It began six years ago, on Bomb Day, when the aliens put up the Line to block out the rest of the world. On all the radio bands there is nothing now but static, and beyond the glowing paisley barrier there may be only a radioactive waste. Yet in Coomey life goes on quietly. Until Loretta Harper, the pudgy Mary Kay rep and perennial Homemaker of the Month, is found dead inIt began six years ago, on Bomb Day, when the aliens put up the Line to block out the rest of the world. On all the radio bands there is nothing now but static, and beyond the glowing paisley barrier there may be only a radioactive waste. Yet in Coomey life goes on quietly. Until Loretta Harper, the pudgy Mary Kay rep and perennial Homemaker of the Month, is found dead in the woods. It's the first murder in six years, and police chief DeWitt Dawson, with a curse, starts his investigation. Did the Torku kill her? Or was it Foster, the town banker-cum-flower child? Even Janet, the police chief's own wife, may be involved. Both lyrical and humorous, Happy Policeman is a story of everyday people trapped in an existential test tube. A story of duty and rebellion. And of aliens who watch—and wait—to see if DeWitt will learn the truth about time, responsibility, and universes that leak....
|Number of Pages||:||288 Pages|
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Happy Policeman Reviews
Back in the summer of 2010, I decided to see about curbing my book spending, and instead work on reading books already on my shelves. This was an obvious failure, when I was on the Powells Books website and found a bargain Sci-fi bin of books for about a dollar. I bought seventeen books and have been slowly working my way through them.Patricia Anthony’s ‘The Happy Policeman’ was in that pile of books. I am not sure how this ended up in the dollar bin. Turns out, this book was incredible, worth far more than the dollar I paid for it. I bought it sight unseen, had no idea what the novel was about, but the cover art painted by Mark Smollin caught my attention, the title was unusual and the book became mine.THIS BOOK WAS NOT ACTUAL SCI-FI. Do not auto-ignore this book if you are a genre snob, you may be missing out. Likewise, do not pick this book up thinking it will be handed to you on a platter, Patricia Anthony did a great job in obfuscating the end game and (as in my case) it takes some analysis to fully grasp the outcome. I actually sat for ten minutes after finishing this and thought to myself “What the hell was that?”. Once it sunk in, I found I had been presented with a confusingly brilliant story that is very recommendable.The novel opens with DeWitt Dawson, police chief, riding his horse down Main Street, Coomy Texas. He has no gasoline for his police cruiser, the Torku have no trouble providing everything they need, but for some reason, gasoline takes them far longer than other supplies. DeWitt investigates some broken glass at a convenience store, wonders why anyone breaks into a store when the Alien Torku give people whatever they ask for.Just outside town, DeWitt is called to investigate the body of Loretta Harper, naked-mutilated-never reported missing. She was found close to the plaid/paisley/rainbow colored dome that protects their town from the horrible radiation killing the world; Again, courtesy of the Torku. For six years, the Torku have helped the towns folk survive post ‘Bomb Day” when the world died. The Chief must determine if this murder was caused by a human survivor, or by one of the alien saviors who up this point have been hospitable and welcoming.Labeled alternately as either Fiction or Science fiction, I believe it does this novel a disservice to pigeon hole it as SciFi based on the alien element or other “less tangible” aspects. It is more fringe than that. The Happy Policeman rides the cusp of multiple genres and is a potential read for any number of individuals. It is an investigative crime drama starring a pothead policeman. It is a human nature piece, showing the human desire for independence, the intrinsic need for self reliance that drives rebellion. It has cheating wives, and secret perversions; over-protective fathers and guilt laden decision making. It gives a shout out to ’12 Angry Men’ and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. And, because a number of the characters are aliens, it could loosely be considered Science Fiction,.Based on the ending: I would consider this Speculative Buddhist Fiction (does the genre exists?).The Alien Torku are a metaphoric plot device. Read the book, then read this review again. Afterwards we can fist fight over the details..By fist fight, I mean drink beers..By details, I mean discuss it’s awesomeness…--xpost RawBlurb.com
