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Elegy Beach [Mass Market Paperback]

Steven R. Boyett

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Book Description

Oct. 26 2010
Twenty-seven years ago, technology died. The fundamental laws of the universe had inexplicably changed. Now, Fred Garey's best friend Yan believes he's found a way to reverse the Change. But Fred fears the repercussions of such drastic, irreversible steps.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (Oct. 26 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441019439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441019434
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 10.8 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #587,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

STEVEN R. BOYETT sold his first novel at 21 and went on to publish novels, short stories, feature screenplays, and comic books. In 1999 he took some time off from writing, and during this period he learned to play the didgeridoo, a unique Australian wind instrument. This led him to learn about digital recording, which led to composing electronica, which led to DJing. He produces three of the world's most popular music podcasts: the groundbreaking Podrunner and Podrunner: Intervals (workout music mixes), and Groovelectric (dance music mixes of what he calls New Old Funk).

Steve has played clubs in Hollywood, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Reno, as well as Burning Man. He has been a martial arts instructor, professional paper marbler, advertising copywriter, legal proofreader, writing teacher, website editor, chapbook publisher, and composer. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two frighteningly intelligent parrots.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long awaited sequel, a treat for urban fantasy fans! Nov. 4 2009
By KindlePad - Published on Amazon.com
Really enjoyable book, I thought it was a great follow up to Ariel. There was a talk about the author set of resetting the "tech" as to when the old world died, as Ariel was written in the 80's. Having only recently read Ariel, I honestly didn't find it dated at all. Maybe as due to growing up in the 80's?

The characters in this book are different from Ariel, but I think that's ok - its great to bring out new characters. They are the descendants from the first book and they are attempting to understand, control and I guess you would say... organize or bring structure to the new "magic" that inhabits the world now. Sort of like scientists have done with physics in our own past. Very clever. I don't want to say too much more or give spoilers. Suffice to say if you liked Ariel, you will enjoy this greatly.

The author's writing is fresh & enjoyable, a really great read!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After the Change indeed Nov. 24 2009
By J. Reed - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Ariel and so I was really excited to hear about a sequel in the works. Elegy Beach takes place in the same world as Ariel, but it seems as different from the setting of Ariel as Ariel's world seemed from the pre-Change world.

Learning about this new world was a lot of fun, as was meeting the characters along the way, thanks to Boyett's dry wit. He is not satisfied with using standard fantasy elements, which would be fine with many readers; he breathes life into what could have been clichés by giving plausible explanations for why things are the way they are. It makes for a very rich and robust story.

A rich read that's a page-turner at the same time - I know that any lover of fantastic journeys would love this book.

I think this book could stand on its own, but I am such a huge fan of Ariel that I have to suggest reading that one first. Both are special in their own way.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you loved "Ariel", you'll have a hard time with this one. Jan. 5 2011
By Robert Ragona - Published on Amazon.com
Let me start off by saying I read and largely enjoyed "Ariel" (I found the middle to end parts a bit of a drag), and was looking forward to this one (it was released in hardcover around the time I picked up "Ariel" in paperback.) So I'm not new to the story; though I do fully suspect to get a few comments over my review. Sorry kids, but I paid my money for the book and spent my time to read it, and this is my opinion, live with it.

Summing up my feelings of "Elegy Beach": dark, depressing and difficult to follow.

I didn't enjoy "Elegy Beach" half as much as "Ariel"; the first 1/3 or so of the book was very slow-paced and frankly, confusing, meandering to and fro in search of a way to go and not finding it. Boyett plunges us into the post-Change world 27 years after, and in so doing plunges us into a culture that can seem almost alien, as little is made clear, or even explained; clues to piece it together are rare to non-existent. It reminded me of "A Clockwork Orange" in many ways, particularly the language and ways of speaking. Adding to this are two problems: his characters are poorly fleshed out, making it hard to sympathize or even feel what direction they are coming from; and his use of a consistent but odd lack of punctuation (commas and especially question marks, so questions are rendered as statements) makes for reading that trips you, while serving to make character seem very flat and listless. When I read a book, I picture characters and exchanges in my head; I can't seem to do that with this one. Oh, and then there are the flashbacks--he jumps back and forth among events without warning, causing you to stop and backtrack to make sure you haven't missed anything. Do this enough times and you realize no, really, you didn't.

