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This is driving me crazy. I read it in the early 2000s and vaguely remember it was a young adult novel.

It's about a family who travel forward in time in ever-increasing intervals, and along the way they meet (among other people) a golden-skinned robot/human/thing called Adam. The tone is fairly mysterious and eventually dark, as they realise there are no humans left. At the end I think there's a scene with talking animals encased in giant bubbles?

I remember the technological descriptions were pretty vivid, especially a car made out of nanotechnology that broke down into base materials when someone crashed it into a garage.

Hope someone can help, I've been searching for ages!

  • Do you recall any other names? – Jeff Jan 7 '14 at 21:24
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The Hunger of Time by Damien Broderick & Rory Barnes - Book Cover

The Hunger of Time by Damien Broderick & Rory Barnes

It's an expanded (and apparently more grown-up) version of their earlier title "Stuck in Fast Forward". You've mentioned a few plot points, I'd like to take up the last one.

In the book, the family have just travelled 200-odd years into the future and landed in their garage, right in front of a partially squashed Rolls Royce. As they're inspecting their new/familiar surroundings, Grace (the Mom) notices something strange...

Very calmly, Grace said, ‘Hugh, look at what’s happening to that car.’

Hugh misunderstood. ‘Darling, it was damaged when the vacuole came into phase with the normative four-space continuum. The fractal surface of the expanding constriction pressed against the—’

‘I know all that,’ Mom said, not batting an eyelid. ‘Have another look at the car.’

We all took a closer look. We all jumped back. We all gasped simultaneously.

‘It’s melting,’ Grace said.

The bodywork, the heavy steel wheels and rubber tires, the undercarriage slumped, sagging like softened toffee dropped on a hot plate. My own jaw sagged. I held out my hand tentatively, but no excess heat was coming off the collapsing car...

Hugh believes he knows what's happenning, so when Grace asks him...

‘Well, I can’t be certain, darling, but I suspect that this is due to nanotechnology. The vehicle is being broken down to its constituents at the molecular level.’

Need more info? You can preview the book here, here or on this page :-)

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Your question reminds me, in some aspects, of Vernor Vinge's Marooned in Realtime, in which a technology called bobbles is used to encase a region in a stasis field, so that it can be used to freeze yourself and emerge years later, in effect travelling forward in time. There are quite a few of these forward time travelers, mostly rich and decadent, while the rest of the world has been destroyed.

I read it many years ago, so I don't remember all the details and can't recall any nanotech car or talking animals, but I might be misremembering. Do you remember any murders there? The main story threads of the novel are (according to Wiki):

The novel thus deals with the investigation of two parallel locked room mysteries: the murder of **** *****, and the "locked planet" mystery of the disappearance of the human race.

  • Having read this recently, this was my first thought, but the Adam thing doesn't match at all. There also was no car made out of nanotechnology, and the descriptions of tech were extremely vague. – Paul Feb 2 '14 at 2:27

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