A Trace of Memory by Keith Laumer

The kids have been at camp all week (we pick them up tomorrow) which means my husband and I went on our annual bike trip. This year, we added a day and managed 160 miles in three days, touring around Cleveland, OH. It was great fun, but exhausting, which explains why I haven’t had a chance to put up a review, even though I’ve been home for a few days. Finally caught up on chores and am back to posting book reviews. I read this book on my trip, so I thought it would be appropriate to start with.

Published: 1962 serialized in Amazing, and as a novel in 1963. I read it as part of Legions of Space from Baen Books, which includes several of Laumer’s short stories an another short novel. If you follow the link I provided, you can read the novel online for free.

Genre: science fiction

Length: 200 pages

Setting: Earth 1960s, and a second world

Interest: I brought my Kindle on my bike trip as an easy, light source of something to read. I was looking for something that wouldn’t be too mentally taxing (since your brain gets tired after biking 50+ miles) and decided the title of this one promised a lighter fare.

Summary: Legion is bumming around the U.S. doing odd jobs and knocking off liquor stores and the like for easy money. He gets picked up by the police and claims he was answering a newspaper ad from Foster, a local guy. Foster takes him to his house and tries to convince Legion to help him decode a journal and solve the mystery of his amnesia and lack of aging. Legion is Foster is crazy, until evil glowing orbs attack the house and Foster. Legion decides to help Foster. After lots of time and energy invested, they figure out the key is at Stonehenge. They travel to Stonehenge and accidentally call down a space shuttle, which they take up to an orbiting space ship. Turns out Foster is an alien, and he takes his ship back home. Legion is rewarded with some gadgets from the ship, which set him up financially, until the feds seek him out to explain all his new technology. Legion decides its time to follow Foster back to his home world. Turns out that world has changed significantly from Foster’s memories, and has reverted to a feudal society. With Legion’s help, Foster is able to regain his memories and fix his home world’s society.

Final thoughts: Just what I was looking for in a book on my trip. I didn’t have to think too hard to read the book. Older science fiction can be hit or miss for me, but this hits a solid “fine” – nothing too great but nothing too bad, either. It is a bit of an all boys club. The only female character I can think of was an older woman who helped out Legion whenever he got into trouble.

Title comes from: Foster’s people were essentially immortal, but every once in a while their bodies and minds had to reboot. They were able to copy a person’s mind before the Change and then re-imprint it on the body after it renewed itself. Foster had lost his copy of his memories after going through the Change, but Legion found it and gave it back to him.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 44/100 in my 100 Book Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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