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The Plot to Save Socrates

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Paul Levinson's astonishing new Sf novel is a surprise and a delight: In the year 2042, Sierra, a young graduate student in Classics is shown a new dialog of Socrates, recently discovered, in which a time traveler tries to argue that Socrates might escape death by travel to the future Thomas, the elderly scholar who has shown her the document, disappears, and Sierra immedi Paul Levinson's astonishing new Sf novel is a surprise and a delight: In the year 2042, Sierra, a young graduate student in Classics is shown a new dialog of Socrates, recently discovered, in which a time traveler tries to argue that Socrates might escape death by travel to the future Thomas, the elderly scholar who has shown her the document, disappears, and Sierra immediately begins to track down the provenance of the manuscript, with the help of her classical scholar boyfriend, Max. The trail leads her to a time machine in a gentlemen's club in London and in New York, and into the past -- and to a time traveler from her future, posing as Heron of Alexandria in 150 AD. Complications, mysteries, travels, and time loops proliferate as Sierra tries to discern who is planning to save the greatest philosopher in human history, or to do so herself. And she finds that time travel raises more questions than it answers. Fascinating historical characters from Alcibiades (of the honeyed thighs) and Thomas Appleton, the great 19th century American publisher, to Socrates himself appear. with surprises in every chapter, Paul Levinson has outdone himself in The Plot to Save Socrates.


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Paul Levinson's astonishing new Sf novel is a surprise and a delight: In the year 2042, Sierra, a young graduate student in Classics is shown a new dialog of Socrates, recently discovered, in which a time traveler tries to argue that Socrates might escape death by travel to the future Thomas, the elderly scholar who has shown her the document, disappears, and Sierra immedi Paul Levinson's astonishing new Sf novel is a surprise and a delight: In the year 2042, Sierra, a young graduate student in Classics is shown a new dialog of Socrates, recently discovered, in which a time traveler tries to argue that Socrates might escape death by travel to the future Thomas, the elderly scholar who has shown her the document, disappears, and Sierra immediately begins to track down the provenance of the manuscript, with the help of her classical scholar boyfriend, Max. The trail leads her to a time machine in a gentlemen's club in London and in New York, and into the past -- and to a time traveler from her future, posing as Heron of Alexandria in 150 AD. Complications, mysteries, travels, and time loops proliferate as Sierra tries to discern who is planning to save the greatest philosopher in human history, or to do so herself. And she finds that time travel raises more questions than it answers. Fascinating historical characters from Alcibiades (of the honeyed thighs) and Thomas Appleton, the great 19th century American publisher, to Socrates himself appear. with surprises in every chapter, Paul Levinson has outdone himself in The Plot to Save Socrates.

30 review for The Plot to Save Socrates

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisette Brodey

    THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES There’s an old saying, “If you love Greek history and you’re fascinated by time travel, you’ll love Paul Levinson’s The Plot To Save Socrates. If you’re reading this in 2009, you’ll likely disagree that it’s an old saying, but if you time travel to 2061, you’ll find that it’s true. Paul Levinson’s delightful sci-fi book opens in New York in 2042. Sierra Waters, a student of the classics who is working on her dissertation, comes across a newly discovered dialog of Socrate THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES There’s an old saying, “If you love Greek history and you’re fascinated by time travel, you’ll love Paul Levinson’s The Plot To Save Socrates. If you’re reading this in 2009, you’ll likely disagree that it’s an old saying, but if you time travel to 2061, you’ll find that it’s true. Paul Levinson’s delightful sci-fi book opens in New York in 2042. Sierra Waters, a student of the classics who is working on her dissertation, comes across a newly discovered dialog of Socrates. In it, an unidentified time traveler tries to convince Socrates to escape his death sentence by letting a cloned double drink hemlock while Socrates travels to the future. As the characters time travel to different periods in the past and the future, the reader cannot help but be absorbed in not only the engaging plot, but also by the myriad questions that time travel raises. I think we all can relate to even the smallest incidents in our own lives that have profoundly changed the course of our personal history. In that sense, The Plot To Save Socrates really challenges our minds as we’re led to contemplate how even the smallest adjustments in history could literally change its course. Though written in a lighthearted style, the depth of research and thought that Paul Levinson put into the writing is clear and the result is truly a thought-provoking, breathtaking, and highly entertaining novel.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Giovanni Gelati

