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  • 26th
    February

    Official Launch of the Craig Wasson Fan Club

    Official Launch of the Craig Wasson Fan Club

    11.22.63 is as good as anything Stephen King has produced since The Stand. It's a time travel story with some mild horror but it's probably more accurate to characterise it as a "suspense/thriller". In less skilful hands there would be any number of pitfalls in this novel's ambitious plot but with King you need not be worried; The time travel "logic" is sound, the large cast of characters are marvellously developed and the historical events and setting are thoroughly researched.

    King so totally immerses you in the America of the late 50s/early 60s that you can pretty much smell the Lucky Strikes and taste the root beer. It goes beyond nostalgia, there's no wistful affection or inherent "goodness" to the past, although the overall feeling is that it does seem like a damn nice place to be. There is however a strong undertone that the protagonist, Jake Epping - as human a character as there ever was, finds himself a virtual alien playing at being human in a world populated by a different iteration of "us". Jake is at once fooling nobody and everybody.

    But for all that is good about this book, it wouldn't make it onto Quintessential Cool if it wasn't for the audiobook performance by Craig Wasson. This is by far the best reading of any audiobook we've encountered. Wasson's IMDB credits suggest a busy but unremarkable career, but he surrenders himself completely to King's prose delivering an uninhibited performance that is a joyous achievement.

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  • 15th
    January

    Frick'in Laser Beams!

    Frick'in Laser Beams!

    The golden age of science fiction writing was also a stellar period for cover artwork, and this 1976 cover of Philip K. Dick's Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said is one of the best. You've got jet cars, a super funky police uniform (check the helmet!), and that laser beam cleaving a path through the air1... whoa.

    Pretty much all the sci-fi novels published by Panther in this era had cover artwork as awesome as this one, it's always worth a quick scan of the science fiction aisle in 2nd hand book shops to see what you can pickup.

    Incidently, this is one of Dick's best books, it hits most of his favourite themes: dystopian setting, paranoia, stolen identity. He also tells this story without getting so trippy that you have to strain to follow along, making it one of his more accessible novels.

    1. OK, we acknowledge that this cover may in fact depict a conventional gun firing with one hellava flame coming out of it rather than a laser beam, but c'mon... what's cooler?

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