Bewildering Stories

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Book Review:
Chris Dolley, Resonance

by Jerry Wright

Author: Chris Dolley
Publisher: Baen
Trade Paper: 400 pages
Price: $24.00
Chris Dolley is infamous as the first writer to have his story pulled from the Electronic Slush at Baen's Books, and be published. After reading the book, however, there is no question about why this book was chosen. It is a great read.

The writing is clever, the concepts are ingenious, and the characterizations are first class. Both Graham Smith and Annalise Mercado stick with you as people long after the book is finished. And with all the stories I read, that is amazing.

Graham seems to be Obsessive/Compulsive. And a deaf-mute to boot. He has a routine, and he follows it compulsively. But it is critical for him to do so. Otherwise the world changes around him. As he sees it, threads of the world are constantly unravelling, and it requires concentration and observation to keep it from happening. After all, his father died when he was just a child, until he came home one day from school to find his dead father not only wasn't dead anymore, but thought Graham was crazy-talking again.

Graham keeps notes in his pockets to tell him what he does and where he lives. He needs to, because every so often, his home isn't his home anymore, and he lives somewhere else, people die, or move away, and then are suddenly back with no recollection of anything being different.

Is he crazy? He thinks he might be, until he meets Annalise Mercado, a young woman who thinks she is a medium because she has over 200 spirit guides, all named Annalise also, who occasionally can tell her hidden, unknown things, and solve crimes, and so on. And Annalise has a message for Graham. Thugs from a company called Paradim are out to kill him.

And the story takes off. I'd like things in this review to be a bit more hidden, but unfortunately the blurb on the back of the book reveals that there are multiple parallel dimensions, and Graham is the key to a "resonance effect" that could just destroy all the multiple dimensions in which he lives. Too bad. It would have been nice to discover these things at the same time that Graham does. However, even knowing something about Graham and Annalise, the reader is carried along, and the story, in its headlong pace, takes the reader places he never expected.

I loved Resonance and if you think that Baen Books is just a publisher of SF War Stories, you will be pleased to find out it ain't so!

To read some of Resonance you can visit Jiltanith/Resonance, and then go out and buy the book.

Copyright © 2006 Jerry Wright and Bewildering Stories

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