    Being a big Bill & Ted’s Great Adventure fan, I could not pass this sci-fi work up. I mean getting another crack at Socrates, does it get any better. Later on today the author of this fine piece of work meets me in The G-ZONE. I think it is a great way to start the week personally, another reason to wake up, all that kinda stuff. Just to clue everybody in, this is another huge week of guests and posts as we make a mad dash toward Saturday and another Improvised Digital Short Story contest. This Being a big Bill & Ted’s Great Adventure fan, I could not pass this sci-fi work up. I mean getting another crack at Socrates, does it get any better. Later on today the author of this fine piece of work meets me in The G-ZONE. I think it is a great way to start the week personally, another reason to wake up, all that kinda stuff. Just to clue everybody in, this is another huge week of guests and posts as we make a mad dash toward Saturday and another Improvised Digital Short Story contest. This time 4 Girls vs. 4 Guys, 3 words, two stories, read on one Blogtalk Radio Show. How about that for math? This is going to be tremendous fun for everyone: authors, readers and listeners. Okay where was I? Oh yeah, The Plot to Save Socrates, here is what lies between the covers: “Classics grad student Sierra Waters is understandably skeptical when her advisor hands her an unknown Socratic dialogue between the imprisoned teacher and Andros, a time traveler. Andros offers Socrates an escape from the hemlock--a clone will be left in his place, and Socrates will live in the future. As she investigates the document's provenance, Sierra comes across a number of bizarre coincidences and, finally, the genuine possibility of time travel. She embarks on an adventure across past, present, and future, trying to puzzle out Andros' identity and save Socrates. In transit, she picks up Alcibiades of the honeyed thighs and enigmatic Heron of Alexandria. Eventually, she finds Socrates. The plot twists across itself, filling the book with paradoxes and potential paradoxes in total disregard for linear time, betrayal, and plotting. In the end, Socrates' fate and Andros' motivations and identity unexpectedly conclude a quick-to-read, entertaining treatment of the problems inherent in time travel with style and flair.” Take equal parts time travel, history, philosophy, and mix it all together for some fun .Great recipe for a great read. To be honest I have not read Levinson’s work before, primarily because I was a bit intimidated by his genius. Read the man’s bio and combine it with my simple mind and really, do you think the two would meld? No, not really, but I loved it, enjoyed the read and didn’t feel lost or out of the loop. The plotline was really good; the characters were excellent and all the lines met when they needed to. Good stuff. If you are like me and have not yet gotten a read on this yet, give it a try and have some fun with it. Enjoy. What are you reading today? Have you checked out our new blogtalk radio show The G-ZONE? Check us out and become our friend on Shelfari, The Novel Spot &Twitter. Go to Goodreads and become our friend there and suggest books for us to read and post on. Did you know you can shop directly on Amazon by clicking the Amazon Banner on our blog? Thanks for stopping by today; We will see you tomorrow. Have a great day. http://www.gelatisscoop.blogspot.com

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Somewhere in my brain lie remnants of a minor in Philosophy from long ago. Paul Levinson's ambitious novel, "The Plot to Save Socrates," reminds me of how much I've forgotten. (Socrates? Name sounds familiar.) I found it to be educational, challenging, fascinating, clever, complex, and occasionally exhausting, but surely enjoyable. You do have to pay attention, as the cast of characters are jumping places and eras like a game of musical chairs -- Time Travel chairs, which are their means of span Somewhere in my brain lie remnants of a minor in Philosophy from long ago. Paul Levinson's ambitious novel, "The Plot to Save Socrates," reminds me of how much I've forgotten. (Socrates? Name sounds familiar.) I found it to be educational, challenging, fascinating, clever, complex, and occasionally exhausting, but surely enjoyable. You do have to pay attention, as the cast of characters are jumping places and eras like a game of musical chairs -- Time Travel chairs, which are their means of spanning millenniums. Fortunately, dates and locations are clearly labeled with each chapter and change, so it's easy enough for readers -- but not always for the travelers. Levinson writes, "She had to find out the date. The time-traveller's eternal question...." Another favorite line: "He heard the hounds of paradox baying in some corner of his brain...." That might apply to me, but selective re-reads help, or perhaps there's a new App -- Paradox & Time Loop Check. I did find myself questioning motivation and intent a couple of times, but these are minor distractions in the scope of a satisfying story. To quote Sierra, a main character: "Nothing is certain where time travel is concerned." I agree. It's fiction, very well written, so enjoy the ride.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

