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So You Had to Build a Time Machine

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Skid doesn’t believe in ghosts or time travel or any of that nonsense. A circus runaway-turned-bouncer, she believes in hard work, self-defense, and good strong coffee. Then one day an annoying theoretical physicist named Dave pops into the seat next to her at her least favorite Kansas City bar and disappears into thin air when she punches him (he totally deserved it). Now, Skid doesn’t believe in ghosts or time travel or any of that nonsense. A circus runaway-turned-bouncer, she believes in hard work, self-defense, and good strong coffee. Then one day an annoying theoretical physicist named Dave pops into the seat next to her at her least favorite Kansas City bar and disappears into thin air when she punches him (he totally deserved it). Now, street names are changing, Skid’s favorite muffins are swapping frosting flavors, Dave keeps reappearing in odd places like the old Sanderson murder house—and that’s only the start of her problems. Something has gone wrong. Terribly wrong. Absolutely *$&ed up. Someone has the nastiest versions of every conceivable reality at their fingertips, and they're not afraid to smash them together. With the help of a smooth-talking haunted house owner and a linebacker-sized Dungeons and Dragons-loving baker, Skid and Dave set out to save the world from whatever scientific experiment has sent them all dimension-hopping against their will. It probably means the world is screwed.


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Skid doesn’t believe in ghosts or time travel or any of that nonsense. A circus runaway-turned-bouncer, she believes in hard work, self-defense, and good strong coffee. Then one day an annoying theoretical physicist named Dave pops into the seat next to her at her least favorite Kansas City bar and disappears into thin air when she punches him (he totally deserved it). Now, Skid doesn’t believe in ghosts or time travel or any of that nonsense. A circus runaway-turned-bouncer, she believes in hard work, self-defense, and good strong coffee. Then one day an annoying theoretical physicist named Dave pops into the seat next to her at her least favorite Kansas City bar and disappears into thin air when she punches him (he totally deserved it). Now, street names are changing, Skid’s favorite muffins are swapping frosting flavors, Dave keeps reappearing in odd places like the old Sanderson murder house—and that’s only the start of her problems. Something has gone wrong. Terribly wrong. Absolutely *$&ed up. Someone has the nastiest versions of every conceivable reality at their fingertips, and they're not afraid to smash them together. With the help of a smooth-talking haunted house owner and a linebacker-sized Dungeons and Dragons-loving baker, Skid and Dave set out to save the world from whatever scientific experiment has sent them all dimension-hopping against their will. It probably means the world is screwed.

30 review for So You Had to Build a Time Machine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    “Skid lay on her stomach, her head turned toward the light. I broke it. I broke my ankle. How the hell am I supposed to save the universe with a broken ankle?” So You Had To Build A Time Machine is the fifth novel by American author, Jason Offutt. It all starts one Friday night when Skid punches the guy who is trying to chat her up at Slap Happy’s Dance Club, and he disappears before her eyes. Dave says he is a theoretical physicist, and apparently works for a government lab. So maybe it actually “Skid lay on her stomach, her head turned toward the light. I broke it. I broke my ankle. How the hell am I supposed to save the universe with a broken ankle?” So You Had To Build A Time Machine is the fifth novel by American author, Jason Offutt. It all starts one Friday night when Skid punches the guy who is trying to chat her up at Slap Happy’s Dance Club, and he disappears before her eyes. Dave says he is a theoretical physicist, and apparently works for a government lab. So maybe it actually started before then? Brick is on a blind date with a woman who’s not returned from the bathroom (not again!) when he sees the scientist guy fall out of nowhere into the bathroom corridor: he’s dirty, smelly and injured, and shouts a warning before vanishing into thin air. Trouble is, that’s BEFORE he sees Skid punch the same guy, much cleaner, at the bar. Cordrey Bellamy is leading a ghost tour at the Sanderson Murder House when Dave Collison materialises out of thin air into the hall, right on the spot where Delbert Sanderson murdered his son, Tommy back in 1984. So while his ghost tours are all tricks and con, this is a bonus he is delighted to accept, especially when one of the group identifies him as Tommy Sanderson. These are not the only strange things they observe, and soon Skid, Brick and Cord are comparing notes until they catch up with Dave, who lays the blame at the door of his boss. Before long, they are heading for that lab: “I can’t believe that with a scientist, a baker and a—” he paused and looked at Skid in the rearview mirror “— a potentially dangerous felon, that I’m the voice of reason. And I cheat honest, hard -working suckers for a living. In no way should we be doing this.” From there, a rollercoaster ride takes the reader through multiple worlds and times. If it becomes too convoluted to keep straight in the head, the best advice is to go with the flow and enjoy a fun ride that includes orcs, enormous sentient insects, nine-foot-tall non-human primates, fire-breathing radioactive dinosaurs, Klingons, ghosts (maybe), Nazi soldiers, a zombie circus master, alien people-eating mushrooms and a great, horned lizard or two. Offutt’s characters include an ex-circus knife-thrower, a mad scientist and a former bricklayer who bakes muffins, is a Dungeons and Dragons fan and comes extremely well-prepared for a quest. Hugely entertaining. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and CamCat Publishing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Xavier Hugonet

