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The Grandfather Paradox by Steven Burgauer

The Grandfather Paradox

by Steven Burgauer

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Steven Burgauer seamlessly takes the reader from searching for alien life in 2433 to finding an American ancestor in 1860. His main character is an Afghan engineer named Andu Nehrengel who develops a faster than light drive. Hearing of an opportunity to follow an undecipherable radio signal emanating from out of the solar system, he volunteers to lead the search.
Andu ultimately finds the planet he’s looking for and falls in love with a cloned earth woman living there. The couple then travel through time to earth to find one of Andu’s ancestors; a man who may hold the genetic key to curing a family illness that leads to early death among individuals in the Rengel family line.
Confusing as this very short summary sounds, Burgauer brilliantly brings it together in the logical and scientifically supported manner that characterizes his writing style. This is the second Burgauer book I’ve read. His attention to detail slows his stories down but feels right afterward. When you put his books down, you realize the necessity of the science; as it makes the story plausible.
The Grandfather Paradox is a book that keeps you reading. While the story reaches a natural end, there are enough unresolved actions to foster a sequel. ( )
  ronploude | Mar 9, 2017 |
Interesting and complex story. It is not just a fiction sci fi story. It is filled with scientific facts that explain in detail whatever is needed. And that is the problem I have with this book. For me, it is too much detail. There is not enough time spent on the characters and making them believable. I didn't feel any emotion for the characters. For me it was like reading a factual sci fi book. A lot of information here though. ( )
  somethingblanc | Mar 5, 2017 |
The Grandfather Paradox: a time-travel story

Marooned in the present, their only hope for the future lay in the past.

But first there was still the small matter of staying alive. The planet they were marooned on was crawling with bird-beasts, immense parrotlike carnivores that stood two meters tall, weighed upwards of fifty klogs, and had a giant scooped beak like a pelican. They normally swallowed their prey whole, though not before crushing them to death in their vise-like jaws.

Then there were the vipers — writhing snake-like creatures armed with dozens of sucker-bearing tentacles. They sprayed their victims with acid, then ate them while they were still alive.

But it got worse. Much worse . . .

Now, join Andu Nehrengel and his female clone companions on an intense voyage through time. First stop: the Civil War and the Battle of Shiloh, April 1862, one of the most horrendous land battles of all time. Meet Mark Twain when he is still a riverboat pilot. Journey with him north to Missouri when he joins the Confederacy.

Then it’s back to the future and on to Mars! ( )
  Steven_Burgauer | Jan 20, 2017 |
Showing 3 of 3
“ . . . a well-structured and exciting time travel story that I think will appeal greatly to fans of the genre . . . ” 5 STARS
— Awesome Indies, March 21, 2017

The Grandfather Paradox is a science fiction time travel adventure by Steven Burgauer that begins with a mutiny aboard an intergalactic space vessel and keeps the action ramped up throughout. Having read another one of Burgauer’s books, Nazi Saboteurs On The Bayou, I was floored by the author’s ability to jump so effortlessly into a different medium. Nazi Saboteurs is a historical fiction, and what really captured my interest throughout that book was the painstaking research that had been done to realistically and accurately bring that story to life. In this book, Burgauer has some history to work with in the beginning, but most of the first part of the book takes place in a world of the author’s own design, and yet he has no problem creating one that fits the futuristic narrative perfectly while still giving the reader some familiarity. This is a future in which time is counted in moons, distance in kloms and weight in klogs. This is a future that finds giant bird-like monsters occupying a comfortable position on the food chain. That is not to say that this is a future that is entirely alien, as we learn quickly that space mutinies work a lot like high-seas mutinies, that people still text and that the Mormon religion has survived. Later in the book, Burgauer gets to show off his historical fiction skills with visits to some famous historic eras, and fans of his other work will be pleased to see that his attention to detail hasn’t changed at all. The time taken to explain some of the theoretical aspects of the science presented is welcomed, although many of these digressions are very long and complex, which might be a turn-off to some.

The book revolves around Andu Nehrengel, who begins the book as the captain of the Tachyon before the previously-mentioned mutiny sends him flying through space aboard the tiny escape vessel, Drift On. The mutiny is part of a larger conspiracy involving Andu, and the motivations of those pulling the strings are not altogether clear at first. One of those string-pullers is Admiral Brigham Smith, whose fiefdom arose from the United States after the Great War from the remnants of the Mormon faith. The descriptions of the Great War and the events of the Space Age are particularly interesting. Another book based on that era would make a great sequel, if one were ever written. Andu quickly befriends three clones (The Primes) who have a link to Admiral Brigham Smith’s fiefdom that quickly becomes clear to Andu. Together, they work to discover the secrets that have been left to Andu by his grandparents, cure a dangerous virus he carries and harness the power of a weapon that can defeat an entire army. Without giving away too much of the plot, it is fantastic adventure that brings Andu into contact with Mark Twain, one of history’s greatest authors, and this is where Burgauer’s historical fiction skills can really shine. The ending is satisfying and leaves the option open for a potential sequel (or prequel), but all of the threads are wrapped up nicely, so the book stands perfectly well on its own.