    The Plot to Save Socrates is a time-travel adventure with a generous mixture of philosophy. I liked a lot of elements in this book but also found a lot wanting. Hence my qualified "good" review of three stars. The good? The plot and the adventure are fun to follow. The time-travel adds an element of tension that you can't do away with, especially when coupled with a mysterious villain, whose greater mastery of the technology and unknown purposes add a constant sense of foreboding. The characters The Plot to Save Socrates is a time-travel adventure with a generous mixture of philosophy. I liked a lot of elements in this book but also found a lot wanting. Hence my qualified "good" review of three stars. The good? The plot and the adventure are fun to follow. The time-travel adds an element of tension that you can't do away with, especially when coupled with a mysterious villain, whose greater mastery of the technology and unknown purposes add a constant sense of foreboding. The characters aren't much, but I don't mind; sometimes it is fine not to lean upon characters when there's a plot to be told. The author's decision to limit time travel to a set of locations where the technology has been set up (London, Athens, New York) was inspired. The dynamics of a time travel adventure where time travel is spatially limited are very different from one where the time-travel machine is mobile, and this creates great adventure when one is traveling back to ancient times. Making the technology not-too-precise is also effective for plotting; it makes a big difference when you can set a date and be sure of it, or if you might not end up at exactly the time you hoped for -- being off a few hours, days, weeks, months, or years. I am not entirely clear in my own mind how to resolve everything, especially the time paradoxes that arise from the adventure. There is abundant circular causation and mysteries that I think a reread and careful mapping might solve, but I'm just not motivated to embark on such an endeavor. There is apparently a forthcoming sequel (about Alexandria -- I suspect concerning Hypathia and the Library) in which some of these issues may be clarified, though there is nothing you can do with circular causation except accept it. The bad. There two main sources of problems. (1) I said that the book features a generous mixture of philosophy, but the author is not really up to the challenge. The author is not a philosopher (he is a professor of communications) and his attempts to portray philosophical debate and philosophical minds are unconvincing. A newly discovered Socratic dialogue falls flat. Philosophical argument rarely rises above the sort we might see in a classroom between teacher and students -- which is not horrible but not representative of real philosophical discussion or debate. Still, it is possible to deal with this by largely ignoring the philosophy and focusing on the plot. But then (2) the second problem is that the author isn't really comfortable with anything other than the culture typical of educated, liberal late 20th century Americans living on the coasts, and he shows an inability to empathize with any other standpoint. The effect on his work is widespread. First, all "good" characters share the same values, no matter what time they come from: hedonism, democracy, secularism, education, these are accepted as basic values, values without any clear rationale, except of course that these are the values of a certain kind of American at a certain point in time. They therefore take the form of prejudices, which is unfortunate; one would like something richer here to support these views, or some diversity of viewpoint to throw them into relief. Socrates alone is exempted as a good character allowed to dislike democracy, but this is presented unconvincingly. He can't be rewritten to not oppose democracy but he is given on real reasons for opposing it, although the story itself provides ample reason (in the novel's recognition that Athens would kill Socrates regardless of whether Anytus brought charges against him). Second, there is a continual, almost unrelenting antipathy to Plato, which is distracting and annoying. The author recognizes his intelligence and the few convincing displays of philosophical acumen belong to young Plato during his brief appearances, but he continually suggests that Plato is a bad character in some important ways (cowardice, plagiarism, pessimism, brooding) and that Plato doesn't well-represent Socrates. This is most evident in the author's silent "correction" of Plato's Phaedo's description of the effects of hemlock, a pseudo-correction invented in the late 19th c. if I remember correctly, but which is based upon a misunderstanding regarding which poisonous plant the ancient Greeks referred to as "hemlock." Plato was accused of changing the effects in order to create a specific literary portrayal of Socrates, but in fact it is we who have misunderstood which plant they were referring to, and other authors refer to the effects of hemlock in ways consistent with Plato's description. This antipathy is annoying and extends from beginning to end, due to the author's unwillingness to forgive or sympathize to any degree with Plato's distrust for democracy or more importantly his contempt for hedonism. The author, I think, simply cannot comprehend the appeal of an otherworldly ethic like Plato's, but frankly it provides some relief from the unending ogling that the male characters (including the 70 year old Socrates!) give to Sierra, the main (and only) female character, another annoying feature. I briefly pause to say that perhaps the author is a Straussian and providing an esoteric narrative where Plato is the true hero. All the characters seem dismissive or hostile to him, but at the same time he is the only character who philosophizes well. In that case, well done. But finally, and most importantly, the author fails to accurately portray the "alienness" of the ancient world. It is instead a time rather like our own, that is, rather like post-1960's America, rather like the hedonistic, secular, educated America that the author is familiar with. Except they speak ancient Greek. Alcibiades comes off as basically no different from the typical contemporary educated American of the coasts, which is surely an absurd result. A comparison with Gene Wolfe's _Soldier_ books, about an ancient Latin mercenary who fights in the Persian wars, is devastating, because Wolfe (who is a master at making even the familiar seem alien) embraces the strangeness of the ancient world with gusto, and delights in making us feel as unfamiliar with it as possible through a series of "translator's" tricks, so that we can at it on its own terms. Encounters with another culture *ought* to make us more self-aware by making us aware of our unexamined assumptions; this book however has the opposite, soporific effect of making the contemporary American reader less aware of his assumptions. The ancient Greeks are apparently just like us. How boring and unconvincing! A small point related to this. None of the dialogue supposed to be taking place in Greek (including the newly discovered Socratic dialogue) sounds Greek, or like a translation from Greek. The feel is all wrong. Of course, the author apparently honors the translations of Benjamin Jowett, whose translations are excessively free and inexact, and therefore not favored by many doing scholarly work today. So perhaps he thinks there is no big problem if the language and ways of thinking don't come across as Greek; but this just goes back to the problem I mentioned above, the loss of any sense of alienness, and the reproduction of American mores and modes of thinking among ancient Greeks, which is both dull and false. So, as a story, the book is good fun; but as art, it lacks in several departments. Thus...three stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    Perhaps, I'd rate the book with 3.5 stars. The Plot To Save Socrates is more towards a complicated time travel caper than what I was expecting. I don't care much for books such as Crichton's Timeline which (to my way of thinking) are basically historical fiction with some characters who are "outsiders" to the historical culture being portrayed. I read The Plot To Save Socrates hoping the Socrates angle would bring more ideas into the story. It didn't really turn out to be "historical fiction" in Perhaps, I'd rate the book with 3.5 stars. The Plot To Save Socrates is more towards a complicated time travel caper than what I was expecting. I don't care much for books such as Crichton's Timeline which (to my way of thinking) are basically historical fiction with some characters who are "outsiders" to the historical culture being portrayed. I read The Plot To Save Socrates hoping the Socrates angle would bring more ideas into the story. It didn't really turn out to be "historical fiction" in that the characters didn't tend to spend most of the book immersed in one particular historical setting. Rather, they hopped around between a number of times and places. It also didn't turn out to have that much "idea SF". The story, at first, has characters trying to make sense out of a few puzzling elements. Later, it's more conflicts between different groups of time travelers (who are interested in doing essentially the same thing, it seems). In the process there is some discussion of potential paradoxes of the actions of time travelers. (Readers who are as picky as me will find some questionable circular causality in the story.) I wouldn't recommend the book for readers anticipating a generous portion of Socrates. By the end of the book some readers may even feel Socrates' secret adds an absurdist element to the book. We do meet some interesting historical characters. At least the edition of the book I listened to had an appendix about those historical persons - helping to clarify (for me) what was actually historical fact about them. I'd mostly recommend the book to: (1) readers who have a taste for time travel tales [and aren't too concerned with the logical consistency:], (2) readers who like adventures with enough complexity to make the word "caper" come to mind, (3) readers who would like to see a bit about ancient Greece without taking on an entire book about it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    This book is unique to say the least. The closest book I can think of with even a remotely similar setting would be The Just City but only just. The only thing that the two have in common is an attempt to 'save' Socrates so he can live on and contribute more to the world and the time travel aspect. To start, this book doesn't have a linear plot line, which leaves you with a real lack of complete understanding of the characters until the very end. And I mean the very end, as in the final page reve This book is unique to say the least. The closest book I can think of with even a remotely similar setting would be The Just City but only just. The only thing that the two have in common is an attempt to 'save' Socrates so he can live on and contribute more to the world and the time travel aspect. To start, this book doesn't have a linear plot line, which leaves you with a real lack of complete understanding of the characters until the very end. And I mean the very end, as in the final page reveals information that you didn't already know. Because of this, scenes often are not connected as they are in other books and the reader is forced to wait until later to find out what happened. This, to me, is both a flaw and a good thing. Aside from the obvious plot in the title, the real focus of this book lies in the mechanics of time travel and the consequences as well as the limits that can be done with it. For someone who hasn't thought much about the concept, this book proved to make it very interesting and enjoyable at the same time. If there was any flaw to be found aside from the unique non-linear plot line, I'd say that falls to the characters. The reader views the story from multiple viewpoints and because of that you often don't learn of character's motivations during their viewpoints, which in the end detached them a bit from me. But that's really my only complaint and quite honestly I look forward to the next installment! Even though it's incredibly difficult to find.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Coops

