Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Charlie's Trips by Jack Felson

From Amazon - A tornado sweeps through an area of the deep Midwest and takes away a teenage soldier, Charlie Bradshaw, who's hurled into space-time and ends up 21 years later, on the West Coast, off San Francisco. He's found on a beach, alive but unconscious. As he emerges from a 3-day coma, he has a vision and prediction: another disaster, a big earthquake. But he doesn't know he's on TV camera. He doesn't know either that his memory has gone 'reverse'. There are many other things he's still unaware of... Written in a straight, very cinematic style, "Charlie's Trips" is an insolent tale of science-fiction that plays with several literary and cinematic myths (notably "The Wizard of Oz") as it introduces us to a new kind of hero: an 'amnesic psychic', able to see into the future when he lost his past. As it also asks us this question: is it possible to live in 'reverse' mode?

Charlie is a 16 year-old-kid who's decided that school isn't where he belongs, the armed forces is.  After a visit with his family, a freak tornado 'accident' wipes Charlie off the face of the earth...until 21 years later when he lands in the ocean and is identified.  Not only are the times different, Charlie is as well.  Is any type of life possible for this poor man with unusual powers??

When I first started reading, I was a little confused.  I felt like I was reading an older child science fiction book, but there was enough adult language to put that theory to rest.  It started off rather like a fantasy for a young kid, but with alcohol and sex and swearing.  I didn't like Charlie at all.  I thought he was a swarthy, filthy, poor excuse for a character and I didn't sense any reality to him at all.  I nearly gave up on reading this book when after the first few chapters, I didn't see any improvement.  I'm glad I muddled through, however.

Once you start getting into the book a little, if you have the right sense of humor, you're definitely in for a treat.  I was laughing so hard I literally almost peed myself.  Though it was a rocky start, the sheer absurdity of the book will have you laughing.  Felson's knack for bringing a scene to life will have you rolling.  Once he stops focusing on trying to write and actually just tells the story, this book becomes a gem.  I haven't laughed this hard since my first Evanovich adventure with Lula.  I'll admit, it's not for everyone.  Some of the humor is blatant and easy to catch, but most of it is ironic and witty.  Now that I think about it, I hope this was meant as a comedy.  It may not have been, but I found it hilarious.  

Humor aside, the storyline is unusual and interesting.  We have this kid who disappears in a tornado and drops from the sky 21 years later, having not aged and having no memory.  He finds that he has an unusual power now.  After you throw in a cast of various characters, you find yourself wondering if that isn't exactly how things would go if it were to happen to someone in real life.  

If you have a quirky sense of humor, this is seriously number one on my suggested to read list.  If not, but you enjoy science fiction, you'll still enjoy it.  My only warning is that some may be a bit disturbed by some of the religious content.  Those who feel incredibly strongly about their views may be a little offended in some spots, so take that with a grain of salt before choosing this one.

About the AuthorJack Felson is a French bilingual author (novelist, screenwriter, playwright) and filmmaker, born in Lille, France, in 1970. He started writing in 1995, first in French, then in English from year 2002. Now he works only in English. He lives in London, where he wrote “Charlie’s Trips”. His works in French include a funny collection of sketches called “After AIDS”, another novel, “Adieu, Ciel bleu”, and a play.
Visit him online at

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Shawn

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