    So You Had to Build a Time Machine is an humorous sci-fi adventure book by author Jason Offutt. A girl is at a nightclub bar. A guy sits besides her, orders a Bud Light, and starts hitting on her. Girl punches guy. Guy disappears into thin air. Poof. Turns out Bud Light Dave is a scientist working on quantum shenanigans in a secret government facility. His boss launched the experiment by himself, in spite of Dave having warned him about an error in his calculations. This results in small changes So You Had to Build a Time Machine is an humorous sci-fi adventure book by author Jason Offutt. A girl is at a nightclub bar. A guy sits besides her, orders a Bud Light, and starts hitting on her. Girl punches guy. Guy disappears into thin air. Poof. Turns out Bud Light Dave is a scientist working on quantum shenanigans in a secret government facility. His boss launched the experiment by himself, in spite of Dave having warned him about an error in his calculations. This results in small changes in the world as the waves from the collider washes upon it. Then, the changes become more and more threatening. It’s up to Bud Light Dave, the girl (a circus brat named Skid), a former bricklayer owning a muffin shop, and a conman owning an haunted house to save the multiverse in a time and dimension hopping epic adventure. Sometimes together, sometimes separated. Why them ? Because the aforementioned quantum shenanigans decided it. This book is a gem. A perfect blend of sci-fi and light humor. This review will be short, as it would be hard to write a longer one without getting spoilery. The writing flows painlessly, making this novel difficult to put down. The story starts at a slow pace, then accelerates in rhythm with the collider’s waves. The characters are fun and well defined. We follow their different point of views as required, depending on the events unfolding. In spite of the intricacies of time and dimension travelling and mashing up (at one point, three different versions of characters are in the same place and time, and don’t get me started on key items...), the author expertly makes it so the reader can follow the events at all times, without having to flip back pages. Jason Offutt doesn’t get lost either as, by the end of the book, everything that happened during the story makes sense. Some of them resolving at the very end. The author is a fellow nerd, and cultural nods abound. However, they are always relevant, and he took great care in picking timeless works, ensuring his book would be as well. The book is close ended and doesn’t seem to be part of a series, but I sure would like to see more of the characters. I will seek out Jason Offutt’s other works and, if that isn’t praise, I don’t know what is. Thanks to Netgalley and CamCat Publishing for the ARC provided in exchange for this unbiased review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gail C.

    When I started reading this book I was captivated by the style, the writing, the unpredictable nature of the story, and the characters. I enjoyed the fast past, even as I struggled to accept that I didn’t know where it was going next or what might happen. It was so unpredictable, I stopped trying to make any guesses and simply sat down to enjoy the ride. The writing is excellent in that it pulls you along through the story and is clear enough and vivid enough to allow you to paint pictures in you When I started reading this book I was captivated by the style, the writing, the unpredictable nature of the story, and the characters. I enjoyed the fast past, even as I struggled to accept that I didn’t know where it was going next or what might happen. It was so unpredictable, I stopped trying to make any guesses and simply sat down to enjoy the ride. The writing is excellent in that it pulls you along through the story and is clear enough and vivid enough to allow you to paint pictures in your head of all the action as it happens. The characters are unique for the most part, with depth, back stories that have brought them to this event, and patterns of behavior which help determine how they will cope with any given situation. Coping is a major issue for all the characters in the book. It is a wild ride, with them being swept from one time period to another, one location to another, and one challenge to another; all at unexpected intervals and absolutely no control over what will happen next. All they know is they are on the equivalent of a quest to save the world as a scientist has unleashed a machine that can travel through time and multiple dimensions without giving full consideration to the end effect on the world as we know it. The characters are each equipped with their own particular skill that aids them in this quest. There’s Skid, who was brought up in the circus and who is physically top notch with a finely honed skill at knife throwing. Then there’s Brick, a giant of a man who is as gentle as they come; that is until he is faced with a real life combination of Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons. Then he becomes a master at leading the troops and battling strange creatures. Finally, there’s Bud-Lite Dave, a scientist who realizes his co-worker has unleashed this deadly machine on the world and believes it is up to him and his merry band to stop it before the world is torn apart. There are other characters as well who play less central parts but who are also essential to the story. They come in and out of the group’s activities as the story moves forward through increasingly frantic, desperate times and situations. This is where I had the most difficulty. About three-fourths of the way through the book I began wondering when it was going to reach its conclusion. I saw a movie once that would build to what seemed like a climax only to start the cycle all over again. There was an element of that in this book, and by the end I was thinking I would have liked it better if it had ended at about the eighty percent mark. This was compounded by the fact that it came to an abrupt end, and the group of adventurers went back to normal lives, as if nothing had ever happened. I would have liked to have some hint at the changes they experienced as a result of their adventures, if only just enough to let me fill in the rest. My thanks to CamCat Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced digital read copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If a reader is looking for a wild, unpredictable ride and doesn’t mind some rather graphic battle scenes with non-humans, this might be worth a look for them.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    This was a heck of a ride! Interdimensional time-travel horror comedy with some very genre savvy characters (who know that the real treasure is the friends you made along the way). The villains are a bit stupid at times for being such smart guys (genre savvy again?) and the end is a bit too quick but in general this was a fun read. And it did nothing to make me like cornfields or preying mantises more. **Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest revi This was a heck of a ride! Interdimensional time-travel horror comedy with some very genre savvy characters (who know that the real treasure is the friends you made along the way). The villains are a bit stupid at times for being such smart guys (genre savvy again?) and the end is a bit too quick but in general this was a fun read. And it did nothing to make me like cornfields or preying mantises more. **Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    “Skid lay on her stomach, her head turned toward the light. I broke it. I broke my ankle. How the hell am I supposed to save the universe with a broken ankle?” So You Had To Build A Time Machine is the fifth novel by American author, Jason Offutt. The audio version is narrated by Emily O'Brien. It all starts one Friday night when Skid punches the guy who is trying to chat her up at Slap Happy’s Dance Club, and he disappears before her eyes. Dave says he is a theoretical physicist, and apparently “Skid lay on her stomach, her head turned toward the light. I broke it. I broke my ankle. How the hell am I supposed to save the universe with a broken ankle?” So You Had To Build A Time Machine is the fifth novel by American author, Jason Offutt. The audio version is narrated by Emily O'Brien. It all starts one Friday night when Skid punches the guy who is trying to chat her up at Slap Happy’s Dance Club, and he disappears before her eyes. Dave says he is a theoretical physicist, and apparently works for a government lab. So maybe it actually started before then? Brick is on a blind date with a woman who’s not returned from the bathroom (not again!) when he sees the scientist guy fall out of nowhere into the bathroom corridor: he’s dirty, smelly and injured, and shouts a warning before vanishing into thin air. Trouble is, that’s BEFORE he sees Skid punch the same guy, much cleaner, at the bar. Cordrey Bellamy is leading a ghost tour at the Sanderson Murder House when Dave Collison materialises out of thin air into the hall, right on the spot where Delbert Sanderson murdered his son, Tommy back in 1984. So while his ghost tours are all tricks and con, this is a bonus he is delighted to accept, especially when one of the group identifies him as Tommy Sanderson. These are not the only strange things they observe, and soon Skid, Brick and Cord are comparing notes until they catch up with Dave, who lays the blame at the door of his boss. Before long, they are heading for that lab: “I can’t believe that with a scientist, a baker and a—” he paused and looked at Skid in the rearview mirror “— a potentially dangerous felon, that I’m the voice of reason. And I cheat honest, hard -working suckers for a living. In no way should we be doing this.” From there, a rollercoaster ride takes the reader through multiple worlds and times. If it becomes too convoluted to keep straight in the head, the best advice is to go with the flow and enjoy a fun ride that includes orcs, enormous sentient insects, nine-foot-tall non-human primates, fire-breathing radioactive dinosaurs, Klingons, ghosts (maybe), Nazi soldiers, a zombie circus master, alien people-eating mushrooms and a great, horned lizard or two. Offutt’s characters include an ex-circus knife-thrower, a mad scientist and a former bricklayer who bakes muffins, is a Dungeons and Dragons fan and comes extremely well-prepared for a quest. Hugely entertaining. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and CamCat Publishing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    “Meh” really does kind of sum up my reaction to this book. There wasn’t anything outright bad about it. I didn’t have any trouble reading it, and it never particularly annoyed me the way that some bad books do. There was nothing offensive about it. But it passed through me and left very little impression. I kind of expect in a few months I’ll have forgotten all about it. It starts out ok, with people jumping through time and into alternate dimensions because of a science experiment gone wrong. I “Meh” really does kind of sum up my reaction to this book. There wasn’t anything outright bad about it. I didn’t have any trouble reading it, and it never particularly annoyed me the way that some bad books do. There was nothing offensive about it. But it passed through me and left very little impression. I kind of expect in a few months I’ll have forgotten all about it. It starts out ok, with people jumping through time and into alternate dimensions because of a science experiment gone wrong. I was hopeful for the first quarter or so of the book. It was startlingly non-linear, in that characters would run into other characters and no one (reader included) would know how off-sync they were, time-wise. “Am I talking to the you I was just talking to, or am I talking to you a week from now?” kind of thing. (Most time travel stories, I realized in thinking about this, are very linear. Marty McFly might see his past self shredding Johnny B Goode, and he might run into Doc Brown in his 1955, 1985, and 1985+ versions, but we’re always seeing the story from the perspective of Prime Marty. The entire trilogy follows a very memorable few days in his life, but even though the temporal settings change, it’s a linear story with one day following the next, and that which has already happened remains having had happened, while that which is going to have happened can be prevented from being about to have happened. Ugh, I hate time travel story grammar.) (To share one of my favorite quotes ever, from Red Dwarf: : “We don’t exist here anymore!” : “Actually sir, we don't ever have existed here anymore, but this is hardly the time to be conjugating temporal verbs in the past impossible never tense!”) Anyway, to get away from questions of grammar, the book starts out somewhat interesting, and then goes completely off the rails. It’s kind of supposed to, in that you have multiple realities crashing together in unpredictable ways, but it doesn’t work in a way that makes sense to me. At all. And then at the same time, characters who had been sensibly seem to suddenly completely lose their minds and start behaving like idiot man-children. Throw in some very cliche villains, and it’s all just … meh. Bingo categories: nothing in particular, beyond being published in 2020.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I usually find tme travel stories to be really well done or the worst story ever, there isn't a middle ground for me. This was incredibly well done. I enjoyed the references to different bands throughout the various time periods. Thanks to Netgalley for the chsnce to read and review this book!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I know I'm not too far into this, but I find the first few characters to be highly irritating and I cannot get into this book. The first character Skid....seems too pretentious and annoying. I love me a time travel story but so far this concept hasn't been introduced and I don't have the patience for characters I don't like. DNFed. Maybe this is someone else's idea of a great book but not for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Josh Hedgepeth

    Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Hear all my thoughts in my August 28, 2020 Friday Reads video. This did not work for me. The characters were uninteresting. The pop culture references felt forced and overdone. The writing was cringy. It felt like the author had situations he wanted to make and created a ridiculous narrative to make those situations happen. This was worse than All Our Wrong Todays; that was at least entertainin Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Hear all my thoughts in my August 28, 2020 Friday Reads video. This did not work for me. The characters were uninteresting. The pop culture references felt forced and overdone. The writing was cringy. It felt like the author had situations he wanted to make and created a ridiculous narrative to make those situations happen. This was worse than All Our Wrong Todays; that was at least entertaining.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    My thanks to CamCat Publishing for making available a review copy via NetGalley of the unabridged audiobook of ‘So You Had to Build a Time Machine’ by Jason Offutt. It is narrated by Emily O'Brien and has a running time of 11 hours 22 minutes at 1x speed. This was new territory as I hadn’t heard of Jason Offutt or Emily O'Brien before listening to this quirky science fiction time travel adventure. Circus runaway-turned-bouncer, Skid, doesn’t believe in ghosts or time travel or any of that nonsens My thanks to CamCat Publishing for making available a review copy via NetGalley of the unabridged audiobook of ‘So You Had to Build a Time Machine’ by Jason Offutt. It is narrated by Emily O'Brien and has a running time of 11 hours 22 minutes at 1x speed. This was new territory as I hadn’t heard of Jason Offutt or Emily O'Brien before listening to this quirky science fiction time travel adventure. Circus runaway-turned-bouncer, Skid, doesn’t believe in ghosts or time travel or any of that nonsense. Then one day an annoying theoretical physicist named Dave pops into the bar seat next to her and promptly disappears into thin air when she punches him. Then Skid notes that street names are changing and her favourite muffins are swapping frosting flavours....oh and Dave keeps popping up in odd places like the local murder house. This is just the start of this time travel romp in which reality becomes seriously weird. Skid and Dave are joined by Brick, the muffin baker, and Cordrey, the smooth-talking haunted house owner, in a dimension hopping race to save the world. They face orcs out of Mordor, giant insects (praying mantis and scary cockroaches), radioactive dinosaurs and even Klingons. Oh and alien mushrooms. This is the kind of science fiction comedy that is packed with pop culture references, in-jokes and the like. Sometimes I felt a little lost in terms of the strange reality jumps and timeline. With a story like this I like to have the print edition to hand in order to be able to check back. Still, it wasn’t a barrier to my enjoyment and I just went with the ride. I felt that Emily O’Brien did a sterling job reading it. She is an established actor in film and television and over the last seven years has also voiced a number of video game characters. While this is my first experience of Jason Offutt’s writing, I likely will be looking at his other works. Overall, I found it very clever and entertaining.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth McNair Demolat

