No politics today.

Blake Crouch has an impressive literary career going. Born in 1978, a graduate of the University of North Carolina in his home state, he has had short stories appear in respected anthologies, has had 20 novels published since 2004, and has produced and written 20 episodes each of Wayward Pines, based on three of his books, and Good Behavior, based on the novel. I just finished Dark Matter, published in 2017. It’s the story of a kidnapped young physics professor trying to get back to his wife and son. Trouble is, he has been transported to an alternate universe where he invented a way to cross over. He subsequently travels through many versions of what is referred to as the multiverse. I will say no more about the plot. The story is absorbing and fast-paced, the 340 pages reading like a lot less, as many paragraphs are a single line, sometimes one word. The theme is what might have been, which happens to be the title of one of my short stories, which is less than ten pages. I particularly liked this excerpt: “… life is imperfect. We make the wrong choices. So we end up living in a state of perpetual regret… I built something that can actually eradicate regret. Let you find worlds where you made the right choice...” 12,000+ users at Amazon have rated Dark Matter, forging to a consensus of 4.5 on a scale of five. I’ll go with 3.5. While I do not discount the possibility of a multiverse, I don’t see how one world can be only slightly different than any other. Wouldn’t the little differences since the dawn of man create an entirely unique society through the years? Then again, what do I know? Science was my worse subject. Anyway, this is a good read, although the F-word is used far too often, at least for my taste. Why include it at all in fantasy/sci-fi? One need not understand the science to enjoy the narrative. I did get a little impatient, eager for it to get where it was going.

RIP coaching lifer Joe Walton, 85. All America at Pitt, he was selected in the second round of the 1957 NFL draft by the Redskins. He also played for the Giants. As a tight end he scored 28 TDs in his seven-year playing career, last three with Big Blue, ending in ’64. He worked as a scout and served as an assistant with both New York teams and the ‘Skins. He was the head coach of the Jets from ‘83-’89, making the playoffs in ‘85-’86, overall record 53–57–1, 1–2 in the post season. He was more successful at the collegiate level. He was the first coach of Robert Morris University, where he worked for 20 years, winning five Northeast Conference titles, named coach of the year four times. In 2000 the Colonials went 10–0. Overall, his record was 115–92. Well done, sir.

Donations outnumbered sales by a wide margin at today’s humid session of the floating book shop. My thanks to Tanya, who delivered ten romance novels by Bertrice Small, one of which was purchased by a woman who wanted light reading for the subway; and to the young woman who dropped off Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes, which another bought; and to Wolf, who took home Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov in its original language; and to the woman who selected three books in Russian. The highlight of the day was the glowing review a gentleman gave Present and Past, which he said should be made into a movie. As many readers do, he cited the dialogue. Since it was a used copy marked up by the original buyer, I offered it Dave, who’d recently enjoyed Class of ’67. He accepted.

So who is Bertrice Small? I was shocked when Herbie, who I believed had read every popular contemporary writer, had never heard of her. Nor had I. According to her Wiki profile, she was a “New York Times bestselling writer of historical and erotic romance novels.” Born in Manhattan, she had more than 50 published. She passed away at 77 in 2015. Welcome aboard, madam.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.