    I'm not putting any stars with this review simply because I haven't made it to the end yet and I don't think it would be fair. I've made four attempts before giving up, and were I able to get through it all I'm guessing it would get at minimum a 3 based on the fact that it is erudite, well edited and extremely thoroughly researched. Kudos to the author for his knowledge of history and philosophy. It just wasn't for me. If I could describe the writing style in one word, it would be "formal." I co I'm not putting any stars with this review simply because I haven't made it to the end yet and I don't think it would be fair. I've made four attempts before giving up, and were I able to get through it all I'm guessing it would get at minimum a 3 based on the fact that it is erudite, well edited and extremely thoroughly researched. Kudos to the author for his knowledge of history and philosophy. It just wasn't for me. If I could describe the writing style in one word, it would be "formal." I couldn't shake the feeling that I ought to be keeping my pinky finger held aloft while holding my Kindle. The characters' dialogue was very stiff for me. It seemed no one ever uses a contraction. It somewhat fits the content but made for tough going. Other than the solitary female protagonist, the other characters seemed to blend together in stiff-collared uniformity. It did lend a sort of Wellsian nostalgia to the piece, and the time travel elements kept me going for longer than I would have otherwise. I hope that at some point I will be in a position to finish it. I suspect however that the position may need to be in a high-backed wing chair while wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches. Oh. And Scotch. I'll definitely be needing some Scotch.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lincoln