    Picking up a sci-fi book from an author you've never read before is always a gamble. Especially if you don't normally gravitate towards the genre. Thankfully, in this case, So You Had to Build a Time Machine lives up to the quirkiness promised by the bold cover and title. The plot is action-packed and full of twists. From the moment that Skid punches the man trying to hit on her in a bar and she sees him disappear before her eyes, nothing is predictable. The book was a quick read. I enjoyed the ch Picking up a sci-fi book from an author you've never read before is always a gamble. Especially if you don't normally gravitate towards the genre. Thankfully, in this case, So You Had to Build a Time Machine lives up to the quirkiness promised by the bold cover and title. The plot is action-packed and full of twists. From the moment that Skid punches the man trying to hit on her in a bar and she sees him disappear before her eyes, nothing is predictable. The book was a quick read. I enjoyed the characters so much that I would have loved to read more about them, especially Brick, the intimidating-looking man who owns a muffin shop and who is a softy. The ending did seem a little abrupt. Maybe I somehow missed out on a vital piece of the plot, but I was confused about how the conflict was resolved. Despite this, the story was fun and entertaining overall. I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This book is one wild ride. Time travel, other dimensions, a haunted house, a megalomaniac, and dinosaurs...what more could you ask for? Actually, there's more than that here, too. Did I mention the circus? Skid is the main protagonist here. She's rather adept at knife-throwing. Brick is, well, big (but a softie). And Cord is a bit of a huckster (he offers haunted house tours). Dave is the scientist; he knows what's happening and is trying to stop it. Together they make an interesting ensemble a This book is one wild ride. Time travel, other dimensions, a haunted house, a megalomaniac, and dinosaurs...what more could you ask for? Actually, there's more than that here, too. Did I mention the circus? Skid is the main protagonist here. She's rather adept at knife-throwing. Brick is, well, big (but a softie). And Cord is a bit of a huckster (he offers haunted house tours). Dave is the scientist; he knows what's happening and is trying to stop it. Together they make an interesting ensemble as they race to save the world as they know (or knew?) it. I enjoyed the dialogue between the characters. The relationship between Skid and Brick matures throughout the novel (the story is not just about the technology and the monsters). The ending was amusing (I always enjoy being given a little extra twist at the end of a novel). Fans of Douglas Adams or of the Dr. Who universe might particularly enjoy this one. [Note: not for those who don't like human/cockroach violence.]

  13. 4 out of 5

    Trijntje

    Get ready for a pretty wild ride! When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not. As soon as I got far enough to really get the premise and where we were likely going (about chapter 3), I found myself in a page-turner I stayed up too late on multiple nights to read. Sure, there's some fast-and-lose glossing over of things we're trained to be wary of by other Sci-Fi sources (Dr. Who, anyone?): don't change the time line, don't interact with the you of the fu Get ready for a pretty wild ride! When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not. As soon as I got far enough to really get the premise and where we were likely going (about chapter 3), I found myself in a page-turner I stayed up too late on multiple nights to read. Sure, there's some fast-and-lose glossing over of things we're trained to be wary of by other Sci-Fi sources (Dr. Who, anyone?): don't change the time line, don't interact with the you of the future, past, or even the you of another parallel universe, but that's part of why this book is fun. Somewhere about 3/4 of the way through I was just certain that the author had to have been on an LSD trip when he wrote it - it's that creative and out there. Again, making it more fun. He does a good job of sneaking right up to too gory or too graphic, but at least for (squeamish) me, he managed to stay on the correct side of the line there. Characters are developed for the entire book: we're learning about what makes them tick all the way up to the end, which is interesting and keeps your attention. I liked them all (appropriately, which means disliking the bad guy while feeling sorry for him). It's a good read and makes me want to seek out more books by this author, which is about the highest recommendation one can give. I took one star off just because there were parts that I thought were a struggle to follow, but once I realized that I was supposed to give in and just hope it all became clear later (which it did) it was easier to just let things go. Read it. :)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    I would rate this more of a 2.5⭐️. I was looking for something light to read while being cooped up in the house on a rainy day, during a pandemic. I came across this title in the Read Now section and thought it sounded interesting. It lightened my mood and entertained me; so it did its job. However, I was taken out of it with the Orc-like creatures, the giant cockroaches, the praying mantis doctor and the guy that kept saying, "I don't have any bars." Well, of course you don't son - you're back I would rate this more of a 2.5⭐️. I was looking for something light to read while being cooped up in the house on a rainy day, during a pandemic. I came across this title in the Read Now section and thought it sounded interesting. It lightened my mood and entertained me; so it did its job. However, I was taken out of it with the Orc-like creatures, the giant cockroaches, the praying mantis doctor and the guy that kept saying, "I don't have any bars." Well, of course you don't son - you're back in 1980 whatever. The first time it was humorous. The second time it was annoying. It got repetitive early on. I understand that that's part of the time travel aspect. Repetition as a literary device to move the story forward or 'help' the reader make connections can be necessary; but, whew, I could have done with a little less of it. And it started early. Chapter 1 early. It did help pull things together and make connections easier and faster. For me, I wasn't particularly vested in any of the characters, but having said that I did like them. Cord was definitely an obnoxious pain in the arse, Brick, the gentle giant was an interesting character as was Skid and Dave - well Dave was Dave. There were sarcastic quips that I had a laugh out loud moment like "it was hot enough for all the concert goers to sweet Geritol" or "He often wondered if children secreted slime." The biggest complaint I have is I felt like I read it before. And, I did in a way when I read Recursion by Blake Crouch.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Sledge

