The Adventures of Tremain and Christopher: The Missing Yesterdays
The Missing Yesterdays: On the New Earth colony, young Christopher loves spending time in his Uncle Tremain’s lab. When Tremain builds a transmitter, both are excited to try it for the first time. Unfortunately for both, Tremain’s machine does not function properly and they inadvertently erase the entire history of the colony. Christopher and Tremain must find a way to restore the past in order to protect the future.
Theme of the Book
This is a book of pure adventure that should appeal to adults and younger readers as well with its absent-minded professor, an engaging teenager, time travel, suspense and excitement. But there is a serious point to this book as well. Mr. Marchion is respectful towards the religion and superstition of the people in the garden, but he clearly believes that curiosity, the human desire to know, is what is most important.
What I Liked about the Story
The Missing Yesterdays is a quick-moving story that keeps readers involved from the very first page. It is very easy to identify with Christopher’s sense of dread when he receives the “See me” note from his teacher. Even those of us who have been out of school for a long time remember that feeling. Christopher’s enthusiasm for his Uncle Tremain’s lab, his love of math and science, and his feelings of boredom in his history and philosophy classes mark him as a typical young teen with all their strong likes and dislikes.
Tremain, too, is a wonderful character. We meet him and immediately think of an absent-minded professor with a stained lab coat and Einstein-like hair. But Tremain is more than this. He gently and indirectly teaches Christopher that both history and philosophy are important to know. He is able to explain the source of the garden tribe’s superstitions and beliefs by using his knowledge of the history of the New Earth colony.
Even the secondary characters are well-drawn and generally sympathetic. The reader can see the Ka-tahn as a dignified, respected elder; the Mehdi as a wise, if misled, woman; Tika and her friends as typical teenagers no different from Christopher himself.
Mr. Marchion’s ability to deal tactfully with the Mehdi’s beliefs will reassure parents who may worry that this book denigrates religion. It certainly does not. What it does do is give a source for the Mehdi’s religious beliefs and the origin of the “Godwall”.
What I Didn’t Like about the Story
The only criticism I have of the story is the mystery of the young people “taken” by the Gods during their rite of passage to adulthood. What happened to them? The author mentions several times that some young people make a journey to the wall and never return. To leave this question unanswered is a mistake on the part of the author – unless, that is, he plans to answer it in the next installment of the adventures of Tremain and Christopher.
I am not a big fan of either science fiction or YA literature, but I enjoyed The Missing Yesterdays very much. The science is not overly technical and the plot and language, while most probably aimed at younger readers, is not babyish in the least. The author does not step away from controversial issues (Gods or technology?) but treats both with respect and care.
This is a very entertaining book for readers of any age.