Well, this was one of those rare occasions where I read through a whole book and wound up having no idea what went on. I may be beginning to sort it out a bit, here's my attempt:One day in 1988(?), there was a blackout in Coomey, TX, and a fundamentalist preacher, for reasons I don't understand, told everyone in town it was World War III -- and everyone believed him. And as they huddled terrified in basements, their act of collective belief caught the attention of the Torku, aliens skilled in manipulating parallel universes. The Torku decided to create a pocket universe containing the town: "outside", the citizens went home in the morning feeling silly; "inside", other versions of the same people spent six years thinking the world had really ended, as the Torku kept them in comfort. The Torku's motives for doing this, apparently, were as follows: parallel universes are related to each other by pattern. (So six years equalled six months, the same people died but in different ways, and there were the same emotional entanglements.) Thoughts and beliefs are part of the pattern. The Torku think that it's a moral imperative to try to make the pattern a positive one, by not only doing what they can to improve things, but also thinking and saying positive possibilities. And they decided to try to convince one set of humans of this moral good, by having them be a captive audience in the pocket universe. So I still haven't doped out a lot of things. I suppose I may re-read this one day; it certainly was entertaining.
Well, really a sci-fi fantasy, I guess, but I don't have a shelf for that. It was headed for 4 stars till about half way. The premise is unique and interesting. A small Texas town has been isolated by a mysterious, colorful force field (The Line) for six years. Inside, all their needs are met by benevolent aliens. Need food, a new coat, new tires? You call 911, tell the aliens, and they bring it. They stock the stores, and you go in and get what you need. No money. But people are going a bit stir-crazy, being cut off for so long. They believe/assume that a nuclear war took place, and aliens somehow sheltered them to preserve humanity. But no contact with the outside world makes things a bit tense, and when all your needs are being met, nobody really has much to do. Adultery and secrets become the norm, and the town's preacher is convinced the aliens are demons. Once things start heating up and a murder is discovered, things begin to fall apart. About half way through, I started to get bored with the aliens' cryptic advice and theology lessons about the nature of reality. Accusations abound, an arrest is finally made, a trial is held, and by then I didn't really care. I don't know what was real, what the Happy Policeman learned, or what any of it meant. I finished the book totally confused.
I could never understand what the author was getting at here. There were these aliens that were never described - so we don't know what they look like, where they came from or how they came to be in charge of this little town for what felt like 6 years to it's inhabitants but was really 6 months?Then there's all this draaama in the little town, adultry, murder, a trial etc. To what end?Then some line that the aliens created to separate the townspeople from the rest of the world or from nuclear holocaust goes away and all the townspeople return to "reality"? But the people on the other side of the line don't act like it was weird that all of these people were gone? And ultimatly the question is WHY? WHY did the author take us on this strange, ambiguous journey? And WHY did I continue reading this book to it's end?Maybe my parallel self totally understands the answers - but I'm ready for a good book.
Two other reviewers summarize my thoughts.From Livy: "A quick read. I couldn't put it down."From Lori Whitwam:" It was headed for 4 stars till about half way....About half way through, I started to get bored with the aliens' cryptic advice and theology lessons about the nature of reality....I don't know what was real, what the Happy Policeman learned, or what any of it meant. I finished the book totally confused."The book was a page-turner, but not a satisfying page-turner. I too finished the book totally confused.
A quick read. I couldn't put it down. Exciting at every turn and never a dull moment. I would highly recommend it to any science fiction enthusiast. It would be sweet if this was made into a movie with Edward Norton as DeWitt and James McAvoy as Bo.
Amazingly thoughtful. I was lulled into a false sense of security until I realized what consequences might result in having an arbitrary, impermeable border.
Interesting idea, but the execution is a bit too melodramatic and the ending is too pat. It's somewhat original.
This is a new release from Event Horizon EBooks, an e-book reprint of the original 1994 hard copy book. Note that the rating is posted by the publisher.