The Year of the Quiet Sun

Wilson Tucker
The Year of the Quiet Sun Cover

The Year of the Quiet Sun


Time travel stories are some of my favourites in the Science Fiction genre; From Back to the Future to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (which in itself travels from 1985 to 1955 and then one year forward for the movie-goer travels from 2286 to 1986 which totals a 331 year trip (unless you count the bit at the end of Back to the Future where they travel with Doc back to the future)... but I digress), Bring the Jubilee to The Time Machine I've always enjoyed time travel stories in film, prose and games.

And last week I found a new time travel story (well, new to me, actually the book is 42-years-old, but still, it's new to me) in the 1970 novel The Year of the Quiet Sun by Wilson Tucker.

The novel follows a demographer and biblical scholar named Brian Chaney who, after releasing a controversial translation of the Book of Revelation, is taking an enforced vacation from work and is promptly hired by an American government agency to take part in a time-travel experiment.

For those of you who don't know (and that counted me before I read the book), demography is the study of demographics, being populations and sub-populations, and Chaney had released a document earlier in his career which suggested potential future trends in these statistics.

Chaney joins a small team of a naval office and an Air Force officer who, as a team are shown all of the possibilities for where time travel could possibly take them. Then after making a decision they are overruled by the current administration and sent two years into the future to see if the current President of the United States will win his upcoming election.

Yes indeed, this is a time travel story stomped on by administrative requests.

Without going into too many spoilers, the book is definitely worth the read, it was nominated in the best novel category for both the 1971 Hugo and 1971 Nebula awards, and I found it to be a really plausible look at how time travel could go if it became a reality.