Modernist, random sci-fi weirdness seemingly beamed in from the James Joyce/William S. Burroughs/Last Words of Dutch Schultz...

FROM THE YEAR INFINITY

A godlike being who is an interplanetary Earth ambassador and a time traveler recalls his manifold adventures saving the cosmos in this debut novel.

At age 4, the supernatural entity named Lewis must take on human mentality and winds up working in a Connecticut office. Even so, his impressive IQ (described as the fourth highest ever) draws the attention of the U.S. Navy and Colin Powell. Lewis not only serves in the Navy, but is also appointed an Earth representative for the United Planetary Federation, even though assassinations disrupt the meetings—and in the remote future (or past), civilizations rise and fall and threats are fought (or will be). Because Lewis marked his apotheosis by time-traveling to infinity, the fabric of reality has started to come undone. In fixing it, he meets Father Time (who really exists). Lewis embarks on epic exploits in his seven other immortal lifetimes. Viewers of TV’s Doctor Who may enjoy the way Feinland, a poet, manages to make this highly experimental piece bigger on the inside than the outside—just like the time machine/spacecraft TARDIS. In a slim 109 pages, he info-dumps terabytes of sci-fi jargon; alphanumerics and acronyms; author references/genre shoutouts (John Scalzi); invented words (“cataclypse”); poetry; complex, technical manual-style instructions; and metaphysical musings. It’s the epistle of a sort of god or demigod who, while born on Earth, is actually of Olympus lineage (though Jesus crosses his path, as do the devil, Buddha, and Sitting Bull). When the narrator speaks of seeing psychiatrists and getting a regimen of psychotropics, it begs the question of whether to interpret any of this literally or as the artfully described schizoid ravings of a lunatic savant off his meds: “From my office which was my enterprise, bridge command; sort from my helm..Or was enterprise is now plastic and the universally Messianic deed be done. Paradise lost be found, it’s heavenly response. Kingdom come and the last eternal link be round, that link being physically the mild core (plutonium 181) but not energy.”

Modernist, random sci-fi weirdness seemingly beamed in from the James Joyce/William S. Burroughs/Last Words of Dutch Schultz outer-asteroid field.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4327-9677-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Outskirts

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2018

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A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.

THE CHASE

From the Briar U series

In this opener to Kennedy’s (Hot & Bothered, 2017, etc.) Briar U romance series, two likable students keep getting their signals crossed.

Twenty-one-year-old Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis is expelled from Brown University in the middle of her junior year because she was responsible for a fire at the Kappa Beta Nu sorority house. Fortunately, her father has connections, so she’s now enrolled in Briar University, a prestigious institution about an hour outside Boston. But as she’s about to move into Briar’s Kappa Beta Nu house, she’s asked to leave by the sisters, who don’t want her besmirching their reputation. Her older brother Dean, who’s a former Briar hockey star, comes to her rescue; his buddies, who are still on the hockey team, need a fourth roommate for their townhouse. Three good-looking hockey jocks and a very rich, gorgeous fashion major under the same roof—what could go wrong? Summer becomes quickly infatuated with one of her housemates: Dean’s best friend Colin “Fitzy” Fitzgerald. There’s a definite spark between them, and they exchange smoldering looks, but the tattooed Fitzy, who’s also a video game reviewer and designer, is an introvert who prefers no “drama” in his life. Summer, however, is a charming extrovert, although she has an inferiority complex about her flagging scholastic acumen. As the story goes on, the pair seem to misinterpret each other’s every move. Meanwhile, another roommate and potential suitor, Hunter Davenport, is waiting in the wings. Kennedy’s novel is full of sex, alcohol, and college-level profanity, but it never becomes formulaic. The author adroitly employs snappy dialogue, steady pacing, and humor, as in a scene at a runway fashion show featuring Briar jocks parading in Summer-designed swimwear. The book also manages to touch on some serious subjects, including learning disabilities and abusive behavior by faculty members. Summer and Fitzy’s repeated stumbles propel the plot through engaging twists and turns; the characters trade off narrating the story, which gives each of them a chance to reveal some substance.

A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.    

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72482-199-7

Page Count: 372

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

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LAST ORDERS

Britisher Swift's sixth novel (Ever After, 1992 etc.) and fourth to appear here is a slow-to-start but then captivating tale of English working-class families in the four decades following WW II. When Jack Dodds dies suddenly of cancer after years of running a butcher shop in London, he leaves a strange request—namely, that his ashes be scattered off Margate pier into the sea. And who could better be suited to fulfill this wish than his three oldest drinking buddies—insurance man Ray, vegetable seller Lenny, and undertaker Vic, all of whom, like Jack himself, fought also as soldiers or sailors in the long-ago world war. Swift's narrative start, with its potential for the melodramatic, is developed instead with an economy, heart, and eye that release (through the characters' own voices, one after another) the story's humanity and depth instead of its schmaltz. The jokes may be weak and self- conscious when the three old friends meet at their local pub in the company of the urn holding Jack's ashes; but once the group gets on the road, in an expensive car driven by Jack's adoptive son, Vince, the story starts gradually to move forward, cohere, and deepen. The reader learns in time why it is that no wife comes along, why three marriages out of three broke apart, and why Vince always hated his stepfather Jack and still does—or so he thinks. There will be stories of innocent youth, suffering wives, early loves, lost daughters, secret affairs, and old antagonisms—including a fistfight over the dead on an English hilltop, and a strewing of Jack's ashes into roiling seawaves that will draw up feelings perhaps unexpectedly strong. Without affectation, Swift listens closely to the lives that are his subject and creates a songbook of voices part lyric, part epic, part working-class social realism—with, in all, the ring to it of the honest, human, and true.

Pub Date: April 5, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-41224-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996

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