The Time Saving Agency


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Each day shapes the days that follow…

The Time Saving Agency liked having fresh agents on the job, who had a clear mind and steady hand. After all, time travel wasn’t for the faint of heart. The pay was good enough, but as Johnathan Scrooby decided long ago – even if he didn’t get paid for it, the thrill alone was payment enough! Then again, the TSA realized they couldn’t afford to have disgruntled employees with the power of God at their fingertips, so the pay was very, very good indeed!

Scrooby was extremely tense. His job at the Time Saving Agency was a tough one – gazillions of lives depended on him not screwing up. Once, he’d screwed up in only a small way, and people wore those little yellow smiley faces on t-shirts for decades afterwards… And that was only a small screw up!

Things happened at a certain time in a certain way, which in a sense, is what Life was all about. If they didn’t, then things would be completely different – which was why, a week ago, the American War of Independence was fought in Mexico. Yesterday Napoleon managed to dig a tunnel across the English Channel, invaded London – and everybody at the Agency ended up speaking French for a while. Sorting that out had been… well, challenging… Mon dieu.

Something smelled funny in the Anals of History! Things were not as they were supposed to be. Someone somewhere was tinkering with the works, and it was up to Time Agent Scrooby – with a little help – to go back and fix it, or who knew what might happen next!

The Time Saving Agency” is the second title in the Quantum Series by Christina Engela.

Details:

  • Published: March 04, 2019
  • Words: 53,786

Synopis:

[Spoiler Alert]

The Time Saving Agency” is the second title in the Quantum Series by Christina Engela – a writer described as ‘that rarest of authors – able to seamlessly blend together elements of dark horror and sci-fi to create stories that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.’ (Mark Woods, author of ‘Time of Tides’ and ‘Fear of the Dark‘). Her writing in the sci-fi genre has been described as ‘one of the most unique and captivating styles I’ve encountered in science fiction.’ (Alex S. Johnson, author of The Doom Hippies.)

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Set a few months after the first book (“Black Sunrise”), “The Time Saving Agency” continues the saga of Cindy-Mei Winter, a former Colonial Intelligence Agency agent now residing on the charming Terran colony world called Deanna, populated by a unique blend of western-esque characters, alien life-forms – including the ubiquitous crabby-grass.

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Gary Beck, a.k.a. Beck the Badfeller.

By now, Winter and Beck’s romance has become a fact of life, and the two characters have learned to accept each other’s differences – in the case of Gary, Mei’s transgender status, and in the case of Mei, Beck’s stubborn independence and quirks. In this tale however, Cindy-Mei Winter takes more of a back-seat as Gary Beck takes on a more active role as a lead-character.

In this story, Engela takes on the concept of time-travel – which is never an easy feat for any writer to pull off successfully. With “The Time Saving Agency” she demonstrates clearly both her writing skills and her ability to put forth complicated ideas – often with a few wise-cracks and comedic tricks thrown in for good measure. The plot of ‘The Time Saving Agency’ involves the activities of an inter-dimensional time-policing agency, which incarcerates ‘time terrorists’ – that is, people who have attempted to (or succeeded at one – er, time or another) alter Time for their own ends – for well, all time.

Trouble threatens when one of these inmates somehow manages to escape this inter-dimensional prison, and heads to – you guessed it – Deanna. Brad Xyl, the villain in this tale, is well described and Engela presents him as a combination of frustratingly insane and attractive at the same time. After his amusing appearance on Deanna, which leads to all kinds of trouble for the many secondary characters in Atro City – to mention Albrecht and The Very Reverend Ramsley Valcovar (The Second) in particular – he sets his plan in motion. His plan? To destroy not only Deanna, but the entire universe – with the help of a local quantum physicist with a knack for blowing things up and losing his eyebrows in the process. It’s a perfect match.

Enter Time Agent Johnathan Scrooby – a man on a mission to save the universe. Gary Beck being the resident go-to guy on Deanna, Scrooby enlists his aid and together they work to foil Xyl’s plan and undo what damage he’s done to the already sufficiently traumatized timeline.

While not exactly central to the theme of the whole story, “The Time Saving Agency“, unlike “Black Sunrise”, doesn’t concentrate on Cindy-Mei Winter being a transgender woman. Rather, it treats the topic respectfully as a detail of her and Beck’s relationship. Engela, being a transwoman herself, presents the views of Beck, who while completely accepting of Winter as his girlfriend, still harbors a curiosity about her past life, along with how he rationalizes past any likely social obstacles.

The characters in “Black Sunrise” and “The Time Saving Agency” continue their adventures in the next book in the Quantum Series: “Dead Man’s Hammer”.

The History of “The Time Saving Agency”

When I first started writing Quantum, I wrote the original first three books in the same year! No, it wasn’t deliberate… I mean, what kind of lunatic sits down one bright sunny day and thinks, “Yes, I think I feel like writing three books simultaneously”? It just worked out that way!

To explain it simply, I started out writing “Black Sunrise”, and it just got longer, and longer, and more complex, and midway through I decided to split it down the middle and turn the next part into book 2 “The Time Saving Agency” … and another part, which became “Dead Man’s Hammer”… and then I worked on them all simultaneously! Yes, it was taxing just getting those first three drafts together, but over the years they’ve been refined really well!

Around 2005, I published the first version of “The Time Saving Agency” on Lulu, and updated and refined it and its cover again in 2007.

In 2014, I got picked up by a small press, which contracted me for all my titles, and to comply I took everything down from Lulu and waited for the publisher to hold up its end of the bargain. It was a long wait for a train that never came; and by May 2016 the company essentially frog-marched every one of their authors who weren’t “pure horror writers” out the door of their stable, leaving me back at Square One with my head spinning.