    This is a fast paced time romp. I don't think I have a full appreciation of ancient times to fully enjoy this book, however that is a slam on myself not on the book. A lot of this book was philosophical as any book with Socrates should be. Discussions about the illogical physics of time travel. If I go back in time and tell myself something and that information affects my future in a way that prevents my future self from not going back in time in the first place...Where does the loop begin and e This is a fast paced time romp. I don't think I have a full appreciation of ancient times to fully enjoy this book, however that is a slam on myself not on the book. A lot of this book was philosophical as any book with Socrates should be. Discussions about the illogical physics of time travel. If I go back in time and tell myself something and that information affects my future in a way that prevents my future self from not going back in time in the first place...Where does the loop begin and end? The author really did do a lot of work in researching the time period. Had I written this book I would of taken a whole lot more of creative license...The index was eye opening to the realities of many of the characters in history as far as we know. The book ended abruptly and in my opinion lacking a pay off. There is a revelation that makes you go WHAT? at the end but for me it was not enough. A good book. Worth a read. I am not disappointed in anyway but it is a 3 star book. A strong ok.

  9. 4 out of 5

    D.B. Pacini

    I read a lot of books. I usually read them, make some notes about them in my journals, and then pass them on to other writers. I met Paul Levinson on Myspace. To be honest, I bought THE PLOT to SAVE SOCRATES because I liked the title. I was intrigued by the idea of a discovered dialogue that reveals that Socrates may have taken an opportunity that I can image Socrates being willing to take. I enjoyed strapping myself to this remarkable time-traveling adventurous romp and can't give this book awa I read a lot of books. I usually read them, make some notes about them in my journals, and then pass them on to other writers. I met Paul Levinson on Myspace. To be honest, I bought THE PLOT to SAVE SOCRATES because I liked the title. I was intrigued by the idea of a discovered dialogue that reveals that Socrates may have taken an opportunity that I can image Socrates being willing to take. I enjoyed strapping myself to this remarkable time-traveling adventurous romp and can't give this book away. I must keep it. If you don't "get it" after the first reading I recommend reading it a second time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty damn close. It combined two of my favorite things: philosophy and time travel. I'm not kidding. It was an amazing way to explore all of the paradox(es?) that arise when one considers: "What would happen if someone went back in time and....) I found myself amazed at what went in to creating the timelines and how they all fit together. It was perfectly structured. I loved it. It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty damn close. It combined two of my favorite things: philosophy and time travel. I'm not kidding. It was an amazing way to explore all of the paradox(es?) that arise when one considers: "What would happen if someone went back in time and....) I found myself amazed at what went in to creating the timelines and how they all fit together. It was perfectly structured. I loved it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zab

    The plot is fairly tangled, but not in an interesting way. It's hard to imagine a plot interesting enough to redeem the completely lifeless characterizations, not to mention the near-complete lack of historical texture for the scenes in the past. The book might get better in the last quarter - I couldn't bring myself to finish it. The plot is fairly tangled, but not in an interesting way. It's hard to imagine a plot interesting enough to redeem the completely lifeless characterizations, not to mention the near-complete lack of historical texture for the scenes in the past. The book might get better in the last quarter - I couldn't bring myself to finish it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    D

    Corny but brilliantly written with a lot of historical content. Great for teens.

