Review – Spring Thaw
A Spring Thaw is unpredictable and can often feel like one step forward, two steps back.
The story, however, was originally a part of a wholly original time travel series. In both versions, a time traveler is tasked with ending Prague Spring, because true historical figure Drahomír Kolder is being blackmailed. But in the original story, Milena Chelenska was the time traveler, and she married Elijah Kohak before departing, an act that breaks both of their hearts. But the altered story diverged quite a bit.
In the story as it was adapted for the Times of the HG Wells series, Rick and Sheilagh are winding down. They agree to not see each other anymore; it’s just too strange.
A free man again, Rick is tasked with ending Prague Spring, as the Temporal Integrity Commission‘s enemies have altered history too much, and communism falls a lot earlier than it should have. The negative consequences of this include no Ronald Reagan-inspired SDI, and so there is no global satellite system in place in the 1980s. This delays the development of the Internet, which delays the development of all manner of innovations, including Warp Drive.
As Rick flies to 1968, he does not realize that the fuel line has been cut on his time ship; he’ll need to obtain materials in order to fix it. After beaming down to Prague, his luck seems disastrous, as he is hit by a car and dragged, left for dead by a hit and run driver. Milena is outside walking with her sister, Noemy, as they are going to the farmers’ market.
Rick is at least a little big luckier, as Milena is a doctor. Except she’s a gynecologist. Never mind that – at least she and Noemy get him out of the street. But once he’s on her examining table and she’s ready to start x-raying him, she sees his wounds starting to close up, and this astounds her. She immediately realizes, due to the presence of his stem cell growth accelerator, that something very strange is going on. She suspects he’s not human. She’s partly right.
Rick’s luck continues improving, until he realizes just how special she really is. And that he can never have her.
The music is of course from 1968, except for Rick and Milena’s theme, which is Jim Croce‘s Time in a Bottle. Further, this is the only one of the HG Wells stories that does not have a title taken from a lyric. Instead, the references are to Prague Spring and to Richard and Milena’s own thawings.
- Manfred Mann’s The Mighty Quinn
- The Box Tops’ Cry like a Baby
- The Rascals’ People Got to be Free
- Jeannie C. Riley’s Harper Valley PTA
- Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle
- The Turtles’ Elenore
- The Bee Gees’ Message to You
The story is Rated T.
I had originally really loved the Milena character, but had no good place to put her. Once the story was started, though, it flowed smoothly. The HG Wells stories had been a bit of a hard slog in the beginning, as I knew I wanted this story to be the centerpiece and I was itching to get here. By the time I got here, it was all I had hoped for and more, and the transcription of the story was close to taking dictation, which is my favorite way to write.
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