The Crossroads of Time

~ 1st Novel in the Crosstime Series by Andre Norton

(Series aka) Blake Walker


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The Crossroads of Time

 

 

Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~

Blake has a premonition that something dangerous is about to occur in his vicinity and, when it peaks, he is drawn to the corridor. After easing the door open, he finds a man holding a gun on another man who is unlocking the room across the way. Blake grabs the gunman's throat and yanks his head back, providing the other man with an opportunity to knock the gunman unconscious. The rescued man introduces himself as Kittson, an FBI agent. Soon, two of Kittson's associates come and take away the gunman. Shortly thereafter, someone identifying himself as a hotel security officer knocks on Blake's door, but Kittson tells Blake to say that he is going to check with the desk and the stranger goes away.
Since someone is obviously curious about the recent events, Kittson takes Blake with him when he leaves. They travel to a loft apartment atop a warehouse, where Blake finds three other men in addition to Mark Kittson. Apparently, these men are doing a great deal of reading, for piles of books, with numerous bookmarks, are all around the living room. One of the men, Jason Saxton, claims that the books are part of his hobby, the study of history, and turns the conversation to the subject of decision points in history causing diverging timelines. Later, Blake is awakened to find Kittson injured and being helped into another bedroom.
The next day that bedroom is locked and then someone or something comes up the elevator to the outside door and sends a mental presence into the room, attacking Blake. Although Blake holds out for a while, he collapses after the attacking presence is scared off by the returning agents. When the others learn of the intrusion, they prepare to more their operation elsewhere. However, they tell Blake a little more about the crosstime secret and their mission to catch a power-mad renegade. Blake learns just enough to pretend to be totally ignorant of the true mission when he later falls into the hands of the opposition.

 

Write-up from the ACE paperback edition ~

Everything gets a second chance! That’s the shattering discovery Blake Walker made when he learned that there are innumerable parallel worlds – on each of which history has taken a different alternate path!
Crossroads of Time is a brilliant science-fiction novel of how Blake crossed from Alternate Earth to Alternate Earth in a search for the means to save his own home world from disaster!

 

Write-up from the back of 1970’s ACE paperback edition ~

When Blake walker foiled a murder attempt on one of his neighbors he somehow found himself drafted into a fantastic chase for a dangerous criminal – Through the almost infinite levels of alternate Earths.
It was a chase would take him through level upon level of unknown dangers in search of a ruthless genius who had found our Earth the perfect place to begin his series of conquests.
If Walker succeeded, he would save Earth. If he failed, his homeworld could be enslaved, and he could be trapped on an alien Earth!

 

Write-up from the 1980’s ACE paperback edition ~

Blake Walker has never really known who he is, or where his strange flashes of intuition come from. But when they help him to foil a murder, he finds himself drafted in a frantic chase for a criminal genius – A chase that will lead him through almost infinite levels of alternate realities.
The stakes are high. For if he succeeds, he saves Earth from the ultimate desecration. If he fails, Earth is lost… and he is lost to Earth forever, stranded at The Crossroads of Time

 

Write-up from the dust jacket of the Gregg Press edition ~

In Crossroads of Time, the forth volume of the Space Adventure Novels of Andre Norton, college student Blake Walker is plucked out of contemporary America and flung into an incredible series of adventures sweeping back and forth across time. He intervenes to prevent the murder of a Time Patrolman, unaware that the technique he is using is not of this world - with disastrous results. This draws Blake into a deadly struggle between the Time Patrolmen and Pranj, their psychotic and power-mad enemy. The struggle involves a multi-dimensional chase through fantastic alternate worlds in pursuit of Pranj, who must be stopped before he can take over several of these worlds, including Blake Walker's!

