When I read about “The Cusanus Game” by Wolfgang Jeschke in the October 2013 issue of Locus, I was somewhat amazed, because it’s originally a german book. Although I live in Germany, I have read nearly no science fiction books by german authors. I only remember having read some books by W.D. Rohr, but that must have been more than a decade ago.
As the review of “The Cusanus Game” was very positive — it even got into the Locus “2013 Recommended Reading List” —, I put it on my Amazon wish list and came around to reading it now.
This is a very slow book. It takes its time to unfold. And it never succeeded to make me sink into it. I’ve always stayed an outsider, reading about some interesting events. There are tons of ideas in this book and some rather gripping scenes, but between them the story flows so slowly that it’s bordering on being boring.
I prefer books which succeed to make me a part of them while I’m reading them. Books that make me read them for hours until I realize that suddenly day changed into night and the room around me could use some light. Books of this kind are rare, but “The Cusanus Game” is on the other side of the spectrum.
Nevertheless, reading it wasn’t a complete waste of time. Wolfgang Jeschke presents some interesting ideas about time travel and about how a Europe after a nuclear catastrophe could look like. It’s this aspect of the book that kept me reading it till the end.
Some people not liking it, complain that it repeats whole passages again and again. It’s true that it does. There is one part of the book that is repeated several times with some variations. Time travelers always mess around with events and this kind of repetition is a nice way to handle that aspect of time travel. I don’t buy books by the pound, so repetitions like this don’t bother me.
“The Cusanus Game” is an interesting, but by far not light, read.