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Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking that there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer. She published her first science fiction short story in 1979 and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next story. When it finally came, it declared to her that it had to be whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.
The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, explained that in a fit of practicality she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and had spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was that she had found it at least mildly entertaining and ridiculously well-paying The bad news was that the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money. Apparently she was now Mrs. Cronin, and the further good news was that they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved dearly, even though to be honest that is where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words.
Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already became the first woman in space and apparently did a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was, the book informed her sternly that it had now grown into a six book series. Sherrie decided that she better start writing it before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away.
on June 05, 2013 :
I'm a big fan of this author's first two books, 'x0' and 'y1', so it is no surprise that I love this third volume of the series. Once again she has put together a marvelous tale. I don't know of anyone doing better in the genre of magical realism than she does. All of the books involve the fictional Zeitman family with a different member featured in each volume -- Lola (wife/mother) in the first, Zane (son) in the second, and now Alex (husband/father). Each character is a very real and believable person who just happens to have a special ability.
The author is unafraid of tackling serious social problems, in this case racism, and she does so without being preachy. She also does a lot of research so the facts in the 'realism' part of magical realism are always accurate. (That makes those of us who just make stuff up as we go along feel lazy.) I don't give spoilers so all I will say about the story is that there are two subplots, each with its own set of characters, and that the story-lines merge and the characters meet each other.
As before, the ending is very upbeat and optimistic. As a skeptic, I would not expect such happy endings in the real world. In the Zeitman family's world, however, the conclusion shows the way things could be -- and should be. I find this approach very encouraging.
Note: Each book is a stand-alone story, but 'z2' makes enough references to events in 'x0' and 'y1' that it would help if they are read in order. Believe me, all three volumes are definitely worth reading.
(reviewed the day of purchase)