Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Review of Time Out by Pat Whitaker

Pat Whitaker's writing form of choice is the novella, a story of length and scope somewhere between a short story and a full length novel. The length of Pat's stories make for a reading experience of two or three hours, perfect for a rainy afternoon or a lazy day at the beach. Among his diverse works is a little piece entitled Time Out, an exploration into the phenomena of alien abductions.

The story is artfully crafted, combining seemingly unrelated incidents into a cohesive whole while exploring possible explanations for a popular urban myth. Whether the reader is sympathetic to the idea of the existence of little green men, or in this case, little grey men, or not, Whitaker gives us something to think about. Indeed, that seems to be the author's goal and, once again, Whitaker hits his mark dead center.

The setting for Time Out is primarily in and around Manchester, England, a locale Whitaker has previously used to good effect in Bad Blood and obviously a place with which New Zealander Whitaker is familiar.

Time Out is not just another science fiction tale drawing conclusions from fantastic premises. It is essentially a mystery and a crime drama with believable characters drawn from Whitaker's fertile imagination. The dialogue is realistic and does much to either gain pathos for the good guys or antipathos for the bad guys. As a North American, I found Whitaker's use of colloquial language charming and easy to grasp. Additionally, the style reveals protagonists to be caring, moral persons, examples of how people should treat one another. With that said, the opposite goes for Whitaker's treatment of his antagonists -- they are depraved criminals who ultimately get what they deserve. Very satisfying for this humble reader.

Time Out can be found through Cooper's Press, or through Whitaker's author site, or via Both hard copy and online versions are available.

Time Out
ISBN 978-1-877479-75-5
284 pages

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lift the Load Lightly

Because I'm feeling thoughtful this morning, I decided to post some rules for getting by that I have carried with me since 1986. They are stuck on my refrigerator door so I am forced to look at them every morning and evening. I am ashamed to admit some of them are just now sinking in.
  • No one gets out of here alive. Thus, resolve to seek reasonable values for yourself.
  • Be cheerful & helpful daily because your actions and attitude come back to you.
  • Avoid angry, abrasive people. They are generally vengeful.
  • Avoid zealots. They are generally humorless.
  • Listen more, talk less. No one ever learns anything by talking.
  • Be cautious of giving advice. Wise men don't need it & fools won't heed it.
  • Be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving & tolerant of the weak & the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these.
  • Do not equate money with success. There are many successful money-makers who are miserable failures as human beings. The important thing about success is how a person achieves it.
Lloyd Shearer, 1986