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   Novels have strengths and weaknesses.

   Dr. Ads and a former student “Ike”¹

   discuss weaknesses

   of TBOTW.

   (See right→)

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BEHIND THE CURTAIN…

of The Blood of Three Worlds²

   Ike1 and his recent professor, Dr. Ads, enjoy occasional out-of–the-classroom discussions. The course is over. Both have encountered—and read—TBOTW.

   Ike:  “This book is weak in places.”

   Dr. Ads:  “Like where?”

   Ike:  “Well, sometimes I didn’t know what was present, what was missing, and what I should expect next in two different worlds.”

   Ads:  “Such as…”

   Ike:  “For one thing, no everyday hand-held devices were used in this 21st century story that seems to happen in the past but doesn’t, and…and there is of all possible characters an astrophysicist/Bible preacher who’s a significant character in what has to be—basically—a y.a. story.…”

   Ads:  “Well, think of it as a niche book.”

   Ike:  “Meaning what? A niche on a knife edge?

   Ads:  (He smiles.) “Sounds clever, Ike, but you’re losing me….Let me head another way. Let’s look at the negatives. People already disappointed with Christianity will close these book covers before even opening them, unaware that many scientists—familiar with recent research in astronomy—are starting to take the Bible more seriously. The author recently told me that his scientist/preacher in the story, and even the mysterious senior elder’s wife Esther Crandel, are roughly modeled after people he’s actually known. That’s partly why, he said, he put an ‘alphabetic warning’ on the back cover. So stay away. Or read and enjoy. In fact, he wishes that others who write futuristic stories would similarly warn readers about the predictable secular, formulaic, safely obscure, and magical frameworks they usually offer… that present little more than a quick new twist, reminding readers that they, themselves, are hardly more than ‘temporary scarecrows filled with straw.’ That probably sounds strange, but so many books start ambitiously and seem to be refreshing page-turners, but in the end they deliver very little. How often have you read a novel that you’d like to reread? Yet one science-trained reviewer has said TBOTW begs for this—and is fun to pick up again. In fact, it’s a “shelf book.”

   (Ike, however, at this point seems to have lost interest after Ads’s second sentence—above.)

   Ike:  “ ‘Close the covers?’ Wouldn’t they have to ‘open the covers’ first to do that?

   Ads:  “Saw that just after I said it… my mistake. Any other weaknesses?

   Ike:  “What age is this for?”

   Ads:  “Excellent question! This story makes editors—and marketers—roll their eyes. Young adults, middle-agers, and even octogenarians—one of which even wrote a review that the author said was his favorite response to his tale.

   Ike:  “An issue then”—he smiles—“that’s addressed, and indirectly explained in ‘Esther Crandell’s Clock Catechism,’ perhaps?”

   Ads:  “Now you surprise me! You retained that! I’ve taught you well, Ike. The minor ‘clock theme’ continues until the very last word in the story.”

   Ike:  “For the nervous, ‘book buying’ grandparent who wishes to do no evil, Ads—how would rate this?’ ”

   Ads:  “PG…for the upper (precocious) middle schooler asking questions on up—especially Christians. Of course, with a book there’s always risks.”

   Ike:  “Not a good way to market a book, Ads.”

   Ads:  “Agreed, and I’ll pass that on. But, setting this aside, this may be the best love story—truly original, mixing sorrow and joy with expectation—that you read this year.”

   Ike:  “I…I did sort of enjoy it, Ads, because it made me think about stuff I’ve never considered. But I don’t read love stories.”

   Ads:  “Sorry, Ike, I disagree.”

   Ike:  “?”

   Ads:   “Because you just did read one—in English and Elphian.”²

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   1 About the characters (above):  Ikon Oklastic (“Ike”) reminds me of my first encounter with “Armand Hammer” who I heard of as a teen fascinated by language. I could picture in my mind (where else?) the light-colored box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda that I grew up with as a young child. What a preposterous fictional name! But like much fiction follows oddities that occur in real life, things often are not what they first seem. (Esther Crandel’s clocks would welcome that…) Armand Hammer MD (1898 – 1990) was an oil tycoon and art collector of some repute in the early 20th century. Because of his name, he actually bought stock in the Arm and Hammer (drawing on an old socialist symbol) baking supply company. His grandson son, Armie, by  the way, is now an actor. Armand and “Ike” (above) have eastern European roots…as well as a new connection at adozenseconds.com.

   And “Dr. Ads?” He’s a regular at that website.

   ² This conversation is projected to appear in the new upgrade of the website johnknapp2.com.