The Grandfather Paradox is well written and edited, and the characters are fully developed and interesting. There are scenes of brutal action coupled with wit and humor, throughout. There are scenes that could’ve fit perfectly into Time Chasers or My Stepmother is an Alien, and in fact it was hard not to imagine The Primes as three Kim Bassingers, especially after how they are introduced. Overall, this is a well-structured and exciting time travel story that I think will appeal greatly to fans of the genre. It’s not a story for children, and the complexity of some explanations will likely be too much for some readers, but I think most others will have a wonderful time on their adventure with Andu.

5 stars.

Enjoy the video book trailer, then read the book:


Have fun with it, time-traveler!


“ . . . readers who seek more complex and changing scenarios and who read both sci-fi and time-travel literature will appreciate The Grandfather Paradox’s unusual complexity and appeal as it moves between three very different worlds . . . a delightful read with several unexpected twists and turns that takes the main theme of time travel and adds more to the story than most time-slip novels would offer.”
— Diane Donovan, Senior Editor, Midwest Book Reviews, March 2017

The Grandfather Paradox begins with mutiny aboard the spaceship Tachyon, where Captain Andu Nehrengel finds himself stranded on a dangerous planet filled with fierce beasts and strange women, alone for the first time in his world-hopping explorations.

Gone is the comfort of technology, and newly present are mysteries that eventually lead him on a time-travel odyssey back to 19th century Earth, accompanied by a beautiful companion charged with finding her own heritage and place in an unfamiliar land and time.

As the two confront a time before electricity and a place where forces are gathering to battle, each discovers a new challenge. For Andu, this involves the special uncertainties of affecting his own past and its possible impact on his future. It even means encountering Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain) and revealing information about his impossible circumstances.

His clone companion Alpha (newly renamed Margaret, for this world) faces different choices: love, commitment, and a journey that takes her far from the one man who knows who she really is.

Fans of time travel odysseys will find some different twists and facets to The Grandfather Paradox, which begins as a sci-fi space opera with a mutiny and challenges to survival on an alien world, evolves into a time-jumping leap into Earth’s past, and then centers around historical facts and flavors ranging from riverboat journeys to war. Where other time-travel novels would focus on the journey into the past and the efforts of characters to return to their futures, The Grandfather Paradox offers much more satisfying details about the history and challenges of the times and the conundrums revolving around romance, paradox, and lifestyle choices.

By mid-book, readers have moved far from the sci-fi alien world setting. While this might disappoint those who anticipated a predictable time-travel novel, readers who seek more complex and changing scenarios and who read both sci-fi and time-travel literature will appreciate The Grandfather Paradox’s unusual complexity and appeal as it moves between three very different worlds.

Readers who want more historical detail than a casual time-travel adventure usually provides, and who want their time-jumping action to begin with an interplanetary encounter, will find The Grandfather Paradox a delightful read with several unexpected twists and turns that takes the main theme of time travel and adds more to the story than most time-slip novels would offer.

“ . . . a rip-roaring science fiction adventure story that will resonate with SF readers on multiple levels, The Grandfather Paradox proves another highly enjoyable read from Burgauer and is strongly recommended.”
— BookViral, John Reese, February 6, 2017

A Highly Original Time Travelling Science Fiction Novel

As with any popular genre, science fiction has its share of clichés and anything relating to time travel is certainly one of them. Far too often novels with time travelling themes seem cobbled together from half-baked ideas with overly complicated plots so it’s always refreshing to come across something a little different. Burgauer always brings a certain zeal and element of social commentary to his novels and though The Grandfather Paradox is a step change from previous works this is still very much in evidence along with his ability to create a strong visual contrast between his futuristic characters and their incongruous settings. Particularly notable is the way in which he has weaved Mormon beliefs into the tapestry of his narrative and the consideration he has given as to how these beliefs might change in a future science fiction world setting. This is one of the softer elements, along with the inclusion of historical figures such as Mark Twain, that distinguishes Burgauer’s novel from harder Science Fiction and in doing so makes it highly relatable without becoming overly embroiled in the contradictions of time travel.

Simply telling a rip-roaring science fiction adventure story that will resonate with SF readers on multiple levels, The Grandfather Paradox proves another highly enjoyable read from Burgauer and is strongly recommended.