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for and eARC in exchange for an honest review. So You Had To Build A Time Machine is a fun and quirky adventure that follows our could-be heroes Skid, Brick, Cord, and Dave. Skid is a young lady with a mysterious past who gets swept up into a literal time warp after punching a bar hopper hitting on her who can't take a hint, just to watch him disappear. Dave is a theoretical physicist whom falls into a time paradox after being punched by a beautiful woman Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for and eARC in exchange for an honest review. So You Had To Build A Time Machine is a fun and quirky adventure that follows our could-be heroes Skid, Brick, Cord, and Dave. Skid is a young lady with a mysterious past who gets swept up into a literal time warp after punching a bar hopper hitting on her who can't take a hint, just to watch him disappear. Dave is a theoretical physicist whom falls into a time paradox after being punched by a beautiful woman at a bar. Brick is a built muffin Baker and innocent bystander who was at a bar on a date when a strange and dirty man approaches him with a mysterious message only to disappear...until Brick sees the same guy(only much cleaner) get punched by a young lady at the bar and disappear. Cord runs a local haunted house tour where a family was murdered by the man of the house 30 years earlier, and in the middle of a tour a random guy falls into the hallway only to disappear again. While this is a boost to his business, Cord knows this was no ghost and begins to become intertwined with our other main characters. Why is everything changing and how can they stop it? This story was super fun and was well on its way to being a 5 star rating. The characters are fun and it's really interesting to watch the story unfold and see how everything is connected. The dimensions and the beings located within are really well done, considering this author didn't just build one great world, he had to create close to 6(unless I've forgotten a few) as well as deal with what happens when something gets changed in the current timeline. Where this downgraded to a three star is from the 75% mark and on. By that time there are so many points of view it becomes jarring when you switch it up every page or two, even when those characters are together. This made it hard to follow and I found myself losing interest and just tried to finish as quickly as possible. It would have been much smoother of an ending for me to follow if the story had chosen one person's POV to follow when four characters were together. I didn't need to know each person's exact thoughts at all times and it just felt unnecessary. I really wish I could give it the five stars that it had from me at the 3/4th point, but I can't honestly say that I enjoyed the ending....and what do we read for if not to enjoy all the way through out the story, not just the majority.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Faith Hurst-Bilinski

    This audiobook snuck up on me. I listen when I am walking or running. I started listening and I really didn't like any fo the characters. Skid...c'mon...skid?...is abrasive and a little unhinged as she resorts to knife throwing when Dave, a not to pleasant fellow, hits on her at a bar. Throwing the life was crazy. Throwing the punch was a little more understandable. The punch that seemed to start it all. Dave falls back and disappears. Now, what you had to be paying attention to is that Dave is This audiobook snuck up on me. I listen when I am walking or running. I started listening and I really didn't like any fo the characters. Skid...c'mon...skid?...is abrasive and a little unhinged as she resorts to knife throwing when Dave, a not to pleasant fellow, hits on her at a bar. Throwing the life was crazy. Throwing the punch was a little more understandable. The punch that seemed to start it all. Dave falls back and disappears. Now, what you had to be paying attention to is that Dave is a physicist. He uses the same physicists line you are apt to hear if you have had an introductory class or watched Bing Bang Theory a few times. So these two are at a bar and so is Brick. Yes...Brick. Skid and Brick. Brick and Skid. Brick is a huge, nice man. He is the cliched gentle giant. He bakes for a living. He watches this all unfold and turns to find the same man, worse for wear, warning him about our Skid. Remember that warning. I did. It perplexed me for a good part of the book. That is because the three of them and Cord...yes...Cord..end up working together. Mostly. To make this all stop. All of what? Well, time travel of course. Time and space. Dr Who? Inspector Spacetime? So we get some usual time travel stuff. It can be done well or it can be done badly. This one seemed to be done badly until it is done well. The stories diverge and converge and everything comes together and moves apart to come together again. The four, as well as some hitchhikers along the way, travel through time in their own reality as well as other realities. What entertained me and kept me reading was that the characters were often separated and their stories seemed to become different genres-sci-fi, horror, haunted house thriller, dungeons and dragons nerdy, 80 schtick, you name it. So if you don't like where they are now, just wait a few pages. But it is not as random as any of it seems. My favorite part of the book was the sub story about the murder house Cord owns. The family tragedy interwoven with time travel kept me so enthralled I was mad when a new chapter began and I had to wait to return to it. There was a rather abrupt ending here and I was hoping for more of the characters. Nothing was really left open, but I would love to revisit these characters again in a future adventure. They fought orcs and giant preying mantises. What else could they do?

