Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Book Review: 'Life II' by Scott Spotson

Canadian author Scott Spotson writes books that share a sense of wonderment - about the relationships we value in our lives; about the world we live in including the daydreams we cherish. Having traveled widely to Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Iceland, France, Mexico, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, England, and Hong Kong, Scott has gathered elements of various cultures’ fantasies – a very strong contributing element in his love for exploring time travel, a subject he has researched thoroughly and writes about as well as any author in that genre.

Time travel, or revisiting previous times in one’s life (or one’s future) has always been an exciting theme for both novelists and readers. The big ‘What if’ is magnetizing and Scott uses this rewarding concept in a sophisticated manner so that his story (and probably his other books that tinker with the same theme) becomes our story – if only we could have the experiences described within.

Start with reality in science fiction/fantasy/time travel books and the reader is mesmerized into following the complex story to the end. Scot accomplishes this with his opening paragraphs: ‘October 23, 2013 at 11:47 a.m. - Max Thorning, an investment salesman always in search of hefty commission fees stripped from the trust fund of that greying doctor who drove a Porsche on Sundays, was a man in a hurry. He exited the towering steel and glass skyscraper, in search of that tiny parkette that afforded a soothing oasis from the grimy concrete metropolis of Vancouver. “Yo, Max!” “Hey, Garfield!” Garfield Yates, Max’s skinny chrome-domed writer buddy, waved to him alongside their favorite park bench. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so Max and Garfield agreed to meet up for lunch. Garfield pulled a thick ham and egg sandwich out of a brown paper bag and offered a bite to Max. Scrunching his mouth, Max declined, instead retrieving a greasy corned beef sandwich from the cardboard take-out box he’d brought. “How’s the job hunt going?” Max asked in between bites of the bulging sandwich, a treat he savored once a week. Garfield grimaced. “Not well. This morning, I just lay in bed, chowing down potato chips and listening to some old tunes. Remember the Bee Gees?” “Oh man,” Max laughed. “You still have them?” “Yeah,” Garfield chuckled. “I still have that old record player, too. It was actually in a box in my parents’ house. They’d never bothered to throw it out.”

The synopsis does a fine job outlining where the tale will take us – ‘’What if you could live your life over again? Upon discovering a 1958 book titled “Account of Time Travel on Earth Using Wave Theory,” 42-year-old Max Thorning’s life is thrown into chaos. Seeking answers to the book’s cryptic clues, he discovers Dr. Time, a seemingly benign alien who has control of the Time Weaver, a remarkable device that can command any scene from the Earth’s past. Dr. Time offers him a choice to go back into Time, to any point in his lifespan that he can vividly recall. The catch: he can only bring his memories, and can only live the future one day at a time. Follow Max’s dilemma as he goes back to his 16-year-old self and tries to forge his destiny into a new one called Life II.’

Spot on creative writing that is clever, full of twists, and begs for follow-up in the next novel. Grady Harp, February 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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