Timecrime, Inc. by James D. MacDonald & Debra Doyle

Timecrime, Inc.

by James D. MacDonald & Debra Doyle

Form: Novel

Year: 1991

ID: 1617

Publication history:


(from Harper & Row 1991)

A new series from the mind of the three-time Hugo and five-time Nebula Award-winner Robert Silverberg!

Robert Silverberg's Time Tours

In the next century, time travel is a tourist business...a very risky tourist business. Couriers can take travelers into any year they wish. But once there, they'd better not change history. The Time Patrol is watching, and those who meddle with the past may find themselves erased from it!

Timecrime, Inc.

Dave van Dam is a typical high school student who dreams of becoming a Time Patrolman – until a mobster from the 1920s brings him a message: Don't join the Time Patrol, or else!

Dave soon finds the secret of time travel has been stolen by the most famous mobster of all, Al Capone. If Dave and his friends don't act fast, Capone will be running a criminal empire through all time.

But in an age filled with machine guns and murder, only criminals can fight criminals. So Dave travels up and down the timeline to stop Capone himslef — as the mastermind gangster White Ribbon Dave!


One of the Robert Silverberg's Time Tours series, based on the scenario of Up the Line.

The main character of the book is actually Jane Cromwell, friend of White Ribbon Dave, and a student at President J. Danforth Quayle Upper High School in Under Chicago in the year 2044. Yes, President Quayle. Anyway... this is a very clever time travel story, and it's some very tricky paradox-hopping the four teens use to catch Al Capone and get the stolen time belt from him.

Given that they're dealing with Chicago gangsters, a certain amount of violence can't be avoided, though it mostly happens off screen, so to speak. Dave's most R-rated (for violence, not sex, of course) adventures take place when he is away from Jane. The white ribbon of his nickname refers to the Temperance Pledge: he promised to never touch alcohol at the beginning of Prohibition, which conveniently removes a potential story element that would not be age-appropriate. The gangsters he meet sometimes remark upon the incongruity, but decide that you can be one of them without yourself being a drinker.

Silverberg wrote an amusing afterword in which he reveals that, as a serious and high-minded sort of guy he would of course visit artistic and cultural events if he could travel in time, not violent and salacious events like the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

But in planning time-travel itineraries I did make allowance for the tastes of people who are, well, less high-minded than I am. The kind of person, that is, who watches television five or six hours a day, taking in all the blood and gore and miscellaneous violence that—so they tell me—can be found all over the tube at every hour of the evening.

Ah, ever the iconoclast! And no stranger to sarcasm either.

Other resources:

[None on record]