Sunday, May 26, 2019

Book Review: Falling Toward Forever

Book Review: 'Falling Toward Forever' by Gordon Eklund

2 / 5 Stars

'Falling Toward Forever' (190 pp) was published by Laser Books / Harlequin in 1975. The cover art is by Kelly Freas.

Calvin Waller is a mercenary fighting on the side of an un-named insurgent group in an un-named African country. As the novel opens the insurgent army is about to mount an attack on a government outpost. As one of the most experienced and capable soldiers in the insurgency, Waller is tasked with securing the arms depot in the center of the government compound.

The attack is launched, and amid the carnage Waller fights his way to his objective. But then things go drastically wrong: accompanied by a pair of battle participants, Waller finds himself teleported instantly to a strange landscape. There, another conflict is underway, and Waller soon finds himself a key figure in yet another 'war for liberation'.

The bigger question - who, or what, has subjected Waller and his companions to the teleportation - always looms in the background. And when Calvin Waller finally meets the architect of his strange journeys through time and space, a settling of accounts is by no means assured.........

I picked up 'Falling Toward Forever' hoping it was one of those Laser Books titles that turns out to be an overlooked gem of sci-fi from the mid-70s. 

Unfortunately, 'Falling' is a dud.

In its favor, the plot is a straightforward adventure tale, highly reliant on dialogue. The hero, Calvin Waller, has the cynical, ironic humor that calls to mind the protagonists of Jason dinAlt and Slippery Jim diGriz in Harry Harrison's novels.

But I found the closing chapters, and their explanation for the strange phenomenon afflicting Calvin Waller, to be unconvincing. 

By 1975, Eklund had published a number of novels and short stories, including All Times Possible (1974), which also addresses the subject of time travel and alternate histories. So the failure of 'Falling Toward Forever' to impress has little to do with any lack of experience on the part of the author. Rather, it stems more from a perfunctory stance on Eklund's part: this one was written just to pay the bills, and not much more. 

For Eklund completists only.

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