  13. 4 out of 5

    John Carter McKnight

    It's 2042, and a Classics grad student is handed what appears to be a previously-unknown dialog of Socractes - in which he argues with a time traveler come to save him from execution. From there we're launched into a fast-paced (despite what some other reviewers here have said - the book's a delightful snack and far from an overwhelming feast) adventure with stops in Roman Brittania, the Library of Alexandria, Victorian New York City, and, of course, the Greece of Socrates' time. Levinson skillf It's 2042, and a Classics grad student is handed what appears to be a previously-unknown dialog of Socractes - in which he argues with a time traveler come to save him from execution. From there we're launched into a fast-paced (despite what some other reviewers here have said - the book's a delightful snack and far from an overwhelming feast) adventure with stops in Roman Brittania, the Library of Alexandria, Victorian New York City, and, of course, the Greece of Socrates' time. Levinson skillfully marries the convoluted logic of time travel with a bunch of scholars zipping through history: paradoxes abound, timelines cross, cause and effect are argued over fine Scotch and date wine when not on the run from SEAL-trained legionnaires in the employ of a mysterious inventor. The book's not without shortcomings, and how seriously those impact one's enjoyment of the story will be a matter of taste. I treated the book as a sort of geeky Mission Impossible, a popcorn movie of a read: I enjoyed it immensely for what it was. Levinson isn't great at bringing the past to life: as one reviewer below notes, everybody comes across as well-meaning liberal intellectuals, part of a common culture, just with different technology (a point made almost in those words at one point). It' a sanitized past. The main character, Sierra, is a bit problematic. She's a fairly ordinary PhD student at the beginning, but once she launches on her adventure is both always responded to as ZOMG THE MOST BEAUTIFUL and getting hit on the head a lot, helpless in the face of numerous attackers through the centuries. I kept thinking that a near-future Manhattanite would be in good enough physical shape to not be constantly damseling. The ending hints at a sequel, and in doing so leaves unaddressed one of the more tantalizing time-travel bits raised during the story. It sort of abruptly ties things up, with a to-me unexpected but entirely logical twist resolving all the causality loops tormenting the characters and the reader. If you like time travel stories, or geeky adventures, and enjoy a bit of fluff, this is a terrific read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    I really enjoyed this. Great Science Fiction. I love the characters, the drama is great. I really enjoy getting into not just history, but what the author paints ancient life to have possibly been for the individual. The author keeps your attention because you always want to know what is going to happen. I have waited long for the sequel and am finally getting to read it now. It does not disappoint. The writer has, in fact, become better at all of the above. I had to concentrate hard to keep tra I really enjoyed this. Great Science Fiction. I love the characters, the drama is great. I really enjoy getting into not just history, but what the author paints ancient life to have possibly been for the individual. The author keeps your attention because you always want to know what is going to happen. I have waited long for the sequel and am finally getting to read it now. It does not disappoint. The writer has, in fact, become better at all of the above. I had to concentrate hard to keep track of all the time travel paradoxes in the first, but now in the sequel it all just comes through with great ease and relaxation, and the historical pictures of ancient life for the individuals have become even better than in the first novel, more nuances and detail. How people traveled, the religions they had, the different languages they spoke and how they communicated are marvelously presented. This may be one of the author's greatest talents. No surprise as he is a media professor of notoriety. We see this as well in his novel the Silk Code, where people from different parts of the world, who have all traveled to different parts of the world, picking up different pieces of languages and customs, come together on a boat, and set out on a wonderfully imaginative adventure to Iberia, communicating with each other and the people they meet by drawing on varied interesting pasts. He makes it all work, and you learn a lot in the process.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    It all starts when Sierra Waters, a classics grad student, is shown an enigmatic Socratic dialouge by her professor, Thomas O'Leary. In the dialouge, a mysterious man named Andros tries to convince Socrates to escape with him into the future, via time travel, in order to escape the horrible fate prescribed to him by the Athenian government. Shortly thereafter, Thomas disappears, launching Sierra on a quest that spans milleniums in search of the truth. On her quest she meets friends, lovers, and It all starts when Sierra Waters, a classics grad student, is shown an enigmatic Socratic dialouge by her professor, Thomas O'Leary. In the dialouge, a mysterious man named Andros tries to convince Socrates to escape with him into the future, via time travel, in order to escape the horrible fate prescribed to him by the Athenian government. Shortly thereafter, Thomas disappears, launching Sierra on a quest that spans milleniums in search of the truth. On her quest she meets friends, lovers, and those who would threaten her life, all leading up to the one fateful night when "Andros" would make his fated appearance in Socrates' prison. Let me just say that the only reason this book didn't get five stars is because I didn't like the ending. Otherwise, this book was riveting. The charactors bounce back and forth between the time periods in their quest to save one of the greatest thinkers of all time, in the process encountering paradoxes that would make any philosopher's hair stand on end. It is suspenseful, but not dragged out, and there are several plot twists that leave everything you thought you had figured out in the garbage. The ending, though I personally didn't care for it, neatly tied up all the loose ends involved in this writhing snake of a tale, making the circle of events complete.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lis Carey

