At first, I was expecting a novel with a beginning, conflict, ending, and well developed, engaging characters. Then I realized it was more of a fictional documentary of sorts. As such, even though the idea of an “Instantaneous Transport Portal” is not new, it was fascinating. The ITP, named FLIT is, in essence, the main character. We get to know it more than any human character.
In the beginning, we see FLIT repressed due to concerns about how such a production could devour all other forms of transportation, from trucks to cars, to planes. Then it is rediscovered by heartless capitalists whose drive to make billions rides roughshod over the masses who will face unemployment if FLIT is allowed to flourish.
And does FLIT ever flourish. From small distances to transatlantic destinations, it grows and travels through the world, devouring all other forms of transportation, and cleansing the atmosphere of years of built-up pollution. It is built in various sizes, ranging from large enough to transport massive freight trucks to smaller sizes for personal use by those who can afford it. What starts as “interesting” becomes mind-boggling and yes, frightening. Although I can appreciate the convenience – who wouldn’t want to “flit” to Paris or Rome in minutes instead of sitting on the plane for hours – the power of this thing was a little disturbing, like some monster taking over the world.
What was most interesting to me was the time factor. It seemed that time was being cheated, or sped up by using these things. But time reasserted itself in the form of jet lag, despite the four-minute journeys, and early aging – which makes sense, right? If you speed up time, you also speed up aging.
The novelty wears off by the last quarter of the book. The author goes on about FLIT’s conquests to the point where it starts to drag. The little excerpts on where the characters were at the end also did nothing for me. They were not developed enough to care about, and were eclipsed by the main character, the ITP.
Overall, though, a very interesting read that I think could have ended sooner.