The Time Saving Agency


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Details:

Published: May 25, 2016
Pages: 230
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Dimensions (inches): 4.25 wide x 6.88 tall

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This is the second title in The Quantum Series. To read more about the settings and characters of this series, visit About The Quantum Series and Characters & Plot Devices. To find out about Christina Engela’s main writing focus, read No LGBT Stereotypes Here!

Back Cover:

“The TSA liked having fresh agents on the job with a clear mind and steady hand.  Time travel wasn’t for the faint of heart.  The pay was good enough, but as Scrooby had decided long ago, that 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.

Things happen at a certain time in a certain way, which in a sense, is what it’s all about.  If it didn’t, then things would be completely different. Johnathan Scrooby was extremely tense. His job at the Time Saving Agency was a tough one.  Billions 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 just a small screw up.

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. Somehow, he had to go back and fix it or who knows what might happen this time.”

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Synopis:

‘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”.

Reviews:

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.

Author Questions:

1) In this story, you introduced time travel, which can be a very complicated concept to work with successfully. Did you have a lot of difficulty?

Not at all! I tried to keep it as simple and straight-forward as possible. I’m one of those people who gets put off by time-travel in stories, especially when people put so many complicated loops and things into them that you start to lose track of what’s going on or what the actual point is. It gives me a headache – actually, the way Gary Beck feels about time travel theory is just about how I feel about it! I think that by introducing time travel as an important feature of this – and a few subsequent stories – and by dealing with it logically, creatively and intelligently, it works out just fine. By adding humor to it, I think it makes the whole thing work really well!

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