    What would you do if you had the chance to save Socrates? What would you do if he refused to be saved? It's 2042, and Sierra Waters is a graduate student, working on her dissertation on Athens' the adoption of the Ionic phonetic alphabet around 400 B.C., when Thomas O'Leary, a member of her doctoral committee, brings her a fragment of a previously-unknown Socratic dialog. This dialog suggests that Socrates received a visitor from the future, who offered to save him by means of time travel and the What would you do if you had the chance to save Socrates? What would you do if he refused to be saved? It's 2042, and Sierra Waters is a graduate student, working on her dissertation on Athens' the adoption of the Ionic phonetic alphabet around 400 B.C., when Thomas O'Leary, a member of her doctoral committee, brings her a fragment of a previously-unknown Socratic dialog. This dialog suggests that Socrates received a visitor from the future, who offered to save him by means of time travel and the substitution of a mindless clone. Socrates refuses, as he refused other efforts to persuade him to save himself. A new Socratic dialog is a major event if it's real—but most likely it's a fake. Nevertheless, Sierra's fascinated, and she calls O'Leary—or tries to. He's vanished. Recruiting her lover Max Marcus, an assistant professor at Fordham, she starts trying to track down both Thomas O'Leary and the origins of the dialog. The search takes them to the private clubs of New York and London, and into the curious history of a few of those clubs, and eventually the time-travel secret hidden within them. Sierra gets caught up in an ever-more-complicated and dangerous hunt through time, for Thomas, the mysterious Andros, and the origins of the dialog. Recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kath Middleton

    This intricate plot successfully combines time travel, history, philosophy and a good writing style to bring a story such as I’ve ever read before. The main premise is that a group of people are attempting to persuade Socrates not to take the hemlock which kills him. There’s a plot to save him but he feels he needs to take this step, agonising though it will be. We find out why and how it’s proposed to do this. There’s a complex thread of both time and place as characters move from past to prese This intricate plot successfully combines time travel, history, philosophy and a good writing style to bring a story such as I’ve ever read before. The main premise is that a group of people are attempting to persuade Socrates not to take the hemlock which kills him. There’s a plot to save him but he feels he needs to take this step, agonising though it will be. We find out why and how it’s proposed to do this. There’s a complex thread of both time and place as characters move from past to present and future using programmable chairs. As you can imagine, it requires a degree of suspension of disbelief but the story was coherent and, within its genre, credible. Paul Levinson has a comfortable writing style and I was rapidly drawn into this tapestry of historical and fictional characters. Some of the outcomes were very satisfying and it’s evident that there will be more to come. Enough hanging threads remain to ensure that there’ll be more time travel in my future. I enjoyed it very much.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Evanston Public Library

    Thought provoking if not mind blowing, Paul Levinson's The Plot to Save Socrates weaves in and out of centuries (and even millennia) as a broad cast of characters attempts to achieve the titular goal. The novel centers on Sierra, a Classics graduate student from the year 2042, who is pulled into the plot when her mentor shows her a newly discovered Socratic dialogue featuring a conversation between Socrates and a time traveler. In the dialogue, the time traveler attempts to convince Socrates to Thought provoking if not mind blowing, Paul Levinson's The Plot to Save Socrates weaves in and out of centuries (and even millennia) as a broad cast of characters attempts to achieve the titular goal. The novel centers on Sierra, a Classics graduate student from the year 2042, who is pulled into the plot when her mentor shows her a newly discovered Socratic dialogue featuring a conversation between Socrates and a time traveler. In the dialogue, the time traveler attempts to convince Socrates to escape to the future with him, allowing a soulless clone to be poisoned by hemlock in Socrates' place. A fun read while you wait to get your hands on Stephen King's new time travel novel, 11/22/63. (Genevieve, Reader's Services)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An interesting book. A group of future saviours of Socrates plot, scheme and squabble to prevent the execution of the great philosopher. The characters are a little dry—but then I am a fan of Greg Egan—so that did not worry me greatly. It is the plot that carries the novel. I had to keep track of the characters and action as the setting changes through several periods in both the ancient and modern world—a complex story. I found the resolution, the death of Socrates in the mid-21st from incurabl An interesting book. A group of future saviours of Socrates plot, scheme and squabble to prevent the execution of the great philosopher. The characters are a little dry—but then I am a fan of Greg Egan—so that did not worry me greatly. It is the plot that carries the novel. I had to keep track of the characters and action as the setting changes through several periods in both the ancient and modern world—a complex story. I found the resolution, the death of Socrates in the mid-21st from incurable brain cancer, anti-climatic. This does raise the question, why save Socrates? He was already an old man.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Very interesting book. I liked it more after I finished it and thought about it for a while. It is a time travel adventure across time spanning from 300 to 400 BC all the way into the future. Normally, I don't like time travel stories because there are too many paradoxes but this one did a good job of avoiding these issues. The story was fascinating and original in how it was told. The characters weren't developed very well but I feel that the story made up for the lack of depth of the character Very interesting book. I liked it more after I finished it and thought about it for a while. It is a time travel adventure across time spanning from 300 to 400 BC all the way into the future. Normally, I don't like time travel stories because there are too many paradoxes but this one did a good job of avoiding these issues. The story was fascinating and original in how it was told. The characters weren't developed very well but I feel that the story made up for the lack of depth of the characters. I like books that change my perspective and this one did.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Givens

