Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The Grandfather Paradox
Duane Swierczynski has written a number of hard-to-classify books that straddle various subsections of the crime, science fiction and thriller genres, all of them well worth your hard-earned dimes. His new one, Expiration Date, comes out March 30, and it's not only the best of the bunch, it's also planted square in the tiny, hard-to-hit intersection of science fiction, crime, horror, fantasy and probably a genre or two I'm forgetting right now. When I recommended it to a bookseller friend here in St. Louis I told her it reminded me of Joe Hill's "Horns" in its determined shotgun wedding of nuts and bolts quotidian reality and psyched-out gonzo fantasia, and it deserves to have that kind of commercial success.
Here's the gist of the thing, though it's impossible to do justice to it justice in this short space:
Mickey Wade is a recently terminated reporter for a Philadelphia alt-weekly who ends up in his grandfather's dilapidated apartment in the run-down neighborhood Mickey grew up in. Suffering from a blistering headache Mickey takes what he thinks is a handful of Tylenol from Grandpa's medical cabinet, and what happens next is either the most wacked-out time-travel story ever or the worst trip in the history of psychedelic medications. Duane is a lifelong Philadelphian, and one of the book's pleasures is the changing portrait of the town's lesser-known neighborhoods from the seventies up to the present.
So on the 30th head on down to your local independent bookseller and buy it. Duane's always-entertaining blog can be found here:
Maybe someday he'll reveal the secret behind his nickname: Duane "Three-balls" Swierczynski.