 

Write-ups from fans ~

After the deaths of his foster father and mother, Blake Walker (the "alley baby" subsequently adopted by the policeman who found him) goes to New York to attend an art college.  While overnighting at a hotel, he feels an imminent sense of danger; when the feeling becomes to strong, he opens his hotel room door just in time to assist one of the other patrons from being mugged at gunpoint.  The "muggee" shows Blake some identification that would seem to be that of the FBI.  While Blake and the "Federal Agent" await the Fed's men to take away the prisoner, someone, who says he's the hotel detective, comes to Blake's door.  To the "Federal Agent" , that means his opponents have associated Blake with him, and Blake is now in danger.  So when the rest of his men arrive, they insist Blake go along with them.  It turns out the "Feds" are intertemporal police searching for a renegade from their own time, and that Blake himself must be a refugee from still another timeline, because he has a natural psychic block that does not allow them to take him over and erase his memories to leave him in safety to resume his own life.  During a snow storm, Blake leaves the safe house on an errand to the nearby drug store, but gets captured by the renegade's men and swept into a series of crosstime adventures, which he just barely escapes from, arriving back in a New York radically changed by Hitler's win of the Battle of Britain.  The good guys catch up with him then, and manage to defeat the renegade with the unwitting assistance of the New York freedom fighters. ~ SL

 

There are many stories by many authors about alternate worlds side by side like pages in a book, where new timelines were formed by decisions and events{example: a man turns right instead of left at an intersection and a cure for a plague is never discovered and ninety percent of human life is wiped out. Or if only Germany and Japan got the A-Bomb and went on to rule the world.
This is one of the earliest stories with this plot device. I cannot recall any earlier, but that is just me and my faulty memory. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
As with many of Andre's protagonists, Blake Walker was alone, an abandoned baby of unknown origin found in an alley by patrolman Blake and Sgt. Walker, hence the name. Forward twenty years....
As usual, Blake is in the wrong place at the wrong time (or was it the right place at the right time?) and he saves the life of an agent in a secret group that monitors and patrols the alternate worlds. Blake discovers that he has some psi powers but the agents are more powerful and well trained in the use of their gifts. And then the "fun" starts. This group is chasing down a powerful psi criminal mastermind who is looking through all the levels (alternate worlds) to find one where he can set himself up as ruler of the world. Blake gets recruited by one side and kidnapped by the other and is caught in a cosmic tug-of-war. Good Book. ~ PG

 

1956’s Crossroads of Time is in many respects another straightforward, serviceable little adventure novel that I would have found unremarkable except for an interesting choice of protagonist and a date of publication that makes the previous even more interesting. These two points cause me to stroke my beard in a thoughtful manner, which I believe makes me look intellectual rather than itchy.
When policemen Dan Walker and Harvey Blake found an abandoned baby boy in an alley, it was Dan Walker and his wife Molly Walker who took the child, now named Blake Walker, for their own. Decades later…. ~ JN
Read More…

 

Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles about Andre

1956 by The Editor in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September
1956 by P. Schuyler Miller in Astounding Science Fiction, November, reprinted in:
(UK) Astounding Science Fiction, March 1957
1956 by Anthony Boucher in Fantasy and Science fiction, September
1976 by Aidan Warlow in Times Literary Supplement, July 16
1979 by Frederick Patten in Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review, February, reprinted in: (2009) Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review: The Complete Series, Vol. I, No. 1-Vol. II, No. 13, January 1979-February 1980 also in Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review: The Complete Series, 1979-1980
2015 by James Nicoll, January, 10