  17. 4 out of 5

    pawsandpagesbyannie

    So You Had to Build a Time Machine by Jason Offutt Narrated by: Emily O'Brien Publication Date: July 21, 2020 - Available Now! . Description from NetGalley... “Skid doesn’t believe in ghosts or time travel or any of that nonsense. A circus runaway-turned-bouncer, she believes in hard work, self-defense, and good, strong coffee. Then, one day, an annoying theoretical physicist named Dave pops into the seat next to her at her least favorite Kansas City bar and disappears into thin air when she punches So You Had to Build a Time Machine by Jason Offutt Narrated by: Emily O'Brien Publication Date: July 21, 2020 - Available Now! . Description from NetGalley... “Skid doesn’t believe in ghosts or time travel or any of that nonsense. A circus runaway-turned-bouncer, she believes in hard work, self-defense, and good, strong coffee. Then, one day, an annoying theoretical physicist named Dave pops into the seat next to her at her least favorite Kansas City bar and disappears into thin air when she punches him (he totally deserved it). Now, street names are changing, Skid’s favorite muffins are swapping frosting flavors, and Dave keeps reappearing in odd places like the old Sanderson murder house. And that’s only the start of her problems. Something in the world has gone wrong. Terribly wrong. Absolutely f--ked up. Someone has the nastiest versions of every conceivable reality at their fingertips, and they're not afraid to smash them together. With the help of a smooth-talking haunted-house owner and a linebacker-sized Dungeons and Dragons-loving baker, Skid and Dave set out to save the world from whatever scientific experiment has sent them all dimension-hopping against their will.” . Thank you to @NetGalley #camcatpublishing @ibpalovesindies for the digital ARC in return for my honest review. . My thoughts... So, a baker, a scientist, a haunted house tour guide and a Hello-Kitty-shoes wearing circus woman walked into different worlds...it’s not a joke. It really happened in this time-travel story filled with white-coat wearing praying mantis, Mordor Orcs, Klingon and radioactive dinosaurs. One of those books I’m glad I listened to because the narrator was great, and I really got into the story and was very entertained. This is a laugh-out-loud, crazy, action-packed book. It became convoluted and confusing a couple of times, but do not fret. Just ride-along because it was a great thrill ride. If you are a fan of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, role-playing games or the brilliant @jasperfforde you might be entertained by this. It was the kind of weird science I enjoy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    Quantum Sweet Spot When it comes to quantum science-garble adventuring I don't care too much about the plot as such, or its sciencey plausibility. I think the sweet spot involves a few characters you get a kick out of, lots of snappy banter, assured writing, geek culture shoutouts, and fast paced weirdness, with just the right touch of bizarro. That's this book in spades. Some books go in way too hard on explaining, ("sci-splaining"), what's going on. Give me a Schrodinger reference, (preferably a Quantum Sweet Spot When it comes to quantum science-garble adventuring I don't care too much about the plot as such, or its sciencey plausibility. I think the sweet spot involves a few characters you get a kick out of, lots of snappy banter, assured writing, geek culture shoutouts, and fast paced weirdness, with just the right touch of bizarro. That's this book in spades. Some books go in way too hard on explaining, ("sci-splaining"), what's going on. Give me a Schrodinger reference, (preferably a funny one), a nod to Higgs, and some pop-up universes, and maybe a roiling purple cloud of cosmic confusion, and I'm good. That's what you get here. You also get four interesting and distinct protagonists, so you can root for the solid practical guy, the tough chick, the science guy, or the con man. They're all good, and I think it was wise to make Skid, the tough jaded female, the center of the action. She has the style and substance to hold your attention and to make everything else work. She's also the center of the slow burn start to the book that teases you along until the serious action starts. On top of all that you get clever tough guy patter, deadpan throwaway lines, and lots of sly jokes and bits slipped in around the edges. Some people go for the antic and freewheeling time travel and dislocation. I appreciate that, and there's plenty of good stuff along those lines here. Mostly, though, I like that because it allows for, heck it almost requires, lots of deadpan comedy and tough guy one-liners. And you get that here too. So, this is smart, entertaining, fast paced, and well written. It's confusing, of course, but in a good way, not a throw the book against the wall way. I had a good time. (Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jill Elizabeth

    I was invited to review this one. I probably would have picked it up on my own - the title and cover and blurb would have all drawn me in... And I was drawn in, make no mistake. From the beginning, I loved all the quirks and foibles and bizarre personality traits of the maniacal cast of characters. I loved the concept, I liked the way things were rolling out, and I liked the skittery jumping through time. Until I didn't. Somewhere about a third of the way in, I started having a hard time holding I was invited to review this one. I probably would have picked it up on my own - the title and cover and blurb would have all drawn me in... And I was drawn in, make no mistake. From the beginning, I loved all the quirks and foibles and bizarre personality traits of the maniacal cast of characters. I loved the concept, I liked the way things were rolling out, and I liked the skittery jumping through time. Until I didn't. Somewhere about a third of the way in, I started having a hard time holding all of the threads together and keeping the different versions of the characters straight as they travel through time and intersected in each other's lives. I found the big villain of the piece to be irritating rather than evil. The quirky banter started to feel a little forced. And the whole thing felt a little unnecessarily complicated in a way that I felt drew me out of the story rather than sucking me further in... In other words, I lost the thread and I somehow never found it again. I'm very disappointed - it's not like it jumped the shark or went off the rails or any other cliche you can think of. I don't know exactly why it lost me. Sure I listed a few things, but in and of themselves none of them was big enough to have pulled me out considering how much I liked this one in the beginning. I'm wondering if this is just the wrong book at the wrong time for me. There's a lot going on in my world just now and overly complicated plots require more effort and brain focus then I can allot to a book right now. I would pick this one up and give it another try - I really really liked the beginning - but right now I just found this one too much work for not enough reward...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A fun, fast-paced read, if not a bit off in places. The characters are original and interesting, too. To be fair, this is a fantasy-based science fiction story that isn't meant to be taken seriously, so I'm not sure it needs such a serious critique. But that said... There are some loose threads that do not get explained, and the ending doesn't reveal as much as perhaps it could. I didn't have a hard time with "suspension of disbelief," but there are some simple inconsistencies that I couldn't get A fun, fast-paced read, if not a bit off in places. The characters are original and interesting, too. To be fair, this is a fantasy-based science fiction story that isn't meant to be taken seriously, so I'm not sure it needs such a serious critique. But that said... There are some loose threads that do not get explained, and the ending doesn't reveal as much as perhaps it could. I didn't have a hard time with "suspension of disbelief," but there are some simple inconsistencies that I couldn't get past - for example, the ages of the characters don't mesh (nothing to do with the time travel: if Dave's 10 in 1984 and Susan's 18 in 1984, there can never be a year in which Dave's in his "early 30s" while Susan is 65). I also wish that the author had not teased potential romances between the main female character and each (or any!) of the three male characters. Since all the male characters can't be with the one female, there also had to be a few scenes introducing "potential other girlfriends" for each of them, which does nothing for the overall plot. Pairing up any of these characters felt more "expected" than necessary to the story. Long story short - this is a really fun story to read, but there are just some minor issues that serve to distract. I'd give 3.5 stars if possible (rounding down here because of the loose threads that went unexplained at the end).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Brown

