planets he had an adventure on.
It can move Chronos forward pink or backward red in time, reverse his personal time to allow him to interact with others green , and pause time for himself or his local area black,which is not a true stasis, as most of the world continues as normal. How this syncs up is never explained, it is simply magic. This travel is, of course, failsafed to not allow him to end up in deep space or inside a wall or the earth itself.
It can, however, be folded up for easy storage, and it still functions just as well. Like the other incarnations, he is immortal and cannot be killed before it is time to pass on the office. Anything attempting to attack him would be immediately aged into oblivion upon contact. His robe is also the default area for his personal time flow, though he can of course expand it to bring other things along with him when he travels. Method of transfer[ edit ] Time, because of his nature, is the only Incarnation that is actually required to pass along his office at an exact schedule.
Though Time can travel to any period, he cannot actually interact with the world outside the span of his own lifetime. Thus, as he lives backwards, when his lifetime is up he must pass on the office to an heir.
Though he has some ability to plan the transfer, the exact timing and the fact that he lives backwards means he has very little ability to actually enact it. He is forced to simply leave the Hourglass and hope whoever he has set up to take it does so. The Hourglass will entice those around it to pick it up, for there must be an Incarnation of Time, but it does not always go smoothly.
There is one instance mentioned where the proposed new officeholder refused the position, and it fell to a nearby seven-year-old boy who happened to pick up the Hourglass. Again, though the position would appear to be gender neutral, it is traditionally held by a male. He works most closely with Fate, helping her to fix crossed threads, caused by human error or simply random chance.
He is also responsible for guaranteeing that the course of history flows as it should. As Time, he is immune to paradox, and to the possibility of multiple futures. Should actions occur to change the course of the future, his memories will change with it. However, typically his original memories are accepted as the desirable ones, as one of his major tasks is to make sure it does not get changed around without adequate reason. This is, of course, why he lives backwards — he would be unable to properly deal with making the future happen as planned if he was unaware of the plan.
Bearing An Hourglass (1984)
[PDF] Bearing an Hourglass Book (Incarnations of Immortality) Free Download (372 pages)
Bearing an Hourglass