Upon my immediate return to self-publishing in May 2016, I re-released the then complete four titles in Quantum, including “The Time Saving Agency“.  I made good use of the opportunity to edit, format and to create new covers.

In 2019, I revised all the Quantum Series books and redesigned all the covers so they all looked like part of the same series – and unique from Galaxii! At any rate, I feel the current series of covers does the story justice!

     

Reviews:

A highly enjoyable time travel caper…

“Only two months previous were the citizens of Deanna dealing with the threat of an alien attack, but now another threat of perhaps greater proportions emerges from the fabric of time, quite literally.

Christina Engela has created a story that follows not only a similar concept of the previous entry in the Quantum series, but one that fuses those ideas with something completely different and original. Written in a way that sometimes tributes Terry Pratchett, yet again readers will find this story quirky and clever with a style that confides in the reader.

Familiar faces Gary Beck the ‘badfeller’ and Cindy Mei Winter return as their story together continues and while that is happening the main story arc begins to unfold from an unexpected place; the fabric of time where there are Time Agents and Time Terrorists. What ensues is a cat and mouse time travel story seeing ‘Agent Scrooby’ trying to track down the evil genius and escaped terrorist known as Brad Xyl, who has dastardly universe destroying aspirations! Scrooby enlists the help of Bounty hunter Gary Beck and together they set out to to put Brad Xyl’s plans to a halt.

Although Cindy-Mei Winter takes more of a cameo role along with ‘Fred the Arborian’, in this story Cindy’s journey and life as a trans-woman is briefly touched upon giving an important and positive modern spotlight on the subject.

Overall ‘The Time Saving Agency’ is a fun read which sees the ‘Quantum Series’ taken on an unexpected journey of time travel while also continuing the journey of the characters seen in the previous book in the series (‘Black Sunrise’). The narrative is delivered with a sophisticated level of humor and sometimes sarcastic wit that never allows for a dull moment.

4 Stars” – Lee Hall, UK author, playwright and reviewer.

An Interesting New Look At The Time-Travel Genre

The Time Saving Agency is an E-book that I downloaded recently and is something of a different read for sci-fi fans as it mixes a lot of interesting themes together to produce something that is actually not bad!

Written by what is commonly called an indie-author, The Time Saving Agency first caught my interest because it was described as having Transgender themes. Not normally my sort of thing but I was interested to see how this was worked into the story as there was no mention of any such thing in the synopsis! It turns out that the author themself is transgender which explains the presence of one female character in the novel who was formerly a man but has had futuristic gender reassignment to make her a woman! Though this character only plays a minor and supporting role, I nonetheless thought this was an interesting angle and actually fitted in quite well into Christina’s version of the future!

The premise is a simple one. Situated outside of Time, The T.S.A controls the status quo and tracks down Time Terrorists determined to cause mayhem and realign the future. When a particularly nasty villain escapes from what they had always considered an inescapable gaol with the intention of causing mayhem, one Agent is sent out to recapture him or remove him from the Time-line permanently. But he soon finds he needs a little help when the villain turns up on a remote human colony on the outskirts of the universe!

Though the end was a bit of an anti-climax, the remainder of this book was certainly a good read! I would say it was slightly above-average in its style and content and the characters instantly believable! There is lots of humour present too and while this never makes the book laugh-out-loud funny, there were plenty of moments where I had a little chuckle!

If you like the sci-fi of Michael Marshall Smith, you may find a few similarities in the humour. The afore-mentioned transgender character is treated, as one might expect, with respect and, as a whole, the whole thing is lots of fun. I am not sure if I would pay for this but as a freebie it was pretty good.

So much so that I have downloaded more of her books in the series for future reading!

Summary: A not bad, very clever slice of free sci-fi.” – Mark Woods.

Christina Engela Builds Her Sci-fi Universe Fast And Well

“Agents from the Time Saving Agency (TSA) has to guard the ‘Anals’ of History from Time Terrorism. Brad Xyl a Time Terrorist has escaped from the Limbo Practicale and now it is up to our Agent Scrooby to take him out or Xyl will blow up the universe.

Christina Engela builds her sci-fi universe fast and well. She does not mess about with boring fluffy descriptions. To do this she utilizes a lot of creative acronyms, concepts and humor. Usually when an author introduces so much with such a lightning speed I would struggle to keep up but here it was definitely not the case. The story just speeds along merrily and I am constantly enjoying being introduced to a cast of new characters.

I really enjoyed Brad Xyl. He was by far my favorite character. As bad guys go he really kicked ass and somewhat came across as a fabulous rock star. The omnivorous Crabby-Grass was intruding and I liked that Christina incorporated a little dog Vluffy that was the cutest little thing ever.

This story includes Cindy-Mei Winter a trans-lady. It is a real pleasure to have such a character in this story. As a gay man, I have experienced how affirming it can be to read stories of other gay men falling in love and living their lives. So it is not that hard to imagine that trans-youth would experience the same reading a novella with a trans-character. An insightful quote from Cindy-Mei Winter in this book, “She judged the tendency to reject people for things which in no way affect them to be at worst some kind of borderline insanity…”

A Science Fiction story filled with wit, humor and sarcasm. This novella includes some very creative characters and concepts. Rating: 4 Stars out of 5″ – Mr Green.

Reader’s Comments:

Serious Health Warning!

“Serious health warning: do not consume foodstuffs while reading!  Choke, laugh, giggle and snort factor of 12 out of 10!” – Angie Pote.

Further Reading:

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If you would like to know more about Christina Engela and her writing, please feel free to browse her website.

If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to christinaengela@gmail.com or use the Contact form.

Show your appreciation for Christina’s work!

All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2019.

 

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