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The Iron Bridge by David Morse
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The Iron Bridge

by David Morse

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Maggie travels back in time from her troubled world in 2043 to 1773 England oat the start of the beginning of the Industrial Age. She is attempting to influence the use of technology by sabotaging the building of the first iron bridge (over the Severn River at Coalbrookdale) in the hope of containing some of the worst problems in the future. I love her excuse that she gives for not knowing so many of the simple things necessary for life without "modern" conveniences, "I'm an American." This book draws heavily on the Quaker heritage of the mill owners and their struggles with conscience--to build cannons, to use and/or trade slaves, etc.--although it is not a preachy book. Although shelved in the library's Science Fiction section, it is more of a historical novel that starts with a bit of time travel.
  datwood | Jan 4, 2009 |
A very unusually time travel story regarding a pivotal technological milestone...good characterization ( )
  stevetempo | Jan 15, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0151002592, Hardcover)

An exciting debut novel, David Morse's The Iron Bridge bears more than a passing resemblance in premise to Connie Willis's award-winning time-travel tales, Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog. The common idea: a young, slightly confused person tries to get a seemingly simple task accomplished in the distant past, only to find out that life then was easily as chaotic as life now, and that her task won't be so simple. Morse departs from Willis's path in that his heroine, Maggie Foster, is beamed back to 1773 England from a decidedly dystopian future in which rampant industrial growth has resulted in ecological collapse. If Maggie can spoil the success of the world's first iron bridge, then the industrial revolution--and humanity's ecological record of shame--may be prevented. The Iron Bridge is melancholy and thoughtful, focusing on the worries and passions of Maggie and the ironworking Quaker family she becomes attached to. Maggie's dilemma is tough--everyone wants the bridge built well, including the people she comes to care about. If she fails, the course of history will lead to ecological disaster; if she succeeds, her loved ones in the future will cease to have existed, and her adopted family will be ruined. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:52 -0400)

A woman from the 21st century travels back in time to 1773 England to cause the collapse of a bridge under construction. An ecological commune in the U.S. hopes this will derail the Industrial Revolution, thus saving the world from its consequences.

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