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I'm trying to remember a science fiction novel I read as a child. I can remember the following details:

  • The protagonist was a man had a Greek name, but was not ethnically Greek or even from Greece. IIRC in his timeline Grecian culture had taken over the world.
  • The man was an agent of some kind.
  • The agency had "vehicles" that could traverse timelines.
    • Adjacent timelines were similar, but with slight differences.
    • The vehicles could not move in space, only across timelines, though later in the story they developed vehicles which could move through both space and across timelines. These upgraded vehicles had a special name that I can't remember.
  • The agency works with a species of aliens which can move across timelines on their own (their biology allows it).
    • Their native timeline had a special designation. It was "Timeline 000" or something.
    • These aliens later turn out to be antagonists.

Some additional minor story details that I can remember:

  • At one point the man's communicator was either broken or malfunctioning, so he has to find or construct an AM radio to make contact with his handlers. The story was specific about AM radio.
  • At one point the man and his female companion (IIRC they were not romantically involved at this time) were sent to a paradise planet called "Eden" and forbidden from wearing clothes there.
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    In roughly which year did you read this and when do you think it might've been published? Also, do you recall anything about the cover? Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 18:39
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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. What year was this? We don't know how old you are, so we don't know how many years ago you were "a child." Was this a paperback, hard cover, or e-book?
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 18:40
  • The first part sounds a lot like Piper's Paratime, but the last part not. Carr latterly wrote a bunch of short stories set in the Paratime universe, one of the perhaps?
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 18:45
  • I don't know when it was published, but I suspect it is much older than I am. I was born in 1994. Mid-20th century, perhaps. I think it was a paperback. I probably read it around 2006.
    – Zac Crites
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 21:49

2 Answers 2

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It's The Timeliner Trilogy, by Richard C Meredith

Science-fiction series by Richard C Meredith, about The Multiverse, consisting of At The Narrow Passage; No Brother, No Friend and Vestiges of Time.

Eric Mathers is a Timeliner, an employee of an alien species called the Krith, who have developed the ability to "skud" between timelines. Using this ability, the Krith have built a substanstial cross-line empire, and developed technology to duplicate their natural ability. Using skudders and their human contractors, the Krith are trying to stabilize as many Timelines as possible so as to fight off a distant invasion.

Of course, all is not as it seems, and Mathers rebels against his employers about halfway through the first novel. He spends the remaining two either running from the Krith or just trying to survive.

If I recall correctly, "Eric Mathers" is a different name he takes on because his real Greek one is too cumbersome.

The first book, At The Narrow Passage, was published in 1973.

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    I finally remembered the keyword "skud". Google would not give me any useful results without it.
    – Zac Crites
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 21:59
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    Glad you found it. Please don't forget to mark your answer as accepted, although, as this is a self-answer, you'll need to wait until 48 hours after the question was posted before the site will let you do that. Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 22:05
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    You do recall correctly re: "Eric Mathers"; his birth name, on a timeline where the Greeks managed to become totally dominant, was "Thimbron Parnassos", and he was born in "North Ionia", known to us as Britain. Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 11:08
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I'm almost sure this "time patrol" variation is not what you are looking for but it is so close that it deserves mention: Paul Anderson's Time Patrol novellas and stories.

  • Greek name: While the characters often venture into ancient times none of them is actually Greek.
  • Agent: Check.
  • Vehicle: Check.
  • Timelines: There aren't really parallel timelines but the future is malleable and does change.
  • Species of aliens: There is a race of human descendants in the future which guides the Time Patrol to protect the past which produces themselves. I don't think they can biologically travel though.
  • The time travel devices of the Time Patrol can very well move through space

None of your story details occurs, I think.

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  • Note that the OP answered their own question after remembering the keyword "skud" so that's definitely the correct answer. If they are interested in similar stories though, there is also the Paratime series which is about a sort of parallel universe police force, it may have influenced Poul Anderson's time patrol since it predates it by a few years (also see the answers and comments here for more on the history of the "time police" concept)
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 17:11
  • @Hypnosifl I didn't notice that it was a self-answer! I really like these identification questions. They often inspire me. Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 22:21

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