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As it turned out, it was late afternoon by the time they did start back for the teleport vehicle, and they didn’t notice the shiny eyes watching them from the darkness of the cave entrance. The girls did not hear the growl from the beast nor did they see the tongue lick greedily over long, sharp teeth as the monster within the cavern laid its head back on a huge paw. Perhaps it was thinking of its next victims.
Again, that night they dined on fish and what was left of the fruit, then drank from their water containers, and felt refreshed. Sitting outside, they marveled at the clear skies and bright stars in the heavens, but were momentarily frightened when a large meteor flashed through the atmosphere, lighting the sky like daylight.
“Do you think it landed?” Nancy wondered. “I didn’t see an explosion, if it did.”
“Something that big would have made a noise, I think.”
“It either burned up in the atmosphere,” Gail guessed. “Or bounced back into space.”
Somewhere in the grassy darkness, they heard the fierce roar of a predator, and sudden chills crawled up their backs.
“What was that?” Nancy asked.
“I don’t know.” Gail admitted. “But it was awfully close.”
“It sounded like it was mere yards away,” Barbara told them. “It might be a good idea if we went inside before something sneaks up on us from the surrounding darkness.”
“Last one in is a rotten pig,” Nancy yelped.
“I think the saying refers to a rotten egg.” Barbara told her. “But I get the point.”
“Who cares?” Nancy said, as she was the first one inside the TV.
“Whoever is last,” Gail laughed, “and ends up a rotten egg!”
Just as they shut the teleport vehicle, they saw a large body slinking in the shadows, only yards from the TV. Two long teeth glistened in the moonlight, and they heard a low roar of disappointment as the beast voiced its displeasure in trapping its latest prey.
“It was a Nimravid,” Gail said.
“One of those saber-toothed cats?”
“Yes, Barbara,” Gail told her. “Just like the one that fought those Hyaenodons for the deer earlier.”
“Maybe it’ll leave by morning,” Nancy hoped. “Don’t cats only prowl at night?”
But it wasn’t. All through the night, they heard the beast prowling around the TV, every now and then scratching at the vehicle, trying to reach them. They huddled closer together during the long night.
When the sun broke over the horizon, they didn’t see the cat-like monster at first and thought it had left, but as Barbara started opening the portal of the TV, a terrible smell assaulted their nostrils, and then they saw the beast’s head rise above the window to the rear, and quickly shut the teleport vehicle again.
“What’ll we do?” Barbara asked. “We can’t go out with that thing waiting to pounce on us!”
“All that we can do.” Gail told her. “Wait it out. And hope the beast returns to its den.”
“Can’t we leave yet?” Nancy asked. “What’s the status of the batteries?”
Looking at the control panel, Gail shook her head. “The batteries show just under full charge. I would rather wait for total power again before we attempt to teleport.”
Later that morning, a herd of Kryptoceras wandered nearby, and Barbara pointed them out to Gail: “There are more of the deer with four horns!”
A cow and her calf was grazing close by, and the saber-toothed Nimravid edged its way out to the herd, until it was within easy reach, then rushed for the calf. As it sunk its tusks into the young deer, the rest of the herd raced off, while the girls watched the predator dragging its prey towards the hill and its den.
Shortly afterwards, a pack of Hyaenodons trailed the scent of the recent kill to the teleport vehicle. Spotting the girls inside, they commenced attacking the TV with terrible violence!
Three Go Back was so exciting that I couldn’t put the book down. Tom Johnson’s novels are always great! In addition to the great story, I also like the information section that he put in the book, the one listing various creatures from the different time periods of the earth’s history. He listed a lot of them. The readers will learn a lot from reading the book, along with other books that he has written. Congratulations on a great book!
Reviewer: Neil Robbins
Seymouria Paleontology Group
Rating: 5 stars
THREE GO BACK by Tom Johnson
ISBN #978-0-578-05107-9 (Paperback)
Night To Dawn Books
Cost: $12.97, 133 Pages
In the 24th century, when travel is by teleportation vehicles, and the affluent live in bubbles floating thousands of feet above the ground, three young girls prepare for school as one presses the teleport button. At the exact same time, a massive magnetic storm from the sun strikes the Earth, disrupting the mechanism and turning their teleportation vehicle into a time machine.
Instead of instantly materializing at their school, the girls find themselves thousands of years in the past, at some point during the Ice Age. Time and time again, they attempt to return to the 24th century, only traveling farther back in Earth’s past with each press of the button. With the batteries draining from each jump, they are stranded in each epoch for short periods of time, in which they experience the danger and excitement of fantastic adventure in ancient surroundings.
Previous novels by this author have fascinated me, and I was not disappointed with this one. There is a wonderful mix of adventure and camaraderie among the characters as they discover their world’s past history first hand, and observe ancient life in the raw flesh. As they constantly go further back in time, the girls begin to fear they may never return to the world they once knew, and the reader turns each page in anticipation of some new thrill or danger.
This is a unique adventure for the Young Adult, with an educational content seldom found in stories for this age group. As I read this exciting tale, I discovered a thrill for an older generation of readers as well. Perhaps some of us do want to go back!
Terry Roberts, Reviewer (SF/Etc At A Glance)
2323 – Seventy-five years ago an asteroid unexpectedly hit Earth destroying most animal life and leaving vast areas barren of vegetation. People who can afford to do so lived in bubbles floating high in the air. Less fortunate survived in shelters on the ground. Professor Morrison still enjoyed his old-fashioned air sled. Its sleek silver design allowed for easy maneuver in between the gigantic buildings of the city. He increased his speed over the desert sands to the observatory. A new danger to Earth had been discovered. A huge magnetic storm is building on the Sun and its unpredictable effects would soon strike the planet. Professor Morrison sighed. There is nothing that can be done to avoid the disaster.
The favored mode of transportation now is the Teleportation Vehicle or TV. Gail’s older model TV is shaped like an egg with seating around the edge. Her best friends are Nancy and Barbara. They are inseparable since their parents are working on Mars following the discovery of water. That morning seemed like so many others. The three teens enter the TV and program the coordinates for their school; however, as Gail engages the controls, bright lights explode and their world begins t spin. The magnetic storm hits, turning the Teleportation Vehicle into a time machine.
The girls travel back in time thousands of years. When the TV stops turning, the girls are relieved that the TV is still in one piece, but they are unsure where they are. The cold temperature and the strange terrain is puzzling, particularly the white powdery substance. After giving the TV’s solar batteries time to recharge, the girls once again engage the controls hoping to return home. Sadly, they only travel farther back in time. Gail intends to be a science teacher and has focused her studies in paleontology. She puts her knowledge to work as they try to survive in hostile environments. They are faced with the challenges of finding food and water while avoiding dangerous animals. The girls learn their best weapons are their brains. After several additional jumps back in time, they meet a fellow traveler, Lamont, whose TV also suffered from the magnetic storm disruptions. The teenagers wonder if they will ever be able to return to their own time period.
Tom Johnson has always been interested in paleontology. He is a native of Seymour, TX, growing up near the Craddock Redbeds where Permian Period fossils have been discovered. Following time in the Army and a career in law enforcement, Tom and his wife have returned to Seymour and pursue his love of writing. He has more than fifty books in print both fiction and nonfiction. Most of Tom’s writings are science fiction and action adventure, but he also delves into western and mystery genres. THREE GOBACK is designed for Middle School readers and includes a detailed listing of various species thought to have existed in the various epochs described. Suspend reality, engage the imagination and jump “back to the future.”
Rating – 5 stars
The Haskell Star
April 5th, 2013