Towform, $16.00, ISBN 978-0-6151-8882-9
Described as Quantum Leap meets Back to the Future with a heavy touch of rock and roll, Timely Persuasion is actually more like the movie The Butterfly Effect in that the unidentified male protagonist goes back repeatedly to various points in the past to prevent his sister from committing suicide. Since his friends call him Blondie, I’ll do the same here as well.
Because in this story time travel is possible only to any point in the past that the person strongly remembers or identify with, our music critic Blondie finds himself going back to the glory days of the likes of Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and the likes. First, he finds himself back in 1986, during just about the time when Kurt Cobain is going to ascend to the heavens and become the new Jesus Christ of rock music, if you listen to what his fans claim. Anyway, as anyone who has seen The Butterfly Effect will know, it is never that easy to go back in time and just change an event so that the future will be bright and rosy. Poor Blondie is going to have to learn, mostly by trial and error, how to do things right. Fortunately for him, the mysterious fellow who gave him the ability to travel in time is there to give him some guidance or two.
On paper, Timely Persuasion seems like it could easily turn out to be a confusing mess, but the end result is actually a coherent and focused story. Mr LaCivita’s prose is polished and engaging, with the author’s passion for rock and roll coming off very clearly in this story. One of the biggest reasons why I enjoy reading this one is because the author’s passion for his subject matter is evident and even infectious. I have to hand it to Mr LaCivita for not going overboard or too self-indulgent in the process. There are many things that can go wrong in this story but the author manages to create a coherent story out of a premise that is very difficult to summarize in a review.
I wish the author has cut down on the number of expositions that come off like lectures on the principles of time travel though. These scenes are useful, no doubt, for any reader wanting to make sense of the story, but surely there has to be a less heavy-handed way to allow the reader a glimpse into the working of the story. I am also frustrated by the way the author often brings up issues that should have been addressed further (such as Blondie meddling with time by introducing future hit songs to one of his favorite musical icons in the past) only to brush aside those issues when it’s time to move on with the story. Why bring up these things when the author has no intention of doing anything with them?
Still, at the end of the day Timely Persuasion is an interesting as well as enjoyable read. Some of the first person narration is beautifully written, I find, which makes it a book to read for the sake of reading as well for the story, if I am making any sense here. There are times when I wonder why I bother reading self-published efforts, and it is books like this one that remind me of the reason why.