A Wrinkle in Time (1963) – Madeleine L’Engle

Somehow this was a book that slipped though the cracks of my childhood, and it never found its way home from the school library with me. I figured I am long overdue to review this one, and considering it’s considered a classic of both the science fiction and fantasy genres it was time to dig in.

I quite enjoyed my time with this story, and will look forward to digging into the sequels L’Engle penned. The one thing I didn’t really care for was the subtle overtones of Christian theology. Sure you don’t get hit over the head with it like with C.S. Lewis, but it’s still there, and considering the diversity of the modern world, it feels a little dated in that regard.

Still, it’s a fairly engaging adventure as three children, the brilliant, but incredibly young (he’s 5) Charles Wallace, his 13 year old sister, Meg (the real hero of the piece) and her new friend Calvin set off in pursuit of Meg’s missing father, Mr. Murry, a scientist and theorist.

It seems he disappeared some time ago, but Meg doesn’t know where he really went until Charles Wallace introduces her to three beings, Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs Who. They reveal that they can take Meg and her companions to her father, but that they will have to tesser, a folding of space-time, a wrinkle in time if you will.

Finding themselves on a far distant world, the Mrs. Ws show them the Dark Thing, an evil presence moving throughout the universes taking over planets and controlling the population.

Wrinkle in time cover Collage

Preparing the children, the Ws take them to the planet Camazotz revealing that Meg’s father is there. With a warning not to become separated, not to let their pride drive them, to communicate and listen to their faults they come upon a civilisation controlled by the Dark Thing, known as IT (not to be confused with the the Stephen King creation of the same name – or maybe it should be…).

Will the trio be able to face down the Man with the Red Eyes, IT, and rescue their father? Will they ever see home again?

A Wrinkle in Time ends up being a very fast-paced tale and one that I felt ended too quickly. As fun as the characters are, and they are, I wanted to know more about IT and the darkness, but perhaps that will happen in the sequels.

It was an enjoyable read, and one that would have definitely fired my imagination as a child, if it had found root next to my beloved Trek and Wars. As it was, coming to it later in life, I liked it a lot, but it also brought up questions in my mind about the way tessering is done, the aliens they encounter, and the nature of IT.

But perhaps those things will all be explained and explored in the sequels.

Have you read it? Thoughts?

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