Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by John Teton

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-73453-131-2
Publisher: Scarlet Tanager Books

Two twins unlock the secret of their mysterious neighbor—who takes them on an interstellar thrill ride—in this SF novel.

Zeb and Marlie Morell were born eight minutes apart, and, as twins, they share a lot, including their obsession with an enigmatic older neighbor in their Northern California town. They don’t know his name, but they’ve dubbed him Geezer. He’s dug a moat around his house, making his property into a small island that the twins want to explore: “Geezer occupied a curious sector of their minds, a cerebral equivalent of the antigravity Mystery Spot promoted to tourists down near Santa Cruz.” They find their way in, but Geezer runs them off, so they turn to Plan B. A solar eclipse is coming, best viewed from Antarctica, and Geezer will be there with his strange new invention. Pooling their money, the twins fly to Argentina, hoping to hitch a ride south on a boat from Tierra del Fuego. But plans change when a giant aurorabird scoops them up and takes them on a ride to the sun, whose internal tunnels host indescribably vast wonders. It is an intense adventure, but Zeb and Marlie must find a way to convince the reluctant Geezer to help them get back home. Teton’s larger-than-life novel has a terrific premise, full of mystery, humor, and Tesla-inspired gadgets that make the journey into space colorful and exciting. The action scenes have creations of astonishing scale and scope and are described vividly with mind-bending zeal. It all takes a while to get started, though, and some of the prose can be dense and technical. Outside of the action scenes, there is a pervasive slowness to the narrative, and oftentimes the story can get lost in the enormous amount of detail.

A high-powered, frenetic SF tale that offers breathless action but some overwritten passages.