If one's reading goal is sheer entertainment, this book is a rousing success.
Even though MAGIC TIME was written well before September 11, its depiction of Americans facing a global threat is relevant and uplifting. If, as Joseph Campbell indicated, myths help us to process the world, then MAGIC TIME may help readers explore the aftermath of the tragedies.
Television writer Zicree teams with fantasy and SF bestselling Hambly (Knight of the Demon Queen, numerous Star Wars and Star Trek novels) on a story straight out of the Hollywood mold for vintage sci-fi disaster films. A government experiment so secret even the president doesn't know about it produces strange energy flows that wreak havoc with the space-time continuum, resurrecting skeletal prairie wolves and disturbing ancient Indian burial grounds. Despite his misgivings, Dr. Fred Wishart continues the questionable experiments, only to blast the United States with a force so destructive all electricity and communications are knocked out nationwide. The bulk of the book concerns various characters' attempts to adjust to the chaos left in the wake of the catastrophe one made still more dangerous by the frightening mutations it produces in the population. Cal Griffin, a young New York City lawyer, finds his vibrant teenage sister turning into a near-translucent ghost of herself. Meanwhile, Cal's boss is transformed into a demonic, reptilian killer who stalks Cal as he tries to lead his sister and a hodgepodge of friends safely out of the city. Zicree's TV experience he's written for Star Trek: The Next Generation and Sliders, among others is obvious in the swift, episodic pacing; unfortunately, that doesn't give Hambly's usual gift for characterization much to work with. Like the pilot for a new television series, this effort promises much and delivers only hints of bigger things. (Dec. 4) Forecast: Before the World Trade Center attack, this would have been a natural candidate for screen adaptation. Chances are the public will now have less of a taste for fictional disasters set in NewYork City. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
When a top-secret government experiment goes wrong, a burst of energy nullifies the effects of technology and reawakens magical forces that transform some individuals into monsters with supernatural powers. To save his sister from a similar fate, New York lawyer Cal Griffin sets out on a difficult and dangerous trek across a devastated landscape in search of the cause of the transformation. Screenwriter Zicree collaborates with veteran sf and fantasy author Hambly (Knight of the Demon Queen) in this series opener that features a modern world suddenly infused with magic. Complex and unusual characters support a tale of personal heroism and self-sacrifice. A good choice for most fantasy collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Zicree (The Twilight Zone Companion, not reviewed) and Hambly (Traveling With the Dead, 1995) join talents -- and lavish, crackling research -- to envision a post-disaster Manhattan fallen into chaos. Cal Griffin, 27, an overworked lawyer, and his sister Tina, 12, a ballet student, have left Hurley, Minnesota, so that Tina can train at the School of American Ballet in New York. Meanwhile, what kind of monster is it that's flaying buffalo out at Medicine Creek and leaving the animals to wander skinless? And why does FBI agent Jerri Bilmer, her thoughts monster-haunted, hang garlic around her motel room windows? American President Stu McKay waits for Bilmer's secret info about the "Source Project," which may lead to . . . well, it's all telekinetic, and project director Fred Wishart knows that energy leaks from Source have been resurrecting packs of skeletal prairie wolves. And one of those leaks has been at Medicine Water Creek. Will the energy someday help Fred get his crippled brother Bob out of bed, perhaps even restore their mother's wandering mind? Suddenly, a blue force-field flies everywhere. All electricity gets sucked up, even from car and flashlight batteries: no power exists anywhere. Mineshafts go black on miners, their helmet lamps dead. Planes fall from the sky and splatter all around D.C. A running strange blue force keeps people boxed into large areas. Slowly, the Change changes people's characters, deepening them. Tina herself floats like a soap bubble, glowing pastels, hears a Call to go south-and she and Cal's newly formed survivor group leave Manhattan. The stars move. What now? Well, a sequel for sure.