My friend Jeff Carver has been working on The Reefs of Time since the Coolidge administration, I think, and it’s finally here!
Jeff’s specialty is galaxy-spanning science fiction with intriguing ideas and a large cast of entertaining and well-drawn human and alien characters, and I think he’s outdone himself with this one.
You don’t have to read the earlier books in his Chaos Chronicles series to enjoy The Reefs of Time–but then again, no one is stopping you. I’ve greatly enjoyed spending time in Jeff’s universe over the years, and I’m sure you will enjoy it, too.
We were looking for something in the attic and came upon a stash of books from long ago. Tom Swift Jr., Chip Hilton, the Hardy Boys… This one is from 1958.
Tom Swift is in a race to the moon against his rivals, the evil Brungarians. “We’re not going to let any hostile country like Brungaria beat us to the moon!” Tom’s buddy Bud Barclay remarks grimly.
But Bud is worried. “How are you going to beat ’em in this space jalopy?” he wants to know.
Bud, who is kind of an idiot, is unaware of Tom’s Swift repelatron, which will drive his space ship forward by pushing back against the Earth or the sun or what have you.
Needless to say, the Brungarians have many dirty tricks up their sleeves, but I’m pleased to say they’re no match for young Tom, with his blond crew-cut hair. Genius boy is how Bud often refers to him. If my pal called me “genius boy” I’d sock him right in the jaw. But Tom doesn’t let anything bother him, even when the Brungarians drug him and steal his secret plans or he’s running out of oxygen in outer space.
Comic relief is provided by the cook, Chow Winkler, who says stuff like “Brand my skillet, I don’t savvy a word you’re sayin’, but it sure sounds bad!”
Two girls show up, Sandy and Phyl. Phyl has long dark hair and laughing brown eyes and is Tom’s favorite date. Sandy is Tom’s sister and is paired off with Bud. They are there to remind the boys of the big party that evening. Of course, Tom had forgot, what with the Brungarians and the repelatron and all, but they forgive him. Needless to say, there are many crises that night and he never does make it to the party.
Of course I have left out a lot that happens in the book’s 180 action-packed pages. Every chapter ends with some amazing crisis that genius boy is going to have to meet. And meet them he does.
One strange detail: halfway through the book Tom’s space jalopy is christened. It’s name: Challenger. Not sure what to make of that coincidence. Anyway, stay tuned for more great adventures from my attic.
Home (the portal series, book 3 ) is an alternative history adventure book. A masterpiece, Richard Bowler’s work on this is spectacular. In this epic coming of age sequel to TERRA, earthborn Larry Barnes discovers his ability to move through the multiverse via a portal of his own creation. A powerful and dangerous ability, Larry seeks the council of a priest named Affron, who has the same ability but when Larry discovers affron has disappeared from TERRA, he risks following him to Elysium leaving his friend pasta behind.
Let’s put aside some of the reviewer’s tiny mistakes, like getting my name wrong and allowing the character name “Palta” to be autocorrected to “pasta”, and focus on her uncanny perspicacity and critical judgment. Reviews don’t get any more perceptive than this.
I’ll stop this soon. I promise. Here’s one 5-star review:
This is book 3 in the Portal series. It is readable as a stand alone novel, however it will be less confusing and more enjoyable if you read Portal and Terra (books 1 and 2) first. This is a good addition. Where it really shines is the multiverse. Lots of fiction tries to tackle the whole multiverse thing, but few do it well. This book does it well. Makes it well worth the read. The plot and characters are also well written and interesting. They aren’t why I would pick up the book, but they carry it. Great addition.
And here’s another:
This is such a fun story overall that it is very hard to not find yourself completely immersed with the feeling that you are literally walking alongside the characters themselves. “Home” may sound like it is yet another “futuristic” story that is like so many out there, but this one is really so different and so well-written that you will find yourself not wanting to put this one down. It is a great read that will leave you wanting so much more. I really hope to find myself reading some more of these stories, I couldn’t have hoped for anything more than what “Home” gave me.
If you still don’t want to read it, I’m not sure what I can do to convince you…
This story is so much fun! I love historical stories and getting to explore places of the past. This book takes it a step further and has created alternate histories that our hero, Larry, can visit through a power to make portals. In this book, Larry is in ancient Rome, trying to save Affron who has disappeared from Terra. The story is just complex enough to keep it interesting, but I never got confused. While I really enjoyed Elysium and the mysteries that it held, my favorite part of this book was the relationship between Larry and his best friend Palta, forced apart during the book their bid was interesting and full of depth. The story is fun, action-filled, and really interesting. I loved the alternate world that Richard Bowker has created. I would definitely recommend this book.
And here’s one titled “Super Entertaining”:
It seems like authors and audiences are obsessed with futuristic tales with alternate worlds colliding or fighting for power; I began HOME a bit skeptical, thinking there would be no original premise. I was utterly wrong.
The multi-universe created by Richard Bowker is just marvelous. In the story, Larry our hero has a unique power that allows him to “jump” from universe through universe via a portal. After attempting to follow and save a priest with whom he shares this gift, he needs to leave his soul mate Palta behind.
I struggled a bit at the beginning, connecting the dots –lots of names to learn- and figuring out who was whom; once I got accustomed to the names and terms, I enjoyed the book much more. I love the pondering question, that brought some self-reflection on humanity: where is home?
You still have to wait till April 2 to get the e-book version of Home. But you can buy the paperback version now. How cool is that? It’s available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as probably other places I haven’t checked. Barnes and Noble will sell it to you for 10% off the already low list price; it also discounts the e-book.
Here’s what the book looks like, in case you forgot:
There’s a lot of value to getting sales up when a book is first published, so there’ll never be a better time to buy it (for the author, at least). And it goes without saying that reviews are extremely helpful as well.
By the way, this is the third book in my Portal series, but I think it stands pretty well on its own. Give it a try! Or buy all three!