Eddie Royce is a hack science fiction writer living in 1940 Los Angeles. He’s found success by turning Shakespeare plots into space operas, but he runs into trouble when he discovers that the most famous science fiction writer of the era is really a time traveling charlatan. When the older writer disappears, Eddie and the missing writer’s beautiful daughter get caught up in the mystery. Before long, the pair find themselves in a situation stranger than any pulp fiction plot and must fight to save themselves from the powerful forces that are after the secret of time travel.
Here is an excerpt from Take Back Tomorrow:
“So one night in 1925, there’s a knock on the door. Roxanne’s mother was long gone by this point. I had set us up in a little bungalow in the Hollywood Hills. Wasn’t like it is now up there—lots of little spots hidden up in ravines and such, not so high rent. Woo had come by once with a little delivery right after my wife left me and Roxanne. Must have had a hell of a good memory because a couple years later, there he is on my front porch—at two o’clock in the morning with a bullet wound in his side. He comes staggering in when I open the door, bleeding all over the floor. He’s mumbling in Chinese, completely incoherent it seemed. I mean to say, I don’t speak Chinese, but it seemed like he was raving, repeating the same phrases and looking around the room like he saw things that weren’t there. About the only phrase in English he said that I could make out was ‘Dragon’s Tears.’ And not long after, he’s stone cold dead.
“If it had been five years earlier, I would have known what to do, who to call. But as it was, I was so out of that life that I didn’t have the first idea of who he dealt with in Chinatown anymore. Making the wrong call to one of his enemies, maybe even the one who had shot him up so good, could easily have meant the same treatment for myself and probably worse for Roxanne. So after Woo’d been dead for an hour or so and me just sitting there staring at him, I went through his pockets, wrapped him up in the rug he’d bled all over, and dragged him out the back door and onto the floor in the back of my Ford. I bundled Roxanne up out of bed, tossed her in the car, and drove up Angeles Crest. Dumped him off the side of the road up there. Far as I know the body’s still there.”
“Did you ever find out who did it?” Eddie asked.
Blackwood shook his head. “No. At the time, I figured he was probably making a deal somewhere in my neighborhood, and it went bad. I figured soon enough it was best not to know. Regardless, his dying on me that way changed my life.”
“Well, for starters, he had two thousand dollars on him. That was two thousand more than I had had that evening and two thousand more than I knew what to do with for a while. Ended up keeping Roxanne and me afloat for quite some time. Let me off the hook where the hack work was concerned, let me follow my muse.”
“That’s how you wrote your first book?”
“Not exactly. But it led me to inspiration. See, Woo had that two thousand and he also had a little vial in his breast pocket. And that’s what made all the difference.”