First, watch the short video book trailer, then read the review . . .


In this brilliant new science fiction adventure, veteran storyteller Steven Burgauer weaves an intricate narrative bristling with technological insights and historical detail.

And, along the way, he spins a good old-fashioned space opera about a stranded trio of female clones, a man with a mission rooted in the past, and a sweeping journey across time and space to put an end to a genetic curse.

In the opening pages of this tale, Captain Andu Nehrengel, the victim of a mutiny in deep space, finds his way to a nearby planet to discover giant, carnivorous parrot-beasts and — astonishingly — human footprints close by. He follows these footprints and winds up as the prisoner of three gorgeous female clones — the sole surviving members of an expeditionary band of Mormons dispatched from Earth more than two centuries earlier to establish a new colony.

Things progress in a satisfactory manner — at least for Nehrengel. The trio has never seen a man before and — well, let’s just say they are delighted to finally meet one. However, on a trip back to recover batteries from his downed ship, the bird-beasts attack and kill two of the triplets before Capt. Nehrengel can lay waste to the avian attackers.

Heartbroken and now alone, the surviving clone — named Prime Alpha — cozies up to Nehrengel and agrees to go with him on a trip back in time to try and change history.

But before you say: “Been there, done that on a million time-travel stories before,” hang on. This one delves deep into uncharted fictional waters for one of the most imaginative plot twists we’ve seen in years.

After acquiring a space-worthy ship, Nehrengel and his lovely new friend set their sights on a place Prime Alpha has never seen — the storied home world she has only read about: Terra. Soon the lovely blue-white ball is growing in their forward viewscreen — Planet Earth, circa 1861.

In Part 2 of this exciting adventure, Nehrengel and Prime Alpha — now going by the name of Margaret — find that they have miscalculated a key component of their journey and must adjust their plans to contact the object of their trip — Nehrengel’s great-great-granduncle Byron Matthewson — and correct a calamitous wrinkle in the fabric of time.

Along the way, they sail on a riverboat, discover that Alpha/Margaret can put her telepathic powers to profitable use in a friendly game of poker, meet an American writer of some fame — Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain — and become embroiled in the terrible conflict that was the American Civil War.

“It has been said that war is the continuation of politics by other means. This was unquestionably the case with the American War Between the States. Not for another five hundred years — not until the Great War — would more American blood be spilled for less reason.”

Some passages of this novel are purely poetic in their power to convey a sense of scene to the reader. Nowhere is this power more clearly on display than in the section in which Andu — playing the part of a Union soldier in search of his kinsman — gets caught up in the fray:

“Shiloh was a battle fought on a rough, wooded plateau. It was a battle fought up and down and along the ridges of deep gullies and sloping hills. One fought amid thick underbrush and heavy timber. A battle saved only at the eleventh hour by reinforcements. A battle so potent in its results it very likely changed the entire course of the war.”

Can they do it? Can they alter time to suit their purposes and survive all the adventures they encounter? Pack your things and tag along as Andu, Alpha/Margaret and the venerable Sam Clemens get themselves into one seemingly inextricable situation after another on the way to a surprising and satisfying conclusion.

Five stars to The Grandfather Paradox. It’s a saga worth savoring, from beginning to end.




— Publishers Daily Reviews, January 21, 2017
“an interesting and intriguing work . . . that will keep many reading straight through to the very end. Author Steven Burgauer clearly has an extremely creative mind, and a great ability with world creation, a skill that is paramount in the genre of science fiction. His writing is clear and his characters are vividly drawn.”
— Readers Favorite, January 26, 2017, Tracy A. Fischer

In an interesting and intriguing work by author Steven Burgauer, The Grandfather Paradox is a book that will keep many reading straight through to the very end. Follow the story of protagonist Andu Nehrengel as he careens from the 25th century through history, including to the American Civil War, where he and his band of female clone companions visit the horrendous Battle of Shiloh in April of 1862, meet Mark Twain, and join the Confederacy. When they return to Mars and the 25th century, Andu needs to prepare himself to fight off the ferocious bird-beasts ready to make them their next prey. Will what they learned in the past help them in their present? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

I enjoyed The Grandfather Paradox. Author Steven Burgauer clearly has an extremely creative mind, and a great ability with world creation, a skill that is paramount in the genre of science fiction. His writing is clear and his characters are vividly drawn. I certainly enjoyed his descriptions of the environments in the future as well as those that took place during the time of the American Civil War. While there were areas in the book where the author seems to wander a bit from the main story line, most readers who enjoy science fiction will find the overall read to be one that is well worth it.

I am pleased to be able to recommend this book, and will certainly look into reading more from author Steven Burgauer when I am able to do so!

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