Sunday, December 2, 2018

Book Review: ''57 Chevy to Mars' by Ethan Russell Erway

Arizona Sci-Fi Fantasy author Ethan Russell Erway has a Bachelor of Sacred Literature degree from Summit Theological Seminary, and is the Minister at Agua Fria Christian Church in Humboldt, AZ. He is the successful author of the serial books adult THE BLEEDING STAR CHRONICLES, THE BLOWING OF STEAM stories and the ADVENTURES OF MICHAEL BELMONT - books intended for a young to young adult audience. In this book he takes aim at an adult audience but the fantasy and magic are so abundant that it is a book that likely will find its way into the YA arena as well.

Ethan knows how to toss us back a few decades into an era a bit more focused on enjoyment of life than we find ourselves in the current climate. WE detect this propensity in the opening of the book – ‘The two greatest cars I ever owned were both 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Sedans. I loved both cars not just for what they were, but also because of who gave them to me. Both cars meant the world to me. In fact- they still do, and to be perfectly honest, they quite literally meant the world to you, too, though I’m sure you’ve never heard of them until now. That’s why I’m taking the time to tell this story. It all started on a hot summer night in July of 1959, the fourth of July, Independence Day. There I was, sitting in my car slowly pumping the gas pedal, staring forward with fire in my eyes and waiting for the race to begin. To my left, I saw Ace Ramirez sitting behind the wheel of his baby blue, ’56 Ford Thunderbird, looking back with an equal measure of disdain. I knew what Ace had beneath that hood, and I may have been worried if the car had a better driver.’

But Ethan’s off-center story is best summarized in his brief synopsis – ‘In the summer of 1959, recent high school graduate and local drag racing star Johnny Garlits begins to date a visiting girl from Mars. Things are going fine until the girl's older brother and ex-boyfriend appear to seek revenge, and Johnny unwittingly finds himself in a high stakes race through the Solar System for pink slips- not for cars, but for planets.’

Ethan keeps the story in his own Arizona – when it is on the ground! – and all the names and thoughts and ideas are directly form the late 50s. That is until Johnny Garlits meets the green complected Princess Zamora of Mars – ‘King Johnny, Thank you for showing mercy, and not running over my little brother, Nog, during your land speeder race last weekend. He feels terrible about what happened, and never meant to cause any trouble. Please accept this replacement as a symbol of our regret and as an apology for what happened. May your days be triumphant and full of glory,
Princess Zamora of Mars’ But things take off (literally) as Johnny gets to know Zamora – "It's something Martian girls do when they reach nineteen years of age. We wander the solar system in search of adventure, and to learn about the people of the surrounding planets. It gives us a chance to spend some time alone, and decide what we want to do with our lives."

And so we’re off on a fantasy that is both entertaining and tender and told with a flair rarely seen in Sci-Fi novels. This is a fun escape venture, easily digested in one evening. Grady Harp, November 16

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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