From the acknowledgments:"The first person I want to thank is Michael Carroll, who read a time-travel short story I'd written and told me, 'I think this should be a novel.'"I strongly disagree. This would have been a fine short story, and Smith writes really well, with an acerbic sense of humor that is actually funny. But the relentless digressions and left-wing politics, jokes, and even Dick Cheney showing up with a gun and stalking the narrator into the past—well, it was all a bit too much. The first chapter boded well; it was sort of a plot mess after that.