    I love time travel novels and I am currently really into listening into audio books so this appealed to me straightaway. I did listen to a preview first just to make sure I was going to like the narrator - and I did on the short sound burst. Seven hours or so later I felt a little worn out by this fast talking Americian narrator, it can be a little harsh for UK ears. This is certainly a different approach to time travel. Usually nothing bad really happens in a time travel novel and you wonder how I love time travel novels and I am currently really into listening into audio books so this appealed to me straightaway. I did listen to a preview first just to make sure I was going to like the narrator - and I did on the short sound burst. Seven hours or so later I felt a little worn out by this fast talking Americian narrator, it can be a little harsh for UK ears. This is certainly a different approach to time travel. Usually nothing bad really happens in a time travel novel and you wonder how people get to fit into an alternate reality - what about their clothes, money etc. Well in this time travel world sh*t really hits the fan big time. Sort of how it would really happen if you could time travel. When people appear in a different time line it fits perfectly into the ghost tours at the old Sanderson murder house - a genius plot device. There was a lot of humour and it made me laugh out loud it was so good. As I was listening to the audio and multi tasking there were times I got a little confused about what was happening and in which time period. If I had been reading the book I would probably have referred back, but I just carried on listening and really as it was so off the wall it was easier to just go with it and eventually all became clear again. I enjoyed this audio on the whole. I couldn't listen to a lot of it at one time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So You Had to Build a Time Machine is a fun sci-fi adventure following an unlikely crew who come together to try and save the world after different alternate dimensions start blurring together. The main character, Skid, is a circus runaway who meets Dave, a theoretical physicist, at a bar and the crazy turn of events begin when she punches him and he disappears. Cord, the owner of a haunted house, and Brick, a large lumber I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So You Had to Build a Time Machine is a fun sci-fi adventure following an unlikely crew who come together to try and save the world after different alternate dimensions start blurring together. The main character, Skid, is a circus runaway who meets Dave, a theoretical physicist, at a bar and the crazy turn of events begin when she punches him and he disappears. Cord, the owner of a haunted house, and Brick, a large lumberjack-type and muffin baker who's a big softie inside, round out their group. The book is a fun, fast-paced read that is incredibly creative. Author, Jason Offutt, also drops in nerdy references (think along the lines of Dungeons & Dragons, Star Trek, Die Hard, and more) whenever he can. I also found the characters fun to read, though I didn't necessarily need the perspectives told from all of them (there's a lot). Despite my love of all things geek, I wish the references were a bit more subtle and could have done with less because they became a little distracting. The plotting and writing could also use a bit more polish, there were several points that seemed disjointed or unresolved.

  23. 4 out of 5

    CJ

    Having a bad day? Then this is the book for you. It's just a decent, fun, romp-through-time-to-save-the-universe kind of thing. The story is nothing spectacular, but it is easy to immerse yourself in this world of time travel silliness and shenanigans and emerge a few hours later feeling a wee bit lighter and content in spirit. Recommended for: readers who enjoyed Where the Hell is Tesla?, In Times Like These, Far-Fetched and Highly Plausible, Battlestar Suburbia Thank you to Netgalley and CamCat Having a bad day? Then this is the book for you. It's just a decent, fun, romp-through-time-to-save-the-universe kind of thing. The story is nothing spectacular, but it is easy to immerse yourself in this world of time travel silliness and shenanigans and emerge a few hours later feeling a wee bit lighter and content in spirit. Recommended for: readers who enjoyed Where the Hell is Tesla?, In Times Like These, Far-Fetched and Highly Plausible, Battlestar Suburbia Thank you to Netgalley and CamCat Publishing for the ARC.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Price

    This is a wonderful novel, engaging characters, great humour and TIME TRAVEL, something that those of us who grew up on Dr Who have been secretly yearning for since being forced into an approximation of adulthood. When Skid decides, against her better judgement, to stop off at her least favourite bar after work, the evening doesn't work out quite as she'd planned. Sitting at the bar, she is joined by an irritating theoretical physicist named Dave, who on being punched by Skid, vanishes. After th This is a wonderful novel, engaging characters, great humour and TIME TRAVEL, something that those of us who grew up on Dr Who have been secretly yearning for since being forced into an approximation of adulthood. When Skid decides, against her better judgement, to stop off at her least favourite bar after work, the evening doesn't work out quite as she'd planned. Sitting at the bar, she is joined by an irritating theoretical physicist named Dave, who on being punched by Skid, vanishes. After that really weird things start happening, road names change, people appear and disappear as Skid and the friends she makes along the way, are flung headlong backwards and forwards through timelines and dimensions. Jason Offutt has written a barnstorming novel, a real tour de force of science fiction/fantasy with a great sense of humour running through it. I loved it and, as I was lucky enough to listen to the audiobook, I would just like to say that Emily O'Brien, does a fantastic job as narrator, all her voices were great but her piece de resistance was definitely the lifesize preying mantis! Highly recommended.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Florence

    The plot line is about time travel but, after a while, it becomes just a background to allow the imagination of the writer to get loose. The expericence of reading becomes the feelings and emotions you get at a fun fair: you enjoy the noises, the colours, the sounds, and you don't know what to expect next, after that roller coaster, what you'll do. The last part of the book integrates lots of allusions to universes of films and stories, and the pace towards the ending isn't like something you wo The plot line is about time travel but, after a while, it becomes just a background to allow the imagination of the writer to get loose. The expericence of reading becomes the feelings and emotions you get at a fun fair: you enjoy the noises, the colours, the sounds, and you don't know what to expect next, after that roller coaster, what you'll do. The last part of the book integrates lots of allusions to universes of films and stories, and the pace towards the ending isn't like something you would expect. I totally missed the understanding of the logic of how the whole story is ending, but, in fact, it does not matter at all. I became so attached to the characters that ... (spoiler alert !) ! . To be fully honest, I needed to talk about the book to my dear friends while I was reading it, and the following days they also wanted to know more. Now they 'll need to buy the book to know the end ! All I can say it is a clever book, breaking taboos about the do and don't of time travel. I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul Preston

