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Ace (SF Special)
Leo & Diane Dillon
VG to VG+
Chronocules (1970), by D. G. Compton. I haven't read this, so for a decent plot summary, I once again rely on P. Schuyler Miller, and quote from his review in Analog (July 1971):
"This one is a time-travel story that is quite different from any other time-travel story I can remember. It's English, and the setting is unmistakably so - he says, having never been east of Maine except in books. It has an anti-hero who is a moron, and a delightful anti-heroine who is a vicious bitch. It has a tycoon right out of the handbooks, who is paying an enclave of scientists and bureaucrats a fortune to invent time-travel, so he can escape into the future - and hopefully become immortale there - before society blows up in his face. You have the aforesaid decaying society, English variety, as lovingly sketched in as Heinlein used to do it. And you have all the melodrama one book can reasonably supply - espionage, murder, riots, rape - plus a nice little mystery. You have a reasonable sprinkling of four-letter words and three-letter activities, never for the moment dragged in because the formula calls for tuppence worth of sex and sensationalism right about there.
You have all this, but what you really have is the makings of a novel about what happens to the people involved in the ingrown, inbred, incestuous imitation village which masquerades as Penheniot, as they struggle under incessant pressure from the not-at-all-senile Founder and from the executives he has selected to keep his cart moving into the future." [P. Schuyler Miller]
This first appeared as a paperback original from Ace in 1970. In Britain, it was retitled Hot Wireless Sets, Asprin Tablets, the Sandpaper Sides of Used Matchboxes, and Something that Might Have Been Castor Oil for a 1971 hardcover, and as Chronicules for a 1976 paperback.