Ronald Wright is the author of the international bestsellers Time Among the Maya and Stolen Continents and of Home and Away, an acclaimed collection of travel pieces. He lives near Port Hope, Ontario.
English-born historian Wright, who lives in Canada, is the author of several celebrated works of nonfiction, including Time Among the Maya and Stolen Continents, but his first novel is such a triumph that it's a wonder he didn't get around to writing one earlier. The plot is something of a curiosity: English archeologist David Lambert stumbles upon a Victorian time machine‘the very one, it turns out, that H.G. Wells described in his famous novel. When Lambert discovers that he may have the same disease that killed his lover, he lights out for the future: A.D. 2500, to be exact. There Wright creates for him a vivid, compelling world, a depopulated, tropical dream of what had once been England. The book's central drama is Lambert's struggle to excavate and uncover the exact nature of the calamity that erased London. At the same time, he sifts through the shards of his own unhappy personal history‘which he is, of course, tempted to touch up a little with the help of the time machine. The narrative bristles with fascinating characters, both fictional and historical, and Wright furnishes it with a rich store of enthralling scientific Victoriana. His writing is charming, unpretentious and wonderfully literate. J.G. Ballard explored this same territory in his disaster novels of the 1970s, but never with Wright's psychological insight or pathos. (Mar.)
"Wright has come up with a treasure, a delightfully witty and
suspenseful fantasy - in the rip-roaring tradition of the
-Alberto Manguel, The Globe and Mail
"[A] virtuoso performance, an audacious leap ... into the unknown ... both beautifully realized and macabre.... This is an extraordinary novel, a brilliant synthesis of interpretive and imaginative elements, and, like the best fiction, a trenchant commentary on reality."
-The Financial Post
"Dazzling - A Scientific Romance is - poetic, sexy, satirical, [and] layered with rich bits from the author's well-stocked mind."
-The Globe and Mail
"A ripping yarn packed with head-turning ideas.... [Wright] artfully uses the archeology of the future to satiric ends.... A Scientific Romance is a feast of a read, succeeding both as entertainment and a provocative parable of environmental limits."
-Ted Mumford, NOW
"... A powerful visionary core ... few writers have imagined the future with such compelling and tragic urgency."
-John Bemrose, Maclean's
"Pure pleasure [and] - perfectly imagined....A deeply seductive and brilliantly sustained piece of adventure writing - enthrallingly descriptive, [which] turns into a compelling cultural satire."
"In 100 years' time this book should be a classic."
"A skillful, thoughtful fantasy of the postmillennium ..."
-The New York Times Book Review
"Cool, clever, and unsettling, A Scientific Romance [is] imaginatively created, richly detailed and at times effortlessly funny, [yet] bursting with rage at what is happening around us."
-The Australian Bulletin
"...gloriously bizarre plotline...Ronald Wright..plays slyly with his literary tradition in his impressive first novel."
-Sydney Morning Herald