    BE PATIENT!! This turned out to be a fun, weird book but the beginning was hard to follow. You aren’t sure who the main characters are, how they are connected, or what is going on. Things seem very random. That continues throughout the book with time jumps that transports people to different locations, some people in the group but not others, one person forward in time while everyone else seems to only go backward, as well as going to different dimensions. That’s quantum physics for you. The who BE PATIENT!! This turned out to be a fun, weird book but the beginning was hard to follow. You aren’t sure who the main characters are, how they are connected, or what is going on. Things seem very random. That continues throughout the book with time jumps that transports people to different locations, some people in the group but not others, one person forward in time while everyone else seems to only go backward, as well as going to different dimensions. That’s quantum physics for you. The whole thing starts with a girl named Skid punching Dave in a bar. This sets off a temporal shift that needs to be set right with Dave, Skid, and others they team up with trying to get back to the government lab to shut down the faulty time machine. Seems normal doesn’t it? Well, I haven’t even brought up the lumberjack looking guy who owns a muffin shop and likes to play Dungeons and Dragons, the giant praying mantis wearing a lab coat, or the haunted house where a family was killed years ago. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review

  27. 5 out of 5

    Henry Lazarus

    Jason Offutt tells an odd tale of Brick, who sells muffins and loves dungeons and dragons; Skid Roe, who grew up in a circus and now works as a guard at concerts; Cord, who has turned a house where a man went mad and killed his family into a murder house with fake haunted house effects; and Dave Collison, who lived in that murder house before the murders and now is a physicist working in a secret government lab. Dave’s boss is a mad scientist, and when he turns the machine on one night, it sends Jason Offutt tells an odd tale of Brick, who sells muffins and loves dungeons and dragons; Skid Roe, who grew up in a circus and now works as a guard at concerts; Cord, who has turned a house where a man went mad and killed his family into a murder house with fake haunted house effects; and Dave Collison, who lived in that murder house before the murders and now is a physicist working in a secret government lab. Dave’s boss is a mad scientist, and when he turns the machine on one night, it sends Dave bouncing between places from his past and alternate worlds. Dave had been trying to pick up Skid at the time the machine went on. Brick had been close enough to be effected. Soon Dave and Skid are in an increasingly changing world that eventually includes both Zombies and Klingons. So You Had to Build a Time Machine (hard from CamCat Publishing) is a fun romp through the implausible and great fun.Review printed by Philadelphia Free Press

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kirstin

    “Skid doesn’t believe in ghosts or time travel or any of that nonsense. A circus runaway-turned-bouncer, she believes in hard work, self-defense, and good strong coffee. Now, street names are changing, Skid’s favorite muffins are swapping frosting flavors, Dave keeps reappearing in odd places like the old Sanderson murder house—and that’s only the start of her problems.” I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this book. I’m not a huge sci-fi fan, but I am a big fan of sarcasm! This book has it in s “Skid doesn’t believe in ghosts or time travel or any of that nonsense. A circus runaway-turned-bouncer, she believes in hard work, self-defense, and good strong coffee. Now, street names are changing, Skid’s favorite muffins are swapping frosting flavors, Dave keeps reappearing in odd places like the old Sanderson murder house—and that’s only the start of her problems.” I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this book. I’m not a huge sci-fi fan, but I am a big fan of sarcasm! This book has it in spades. It was fairly easy to follow what what happening (which can be hard when Miller Waves can pop up any time or place) the characters had strong personalities but worked well together. I just wish there was a little more insight into the ending. I’m going to read this again eventually because I’m sure I missed the clues! I enjoyed the narrator! She was a good fit for this story. DISCLAIMER: I received this audiobook free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna Backshall

    I had to throw in the towel for this one at 36%. I passionately love time travel novels, and all things science fiction. However, my focus and adoration falls mainly on the science of the fiction, and this novel delivered very little of this. So You Had to Build a Time Machine read more like a Scooby-Doo comic book than it did like a novel. It was funny and kind of fun, but mostly it was silly and nonsensical in an unenjoyable way. The banter was a bit childish and the antics were goofy. I can't p I had to throw in the towel for this one at 36%. I passionately love time travel novels, and all things science fiction. However, my focus and adoration falls mainly on the science of the fiction, and this novel delivered very little of this. So You Had to Build a Time Machine read more like a Scooby-Doo comic book than it did like a novel. It was funny and kind of fun, but mostly it was silly and nonsensical in an unenjoyable way. The banter was a bit childish and the antics were goofy. I can't put my finger on why it didn't add up to something rip-roaring and fun, but alas, it just didn't. Not every novel is a winner and that's totally okay. This one didn't strike the right chord for me, but perhaps it will for others who enjoy light-hearted and easy-to-read time travel adventures.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heli

    I'm always ready to read a book about time travel. It's been my favorite genre since childhood. This book has a great synopsis. And Klingons, Orcs, dinosaurs and a giant praying mantis that used to be something else. I actually can't get that scene with the praying mantis out of my head! There is action, tight situations and humor. Anything you could ever want from a time travel book. The Miller waves were a great invention by the way. I did get a little confused occasionally. I had some difficu I'm always ready to read a book about time travel. It's been my favorite genre since childhood. This book has a great synopsis. And Klingons, Orcs, dinosaurs and a giant praying mantis that used to be something else. I actually can't get that scene with the praying mantis out of my head! There is action, tight situations and humor. Anything you could ever want from a time travel book. The Miller waves were a great invention by the way. I did get a little confused occasionally. I had some difficulty keeping track with the timeline. And the reason the time machine was built was somewhat hazy. All in all this is a very good read. I listened to the audio book and the narrator was awesome. Thank you NetGalley and CamCat Publishing for a copy of this book.

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