Top critical review
NOT Piers Anthony. NOT fantasy. NOT the blues.
on November 11, 2001
This weighty tome by newcomer Ron Leming, to which Mr. Anthony has lent his name and perhaps a small amount of editing (but nowhere near enough) is more of a disaster novel than, as advertised, a fantasy. As a Piers Anthony novel, it's a disaster. As fantasy, it's not really far enough removed from reality to be the least bit interesting. It may hold some appeal for blues fans, but even there, it doesn't hold up well. In this novel about the blues, there is no such thing as an acoustic guitar, and the blues is limited to a very narrow segment, that of contemporary head-banging electric blues. Extensive knowledge of the blues arena is not revealed here - just about everything related to the blues in this entire book could have easily been cribbed from the liner notes of one or two John Lee Hooker albums. There are major inconsistencies. In a parallel world where Fender amps and rock 'n' roll don't exist, why do all the blues songs have the same titles in both worlds even though they're written by different people? The plot was done better by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1911. I mean, for gosh sakes, a man is zapped instantaneously to an alternate world where he meets a girl and becomes a hero. Sounds a little like The Princess of Mars, doesn't it?
If you want to read about a fat 40 year old white musician who goes to Barsoom to meet John Lee Hooker, this is your book.