And this is before the halfway mark, by which point I almost gave up. The book is very dark and depressing; there are no optimistic characters (and yes, even post-apocalypse, there will always be someone who sees the sunny side); cynicism and lack of hope abounds. There is no hope for a bright new day. It makes you not care if the characters live or die, because they instill so little sympathy in you. I ready fantasy to escape, not be mired in misery. Yet like a car wreck I couldn't help but look, to keep reading in hopes that it might redeem itself. Even the return of the unicorn, Ariel, brings little joy; she's every bit as miserable as the humans, it seems, though her reasons for being so are made very clear (and are rather sad in their own right.)

Perseverance paid off, after a fashion; once our protagonists get on the move, the action picks up along with the pace. New characters show up and battles ensue; things actually get moving and become interesting, if still slow (much talk, not enough walk). The ending leaves open the option of other stories to be told, though it's a bit ambiguous what they might be.

All in all, I can only recommend "Elegy Beach" if you have the patience to deal with the wordiness and odd grammar/punctuation choices in it, as well as the often unclear story. If you're expecting another "Ariel", you WILL be disappointed, trust me.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Software meets magic Jan. 14 2010
By R. Garcia - Published on Amazon.com
Excellent follow-up to Ariel, a post-Apocalyptic novel where the Change has rendered modern devices obsolete and fantasy creatures roam the land. This takes place about 30 years later and the underlying Change has also changed. In Ariel the world Changed in the early 80s. Now the Change took place a few years in the future (there's a discussion of solar-powered iPods). But this ties up a lot of loose ends from Ariel and also has some fun with magic as a sort of software written on the operating system of the universe. The author admits this is what inspired him to write the book, but it's quickly lost as he catches up with the characters from Ariel. Still, a great follow-up from a much more mature author.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I think it was worth the wait. Sept. 11 2010
By MEGATØN - Published on Amazon.com
In 1984, Steven R Boyett released his first novel, Ariel, and introduced us to his vision of a world after The Change, a world where, at 4:30 p.m. one day, magic returned to the land, and the laws of physics were simply rewritten. All technology - gunpowder, electricity, and even complicated machines - no longer functions, 90% of the people simply disappeared, and magical creatures like demons, dragons, and the unicorn, Ariel, appeared in their stead. The story followed Ariel, and her katana-wielding companion, Pete Garey, from Atlanta, to Washington DC, to New York City and an aerial assault on the Empire State Building. It had all the elements of a great post-apocalyptic road trip story, but threw in just enough swords and sorcery to make it even more interesting.

Ariel became a cult classic, and now, 25 years later, Boyett finally returns to the world of The Change with the long-awaited sequel, Elegy Beach.

Elegy Beach picks up about 20 years after the events of Ariel, and shifts to the West Coast, where Pete's son, Fred, is a young man growing up to be a talented caster. He and his best friend, Yan, try to apply scientific principles to the study of the magic that infuses their world, and for Yan, a taste of power only fuels his desire for even more.

The events that unfold next can be summed up in a scene where Fred thinks to himself, "In the air above the mountains in a battered gondola of a wounded airship on my way to confront my former best friend holed up in the ruin of a former castle while he perfects the casting that will reinstate the old world's order I am talking to a unicorn about whether the centaur following us is carrying my captured father. Um, ok..."

It might sound like more of a fantasy novel than a post-apocalyptic one, and in some ways it is, but a key theme here is the disparity between those who lived before The Change, and those who grew up after it, and the differences in their attitudes and world views. There's a great scene that takes place in a bubble of pre-Change space where Pete gets an old iPod to work, and plays some of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony for Fred, and it blows his mind. He has never heard anything approaching recorded music, and with it, he begins to understand the loss that the older generation feels, and starts to realize that there may be lessons from the old world that are worth learning.

And the setting of the book is classic 1st generation post-apocalyptic. Buildings that are not actively maintained are falling apart, forests and overgrowth are starting to reclaim the land, and society is just starting to rebuild, mostly in isolated villages along the coast. They scavenge old stores, re-read 30 year old newspapers, and try to make do with what they have available.

The story of friends becoming enemies has been done before of course, but in this case, the recycled plot doesn't hinder the book. The settings are interesting, events fast paced, and some of the dialog is just damnned funny, particularly because of the the wise and wise-cracking unicorn, Ariel. She is a fantastic character, and is the added element that transforms Elegy Beach from a standard post-apocalyptic story into something more.

I'm sorry it took 25 years to arrive, but better late than never, because it was well worth the wait. It's definitely the kind of book that you can pick up every few years and enjoy again. If you don't mind some fantasy mixed in with your post-apocalypses, I highly recommend it.

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