I enjoy reading Sci-Fi. I enjoy reading history. So when my fave sci-fi site io9.com ran a fun little article on the impact time travelers would have including some comments on specific titles I decided to hit up the King County Library system for one of the items mentioned: L. Sprague de Camp’s “Lest Darkness Fall”, first published in 1949.   

It was a brisk read, centered around quite a fun little premise. An unhappy archeologist gets transported back to Rome just before the fall of the Visigoth’s in 535 AD. He uses his knowledge to nudge the timeline in his desired direction… most amusingly moving the capitol from Ravenna to Florence 😉

What I thought of the most while reading it though were comparing his inventions with ones I might like to – and importantly would be able to – introduce to the past. I thought it was amusing that the hero starts with distilling brandy. I would be lost trying to make a still, I’d probably blind my customers guinea pigs.

There were a few anachronistic tones to the story - a product of being written in 1939/1949 I’m sure – specifically his attitude towards women in the story.

It made a nice light dip into a world I was already exploring in Peter Heather’s excellent The Fall of the Roman Empire.

I have also read one of the other titles mentioned, Harry Turtledove’s “The Guns of the South”. It wasn’t good unfortunately. Ah well, at least they had a photo of “The Time Tunnel” at the top 😄.