By Mézières & Christin
As anyone who has ever sat down in front of an original Star Trek episode will tell you, Science Fiction does date awkwardly. As a society we're just not great at spotting those technological breakthroughs that transform our lives, and why should we? I'm, of course, ignoring the episode when Scotty upsets Spock by a post on his Facebook page.
This is the first of Cinebook's English reproductions of the classic and highly regarded Valerian series, with this particular title first seeing print in 1976. It involves time travel to that distant space-time destination of 1986, eight millennia in to the past from where the story starts off, ten years into the future from the creators point of view, and a quarter of a century in our current past (I hope you followed that). So, naturally, there are a few awkward plot devices, technological oddities and silly bits that would arise from such imaginative speculation being viewed in hindsight, but despite this, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the book played out.
Valerian is an agent of the Terran Empire who guards against rogue time travellers ably assisted by Laureline. A prisoner, Xombul, has escaped confinement to 1986 with plans to pervert the future, but when Valerian pursues him he finds New York flooded by the encroaching ocean. This is the creators' vision of their possible future, remember, and surprisingly prophetic it is. There's a good balance of adventure, humour and sci-fi thrills, and although, looking back, we can judge the fiction against the reality that came to pass, the story is strong enough to remain a good adventure yarn today. Certainly a book that's worthy of your attention.
And if you liked that: Try Clifton, also available from Cinebook
Valerian Vol.1: The City of Shifting Waters (Book)