The Year of the Quiet Sun

Wilson Tucker
The Year of the Quiet Sun Cover

A review from two years in the future


The Year of the Quiet Sun was nominated for several awards, later winning the 1976 Campbell Award as "a truly outstanding original novel that was not adequately recognized in the year of its publication." I did find this novel to be original, if not completely outstanding.

The setting is Chicago in the late 70s, which is not far in the future of the 1971 publication. Wilson Tucker has the Vietnam war continuing and much racial strife on US soil - both reasonable (if false) predictions from 1970. Main character Brian Chaney is invited to join two military men as time travelers.

The first project to get approval from the president is to go forward two years and see if he wins reelection. While the approved project fits politicians like a glove, what is unexpected is how much Chicago has changed in those two years.

A subsequent survey takes them further afield, and gives the only chapters not narrated by Chaney. Again the changes seem larger than reasonable. The impact and consequences bring this tidy tale to a satisfying conclusion.

The time travel in this novel reminds me of the film Primer - very reasonable and borderline believable. The writing is excellent and the story well constructed. The pessimistic predictions of 1970 fall down somewhat, which is fine by me. Easily merits 4 stars, and I will seek out more from Wilson Tucker in the near future.