    Brilliant. The time travel never lost me, the historical characters lived up to their reputations, and the original characters weren't out of place with them. It all blends together well, a cohesive timestream instead of "the past" and "the future." And the ideas are just as good as the book -- it is Socrates we're talking about, after all. There are still plot threads I want to know more about, but really the book, the titular plot, is complete. It reads quickly and easily, and it's an intense Brilliant. The time travel never lost me, the historical characters lived up to their reputations, and the original characters weren't out of place with them. It all blends together well, a cohesive timestream instead of "the past" and "the future." And the ideas are just as good as the book -- it is Socrates we're talking about, after all. There are still plot threads I want to know more about, but really the book, the titular plot, is complete. It reads quickly and easily, and it's an intense experience.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Suzi

    This is a fun and complex romp from the mid-21 century future back and forth with 400-ish BC. The time travel mechanism itself is only explained philosophically, not scientifically, but the science isn't the point of this story. I learned some historical aspects about Socrates/Plato and others of their time as well as some postulated ideas about their motivations. I liked it enough that Unburning Alexandria is going on my to-read list. This is a fun and complex romp from the mid-21 century future back and forth with 400-ish BC. The time travel mechanism itself is only explained philosophically, not scientifically, but the science isn't the point of this story. I learned some historical aspects about Socrates/Plato and others of their time as well as some postulated ideas about their motivations. I liked it enough that Unburning Alexandria is going on my to-read list.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Greg Hickey

    -Levinson artfully demonstrates a single linear timeline theory of time travel that leads to brightly tangled causal time loops. -There are moments when Levinson's prose lacks the substance and depth to support his flashy plot. -The Plot to Save Socrates exceeds the typical sci-fi action story in its intellectual depth, if not in the nuance of its storytelling. My complete review "Socrates, Time Travel and Donald Trump" at http://bit.ly/1TfmS9Y -Levinson artfully demonstrates a single linear timeline theory of time travel that leads to brightly tangled causal time loops. -There are moments when Levinson's prose lacks the substance and depth to support his flashy plot. -The Plot to Save Socrates exceeds the typical sci-fi action story in its intellectual depth, if not in the nuance of its storytelling. My complete review "Socrates, Time Travel and Donald Trump" at http://bit.ly/1TfmS9Y

  24. 5 out of 5

    Wesley Bishop

    An excellent book that combines SF, and classical humanities into a fun and thought provoking story. I especially liked how Levinson utilized a non-linear, multi-perspective narrative. The result was a story that had multiple characters, in various periods, at various stages in their lives, interacting with each other in a "timey, wimey" (Doctor Who fans will understand) kind of way. Looking forward to reading the sequel. An excellent book that combines SF, and classical humanities into a fun and thought provoking story. I especially liked how Levinson utilized a non-linear, multi-perspective narrative. The result was a story that had multiple characters, in various periods, at various stages in their lives, interacting with each other in a "timey, wimey" (Doctor Who fans will understand) kind of way. Looking forward to reading the sequel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Royce Sears

    A Time Twisting Tale of Epic Proportions The Plot to Save Socrates is a head spinning time travel mystery that leads the reader deep into an action packed rabbit hole of cascading paradoxical events via a cast of characters assembled from across the ages. An intellectually stimulating read of epic proportions, The Plot to Save Socrates draws the reader in and keeps the pages turning all the way through. Highly Recommended!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Fernando

    This was a good yarn with some history and philosophy thrown in. As with a lot of Time Travel books, I had to go back to re read some paragraphs a few times but enjoyed the story nevertheless. I will probably purchase the next book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Lively, intricate, and always intelligent time travel/alternate history novel. My longer review of this book appears here. Lively, intricate, and always intelligent time travel/alternate history novel. My longer review of this book appears here.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Fascinating book about time travel and the attempt to save a great philosopher. Interesting characters and a great storyline.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Smart, fun, time travel novel with interesting premise. Nice break from other serious reads.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Betsie Bush

    Thought-provoking time travel including excellent historical footage. Not my favorite writing style (dialog heavy) but entertaining, nonetheless.

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