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Assassin Rabbit from the Dawn of Time

Seattle slackers accidentally gain superhuman powers of perception and space-time manipulation, causing an entirely different group of superior beings to wonder what exactly to do about them.
Taylor’s debut may sport a gonzo title, but it’s more like the sophisticated sci-fi satire of Kurt Vonnegut, mildly tweaked for Pacific Northwest sensibilities. Outside Seattle, five young college dropouts enjoy the slacker lifestyle—smoking dope, fiddling with computers, and working barista-level jobs. One of them, Uli, is a rogue biochemical scientist with a habit of experimenting secretly on his friends. His latest experiment—lacing their marijuana with a fancy offshoot of Ecstasy as a way to grow fresh brain tissue—goes too well. Suddenly, their brain waves amped enough to create radio interference, Tony, Kaitlin, Astrid, and Alan possess superhuman powers of perception, telepathy, bilocation, materialization, and dematerialization—things that might be considered dangerous if these youths were more than latter-day hippies with short attention spans and no ambition. Nevertheless, they catch the attention of virtually immortal, normally invisible cosmic entities, the ones who inspire legends of angels, leprechauns, faeries, tricksters, and Native American spirit-animals (including the assassin rabbit). These various supernatural, virtually immortal beings meet with the “new people” (as they call the newly gifted slackers)—whose godlike powers may just exceed their own—to assess what kind of threat the kids pose. Meanwhile, in addition to numerous (albeit never belabored) sci-fi inside jokes and Starfleet references, Taylor throws the bewildered reader several semiconnected plotlines: a mildly Ray Bradbury/Jack Finney–esque paranormal traveling circus; an insidious computer virus in the process of taking over and controlling all data technology; and illegal dumping of industrial waste (by one of the god-kids’ parents) that comes alive and evolves into a golemlike “purple dirt yeti” creature arbitrarily named Mike. By the end, most of these story threads are left dangling, suggesting either that Taylor has a planned sequel up his Seahawks-jersey sleeve or that Washington state slacker types, even granted possibly limitless superpowers, would rather just go surfing, have sex, and chill.
Postmodern ironic gods must be crazy—or just a bit lazy—in this wry, absurd, yet sophisticated sci-fi.

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-30424-2

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Impossibly Small Press

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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