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1956) ACE Double Book containing The Crossroads of Time and Mankind on the Run by Gordon R. Dickson ~ Published by ACE, PB, # D-164, $0.35, 169+151pg ~ cover of The Crossroads of Time by Schultz ~ cover of Mankind on the Run by Edward Valigursky
  • (1962) Published by ACE, PB, # D-546, $0.35, 169pg ~ # F-391 1966 $0.40 169pg, covers by Schultz ~ #12311 1969 $0.60 190pg, #12312 1974 $1.25 190pg cover by unknown, ~ #12313 1978 $1.75 242pg, #12314 1980 $1.95 242pg, #12315 1982 $2.25 242pg, #12316 1985 $2.50 242pg covers by Dean Ellis
  • (1976) Published by Gollancz, HC, 0-575-02077-6, £2.75, 192pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Tony Roberts {Red Paper Boards}
  • (1978) Published by Gregg Press, HC, 0-8398-2418-1, $7.95, 190pg ~ Space Adventure Novels of Andre Norton 4 ~ Dust Jacket by Jack Gaughan, Frontmatter by Elizabeth R. Cooke {Binding: 5.625 x 8.25 - Brown Cloth Boards with Gold Lettering (Publisher states the color is Burnt Orange), Orange Endpapers}
  • Crosstime (2008) Published by BAEN, HC, 1-416-55529-3, $23.00 ~ cover by Stephen Hickman ~ Omnibus containing The Crossroads of Time (1962) & Quest Crosstime (1965)

 

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Non-English Editions ~

  • (1958) Published in Hamburg, Germany; by Alfons Semrau, Abenteuer Im Weltenraum, Band 9 ~ German title Am Kreuzweg der Zeit ~~ mistakenly credited by the publisher to Philip K. Dick
  •  (1976) Published in Berlin, Germany; by Ullstein, 35-480-3203-6, Ullstein 2000, Ullstein-Bücher 3203, 126pg ~ translation by Ingrid Rothmann ~ German title Kreuzweg der Zeit
  • (1962) Published in Barcelona, Italy ~ Italian title Las Encrucijadas Del Tiempo
  • (1970) Published in Piacenza, Italy; by Casa Editrice La Tribuna, Galassia,  n. 110, 148pg ~ translation by Filippo Osvaldini ~ illustrated by Ferruccio Alessandri ~ Italian title I corridoi del tempo ~ Published with several short stories/articles.
  • (1974) Published in Piacenza, Italy; by Casa Editrice La Tribuna, Bigalassia n. 17 ~ translation by Filippo Ovaldini ~ Italian title I corridoi del tempo
  • (1996) Published in Poznań, Poland; by Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 83-861-3819-X, 202pg ~ translation by Piotr Kuś (Peter Schmidt) ~ cover by Agentur Luserke ~ Polish title Skrzyżowania światów [Crossing worlds]
  • (2000) Published in Warsaw, Poland; by Amber, 83-724-5367-5, 160pg ~ translation by Maciej Pintara ~ cover by Tony Roberts ~ Polish title Rozdroża Czasu [Crossroads of Time]
  • (1993) Combined with "Merlin's Mirror", "Yurth Burden", "Quest Crosstime" and "Operation Time Search" ~ Published in Chisinau, by EYA, 5-868-92068-6, HC, 608pg ~ cover by V. Kirchev ~ Russian title Зеркало Мерлина [Merlin's Mirror]
  • (1995) Combined with "Quest Crosstime" ~ Published in Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14044-5, HC, 384pg ~ translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ cover by D. Avvakumov ~ Russian title Поиск на перекрестке времен [Quest Crosstime]
  • (2001) Combined with "Operation Time Search" and "Star Gate" ~ Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-040-07452-2, HC, 512pg ~ translation by Dimtry Arseniev ~ cover by W. Nartova ~ Russian title Звездные врата [Star Gate]
  • (2002) Combined with "Operation Time Search" ~ Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-01010-6, PB, 384pg ~ translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ cover by W. Nartova ~ Russian title Перекрестки времени [Crossroads of Time]
  • (2010) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 978-5-699-44497-7, PB, 320pg ~ translation by Dimtry Arseniev ~ cover by W. Nartova ~ Russian title Перекрестки времени [Crossroads of Time]
  • (2014) Combined with “Quest Crosstime” & “Operation of Time Search”, Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699743988, HC, 672pgs ~ translation by D. Arseniev ~ cover art by A. Dubovik ~ series: All Norton ~ Russian title Перекрестки времени [Crossroads of Time]

 

View the original contract

View the 1975 Gollanze contract

View the 1977 Gregg Press contract

View the 1986 ACE contract

View the 1975 German contract

View the 2004 Russian contract 

 

 

 

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