October 7, 2015
The Grand Dissolute, by Joel Van Valin
The year is 1998 and Jimmy Pagley is falling in love—with a pretty, foreign cafe waitress named Haydee. What he doesn’t know is that Haydee is a temvelar, a time traveler from the 29th century, on a mission to find her old mentor. Soon Jimmy and Haydee find themselves caught up in a dark conspiracy of rogue temvelars and government agents, on a search that leads through airports and space stations, art museums and suburban backyards, Greek temples and Medieval castles, and beyond time itself. The Grand Dissolute is a traveler’s portrait of a tumultuous, romantic age—our own.
The Grand Dissolute was a title that I considered a few times on NetGalley before finally pulling the trigger. I love sci-fi, time-travel, and historical fiction, so this story seemed to have everything I wanted in a story. It even has alien civilizations. This is definitely a sci-fi story with all the expected tropes, but it must have been the description that was throwing me off. It just wasn’t grabbing me. It could’ve been the claims of romance, but the romance was too angsty for my taste.
I am glad I took the chance on this story. I had a lot of fun reading it. The sci-fi tropes were predictable, and when the story skirted the paranormal genre, it didn’t jar me out of the narrative. I’d expect this story to appeal to any sci-fi fan and any of its sub-genres. I would definitely read more from this author in the future.
Joel Van Valin is from St. Paul and recently returned to that fair city after a 3-year stint in Santa Monica. He now lives just outside the entrance to the State Fair grounds with his beautiful wife Lisa, a pair of cats (Percival and Mel) and a Chihuahua mix named Mina. He works by day as a technical writer. He love beer and Greek gods, used to fly airplanes, and has an inexplicable fondness for The Kinks, P.G. Wodehouse & anonymous English ballads. If he lived in the 16th century he would probably be a highwayman.