This week FFB is supposed to consist of reviews of books with difficult children or "children gone wrong." Well, nothing came to mind. At least, nothing came to mind that I thought really worked for the topic. My mental state is not very good these days so my lack of insight says loads about me and not the topic. So, I went in a different direction. Back in September of 2010 I first reviewed Joe Posner’s Pipe Dreams. For FFB this week hosted by Patti Abbott I blew the dust off the review below and have chosen to run it again. Hope your Friday is good one…
I never did watch much of classic TV shows like Night Gallery or The Twilight Zone. Part of that was because my folks had pretty strict rules about what we kids could watch. The other part was that I never was into the creepy stuff. That is pretty ironic as a lot of my fiction is either rejected or accepted by editors with the stated reason alluding to the TZ qualities of the story.
Though I never saw very much of The Twilight Zone, the classic lead-in is legendary and one I am familiar with. Unlike me, Joe Posner watched a lot of the show in the late 50’s and 60’s. Not only did he watch a lot of the show but his own father as he notes in the introduction to Joe Posner’s Pipe Dreams knew Rod Serling. Through his Dad, Joe got to know Rod Serling a little bit and he even gave him some writing advice which he credits to his own successful and prolific career. Unfortunately, Joe never tells readers what that advice was.
By the 70’s, Joe was at USC and watching Rod Serling’s Night Gallery in his dorm with his buddies. It isn’t surprising then that life at USC in the 70’s plays such a prominent role in a number of stories in this self published collection along with obvious influences from The Twilight Zone series.
“Concrete Love Song” opens the collection with Chad Hunter having a very bad day. A nightmare is followed not even getting to eat his normal breakfast as his wife has left him according to her note. She took the car which means Chad is late for work and that causes yet more problems. The fact that the small portable cement mixer outside the building is talking to him does not help matters.
Communication is also a major part of the next story titled “Ray of Hope” where the communication comes from beyond the grave.
“Pipe Dream” provides part of the title for the collection as well as good tale where Stony Parker decides to smoke a small piece of meteor fragment just to see what happens. After all, if pot is good, just imagine what an outer space rock would be like. A man simply can’t waste his smoking talents or what falls from the sky above.
People often claim credit for things they never created once the famous creator is dead and can’t prove otherwise. Such is the idea of “Sparrow’s Revenge” which has a fitting twist that would make Rod Serling proud considering the number of folks who have claimed their own involvement in his projects over the years.
Guest author Miriam Trimpe comes next with “The Ultimate Field Trip.” UFO’s are making landings and sometimes they pick up passengers though getting folks back home could be a problem.
“Mother Knows Best” follows next where Debbie Carpenter, who works at the San Diego Zoo, is in for a bit of a shock. Suddenly, the animals can talk to her and they aren’t happy.
While “Pipe Dream” has a definite ending, one knows there has to be more to the story. There is in “The Triangle of Time” that serves as a sequel of sorts featuring the continuing exploits of USC stoner, Stony Parker.
Make sure you have batteries, aluminum foil, and a roll of black electrical tape. After all, one never knows when a flying saucer will crash and the alien on board will need your help as the alien does in “Charlie’s Gift.”
The concluding story, “The Steve Machine” tells the tale of how far a famous actor and his doctor will go to keep the actor’s brain alive.
At 112 pages, this collection is a fast, enjoyable read that plays homage to Rod Serling and his work in a variety of ways. The read has a pulpy, campy feel to it indicative of simpler times and greater possibilities. A fun book, not to be taken seriously and an excellent way to spend a couple of hours in sheer escape where nothing is ordinary.
Joe Posner’s Pipe Dreams
June 16, 2010
Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2010, 2017